Hello Fellow Hosts!!
This incident happened in my condo building recently. As an owner, I was informed about the matter by the Condo Management. Guests staying in an Airbnb unit damaged furniture in lobby/common area of the building. The security saw the guests doing the damage but there is no proof of it. The guests departed the next day of the incident, as scheduled. Now, the guests are refusing that they damaged anything, but the Management is after the host to reimburse the damages.
Although this incident does not affect me, as an Airbnb Host, I am concerned as this could happen to me. Any thoughts on how you protect yourself if a guest were to damage property outside your unit?
Thanks David for the reply. I am not the Airbnb host in this case. I just happen to live in the building.
I am not sure what insurance protection the Airbnb host, affected by guest damage, has or how he/she will deal with the situation.
A standard insurance covers everything inside the unit adn protects against theft, flooding and other big events. I am not sure if the insurance will cover damages to common elements. Worth finding out!
I would be somewhat surprised if there will be any insurance cover at all, which could be why the Condo management are after your fellow host for the damages! As a rule insurance companies will cancel general buiding insurance policies if they find out short term rental is taking place in their insured space! The policy risk has been altered from that under which was originally issued!
This is why Condo management authorities will generally forbid short term rentals! It does not just affect the particular condo that the short term rental is taking place in, it affects the whole complex.
Residential insurance is a complex thing and I agree a lot of them don't offer coverage if the unit is used for short-term rentals. A few companies do provide short-term rental coverage, but not sure how they would handle common areas. It's definately a grey area.
I am not sure if the condo management would take legal action against the host because legal action in Canada is very costly. However, they might issue a fine in another way.
My bigger concern is how as hosts, we can prepare against such a thing happening to us. Through Airbnb, we attract a wide variety of people and this is something that can happen intentionally or accidently.
The Buildings insurance would cover common areas and their contents but would be subject to a deductible and of course claims impact future premiums.
So there may well be circumstances where it makes more sense to pursue whoever caused the damage.
Quite how the Host could be held liable I do not know, I can not think of any legal justification that would apply which is why I mentioned legal expenses insurance to defend against such an action.
Now there may be something weird in the Canadian Legal System that allows this, but it would need to be really weird, goes against all basic legal concepts.
With all this worrying about your liability, have you spared a thought for your neighbors?
You, as a host, are making money by having guests stay in your home, while your neighbors get nothing out of it, just increased insurance premiums when your guest damages the common areas and you refuse to pay up. Does that seem remotely fair to anyone?
The law should reflect what is good and just, there's nothing good about protecting yourself and counting your profits while your neighbors pay for damages. If there is nothing in Canadian law to protect residents from unscrupulous hosts who don't do the right thing and pay up, then there should be.