Airbnb as an alternative to hotels is becoming more and more popular every day. People seem to love the idea of renting out your own home while you are enjoying your own vacation. However, as with hotels, there will be occasions when people are injured at these Airbnb locations. In those instances, is there a chance to litigate?
Hotels and other facilities operate under the theory of premises liability. In other words, as property owners, they are responsible for ensuring that you, as a guest or visitor, are in a safe environment. If you slip and fall, for example, the hotel may be held liable if it is their fault – if the floor was wet for an extended period of time after something spilled and no one bothered to clean it up or place guests on warning that the floor could be slippery.
Airbnb is a Unique Entity
How does premises liability apply to Airbnb? Similar to Uber drivers, those offering their properties for rent are more like independent contractors with no overarching company responsible for liability. However, this does not mean that Airbnb property owners can get away with hazardous conditions that end up injuring you; it simply means that you may be holding more than one party accountable if you are injured. In some instances, homeowner’s insurance will cover injuries that you may experience as a renter; that is, unless their insurance policy has a provision exempting any injuries that occur in the home when it is being used to make a profit. It is important that Airbnb property owners inform their homeowner’s insurance company that they are, in fact, renting out their property to people to avoid this.
In 2013, a case against Airbnb received some notoriety because a New York judge fined the company $2,400 for operating as an “illegal hotel.” That being said, Philadelphia (unlike New York) does not have an “illegal hotel act,” making a similar case difficult.
In its terms of service Airbnb states that the company is not liable, but this should not automatically exempt the company from being held accountable for any serious injuries you experience. They simply put it into the “contract” that you sign onto when you use their service in an effort to protect themselves.
Solnick & Associates
The premises liability attorneys at Solnick & Associates LLC represent victims of injury in all circumstances—including any hazards associated with rental properties or hotels. Contact us today for a free consultation. We serve clients in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, including Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware counties, as well as New Jersey.