Airbnb

Airbnb is an accommodation site where people list, find, and rent lodging.

Founded in 2008, the company has listings in 190 countries and has advertised everything from a swanky two-bedroom apartment to a 360-degree underwater bedroom in the middle of a shark tank in France.

There are really are no limitations where accommodation is concerned, but as renting out spare rooms gains popularity, consumer journalist Teena Lyons takes a look at Airbnb and the service it offers.

Question: I’m considering letting out my spare room on Airbnb. What are the costs involved, and can I get insurance in case something goes wrong?

Answer: Airbnb is an online marketplace that connects people who have rooms to share with people who need a place to stay. It was initially for thrifty tourists, but has also become popular among business travellers and professionals. In terms of the costs you could incur as a host, this will charge you a three per cent host service fee every time a booking is completed and this will be deducted from the reservation subtotal. For guests, costs on top of the nightly charge include any fee required for extra guests and a service charge of between 6-12 per cent. VAT will be included over and above the service fee for both hosts and guests at the rate chargeable in each home country. There are a range of safe payment options, including bank transfer, PayPal and Western Union.

Obviously the biggest concern for most hosts is that their property will get damaged and this has happened on a few occasions when visitors have held parties. To help avoid this, check out the reviews to see how other hosts found your potential guests.

Hosts are also required to take a security deposit from guests to cover minor accidental damage and Airbnb’s Host Guarantee programme provides ‘protection for up to $1,000,000 in damages to covered property in the rare event of guest damage’. The terms and conditions itemise what isn’t covered – this includes cash, rare artwork, jewellery and pets, and the website sets out clearly how to make a claim.

It’s also a good idea to check if your home insurance policy covers you for paying guests, and whether you’re obliged to inform your provider. Some specialist insurers such as Towergate Insurance and Home Protect cover  hosting.

From: House Beautiful magazine

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