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Protecting Rentals From “pop-up” Party Damage As An Airbnb Property Manager
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The Airbnb rental market is becoming increasingly lucrative—some studies show that over 10 percent of visitors to Melbourne use the service—and opportunities abound for Airbnb property managers looking for clients. But the risk of vandalism from huge parties has some owners concerned. Some shires are developing strict laws governing the use of Airbnb rentals for parties, but still many in the suburbs are worried about their properties or neighbourhoods being damaged.
Other owners and Airbnb property managers suggest that these situations are largely avoidable, if you take the right steps to protect yourself. One such step is selecting the right booking site. By positioning your property on a single site that caters to the demographic that you are looking to host, you lessen your chance of getting an unruly renter.
Requiring your short-term renters to pay a bond is another good idea. Damage deposits—especially large ones—mean there are consequences for your renters if they end up trashing your property. Knowing this, they will be far less likely to throw a party that could mean losing a lot of money. This is similar to long-term rentals, where a damage deposit equal to one month’s rent often serves as a deterrent for intentional or negligent damage on the part of the renter. In general, people tend to take a lot better care of their own things than they do with things that belong to others, and this is particularly true with rental assets. But when their own money is on the line, renters are incentivised to care for your property as if it were their own.
Another good strategy is to only accept multi-night bookings, particularly if you have a large house that partiers would find attractive. Usually people looking to throw a big one-night party won’t want to spend the money on a multiple-night booking, so be wary of people looking to acquire your property for only one night. This is typically less of a worry for apartments, which are less popular with party hosters (as apartments are usually pretty small, and it is therefore difficult to host large, destructive parties in them). But that being said, always be careful take a closer look at anyone requesting a one-night rental, regardless of the size of the property that is being rented.
It is also worth taking a closer look at anyone booking rentals during school holidays. Obviously these can be quite lucrative times for owners, as many people
are traveling during the holidays. But these are also prime party times, as university students are out of school and looking to get loose. When fielding inquiries from prospective renters who are looking to use your property during holidays, take extra care to review their personal information and previous rental history.
Having a clear set of house rules also goes a long way toward keeping people from getting too crazy. Make sure that renters (and prospective renters) know what your rules are, and what the consequences are for breaking the rules. This may deter would-be partiers from renting your property in the first place. You will want to have these rules posted on the property in easy-to-find locations, and also post them on your online listing so renters know what is expected of them before they even consider booking.
Finally, always check the profiles and feedback of prospective renters. One of the greatest strengths of Airbnb rentals and online short-term rentals in general is that there is a digital record of every transaction every renter has ever had with the site. If someone has a number of bad referrals from other Airbnb property owners—or if they don’t have any history at all—that may be an indication that you want to steer clear of them. In general, the best clients will have numerous successful rentals on their histories, with positive reviews from owners.
When vetting potential renters, keep this checklist of best practices handy:
• Require a damage bond.
• Present renters and prospective renters with a clear set of rules and consequences.
• Avoid one-night rentals, and ideally accept rentals that are a minimum of three nights.
• Be extra wary of rentals scheduled during school holidays.
• Take a good look at renters’ profiles and histories before accepting them. This is your
property you are sharing with them, so don’t be afraid to vet and then vet again.
• Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your property if you happen to be out of town
during the term of the rental.
While vandalism and costly damage from partiers is certainly a risk to be aware of as an Airbnb property owner, there is no reason why you can’t safely supplement your income through short-term rentals of your home—or run a successful Airbnb property management company and help other homeowners rent their properties. To keep yourself safe and your rental property damage free, follow the guidelines in this article to make sure you get the renters you are looking for, not the ones who are looking for a party pad.
Matt Rott is a freelance journalist focused on a variety of topics, including architecture, real estate, SEO, travel, and action sports. When not tapping away at his laptop, he travels the world full time seeking out adventures and interesting cultures.
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