Airbnb rentals in New Jersey earned a combined $50.7 million and hosted more than 152,000 guests during the five biggest arrival weekends in 2019, including Labor Day Weekend and several peak summer travel dates, according to an annual report released by the company. While the Airbnb model might seem an ideal way to vacation, there are some significant downsides — particularly if you are injured. Since recovering damages if you are hurt while at a vacation rental such as Airbnb can be complex, an experienced slip and fall injury attorney can help you understand your options.
Airbnb Business in New Jersey
Airbnb has benefits for guests as well as residents or owners. Guests can search Airbnb rentals available in particular locations, which often can be less expensive than a hotel room and provide more space or amenities than a typical hotel room. Conversely, other users can create an Airbnb account and then list all or part of their home for rent.
Like Uber or Lyft, Airbnb functions like an intermediary between people with spaces to rent and users who want to rent a place to stay. By building up a large network of hosts with lodging to offer, Airbnb is able to attract customers looking to travel near and far. In 2019 in New Jersey, Airbnb revenues totaled more than $100 million dollars in Hudson and Cape May counties alone.
The Airbnb Business Model
However, unlike hotels, there is no guarantee that you’ll be getting what you see upon arrival at your Airbnb. Attractive listings rely on pictures and others’ reviews of the rental. There is no real way of knowing if a vacation rental that looks great on the website is as good as it seems. For example, a rustic cabin on a rural lake may seem idyllic — but the railings on the deck may be unstable and the steps themselves might be uneven.
When you stay at a hotel, liability is clear when you get hurt. If you fall at a hotel, a New Jersey slip and fall accident attorney can help you recover directly from the hotel itself. However, if you are injured at an Airbnb property, liability might be a bit more complex.It may not be clear to whom you should make a claim against--Airbnb, the homeowner, or potentially even the landlord who rented the property to the Airbnb host.
Who Is Liable If You Are Injured in an Airbnb Accident?
If you are injured at a vacation rental home, you do have some protection. First, Airbnb provides host protection insurance of up to $1,000,000 for all of its hosts. This insurance applies first, so if you are hurt while staying at an Airbnb rental and cannot come to a resolution with your Airbnb host, the host protection insurance will likely cover your Airbnb injuries and other damages.
However, this Airbnb insurance policy may not be sufficient to cover your losses — or your specific claim may be excluded from coverage. If you have significant damages, such as from a traumatic brain injury or any accident that results in hospitalization or surgery, a $1 million limit could be quickly exhausted. In this case, determining who is responsible may be a bit more challenging.
While most people carry homeowners’ insurance on their property that will provide coverage for injuries, many policies specifically state that they will not cover homeowners if they are using their home commercially, such as by renting it out. If a homeowner has not informed his or her insurance company that they are renting out their home on Airbnb, it could present significant problems when it comes to recovering damages.
Another complication may arise if the host does not actually own the home — an increasingly common practice as more people are attempting to earn money from Airbnb. In these cases, renters’ insurance will not likely cover the liability from an accident to a third party who was renting it. Similarly, unless the tenant informed the landlord that he or she was going to rent out the home to guests, other property insurance may not cover the loss.
Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, Accident and Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured at an Airbnb, contact us to discuss your options. One of our trusted team members will listen to your story, learn about your case, and can advise you next steps. Many of our clients feel a sense of relief once they make that first phone call. Contact us today.