Personal Injury Claims in Private Vacation Rentals - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Thursday, 16 February 2017

Personal Injury Claims in Private Vacation Rentals

#AskZevBergman

We’ve all seen the advertisements from HomeAway or Airbnb. People from around the world offering their homes, or a room in their home, for a vacation with all the amenities of home. A search for a vacation home rental in Canada will bring up thousands of options. But offering your home to a stranger, while most of the time can be a rewarding experience for both parties, can also be a gamble if the wrong person steps through your door.

Bypassing the regulations

Traditional accommodations, such as hotels and bed and breakfasts, are required to follow strict regulations that protect them, as well as the people staying there. But with technology making it easier and easier to offer up a vacation rental, many of those rentals are bypassing those regulations, most frequently the required safety regulations, leaving them wide open to a variety of problems, including law suits.

Although it could be an honest mistake, if someone accidentally injures themselves while renting your property, you could be liable for the damages. Worse yet, if you’re not properly insured, the consequences could be life altering. Most families have liability insurance protecting them while they go about their daily activities, but a family is required to have commercial insurance if they plan to offer their home to a traveler. Most personal liability policies will protect you and short-term guests, such as family coming to town for the holidays, but they will not cover you if you are using your home as a commercial, money-making asset.

Commercial insurance

The problem with needing liability insurance for your commercial property is just the beginning. Because renting your home out for travel purposes is a fairly new concept, many insurance companies don’t even offer policies to cover such situations as of yet. Uber is currently facing similar problems. There are insurance companies that specialize in commercial liability insurance, but they are still few and far between because it can be a risky business.

Even if you aren’t able to find commercial insurance for your property, at least be sure to contact your existing insurance company to explain to them your new arrangement for your home and check with the company you are offering your home through. Many companies, such as Airbnb, offer third party insurance before listing your property.

Protecting your guests

There are several protective measures you can take to help your guests feel at home and decrease the likelihood of injury while they are staying at your house. Do a walk-through of your home and identify things like loose hand rails on the stairway, raised places in concrete that create a tripping hazard, slippery floors, or places that suddenly change the ground elevation. Fix those places that can be repaired and if they can’t be repaired, mark them so they are noticeable to those staying in your home.

Plan to keep the property well maintained. Keep the walkways clear of debris, ice, and snow. Make sure your property is well lit and take plenty of photographs for proof that you take care of your property.

Very few vacation rentals result in an insurance claim, but a few preventative measures can go a long way to protecting you in your new business venture. If you are one of the unfortunate few where a stay in your home results in an injury, being sure that you are insured and your actions have not voided your policy can be a huge step in the right direction.

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