Your top questions about Host Guarantee

Lizzie
Former Community Manager
Former Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Your top questions about Host Guarantee

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Hello again, Hosts!

 

Your ideas and questions about the Host Guarantee have sparked some important conversation at Airbnb headquarters. As with our recent Q&A posts on Smart Pricing, Search, and Instant Book, we collected lots of questions from you here in the Community Center—this time on the Host Guarantee. We’ve got insights for you from the Host Guarantee team, and we hope these are helpful. Keep the ideas and questions coming—you’re inspiring us to consider changes and improvements we can make to this program in 2018.

 

Cheers,

Lizzie


On security deposits and the Host Guarantee

 

1. What’s the difference between a guest’s security deposit and the Host Guarantee?

Spoiler

A guest security deposit is something you can choose to require of your guests. The security deposit is an acknowledgement by the guest that they may be charged up to the full amount should they cause damage to your listing. If you choose to require a security deposit from your guests, they don’t actually pay the deposit when they make the reservation. Instead, they’re charged only if you make a claim through the Resolution Center on that deposit and it’s accepted by the guest or granted through mediation by Airbnb.


The Host Guarantee  provides up to $1,000,000 in protection from Airbnb for instances when guests damage a host’s property. In order to process a request, you would use the Resolution Center to upload documentation of the damages (such as photos or receipts), and first request payment from your guest to cover those damages. You and your guests can work out the details on your own, or you can choose to involve Airbnb directly in the Resolution Center. The best way to ensure a smooth process with your guest or with Airbnb is to submit your report of the damage, along with support documentation as soon as you identify the damage.

2. What benefit does the Host Guarantee provide if I can just make a claim against a guest’s security deposit?

Spoiler
Hosts have the option to ask guests for a security deposit of between $100 and $5,000. In addition to the financial protection this provides, some hosts feel that asking for a security deposit reminds guests to be extra careful while staying in your space. The Host Guarantee comes from Airbnb and also can provide payment to a host for damages that a guest causes to your listing, up to $1,000,000. We’re currently looking at data to see if implementing a guest deposit changes travelers’ booking behavior.

3. If the security deposit cannot be collected from the guests, or doesn’t cover the damages, does the Host Guarantee still kick in?

Spoiler
If the damages caused by a guest during a reservation exceed the agreed upon security deposit, or if there is no security deposit for the listing in question, the Host Guarantee program is intended to provide support.

4. Do I have to pay anything for the Host Guarantee?

Spoiler
No, the Host Guarantee program is provided at no additional cost to hosts.

5. Can I require a security deposit for any length stay or just for longer stays?

Spoiler
You can require a deposit for any length stay. Security deposits can range from $100 - $5000 and we encourage hosts to pick a value that suits their most common circumstances. Currently we don’t offer the ability to adjust the security deposit for different stays.

 

On Host Guarantee’s scope of protection

 

6. In what specific situations does the Host Guarantee kick in (theft, damage, excessive cleaning costs etc.)?

Spoiler

The Host Guarantee provides payment for theft or physical damage to your listing caused by the responsible guest, or the guest’s invitee(s), during their stay. For complete details, you can review the full terms. Items such as routine cleaning costs (including excessive linen costs or floor cleaning) or additional guests fees are not provided under the Host Guarantee program.

 

You have the option of including a cleaning fee in your pricing. You may also send an alteration request or a request through the Resolution Center if fees are sought for additional guests not included in the original booking.

7. If the Host Guarantee is applied to my situation, will I get the full value I paid for an item or its present value?

Spoiler
The Host Guarantee program provides payment either for the repair or replacement cost of the damaged item. What we call the “actual cash value” (the amount we reimburse) is the amount it would cost to repair or replace damaged or destroyed covered property as a result of a covered loss. These amounts are based on accepted industry standards as well as the recommendation of an independent third party claims administrator. To determine the reimbursement amount, we’ll compare the current price of the item (or items of similar type and quality when yours is no longer available), and will include a reasonable deduction that accounts for the age and condition your item was in at the time the damage occurred.

8. Why doesn’t the Host Guarantee cover antiques?

Spoiler
Fine arts and collectibles are often tricky to evaluate. In regard to the Host Guarantee, antiques are covered if they can be replaced with something of similar quality or can be repaired or retouched. If you have an item that is high-value or near irreplaceable, it may be advisable to consult with an insurance professional on how best to protect this type of property.

9. Does the Host Guarantee apply for extenuating circumstances during a booking (e.g. burst water pipe, fire)?

Spoiler
If your future bookings are impacted by an event subject to the Host Guarantee, the program will also reimburse your income loss for reservations that were booked through the Airbnb platform and must be cancelled due to the mishap. For instance, a guest causes a minor fire, but the repair will take three weeks and the affected host has an upcoming two week reservation. Airbnb customer support would assist in rebooking that guest and through the Host Guarantee, the host would be eligible for the payout despite the reservation being cancelled due to the fire.

10. Why doesn’t the Host Guarantee apply when a guest cancels due to extenuating circumstances?

Spoiler
We’re currently in the early stages of exploring broader offerings for hosts and guests in regard to trip cancellations or other interruptions to you getting bookings.

11. I’ve heard that if I have a key lockbox outside my home the Host Guarantee does not cover me anymore. Is that true?

Spoiler
That’s not true based on the terms of the program. If there was a lockbox across town that was damaged by the guest, the damage to the lockbox itself may not be covered, but damage to the listing still would.

 

On claims and payments

 

12. How can I prepare in case I need to use the Host Guarantee?

Spoiler
You should reach out to the responsible guest immediately when you discover something has gone wrong—specifically you need to contact them either 14 days after checkout or before your next guest checks in, whichever comes earlier. When submitting your request using the Resolution Center please include a description of the damages, photos of the damage, support for the amount claimed and where applicable, the age of the damaged item. The clarity of your request and the support of that request will greatly improve the odds of resolving the situation with your guest using the Resolution Center. If the guest is not agreeable to your request, proper documentation will streamline the process Airbnb uses to review and make a decision.

13. What if I can’t get any documentation/quotes needed by the request deadline?

Spoiler
It’s best to report issues as soon as they happen. This allows for a timely guest response and a comprehensive review of the scenario. When damages are reported weeks or months after the occurrence, it’s often difficult to get in touch with the guest and the documentation is no longer fresh or actionable. Airbnb can send a third party claims administrator to help evaluate the damages. If it’s a busy season for you, we recommend at least letting your Airbnb Resolution Center representative know that.

14. To make a claim for the Host Guarantee I have to do it within 14 days after the date of guests departure, but I don’t have the time and money to replace what the previous guest damaged before my next guest arrives. What should I do?

Spoiler
In this scenario, please report the occurrence as soon as possible either through the Resolution Center or through contacting Airbnb directly. Airbnb support staff can assist in rebooking the guest as necessary, review damages, and consider if you’re experiencing booking income loss as a result of the occurrence.

15. How do I get money back from the Security Deposit for damage?

Spoiler
You must first contact the guest through the Resolution Center. Once your request is posted, the guest can accept the request, offer an alternate amount, or decline the request. If the guest agrees to your request through the Resolution Center, the amount requested will automatically be remitted to you within 24 hours. If the guest does not accept the request, you or your guest may ask that Airbnb mediate a resolution 72 hours after the request has been published. An Airbnb representative will review the claim and make a determination. In cases where a security deposit award is made, they’ll communicate the amount to be paid and will process a payment to your preferred payout method on file.

16. What’s the point in having a security deposit if we can’t use it? Why do we need the approval of the guest for it to be paid out?

Spoiler
This community is based on trust and good faith between hosts and guests. We want hosts and guests to be protected from misuse (of property and also of claims). The intent is that Airbnb will mediate in the resolution of claims if an agreement cannot be met within the Resolution Center. This is intended to ensure a fair resolution for both parties.

Thanks again to all the hosts who shared questions about the Host Guarantee. Please keep your ideas and feedback coming in the Community Center.

 


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101 Replies 101

I have the unfortunate experience of having a terrible guest leave the place disgustingly filthy and every blanket and linen with food stains. The toilet was...bad.  Airbnb dispute center wanted invoices for everything - my husband and I clean, what invoice is that??  I sent an estimate from local cleaning company -and that wasn't good enough! I had a hole in my closet to repair and they weren't going to refund labor to fix the hole - if my husband and I did it; they wanted an INVOICE again from a company. WHAT the heck?! I'm supposed to hire this out, not knowing if I will be reiumbursed or not. It's like they want you to take the risk in hiring a job out (which would most certainly be the most expensive option) and then gamble on whether we'll be reimbursed.  No guidance. They want to limit the amount of help they actually give you.  They don't tell you how to navigate the system because they want you to give up. 

Mark1416
Level 2
Boulder, CO

AirBNB is the worst. The host guarantee is meaningless. Their process is very arbitrary. You submit a claim and There’s no telling what will happen. They may approve it, they may deny it, they may partially pay it.   If you don’t like their decision your only recourse is to file AAA arbitration. 

 

I had a guest burn my countertop, and AirBNB only paid pennies on the dollar, without any meaningful analysis or justification. I’ve been hosting for three years with the company, but the risk is too great. I am moving on and going to use VRBO. The risk is too great. AirBNB made clear to me that they do not value my business, and that they do not value their hosts.

John1080
Level 10
Westcliffe, CO

Does the host guarantee cover damages or doesn't it? I have spoken to an 'expert' who told me flat out that it does not cover damages and only covers "injuries, for example".  

 

This does not coincide with what is listed on the Host Guarantee policy guidelines as I understand them.

Brian664
Level 2
Toronto, Canada

I am extremely disappointed in my recent experience with the Host Guarantee and the Dispute Resolution process. We had guests who used our home for a large party leaving a significant mess. Our primary concern, however, was that someone took an axe to a dozen of the trees on our property, particularly four trees which have significant and irreparable marks that can be seen from our patio and our lookout point.

 

Our claim was initially ignored for about a month and, despite repeated contact by us, it was actually unilaterally closed without our knowledge. When we complained, we finally got the intervention of someone from the Trust and Safety Team. She put us through a number of hoops but at least we thought we were getting somewhere. But after more than two months since the event, we were told for the first time that there would be no compensation at all for the damaged trees because they were excluded from the Host Guarantee as "standing timber".    

 

What a ridiculous position for Airbnb to take - our trees have no commercial value which was the point of that exclusion; but they did have significant aesthetic value for our property which Airbnb is not valuing or in any way compensating us for. And now, thanks to an Airbnb guest, we will have a constant and perpetual reminder of how pathetic Airbnb's Host Guarantee actually is. 

Emily385
Level 1
New York, NY

I had a group of 8 people stay at my house. Despite the rules on the house manual they went ahead and destroyed my brand new $3000 table. I have photos that have the EXIF time stamp data to prove when they were taken. Airbnb won’t reimburse me a dime. The table can’t be repaired. I can either continue hosting with a completely ruined table or I can buy a new table for $3000. Airbnb customer service are beginning to feel like scam artists. 

David126
Level 10
Como, CO

@Emily385

 

Have you considered taking the matter to Arbitration, $3,000 is something not to be ignored.

David
Emily385
Level 1
New York, NY

Ive definitely been thinking about it more. It’s very frustrating that Airbnb makes you feel safe with their host guarantee that they stamp all over the place but then they refuse to help out when something actually goes wrong.  Do you have any advice?

David126
Level 10
Como, CO

There seem two options, arbitration and involve the Media.

 

Does make me realise that there is a business opportunity here, wonder if anybody else has thought of it, pretty obvious.

 

A Loss Assesor is somebody you appoint to handle an Insurance claim for you as the Policy holder, now the Guarantee is not Insurance but the principle is the same.

 

It would not be worth dealing with some of the smaller issues, but once you are into the thousands there is definitely the potential.

 

Certainly seems enough incidents to set up a business handling ABB claims for Hosts.

 

The risk I see is that you invest in setting up such a business and then ABB cancel the Host Guarantee.

 

 

David
Mathieu49
Level 2
Thailand

@Rachel-And-Kevin0  I agree with you but it is important to realise Airbnb is the major player and in my opinion the best actor, especially outside the US but also all these new tech players are in some sort of oligopoly (thus 20% comissions for providing a simple plateform that any random professional tech person could build). It is certainly true that this is your home and you can choose to delist but you'll realise sooner or later that you'll get dependant to the extra income it provides for your family and they know it. Finally as any companies their main objective is probably not to please you or protect your home but to maximize their profits... So all this in my opinion doesn't presage a really bright future at the end. But that might be what some call the american dream, don't know I am not americain haha 🙂

Mathieu49
Level 2
Thailand

Hi Lizze, This is a great thread and you are being quite ambitious that it will not become the complains graveyard of various hosts explaining how the ended up losing money using Airbnb as this is the sad reality.

 

I have raised a few claims previously and always been very well taken care. Service was excellent, my claims were small and legitimate but smalls things adds up, however with my last claim it put me back into reality and let me think about this business model. For me this is the main coming challenge for Airbnb as I am convinced now no host can become profitable at the long term fighting against illegal listing and damaged furniture. Hosts must also realise the platform is probably swamped with so many various claims from various hosts (not even talking about hosts who freely abuse the system and claim all and nothing...) disappointed to face the sad reality for the first time that their guests had damaged a piece of furniture they love, it doesnt look good anymore and it is likely to make their booking less attractive and even they might have to bear the pain someone would even write down negatively about it in their next reviews. The only alternative is face the high replacement cost and loose money. For sure on the example above if the kitchen counter is not changed the next guest (for sure) will write "Kitchen is so old and never been maintained" while the guest who damaged claimed he has nothing to do with this and still the landlord ends paying for it. Classic. 

 

For my experience I was just shocked when I raised a claim for a missing 10$ item, it was replied from support team "I should also explain that the host guarantee does not cover incidents of missing inventory so I will not be able to provide payment for the beach umbrella." Nice but are you serious? So someone takes something in my home, I am not covered?

 

I claimed everything by the book so I just replied. Hang on I never asked for this host guarantee program in the first place, Iam just trying to claim on the guest deposit for the missing item. That seems just fair and exactly why the deposit has been setup in the first place. It just shows Airbnb dont charge it as a normal process and discard deposit for some various reasons. Scary.

 

The probability that at long term one guest will damage something fairly expensive is close to 1. However any reasonable person will realised that it wouldn't make sense guest have to bear the full cost of replacement for it especially if this is a cosmetic issue indeed. However cosmetic is important as we are not cheap hostel but nice homes and Airbnb is pleased with that.

 

For instance what to do if someone smoked in your house and make a hole on the sofa, Should the guest pay for the replacement? Of course not. So what to do?

 

Airbnb should sort out their deposit process for sure! If you rent a normal appartment, any landlord will take on your deposit even if you cosmetically used up the wall paint and every parties in the contract knows it. Hello this is the world we are living in.

 

So what Airbnb should do. They should enforce the deposit and stop taking it as a joke or a free gift to their guest and pass everything onto their host guarantee scheme or at the expense of the hosts. Keep this scheme for only serious matter indeed. Not for my 10$ beach umbrella please!

 

Let the host and especially the guest know the deposit policy is and will be enforced indeed. If the deposit doesn't cover the host claim and that claim is fairly irrelevant such as a cosmetic damage or something damaged but still usable this is the host issue and a loss. He has to manage better his deposit next time. The guest is covered up to the deposit he agreed upfront in booking the place and that makes sense. Of course for serious matter like thief or loss or serious issues which in such cases might involve legal ressource; the insurance is useful, must step in and avoid legal fees and other irrelevant costs and time waste and write this off.

 

To enforce this properly deposit should stop being taken as a joke and being relayed at the obscur corner of the listing as if it was not business friendly. Come on the market is mature enough now. Host should keep providing documentation for every claim and everything will be recorded and made public somewhere on the host profile. Guests should be able to see how frequent a host claim on deposit from his guests and some sort of relevant information for him whatever it is such as an explanation or price charged.

 

From then everyone make the best decision for himself to book ot not book the place. If it becomes public information then of course hosts will not abuse the process or will never gets bookings and crooks landlord will easily be discovered and discouraged. You could remove also at the same time all this crappy Airbnb mediation process which for some are biaised towards host and other towards guests. At the end nobody is happy. Just let hosts and guests sort their problems out themselves like adults and start saving money! They have enough tools at their disposal with reviews and public deposit claims so the process will be fair at long term.

 

 

That seems like a fairly simple thing to implement which has the potential to keep everyone happy and especially fix such a relevant and massive issue. Why no one is taking this seriously on board?

The thing to consider is that Airbnb is not the only show in town. Homeaway and VRBO are very popular and there are new and upcoming sites seemingly daily. Some times when Companies become too self important they lose focus. Our homes are our homes. There is a genuine generous spirit that drives us to share these special places with others. accidents we understand but to allow blatant abuse and disregard for our property should be zero tolerance 

Šarka0
Level 6
Ljubljana, Slovenia

Checking the HG introduction, it is written as so:

"The Host Guarantee protects your home and your stuff from accidental damage."

So, if the damage is intentional, us hosts are not covered for it?

 

Judging from the many hosts reflecting their bad experiences with the HG claims (not just in this thread, but many many other threads too), it sure looks like that is the case.

@Lizzie Any comments on that part? 

 

I am a fairly new host and reading all the negative comments about deposits and HG, I dread the day I walk into our apartment after check-out and see damages made by our AirBnb guest.

 

Me and my father put 25000 EUR into the renovation, as well as sweat and blood. We also got a loan to finish up the work and basically a part of what we earn goes for the loan. We started renting our apartment to have some needed extra income. EVERYTHING in the apartment was BRAND NEW (as of Nov-Dec 2016). We have ALL the receives from the purchases and contractors. We work really hard to please our guests. So far we only had good guests and I really hope it stays that way.

So, reading that we could get NOTHING and not even a KIND WORD, just a disconnected call and unanswered e-mails, in case of a bad guest, is making me think if it's even worth being a part of AirBnb any more. I even went and raised our security deposit, even though I know I might not ever see the money if I make a claim, but maybe it will really scare the good-for-nothing guests away.

 

So, @Lizzie and everyone else on higher positions at AirBnb, why are you favouring guests so much and looking down on hosts? Are we that expendable? Use and throw away? "Customers are always right" as guests, but guess what - us hosts are your customers too, we also give you money and we even MAKE money for you. Without us you are basically worthless.

 

So my comment on your question, what you could do better in Host Guarantee:

  1. Help hosts more with the problems unbehaved guests cause in their homes.
  2. Don't favour guests all the time, specially when hosts making a claim are Superhosts, been hosting for a longer time and have many positive reviews.
  3. Actually give the money that the hosts ask for, specially when all the documentation and invoices are provided.
  4. Do not close cases which obviously can't be closed yet.
  5. Don't shut hosts in need out from the needed conversations.
David126
Level 10
Como, CO

@Šarka0

 

In normal parlence accidental referes to as fas as the Host is concerned, may be intentionally caused by somebody else.

 

A listing like your I would want a real security deposit, something ABB does not currently offer.

 

Lizzie is a forum mod, not an ABB employee.

David
Adriano78
Level 10
Seville, Spain

Here in Spain is compulsory by the law to ask the ID for each traveler , fill a paper form and fill a form on internet (police web page).with this system  I think traveler are little bit scared to stole things in the apartment 

does the host guarantee cover hosts who (unknowingly) allow a third part booking?  Sometimes guest profile photos are not good enough to identify a guest and it seems overly paranoid and not in the spirit of trust to ask them to A) post a better photo or B)provide photo ID at check in, which as a working couple, we are not often around to do anyhow...

 

Sometimes bookers are up front that they are booking for someone else(ie: a parent) but other times, it's unclear as reviews are for one name, but the person inquiring has a different name.

 

Anyhow, long way around to asking how to protect oneselves from a third party booking or whether AirBnB coverage extends to that.

 

BTW - a cat lives with us(not in the rental) so I have been unable to become "business ready" which I believe does cover 3rd party.

David126
Level 10
Como, CO

@Suzanne112

value of host guarantee is very arguable but moving on say in your listing you require Id to be shown on arrival.

 

I think the Business ready only refers to pets. So a cat may or may not preclude you.

 

Anyway it has to be in the listing.

 

"Business Travel Ready listings are smoke-free properties and don’t have pets living in the space while the guest is there."

David
Rebecca181
Level 10
Florence, OR

@Kelly149 @David126 - Is ANY actual theft or loss covered? Or is it denied due to the policy stating that "mysterious disappearance, loss, or shortage disclosed on taking inventory, or any unexplained loss of inventory..." won't be covered, (per Kelly's most disturbingly revelatory comment, above)?

 

This all sounds like '1984' Newspeak to me. What do these exclusions actually mean, minus the Orwellian influences?

 

David126
Level 10
Como, CO

Theoretically yes.

 

But I would be very hard pushed to come up with a relaistic scenario where this could happen in an AirBnB situation.

 

When I first started in the Insurance Industry the standard theft cover available under a commercial policy was basically Burglary, in the UK this was as defined by the the Theft Act of 1968, so you had to break in, did not cover somebody walking in through an open door etc.

 

The AirBnB Host Guarantee reminds me of if a very old Insurance Policy form, and covers Burglary, actually they have added now on some more exclusions that I do not remember ever seeing, I think those are self generated, not from Insurance advise.

 

So shoplifting is not burglary.

 

The full cover was Theft but even for that there were exclusions and obviously subject to a deductible.

 

When you only cover the actions of people who have access to your property seems unlikely to me that they would commit Burglary, why break in when you have a key.

 

I do not know who drafted this wording, I would be interested to know the background as I am guessing a bit but I think my guesses are reasonable.

 

If I was advising a client who was covered under the AirBnb Guarantee I would tell them to assume Theft was not covered.

 

David
Kelly149
Level 10
Austin, TX

In looking thru the FAQs provided, a couple questions:

 

#3: If a host has a security deposit, but the damage exceeds the amount, then does the host lose access to the security deposit and instead only has recourse thru the HG?

OR does ABB first pay the host whatever amount was in the security deposit and then decide the rest through the HG?

 

#6: says that theft is covered however, in the actual terms this is one of the exclusions:

"mysterious disappearance, loss, or shortage disclosed on taking inventory, or any unexplained loss of inventory;"

So, unless you have video of the guest carrying something out of your place or if they admit that they have taken something, then it would seem that ABB would call theft, a 'mysterious disappearance'

 

#7: Present value: this is misleading! Unless your listing is minutes old and you have receipts for absolutely everything inside then most likely when the guest cuts, burns, melts your couch, rug, drapes, kitchen counter then the depreciated value of this item will mean that a host gets NO payment. So, a host had a lovely working couch, then a bad behaving guest and at the end host has to replace the item themselves and the guest makes no restitution whatsoever. Not Right!

 

@Lizzie seems you have plenty of hosts whose experiences with HG are not as rosy as this FAQ would suggest. And in fact many folks feel that the marketing around HG is deceptive and a program that was designed to make hosts feel safer about hosting has had the opposite effect. This should be addressed.

 

David126
Level 10
Como, CO

I believe the  would apply first and then anything else could a Guarantee claim.

 

In the old days there was in Insurance terms full Theft and basically cover for break ins, Ie the door was bashed in or the window broken, now if a Guest steals something most unlikely limited Theft cover would apply,

 

They basically apply Indemnity value but have a weird depreciation scale. 

David

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