Death in Airbnb rental raises liability questions

On the fire front, hotels and motels averaged 3,700 per year from 2006 to 2010, according to the National Fire Protection Association, resulting in an average of 12 deaths, excluding emergency personnel, and 143 injuries per year.

We know less about Airbnb and HomeAway, but one thing we’re sure is that their hosts don’t need to follow the myriad of regulations regarding hotel and motel exits, doors, and alarms. Companies could inspect every property for safety, but they don’t.

And according to Liz Krueger, a New York State senator who has often meddled with house rental companies, it would be better if someone else did. “They would declare themselves, and it would not be a government entity,” she said. “Call me a government supporter, because I am, but I think there is a reason why you want a third party to do the assessment as opposed to an interested party who would have a reason not to. document the right things. “

Yet who knows if a government inspector would have noticed the dead tree that killed Mr. Stone’s father or the water heater that is believed to be involved in Taiwan’s death. Paying strangers to stay at home requires that we take some risk, and we may just have to feel comfortable never knowing exactly what risk.

If you’re a host renting a house or room, let your landlord’s insurance company know, even if you think Airbnb’s liability coverage gives you most of the protection you need. . After all, your guest’s lawyer will probably also sue your insurance company if there is any damage to your property. Make sure your guests know how to get out in an emergency and that your home has plenty of alarms and is free from unnecessary dangers.

Paying customers should check the batteries in fire and carbon monoxide detectors, be wary of cooking equipment or outdoor toys that they don’t normally use, and keep an eye out for things that might harm young people. children.

Still, let’s give new hosting players some credit where it’s due. More insurance coverage is better than less, and urging people to be aware of their risks is a welcome development in the way these businesses operate.

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