VRBO and Airbnb vs. Hotels Safety Concerns
The VRBO and Airbnb v. Hotels safety concerns debate is not much of a debate at all. The sharing economy has revolutionized travel accommodations through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. However, safety is a glaring issue for concerned travelers who stop and think about the differences in the VRBO and Airbnb v. Hotels safety debate.
Short-term guests who stay at VRBO and Airbnb properties should be aware that these properties are often unregulated, much less safe than hotels, and may conceal hidden dangers and hazards that would not be present in a hotel.
Whitney, LLP represents guests in Maryland VRBO and Airbnb safety, injury, privacy and other claims.
To read about types of Airbnb claims that Whitney, LLP can provide representation in, click here.
If you stayed at a rental in Maryland and were injured or have a claim, call Whitney, LLP for a Free Case Evaluation.
Table of Contents
VRBO and Airbnb vs. Hotels Safety Concerns
Although Airbnb and VRBO win on convenience and variety, hotels are far ahead in terms of safety offered to guests. The gap will only widen as more Airbnb and VRBO listings are provided by absentee hosts whose only concern is to make a profit and turn over their rooms quickly.
With no front desk lobby, shared keys, private residences and lax or no oversight involving permits, fire and electrical safety, VRBO and Airbnbs can be far more dangerous than hotels.
Legal Requirements for Property Owners and Managers
Whether a guest stays at a VRBO, Airbnb or hotel, the property owner and manager must meet legal standards in the duty of care provided to their guests. Guests must be provided a safe environment free of known harms, and must be warned of known dangers and hazards.
Each state, city and county sets its own standards for, if any, for short term rentals.
Whitney, LLP has experience analyzing and applying Maryland law to help our clients when representing guests in Maryland short-term rentals claims.
Comprehensive Security Measures in Hotels
Hotels invest heavily in state-of-the-art surveillance systems, monitoring public spaces to ensure the safety and security of their guests. These systems serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals and provide evidence in case of any incidents.
Professional Security Staff
Hotels employ trained security personnel to maintain a secure environment. These professionals patrol the premises, respond to emergencies, and collaborate with local law enforcement when necessary.
Key Card Access
Key card access to guest rooms and restricted areas bolsters hotel security, allowing only authorized individuals to enter designated spaces. This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorized entry and theft.
VRBO and Airbnb vs. Hotels Safety – Host Standards
Varying Security Measures
VRBO and Airbnb hosts have no standardized security requirements, leading to disparities in safety features between listings. While some hosts may have surveillance cameras and secure door locks, others may lack basic security features.
Hotels typically perform background checks on their employees, ensuring a certain level of trustworthiness. Airbnb and VRBO, on the other hand, provide limited background checks for hosts, and have no way of knowing who else the host may employee to manage the rental or interact with their guests.
Hotels are required to follow strict emergency protocols, including fire safety regulations and evacuation procedures. VRBO and Airbnb properties, however, are not all subject to the same stringent guidelines, which could jeopardize guest safety in the event of an emergency.
Anonymity and Privacy Concerns
VRBO and Airbnb Secret Cameras
Secret cameras are a growing concern for guests of short term rentals. Cameras are tiny and can be concealed anywhere. Due to the high turn over of guests and informality of the rental and management process, secret cameras seem to be much more prevalent in VRBO and Airbnb rentals.
Whitney, LLP has experience representing clients in Airbnb secret camera cases. We have received far more calls from potential clients regarding secret cameras discovered in short-term rentals than in hotels.
Sharing Personal Spaces
In many Airbnb listings, guests share living spaces with hosts or other travelers. This increases the risk of privacy invasion, as personal belongings and sensitive information may be more accessible to others.
Lack of Oversight
While hotels have strict policies to protect guest privacy, Airbnb does not offer the same level of oversight. Hosts might have access to guests’ personal information, increasing the risk of identity theft or other privacy breaches.
Legal Implications and Insurance Coverage
Many cities and countries have specific regulations for short-term rentals, which some Airbnb hosts may not adhere to. Staying in an illegal rental could result in fines or eviction, leaving travelers stranded.
Worse, local permit requirements for fire, safety, electrical and occupancy may not have been obtained, leaving guests placed in dangerous and un-permitted living and sleeping areas.
Hotels are required to carry liability insurance, offering guests financial protection in case of accidents or injuries. VRBO and Airbnb hosts, however, may not have sufficient coverage, potentially leaving guests unable to obtain compensation for injury or damages suffered.
Weighing the Risks and Benefits
While VRBO and Airbnb offer a wide variety, unique accommodations and affordable pricing, the potential safety concerns cannot be overlooked. Travelers must weigh the risks and benefits when choosing between Airbnb and traditional hotels, taking into account the security measures, host standards, privacy concerns, and legal implications of their decision.
Whitney, LLP Represents VRBO and Airbnb Guests
Whitney, LLP represents guests in VRBO and Airbnb safety, injury, privacy and other claims.
If you stayed at a rental in Maryland and want to discuss a claim, call Whitney, LLP for a Free Case Evaluation.