Staying at an Airbnb is an increasingly popular choice instead of a hotel for people traveling in Norfolk and throughout Virginia. This option can be cheaper and offer guests more conveniences, like the use of a house, kitchen, and private pool. However, liability can be more complicated if you suffer injuries than if the slip and fall or other premises liability accident occurred at a hotel.
Airbnb’s Insurance Coverage for a Premises Liability Accident
Airbnb is an online broker company that provides a way for people to lease out their homes, condominiums, apartments, and cottages to others for a short-term stay. They do not check the condition of the properties they list. Unfortunately, guests can be injured in a slip and fall or other type of accident while renting a property through Airbnb.
Airbnb has a host protection program that provides for up to $1 million in liability insurance coverage if a third party suffers a personal injury related to a stay at an Airbnb property. The insurance would cover these types of accidents:
- A slip and fall accident due to uneven flooring
- An accident caused by the lack of proper signs warning of dangers at a swimming pool
- Injuries caused by defective equipment in a home gym
However, Airbnb’s insurance would not cover injuries caused by the following:
- Intentional violent acts, such as assault and battery and sexual assault
- Car accidents
- Product liability
- Issues at the property, such as pollution, asbestos, mold, lead, bed bugs, or bacteria
Property Owner Liability in an Airbnb Accident
A property owner could face liability if he lied to Airbnb when signing up to use the service or breached his duties to guests. In Virginia, property owners renting their properties on a short-term basis will have a greater duty if they are found to be an innkeeper and not a landlord.
A landlord in Virginia only has a duty to not engage in fraud or to conceal a defect. An innkeeper is required to take reasonable steps to keep the property in a safe condition and to protect his guests. Whether a person is considered a landlord or innkeeper will depend on the following:
- Whether the property is available and open to the public
- Whether the property owner was present at the property during the guest’s stay
- Whether the property owner exercised control over the property while the guest was staying there
A homeowner may be considered an innkeeper if he rents out a room but remains on the property, provides food or cleaning services to the guest, or visits the property regularly to check on it. Even if a property owner’s breach of his duties as a landlord or innkeeper caused a guest’s injuries, obtaining compensation can be difficult. Many homeowner insurance policies have a clause that excludes liability for a short-term rental as a business activity.
Did you or a family member suffer injuries while staying at an Airbnb property? Let our experienced premises liability lawyers determine which parties are responsible for compensating you and negotiate your settlements so you receive all that you deserve. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule a free case evaluation today.