Learn About Your Rights if Hurt at a House Renting Service Property.
I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a listener who said “we are thinking of renting a house through one of those B N B services, and we are wondering what legal standards apply if someone gets hurt on the property?”
When you stay overnight at a hotel you might be exposed to unsafe parking lots, unmarked curbs, potholes and even poorly lit hallways inside the buildings.
People even are at risk for getting bitten by bedbugs or injured by exercise equipment or come down with an illness caused by swimming in non-chlorinated pool water. And although that all sounds bad and you ought to be careful when you book a room at a hotel or motel what are the risks if you decide to stay with a house rental service like Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), FlipKey or many of the others advertised on the internet.
Well, they may seem like it. You have the comforts of a home setting without the negative aspects of staying at a hotel.
However, keep in mind that staying at a house rental service you are trading security for comfort and that may come at a price.
You see, the host of the house rental typically doesn’t have a full time or even a part time maintenance person to go around fixing things. Or a housekeeping staff to make sure your bed is made and bathrooms are clean while on your stay.
Nor do these house sharing services offer lifeguards for their pools, night security staff to keep you safe and they might not have to undergo regular electrical and fire safety inspections.
And unlike a hotel or motel, when using these house sharing services in most cases in their “Terms of Service” that you agree to when using their website … you give up your right to sue if injured.
So, if you’re a guest staying at a house sharing service and you are injured, could you be estopped from suing those companies for your injuries? If your plan is to turn to the host, the owner of the house you are renting, and initiate a claim what if that may not work?
You might assume that the owner of the house is covered by their homeowner’s insurance and that any injury that occurs on the property would be taken care of … “it ain’t necessarily so”.
Did you know that most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude coverage for “business activities” operated out of a home? And, renting your home for a profit is considered a business activity. Yes, insurance companies have a right to know when insuring a property whether you are bringing people (maybe a lot of people) onto the property to make money. It can impact premium rates. It can impact coverage.
That said Airbnb announced recently that as part of using their service they would provide hosts with up to $1 million in liability protection if they get sued by a guest. But is $1 million enough? And what about the other services?
Airbnb seems to be the only service offering such coverage. But regardless what service you use, it’s always a good idea to confirm that they are covered by insurance.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.