Should You Book an Airbnb That Requires a Security Deposit?

airbnb security deposit

Frequent users of the Airbnb portal may be aware that in some instances a security deposit is required for bookings. A newbie traveler, however, may find an Airbnb that is a top choice for vacation accommodation, however, the security deposit attached may be cause for concern. In such instances, it is important that guests have knowledge of the purpose of the security deposit to determine whether they should proceed with their booking. This article will focus on Airbnb’s Security Deposit policy, important damage protection coverage and will provide a recommendation on whether guests should book an Airbnb that requires a security deposit.

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What Is an Airbnb Security Deposit?

An Airbnb Security Deposit is a reimbursable monetary amount that is sometimes charged when an Airbnb is booked. This amount seeks to cover the cost for damages that may occur during the stay of a guest. If no damages have been claimed by the host at the end of an Airbnb stay, the Airbnb Security Deposit is reimbursed. In the cases of claims of damage by a host, Airbnb adjudicates over the case presented and determines the validity of the claim to award monetary compensation (Airbnb Security Deposit) to the host to cover damages. An Airbnb Security Deposit can be a requirement of Airbnb or the Host.

Lori Lewis, The Travel Virgin

Above is a simple definition of the Airbnb Security Deposit. Airbnb’s Security Deposit covers repairs or replacement for minor damages by guests e.g breaking a vase. As highlighted above, Airbnb or the Host can make the Security Deposit a requirement for booking.

Security Deposit Charged by Airbnb or the Host

Below Is an Excerpt From Airbnb in Relation to How Security Deposits Are Treated and How Charges Can Be by Either the Host or Airbnb.

Airbnb Security Deposit

Above are the details on how Airbnb Security Deposit works and how it is charged by the host or Airbnb. In light of this, many travelers may ask about the general Airbnb insurance provision that they have heard about, that cover damages. This is actually the Host Guarantee or Host Protection Insurance Policy that is being mentioned. Both will be discussed before the title question is addressed.

Host Guarantee Versus Airbnb Security Deposit Versus Host Protection Insurance

Host Guarantee is like insurance coverage. Airbnb Host Guarantee provides coverage up to the sum of $1 Million USD to reimburse hosts, in the event of damages to their Airbnb or belongings. The difference is that the Host Guarantee is for rare occurrences and does not cover general wear and tear. So in simple terms, the Airbnb Security deposits cover some basic damages e.g breaking a glass whilst the Host Guarantee covers some other occurrences of damages to the premises and belongings of the host. Airbnb will determine the case category based on their own adjudication process of a claim for damages.

Excerpt from Airbnb on the Coverage of Host Guarantee

what is airbnb security deposit

Host Protection Insurance is wider coverage and is actual insurance for rare occurrences of events that require legal responsibility. This insurance coverage is up to $1 Million. Please see the details below.

Excerpt from Airbnb on Host Insurance Coverage

Should You Book an Airbnb That Requires a Security Deposit?

Given that there is a comprehensive understanding of the various terms discussed above, the most important question can now be answered. In any business, there has to be standards or policies implemented for protection. The biggest fear of an Airbnb guest is a dispute with a host over damages. The occurrences of such are well documented in many horror stories on Reddit. With this in mind, The Travel Virgin recommends that an Airbnb should be booked even if it has a security deposit, as long as certain conditions are met. A host having a security deposit does not mean they are problematic and are looking for any signs to claim for damages. With this in mind, here are our recommended conditions for booking.

Guests should ensure that the following conditions are met before booking an Airbnb with a security deposit.

  • The host should have over 20 bookings or be a Superhost.
  • There should be no more than one bad review in relation to disputes of damages.

The Host Should Have Over 20 Bookings or Be a Superhost

It is very important that guests book an Airbnb with an experienced host if a security deposit is required. Inexperienced hosts are often not accustomed to the general wear and tear of an Airbnb. As such, this experience may lead to disputes with a guest over damages that the guest may consider general wear and tear. E.g a new host may just have finished a refurbishing job, after the guest leaves, the guest may report that 2 handles in the kitchen fell off and that a handle in the bathroom also fell off. The new host may see this as a destructive guest, not knowing that the job was not done properly. This can cause quite a back and forth on damages.

The Host Should Have No Bad Reviews in Relation to Disputes of Damages

If in examining a host’s reviews, there is more than one comment about guest damages, maybe one should reconsider whether this is the best Airbnb to book. If the response by the host seems reasonable, then a chance can be taken for booking. It is really up to the guest to determine if the dispute over damages seems warranted or petty.

How to Prevent Wrong Claims By Hosts For Damages

Let us start off with an example of how simple it is for a wrong claim for damages to occur.

Example of a Wrong Claim for Damages

An Airbnb has a check-in and check-out on the same day. The departing guest has some inconvenience that results in the housekeeper arriving whilst they pack up their belongings. The guest leaves and the housekeeper is in a rush to tidy the Airbnb. The housekeeper in haste tries to give the apartment a proper cleaning by wiping under the bed thoroughly with disinfecting soap and water. The housekeeper sees that the bed has been adjusted, but does not pay much attention to it. She wipes the floor, then looks under the bed. Under the bed appears clean, although the dark shadow limits her ability to see the floor clearly. The bed feet have scratch pads to prevent damage to the floor upon movement. The housekeeper upon departing pushes the bed to its usual position.

The new guest arrives and enjoys their stay. When the new guest leaves, however, the housekeeper reports that there were huge scratch marks beside the bed, that appears to be like dog paws scratched into the wooden floor. The housekeeper then takes a pic of the scratched floor and sends it to the owner for claims of damages to be sent to Airbnb. The dilemma is that the housekeeper failed to remember that in the rush to clean before the present guest had arrived, she did not examine the floor properly. The housekeeper did not see the damage by the previous guest and is now blaming the present departing guest.

Prevention Tips

This is such a simple story of a wrong claim for damage. In reality, there are many disputes where guests vehemently state that damages exited before arrival. In light of this, we have identified 2 simple ways to protect against false claims of damages.

  1. When a guest checks into an Airbnb they should do a thorough video from room to room, videoing inside cupboards, floors, under the bed, shower area, entrance, etc. This video should be posted as private on Facebook or some other similar portal. In the event that there is a dispute with Airbnb, then the guest can post the video as public. This evidence video will show the timestamp of when the video inspection was done on arrival. A link to the public video should be sent to Airbnb.
  2. The guest should examine Airbnb against the host’s pictures. If something is out of place or missing compared to the pictures posted, the guest should immediately ask the host in writing if he or she is aware of the condition or missing item whilst providing pictures.

Conclusion

The decision to book an Airbnb is the sole responsibility of prospective guests. We can only provide recommendations based on our knowledge of matters that have arisen.

<strong>Lori Lewis, The Travel <span class="has-inline-color has-pale-pink-color">Virgin</span></strong>
Lori Lewis, The Travel Virgin

Airbnb Guest, Superhost, and Protocol Specialist

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