How to Keep Your Rental Property Safe
Updated: Apr 12
As any South Florida business owner can attest, Spring Break and Summer season brings as many headaches as it does fun and profit. Drunk and disorderly college students are known for getting into trouble, and as a rental property owner, sometimes the consequences can fall on you. Here are six tips on how to keep your short-term rental property safe.
1. Pros and Cons of Hosting on Airbnb
We’ve already highlighted the primary reason most property owners choose to use Airbnb: it can be very lucrative, especially during high traffic periods like Spring Break. Airbnb hosts can easily make four times the profit versus conventional renting. Other benefits include:
Greater flexibility: some Airbnb hosts offer their own homes for use while they are away. Being able to both earn passive income while away from home can help fund everything from new business ventures to fun vacations of their own.
Lower out-of-pocket expenses: a profitable Airbnb property can essentially pay for itself. Income can be used to cover mortgage and property taxes as well as utility costs. Likewise, hosting an Airbnb comes with a slew of potential write-offs that can lower your yearly tax bill.
Diverse and interesting renters: Airbnb connects you with people from across the country and around the world you would never meet otherwise. They bring with them different perspectives and experiences that can help expand our own world views. The best part? Even if you don’t necessarily mesh well with your guest, they’re likely only here for a few days, then you never have to deal with them again.
That brings us to the not-so-great side of Airbnb hosting:
Potential security risks: while Airbnb does its best to vet its users and ensure safety for both parties, there’s always some security risk in listing your property on Airbnb. Traditional renting means you can run background checks and take other measures to protect your interest.
Maintenance: having multiple parties in and out of your property throughout the month means more time, money, and energy spent on keeping your property clean, sanitized and looking its best. Whether you choose to do this yourself or hire a service, the effort that goes into Airbnb hosting can be off-putting for some.
Fees and hosting costs: Airbnb makes money by taking a portion of each reservation made through their service. While this may be a negligible expense if you earn enough through the platform, it’s still worth considering. While owning any type of rental property comes with its fair share of expenses, the fees collected by Airbnb can add up.
2. Protecting Yourself and Your Property During Spring Break
If you’re already listed on Airbnb or planning to join the platform during the Spring Break season, preparing your property for the annual influx of tourists and travelers is a must. While we can hope your guests will be respectful of your property, here are a few measures you can take to protect your property.
3. Clear Guidelines, Rules, and Consequences:
Set clear expectations for your guests before they even check-in. Clearly defined rules and consequences for violations may help dissuade irresponsible renters. A few examples include:
Limiting the number of guests allowed on the property
No parties or gatherings
No animals or pets except registered service animals
No smoking on property
Outline the consequences of violating the property rules including additional fees or removal from property. If you do end up in a situation where you must enforce these rules, be sure to do so correctly and within your legal rights.
4. Double Check Safety Measures
Protecting your interests also includes ensuring your property is up to code and safe to occupy. Even if your guests are only under short-term contracts, you may still be held culpable if a preventable accident were to occur during their stay. Before you rent out your Miami Airbnb for Spring Break, make sure:
All external lighting is functional
Stair railings are secure and slip prevention measures are in place
All electrical sockets are property grounded and not broken
Gas lines and tanks are property maintained and leak-free
Pools and water features are properly fenced in and have appropriate signage
Smoke and CO² detectors are tested and functional
Any potential toxic chemicals are stored away from the reach of children
5. Securing Your Valuables
If you are listing your own home as a rental property on Airbnb, taking extra measures to secure your valuables and prevent theft is also important. Keep jewelry, portable devices, and other expensive belongings property secured and out of potential dangers of being stolen or broken. Be sure to do a thorough walkthrough before and after the rental period to ensure nothing is missing or damaged. You may also consider installing surveillance cameras for your own peace of mind, but be sure not to place them in any areas which may be in violation of local or federal law. This includes concealing cameras in bedrooms, bathrooms, or other private spaces.
6. Get Familiar with Airbnb Policies
While no one wants their Spring Break to lead to a court case, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to carefully review Airbnb’s policies on handling arbitration and other legal matters. Airbnb has certain policies in place, like AirCover, to help keep you and your property safe without needing to head to the courts. If you do have to pursue restitution by legal means, having an experienced legal firm at your side can help make sure things go as smoothly and quickly as possible.
The Onyx Group Legal is here to serve you. Our years of experience helping landlords recover what they’re due extends to Airbnb damages. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case and what your next steps should be.