As a vacation rental owner, one of your most valuable assets is your furniture! It’s where guests eat, rest, sleep, and more. You’ve probably put a lot of thought into the items furnishing your space, and you should put just as much thought into protecting and preserving your investment.
Here are my steps to protecting your Airbnb or vacation rental from furniture damage:
- Choose durable furniture
- Have clear house rules
- Collect a security deposit
- Choose the right insurance
Not sure where to turn when looking for vacation rental insurance? Proper Insurance has you covered! Get a quick quote HERE!
Choosing Durable Furniture
The first step in protecting your furniture is setting yourself up for success before you even welcome guests into your home. Durable furniture that strikes a balance between comfort, style, and function is the way to go.
It’s up to you where you’d like to purchase your furniture from, but I don’t recommend spending an exorbitant amount of money on it unless your rental is marketed as a luxury experience. Plain old big box store furniture usually looks fine, is easy to assemble, and is somewhat durable.
Rental Recon Tip: Some wear and tear is to be expected in an Airbnb, so I would start with something like Ikea or Target furniture until you know what kind of mileage you’ll be getting out of it. Thrift stores are great places to check as well, especially for things like coffee and end tables, lamps, and smaller pieces.
For upholstered items, pick waterproof or water resistant fabric whenever possible! This goes double for chairs in dining rooms or couches where guests might eat or drink on them. You can also purchase spray-on coatings for these fabrics to make them repel water, but sometimes these have an unpleasant smell or texture, so you’ll want to test them out first.
Choose colors and textures that hide wear over time, and definitely don’t opt for that stunning white fluffy carpet that looks so great in the showroom. In fact, if you can get away with it, less fabric is always better from a durability standpoint. If you have wood or tile floors, choose easy-to-launder rugs in patterns that hide stains and hold up to washing.
In the bedroom, your biggest investment will be the mattress. Protect it with a nice mattress protector that keeps out bedbugs and repels spills. A fully waterproof one is likely to be annoying and uncomfortable to guests, so choose something with a tight enough weave (or a slightly protective coating) to keep most things off your mattress instead.
How to Make a Killer House Rule Manual
Protecting your furniture doesn’t end at buying durable items and walking away! Make sure guests know your expectations and treat your Airbnb or vacation rental with respect. A very common rule is making sure it’s a “shoes off” premises. Not only will this protect your rugs and couches, it will save you from vacuuming up tons and tons of dirt!
Another great rule to put in place is asking guests to notify you in case of a spill or other possible damage. This might not always be possible, especially if it happens late at night or if you’re not in town, but sometimes it can allow you to get there quickly and offer replacement linens or help clean up the mess your way.
How to Implement a Security Deposit on Airbnb
It’s super easy (not to mention an excellent idea) to put a security deposit in place for your Airbnb. You just select the listing in question and click on Pricing. Then click the Edit button next to Extra Charges and enter your amount. It can range anywhere from $100 to $5000, but I wouldn’t go quite that high unless you have a lot of valuables. Just click Save and you’re done!
Which vacation rental insurance is right for you?
Selecting vacation rental insurance is no easy task, but thankfully I’ve done my research and have some great recommendations for you! My top pick is Proper Insurance, and I love how dedicated they are to making the sign-up process as simple as possible.
I love Proper because they’re a homeowners insurance policy and a vacation rental policy rolled into one. If you don’t need both (say, if you don’t live at the property you rent), you can also just opt for the commercial side of the policy and leave off the personal liability. They cover all sorts of things from damage to injury to bedbugs, and you can choose your coverage amount to keep things affordable.
Can Airbnb hosts charge guests for extra damages?
Yes, Airbnb can charge guests for damage, even damage that exceeds the security deposit. You can read more on this process below, but it’s never guaranteed that you’ll get your payment since there is a long mediation process. This is why you need additional insurance for your Airbnb!
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What To Do When a Guest Damages your Property
If you come in after a booking has finished and find that something isn’t right, your first step should be to take pictures immediately! Treat it almost like a crime scene, because you’ll need lots of evidence to prove wrongdoing. Of course, ideally the guest would have contacted you first, but we can’t always count on that, unfortunately.
After you’ve gathered your “evidence”, reach out to the guest and ask them is they know how the item was damaged. Hopefully they’ll confess, but if they don’t, be prepared to send over your proof. Tell them that you’ll be making a claim on their security deposit (if you had one), or that you’ll be requesting X amount of dollars to repair or replace the damage.
If you’re renting using Airbnb, they have a Request Money feature in their messaging platform. Use this to complete the transaction if the guest is willing to pay. If not, you’ll need to contact Airbnb (or the website that you rent on) and get their support team involved.
If you are using Airbnb, they’ll ask you for pictures or video as proof of damage. They’ll probably also want to see how much it will cost you to remedy the damage. Some sort of proof of a comparable item you could purchase to replace the broken one or an estimate from a company to fix the damage is good to have as well.
Airbnb will then request the funds from the guest, who can still refuse to pay at this point. You’ll need to escalate the case in the Resolution Center, which may involve providing more documentation. If Airbnb decides you should be compensated, they’ll send you the money (which is usually collected from the guest via their on-file payment method).
Last but not least, you should contact your short term rental insurance provider. Even if Airbnb or another third party is helping you, it’s never a guaranteed outcome. Most insurances do provide payouts for guest-caused damage to your property, so it doesn’t hurt to make a claim with them as well. You can always cancel if it’s unneeded.
Want to hear more about rental insurance providers? See how Proper stacks up against Slice, an on-demand short term rental insurance company!