What to do if guests damage your Airbnb property

Owning and operating an Airbnb property can be lucrative, especially if you rent it out for the maximum time period allowed each year. However, sometimes guests can cause damage, eating into your margins. 

Note that no matter how well you prepare your Airbnb rental or how immaculately the rooms are before they arrive, some guests who won’t respect your property. Eventually, somebody will come along who causes serious damage to your property, forcing you to carry out repairs.

What’s “Serious Damage?”

Before we get started, though, we need to understand the difference between serious damage and general “wear and tear.” 

General wear and tear refers to things such as: 

  • Scuffs on the door frames, walls, and carpets from moving luggage
  • Old appliances reaching the end of their life and breaking down
  • Tears in old upholstery, such as rugs and curtains
  • Limescale in the toilet and shower
  • Residues left on mirrors and other surfaces

Serious damage, however, refers to things that go beyond general depreciation or necessary damage. For instance, serious damage would comprise things such as: 

  • Damaging your landscaping by driving their vehicle over it
  • Spilling drinks or other items on surfaces that create stains
  • Dropping heavy objects on your floor or furniture that make indentations or holes
  • Damaging new appliances by using them incorrectly
  • Stealing things that belong to you, such as electrical goods

How To Respond To Serious Damage

When you rent out an Airbnb property for a long period, eventually something will go wrong. So when it does, you need to be prepared. 

Usually, when guests damage your property, they will contact you and offer to pay for the damage. However, if they don’t, you’ll need to get in contact with them via the app or their contact details. Just ask them what happened and then see if they are willing to pay for renovations. Usually, they are. 

If they aren’t, then you may need to contact the Airbnb resolution centre. Here, you can lodge an official complaint and provide evidence of the damage that guests caused.

How To Protect Yourself Against Serious Damage

There are many ways that you can protect yourself against serious damage. Just as in other situations, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Get An Airbnb Security Deposit

Regular landlords often ask tenants for security deposits in advance to cover them for damage they may cause to their properties. A similar concept applies for Airbnb rentals. If you want to activate this for one of your properties listed on Airbnb, go to Manage Your Space >> Pricing >> Security Deposit. Here you can specify the deposit guests need to pay before they can stay in your accommodation.

Join The Host Guarantee Program

Sometimes the cost of repairing the damage can exceed the security deposit, potentially leaving the host in the red. So when this happens, what protects you?

Fortunately, Airbnb runs the Host Guarantee Program. This covers you to up to a million dollars of damage over and above your security deposit. Please note, however, that it doesn’t cover damage or theft of collectibles, artwork, jewellery, pets, or cash.


Get Airbnb Insurance

If you want to fully protect yourself, you might want to invest in Airbnb insurance. This comprehensive product covers practically every kind of loss of damage your property could incur, giving you peace of mind.

Remove All Valuables From Guest Areas

Don’t leave any valuable items in guest areas. While most people are honest, some aren’t and will take your possessions if you leave them out. Never leave any confidential or personal documentation in guest rooms.

Vet Guests

Vetting guests is also critical. You want to make sure that you’re inviting the right kind of people to your property: regular travellers who just want a place to cook, eat and sleep. You can check the quality of guests by reading Airbnb reviews left by others. 

For Melbourne Airbnb property owners, if you’re struggling, using professional service Airbnb property management Melbourne can make this process easier. Instead of vetting every guest yourself, you simply get an external agency to do it for you, saving you time and hassle, and reducing the number of bad eggs that slip through the net. 

Remember, managing an Airbnb rental by yourself can be a challenge, especially if you have multiple units or expensive furnishings. Getting an Airbnb management company to do it for you, allows you to enjoy more of the fruits of your investments, without constantly having to dedicate your precious time to running them. Now that’s real passive income!

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