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Understanding Airbnb Premises Liability

Posted on 10/03/22 by admin in Premises Liability

Many business people believe no one truly knows what they want until someone else gives it to them. Take the success of Airbnb as a for-instance. For the uninitiated; Airbnb serves as a platform for property owners to list their properties for short term vacation rentals. People didn’t realize they wanted an alternative to hotels until they had it. Since the company’s founding in 2008, Airbnb has found a ready and enthusiastic clientele. Homeowners were looking to skip the headaches associated with traditional vacation rentals. Travelers were seeking something different than the traditional hotel experience. Both have come to rely on Airbnb. But just because you’ve ventured out in search of a good time, that doesn’t mean you’ll find one. In the unfamiliar surroundings of an Airbnb, you may suffer an injury. Which raises the question of liability. Today we’ll be examining Airbnb premises liability cases and their complications.

Premises Liability Basics

So what exactly is premises liability?

In essence, premises liability is the idea that property owners can be held accountable for injuries suffered on their property. Though this does not apply to all injuries. It’s important to understand that premises liability only comes into play when the property owner can be found negligent in some way which directly caused the injury. The injured party must prove that the landowner or occupier was negligent in order to recover damages.

There are three different types of common premises liability cases:

  • Slip and fall – involve injuries that occur when an individual slips, generally on a wet or slippery floor.
  • Trip and fall – involve injuries that occur when an individual trips over an object on the property. This may be something like a loose or irregular step in a staircase or walkway. Perhaps an improperly secured rug or carpet.
  • Dangerous conditions – involve injuries that occur as a result of a dangerous condition on the property. This may include iced over or flooded ground.

In each of these cases; the landowner or occupier can be held liable if:

  1. They knew or should have known about the hazard.
  2. They failed to take steps to remedy the situation or inform visitors of the hazard.

Airbnb Hosts and The Duty of Care

Airbnb owners have a responsibility as hosts to ensure a clean and safe location for their guests, not just from the company but also the law. However, given Airbnb’s status as a middleman for rentals rather than a property owner themselves, it’s entirely possible that an Airbnb may fall into disrepair to the point of being an active safety hazard. This may unfortunately lead to injury and necessitate an Airbnb premises liability lawsuit so the injured guest may recoup damages.

Filing A Airbnb Premises Liability Suit

But who exactly can be sued? That can be a complicated question. The most straightforward resolution to an Airbnb premises liability case can generally be found by filing suit against the property owner. But even this may come with complications. Homeowner’s insurance policies often have “limited use” clauses that would protect the insurance company from paying out a settlement for any injuries suffered while the property was used as an Airbnb rental. Airbnb does offer liability insurance up to a million dollars to hosts facing lawsuits of this nature but generally require that the homeowner’s insurance policy be paid out first. Renters should exercise due diligence by asking their host whether they have the necessary tenant’s insurance or a homeowner’s policy which makes exceptions for Airbnb.

Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that any injured person at an Airbnb will be able to hold the company itself liable for their injury. Keep in mind that Airbnb is not a property owner, they are mostly a middleman for rentals. Their business model is dependent on hosts acting responsibly. Airbnb’s policies and user agreements generally protect it from liability in the event that they fail to do so. It’s a similar legal situation to what can be seen when dealing with the legal fallout from an Uber or Lyft accident.

How Malloy Law Can Help

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you may be wondering if you need a personal injury attorney to represent you in your premises liability case. The answer is yes – having an experienced lawyer on your side can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

Malloy Law Offices has experience handling all types of premises liability cases, and we can help you recover the compensation you’re entitled to for your injuries. We’ll handle all the paperwork and dealing with the insurance companies, so you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation.