In 2011, a host rented her apartment out for a week only to return to find it completely ransacked. A hole had been smashed through her closet door, and her passport, a stash of cash, credit cards, jewelry and a laptop were all confiscated from the apartment.
Not long after the aforementioned experience, another host rented out his apartment – returning to find that it had been turned into a meth lab (Walter White and Jesse Pinkman style). Aside from that, the renters had taken an ax to his closet door and had stolen his computer and birth certificate.
You might think that these two tales are from a couple of randoms that sublet their apartments to complete strangers to recoup some money that would have been otherwise lost based on their lease. Or you may have thought that these two stories may be better suited in a Hollywood heist movie, an episode of “Breaking Bad” or depicted in The Shining. But in fact, these were two tales from Airbnb hosts that used the website to list lodging accommodations.
Airbnb launched in 2008 and currently has over 1.5 million listings throughout 34,000 cities and nearly 200 countries. And while Airbnb has learned from unfortunate incidents in its early days of operation, such as those listed above, and has implemented a bevy of security measures to protect its hosts, there are still risks in opening your home, apartment or condominium to a complete stranger. So while Airbnb might be a great concept and an attractive way for hosts to make money off of their home when they’re not using it, it’s still very important to take care of your valuables. With that being said, here’s a look at some tips for securing your Airbnb property:
Securing Your Airbnb Property
Check with your insurance agent: Based on Airbnb’s “Host Guarantee,” certain types of properties are insured up to $1 million. But don’t just bank on that, be sure to check with your own insurance agent to see if and how much you’re covered if something were to go awry.
Stop your mail: It’s said that an individual’s mail is the Holy Grail of identity thief. So if you don’t have a mailbox with locking access, make sure you take a few minutes to visit your local post office or go online to www.USPS.com to put a stop to your mail for the time you’ll be renting out the property.
Appropriate door locks: When it comes to Airbnb property, the right door locks are crucial. You don’t want to rely on the traditional lock set and have to make spare keys to give to your renters, as they could very easily make a spare themselves and return to your property with ill intentions. There are few locks that we recommend for Airbnb properties, such as:
Electronic locks: These types of locks don’t rely on the use of keys, but on codes that are entered. Users can set multiple codes, essentially allowing hosts to customize who can and cannot access their home. So, for instance, a code could be set for an Airbnb renter for a week and then deleted immediately after the renter’s stay is over with.
Smart locks: Smart locks come with remote management features, which allow homeowners to manage who can and cannot access their homes while they’re away. Smart locks permit users to set access times for the duration of your Airbnb renter’s stay. Another neat benefit associated with smart locks is that users can see, via an integrated app, when a renter has accessed the lock to the property. This allows a host to keep tabs on the property when they’re away from it, as they’re able to monitor whenever someone is accessing their home.
Purchase a safe deposit box at your bank: In the two stories we led this post with, both Airbnb hosts had valuable items stolen from their properties, even when it was stored behind locked doors. A better way of protecting valuables is by placing them in a safe or a safe deposit box that is located at your bank. Just as is the case with locked doors, if a renter is up to no good and wants to access your safe deposit box, chances are they’ll find a way to get into it if it’s located within the home and they stumble upon it. Don’t take any chances – keep your valuables at a secure location.
Add a security deposit on your listing: Yes, Airbnb has a “Host Guarantee” which insures property up to $1 million, but we strongly advise taking additional measures, such as requiring renters put down a security deposit before a reservation is finalized. This type of good faith agreement is usually a benefit for the host, assuming that they realize if there were any damages to their property within a reasonable amount of time.
Last but not least, do your homework when it comes to potential guests. Check profile pages of prospective renters, research their personal information, check up on references, exchange messages with guests – just do what you need to do to feel good about renting your property to someone. Peace of mind can go along way toward a positive experience, for both renter and host.
For more information on how to properly secure your Airbnb property, and for information on smart locks and electronic locks, contact Great Valley Lockshop today by calling 610-644-5334 or fill out a estimate request online”.