When you become an Airbnb host, the potential for accidental damage to your property may keep you up at night. Entering this partnership with Airbnb means agreeing to provide a space for people under the terms and conditions Airbnb sets. While Airbnb offers support by securing guests and providing some protection against mishaps, the risk of accidental damage remains one of the inherent challenges in this business.
However, you can’t be naive. Airbnb operates for its own benefit. When something goes wrong during a guest’s stay, Airbnb may very well take the side of the guest over yours. While this may seem unfair, it is important to remember that Airbnb is a business. As such, it has to balance keeping its hosts on the platform and keeping its guests happy.
So you cannot expect Airbnb to be your advocate when things go south. As a host, therefore, you must be aware of this and take precautions to protect your property.
As a result, if something goes wrong during a guest’s stay, it is important that you know what to do. The Airbnb resolution center is usually your best bet for resolving any issues that may come up, but you have to be smart about how you go about doing it.
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Handling Accidental Damage: What To Do If Your Airbnb Guest Breaks Something
You will have guests who break things during their stay. While it’s almost always an accident, it can be extremely frustrating when it happens. So, what should you do?
First and foremost, remain calm and collected. Document everything you can: photos of the broken item, the room it was in, and any other evidence you might have. This information will help support your case.
Next, when facing accidental damage, reach out to Airbnb immediately. The company should work with you to assess the situation and take appropriate action. Airbnb wants to ensure that both the guest and the host have a positive experience, and they will do what they can to resolve the situation quickly.
Keep Airbnb’s conflicting goals in mind and try to be reasonable in your demands. It is important to remember that things happen, and accidents are inevitable.
In this situation, however, remember that Airbnb is not your friend. At best, the company will serve as a neutral arbiter between you and the guest. So, before filing a claim against a guest for accidental damage, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible. This will help ensure that your case is strong and that you are able to receive the compensation you deserve.
Remember, Airbnb will do what it can to keep its guests happy. So make sure your case is solid so that the company could not reasonably find against you.
Accidental Damage: The Resolution Center and Resolving Issues
So, what is the Airbnb resolution center, and how does it work?
When it’s time to involve Airbnb, the resolution center is the go-to for resolving any issues that may arise. If something goes wrong—whether it’s a broken item, a bad experience, or something else—the resolution center can help.
The Airbnb resolution supposedly consists of a team of experts who are dedicated to resolving any issue as quickly and smoothly as possible. They try to work with both hosts and guests to come to a resolution that satisfies everyone involved.
In reality, it doesn’t always work that way. Some of the people with whom you interact will seem unqualified or in over their heads. Nonetheless, even though I’ve had some frustrating experiences with the resolution center, I never felt like they weren’t trying. So, be patient and polite. It can go a long way.
Accidental Damage: How to Use the Resolution Center
The resolution center is not only for disputes. It’s a catch-all method for every refund or payment request. It’s a way to collect payment for items upon which you and the guest already agree. These can include payments for late checkouts, pet fees, mailing forgotten items, and a variety of other scenarios. It is, therefore, a multi-functional tool.
Often, however, the resolution center is the means by which hosts file claims against guests for damages or request reimbursement. The resolution center can be a great tool, but it is not foolproof.
When you file a claim, you are not enlisting Airbnb to fight for your cause. You are asking them to arbitrate a situation. In reality, however, you must essentially advocate for yourself against not only the troublesome guest but against Airbnb as well. Airbnb is a business and has its own best interests in mind.
Accidental Damage Stories: Be Cautious
Airbnb has been known to deny claims for damages, even in cases when the evidence seemed to be overwhelming. It’s not hard to find stories of instances where Airbnb has refused to compensate hosts for damages. (These stories are hard to verify, however, so take such internet anecdotes with a grain of salt.)
In one alleged case, for example, Airbnb denied a host’s claim for damages caused by a guest who urinated on the host’s bed. The urine soaked through the mattress and box spring, causing over $600 worth of damage. Airbnb refused to compensate the host, stating that it was an “act of nature.”
In another story, one host had a guest break a window in their home. Airbnb then denied his claim because there was no proof that the guest had caused the damage. Another host’s TV was stolen by a guest. There, Airbnb denied their claim because there was no evidence that the guest had taken the TV.
It’s hard to tell how much of this is fact and how much is fiction. Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that Airbnb is not always on the side of the hosts. In many cases, Airbnb will refuse to compensate hosts for damages caused by guests. This can be frustrating for hosts who have been wronged by guests and leaves them with few options for recourse.
Remeber, Airbnb will act in its own best interest. So, craft your claim accordingly.
The Airbnb Host Guarantee Against Accidental Damage
The Airbnb Host Guarantee is a program that protects hosts from any damages that may occur during a guest’s stay. If something goes wrong, the resolution center is available to help. And if Airbnb faults the guest, it will cover the cost of any damages.
In theory, this means that even if the guest refuses to pay for damages, the host will still be compensated. This makes the Host Guarantee a valuable resource for hosts who have been wronged by guests.
The Host Guarantee is meant to demonstrate that Airbnb is committed to providing a great experience for both hosts and guests. With this guarantee in place, hosts can relax and enjoy their guests’ stay without worrying about any potential damages.
As with most things, however, it’s not always that simple. And, to be fair to Airbnb, if they just approved every claim, the resolution center would be rife with fraud. Try to see things from Airbnb’s perspective, and you’ll have a much easier time.
So, don’t trust Airbnb to have your best interests in mind, but don’t be overly cynical, either. Reach out to Airbnb immediately if something goes wrong and start the process.
Reaching Out to the Resolution Center After Accidental Damage
If you need to contact Airbnb’s resolution center after a guest checks out, there are a few ways to do so. You can reach out by phone, email, or chat.
1. Phone: You can reach the resolution center by phone at 1-855-424-7262. This is a toll-free number that is available 24/7.
2. Email: If you would rather contact the resolution center by email, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Chat: You can also reach the resolution center by chat. To do so, simply click on the “Contact us” button on Airbnb’s website and select “Chat with us.”
Airbnb changges the way to contact the resolution center from time to time. However, you can find what you need just by going to https://www.airbnb.com/resolutions.
Accidental Damage: What To Expect Once You’ve Contacted Them
The resolution center is available 24/7 and can be reached by phone, email, or chat. If you need to contact them, here’s what you should expect:
1. You’ll be connected with a resolution specialist who will help you resolve your issue.
2. They will listen to your story and gather all the relevant information.
3. They will work with both you and Airbnb to try to reach a resolution that satisfies everyone involved—though this is sometimes impossible.
4. The resolution specialist will keep you updated on the progress of your case.
5. They will resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Usually, your request for reimbursement will go to the guest first, who will have three days either to pay the amount or dispute the charge. (If they don’t act, they’re treated as if they disputed the charge.) If they agree to pay, then that’s the end of it.
However, if the guests refuse to pay—or they don’t respond—at that point, you can escalate it to Airbnb. Airbnb will then run its own investigation and decide whether you should be compensated for the loss.
While you can contact the resolution center using the information above, you can also do the same thing using only the website. Sometimes Airbnb will call you directly for more information, but sometimes you can do everything via online correspondence and through the app.
How the Resolution Center Can Help Airbnb Hosts Resolve Their Issues
As mentioned above, there are some disparaging stories about the resolution center’s handling of accidental damage claims circulating on the Internet, which may or may not be true. As a result, some perceive the resolution center as a facade—offering false assurances of security, while really just providing a place where hosts with accidental damage concerns go to be ignored and forgotten.
This, however, is an overly cynical view.
While it’s true that the resolution center can’t assist every host with every accidental damage issue, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. The resolution center is staffed by people who are dedicated to resolving any issue, including accidental damage, as swiftly and efficiently as possible. They will listen to your story and gather all the relevant information. It is in Airbnb’s best interest to reach a resolution that satisfies everyone involved.
So, don’t assume you’ll be dismissed just because of the accidental damage. Engage with the people at the resolution center. While they may not have a solution for every problem, they will earnestly strive to assist you in resolving yours.
Airbnb Security Deposit
So, what if you don’t trust the resolution center? Is there something else you can do to protect yourself? Some hosts require a security deposit from their guests to provide an extra layer of protection.
The security deposit is usually a set amount of money that the guest must pay before they arrive. However, an Airbnb security deposit works differently than other security deposits.
A Different Setup
Instead of taking money up front, Airbnb just authorizes the card but doesn’t actually make the charge until a host makes a claim. In theory, if the guest damages property or steals items at the Airbnb property, the security deposit will cover the cost of repairs or replacement.
In reality, however, it’s not that simple. If you want to access the security deposit, you have to go through Airbnb just like you otherwise would. You have to submit a claim through the resolution center and jump through the same hopes to gain access to that money.
Issues with Security Deposits.
Airbnb security deposits serve as a safety net, intended to protect hosts from potential losses, including accidental damage. However, mandating such deposits could deter guests from booking your place, especially if neighboring listings don’t have the same requirement. Guests might be reluctant to front the security deposit or might be wary of reserving a property that necessitates such a payment, fearing unexpected claims of accidental damage.
The decision to require a security deposit on Airbnb hinges on several considerations. Given that accessing the security deposit often entails navigating the same bureaucratic processes as lodging any other claim with Airbnb—including those for accidental damage—we generally find it more hassle than it’s worth and hence, don’t usually insist on it.
Security Deposits on Other Platforms
On other platforms, however, it may make more sense to charge security deposits because they work more like traditional security deposits. On Booking.com, for example, the security will deposit into your own account. Then you can charge against it as needed. Booking.com typically won’t play middle-man, giving you more control over the whole thing.
Depending on your situation, VRBO can function similarly as well. So, outside of Airbnb, it may make sense to charge security deposits.
How Much Should I Charge for My Security Deposit?
If you do decide to charge a security deposit, you’ll need to decide how much to charge.
There’s no set amount for security deposits on Airbnb. It varies depending on where you’re located, the size of your listing, and other factors. However, most $100-300 per reservation is common. This amount is typically at your discretion. There is rarely an Airbnb-required security deposit, so security deposits are a matter of host preference.
Overall, the security deposit system on Airbnb is designed to help protect both parties involved in a reservation, but it’s hard to say whether it actually brings anything of value. It may give hosts peace of mind, but that may be more of a psychological benefit more than anything else.
It’s simply hard to say whether a security deposit does much of anything at all, and for the reasons we’ve outlined below, we’ve found that they’re not worth the hassle.
How to Get Access to the Security Deposit?
As we’ve already covered, getting access to the security deposit back requires submitting a request to the resolution center just as you would if you didn’t require a security deposit.
This calls into question why you would want to charge a security deposit at all. In theory, security deposits help protect you from any damage or theft that may occur during a guest’s stay, and they’re usually refunded once the guest has checked out and submitted a damage report. But you don’t have the security deposit; Airbnb does. (And even they really don’t.)
So, getting access to the security deposit is no easy feat.
So Why Charge One?
However, those who don’t want to put all their faith in Airbnb may want to consider purchasing host protection insurance from a private third party instead of trying to play games with security deposits.
Such services can be cumbersome and/or expensive, but they can also provide added peace of mind without the hassle of requiring a security deposit or endless guest screening. You can also use it to cover damages without risking bad reviews by hassling the guests. They can also perform some minimal screening before a guest checks in to help weed out some obviously bad guests.
We have such policies and have used them for some time. We have used Safely in the past with success, but we found them a bit too expensive. We’ve moved over to Superhog, which runs on a slightly different model. However, both are good choices, and we’d recommend hosts consider all the options out there.
If you’re a host, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the resolution center. That way, you know what to do if something goes wrong. The resolution specialists should help you resolve the issue as quickly as possible and keep you updated on the progress of your case. While we haven’t always been happy with the process, we have nonetheless been overall satisfied with the system that Airbnb has in place.
So, if you’re having an issue with your Airbnb rental, don’t hesitate to reach out to the resolution center for help!
If you’re interested in learning more about how Weekender Management can help you get started in real estate, schedule a call with us today!