AirBNB liability question

1,879 Views | 22 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by combat wombat™
bagger05
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AG
The host has an expensive bicycle in their garage.

The guest leaves the garage door open.

During the night the bicycle is stolen. There is video of the thief. It's not the guest.


What recourse does the host have against the guest?


***I know that no one here is offering legal advice***
tejas_ayanem
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Probably nothing.
techno-ag
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AirBNB used to offer hosts $1 million in liability. No idea if the same holds true these days.
JustPanda
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I doubt AirBnb would cover theft in that instance as it was left by the homeowner.
The Lost
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Obviously don't know all the details, but I'm shocked this is possible. I don't know that I've ever stayed in one where guest had garage access.

I'd assume this is technically just a homeowner insurance claim. This is just as much (if not more) on the owner of the place leaving it in an accessible place as it is the guest making a mistake.

I don't know why anyone would have a high dollar item not locked/hidden/stored in a rented out place.
ColoradoMooseHerd
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The only way that I would see the landlord having any recourse is if that Access to the Garage and responsibilities to the contents of the garage were clearly spelled out in the rental agreement. Not sure of the exact wording but would probably have to spell this out.

I don't think the renter would have any responsibility if the home was broken into while they were renting the property, especially if it was caught on video. I would assume the garage would be considered part of the house, unless as mentioned before it was clearly stated in the rental agreement.
htxag09
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The Lost said:

Obviously don't know all the details, but I'm shocked this is possible. I don't know that I've ever stayed in one where guest had garage access.

I'd assume this is technically just a homeowner insurance claim. This is just as much (if not more) on the owner of the place leaving it in an accessible place as it is the guest making a mistake.

I don't know why anyone would have a high dollar item not locked/hidden/stored in a rented out place.
I feel like everywhere I've stayed has had garage access....

Could be a place on the beach. They leave a golf cart and bikes in the garage for renters, something like that.

Could just be someone who rents their primary house out to make extra money. This seems most likely to me seeing that it was an "expensive" bike. Granted, in the bike world, expensive is relative. But if that's the case, unless they added an endorsement, it's quite possible that their home isn't covered on their standard homeowners if they're renting it out.
htxag09
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ColoradoMooseHerd said:

The only way that I would see the landlord having any recourse is if that Access to the Garage and responsibilities to the contents of the garage were clearly spelled out in the rental agreement. Not sure of the exact wording but would probably have to spell this out.

I don't think the renter would have any responsibility if the home was broken into while they were renting the property, especially if it was caught on video. I would assume the garage would be considered part of the house, unless as mentioned before it was clearly stated in the rental agreement.
But at what point is it a robbery that isn't the renters fault vs. negligence? I mean if they brake in by smashing a window that's one thing. But if the guest leaves the front door wide open while they go to a bar?
Ryan the Temp
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I'm an AirBnB superhost. The only 99.9% guaranteed way a host could collect from the guest is if there were house rules that specify the garage door was to be kept closed. The host can still make a claim against the guest, but the guest has room to fight it if there was no such house rule. AirBnB has the ultimate decision authority there. Additionally, AirBnB's host protection policy generally only covers damages or loss directly caused by a guest (i.e. the guest damages or steals something) and theft of items belonging to the guest. This scenario is one of the grey areas that is not explicitly addressed in the host protection.

My recommendation would be to go ahead and make the claim against the guest and make the best case possible that the guest had a reasonable understanding that the garage should be kept closed and the theft would not have occurred but for the guest's negligence.
The Lost
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Ryan the Temp said:



My recommendation would be to go ahead and make the claim against the guest and make the best case possible that the guest had a reasonable understanding that the garage should be kept closed and the theft would not have occurred but for the guest's negligence.


It also wouldn't have occurred without the owners negligence either.

And this is why we have such a stupid litigious society.
The Lost
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htxag09 said:

The Lost said:

Obviously don't know all the details, but I'm shocked this is possible. I don't know that I've ever stayed in one where guest had garage access.

I'd assume this is technically just a homeowner insurance claim. This is just as much (if not more) on the owner of the place leaving it in an accessible place as it is the guest making a mistake.

I don't know why anyone would have a high dollar item not locked/hidden/stored in a rented out place.
I feel like everywhere I've stayed has had garage access....

Could be a place on the beach. They leave a golf cart and bikes in the garage for renters, something like that.

Could just be someone who rents their primary house out to make extra money. This seems most likely to me seeing that it was an "expensive" bike. Granted, in the bike world, expensive is relative. But if that's the case, unless they added an endorsement, it's quite possible that their home isn't covered on their standard homeowners if they're renting it out.


In either of these scenarios you're still an idiot for having a high dollar item you care about laying around. We've stayed in a beach house that had bikes to use, but they were always single speed "cheap bikes".

Me Being from Colorado I'm assuming op is talking about high end mountain bike or road bike.
Ryan the Temp
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Quote:

In either of these scenarios you're still an idiot for having a high dollar item you care about laying around. We've stayed in a beach house that had bikes to use, but they were always single speed "cheap bikes".
The first three rules of being an AirBnB host:

1.) Assume everything your guest will have access to can or will be damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
2.) Hope that none of that happens
3.) Be ready when it does happen
bagger05
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Rest of the story:

Buddy is the guest in the situation.

Got the car into the garage, hit the button on the way into the house, the garage started closing and he went inside. That was the last time he was in the garage until the next day. Assuming the door bumped something or something tripped the laser.

He's getting emails from the AirBNB people asking about what happened.

Of course he feels bad but now his question is "is there any way that I could be liable for this?"

My gut says almost no chance. Even if leaving the garage open violated a property rule, it seems like a pretty big stretch to say that violation CAUSED the loss. Different situation if there was a rule that said "don't turn off the heater because if you do the pipes will freeze and burst" and then the guest turns off the heater and the basement floods.

The loss was clearly caused by a criminal act by another person. Putting that on the guest just feels like a really big reach.

I told him that AirBNB is probably trying to get info that shows the event isn't covered under their policy so the host's homeowner's policy has to pay up.
bagger05
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Yes, very expensive bike. Expensive enough that it's shocking that it wasn't locked up someplace.

It sucks for everyone. The only person who is at FAULT is the person who stole the bike.

As is the case in a lot of crappy situations there are a handful of things that might've prevented it.

This is what insurance is for.
Ryan the Temp
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bagger05 said:

Rest of the story:

Buddy is the guest in the situation.

Got the car into the garage, hit the button on the way into the house, the garage started closing and he went inside. That was the last time he was in the garage until the next day. Assuming the door bumped something or something tripped the laser.

He's getting emails from the AirBNB people asking about what happened.

Of course he feels bad but now his question is "is there any way that I could be liable for this?"

My gut says almost no chance. Even if leaving the garage open violated a property rule, it seems like a pretty big stretch to say that violation CAUSED the loss. Different situation if there was a rule that said "don't turn off the heater because if you do the pipes will freeze and burst" and then the guest turns off the heater and the basement floods.

The loss was clearly caused by a criminal act by another person. Putting that on the guest just feels like a really big reach.

I told him that AirBNB is probably trying to get info that shows the event isn't covered under their policy so the host's homeowner's policy has to pay up.
This makes all the difference. If the owner has video of the garage and thieves getting into it, the owner should also potentially have video of the guest entering the garage and attempting to close the door. If it started to close, there is a possibility whatever stopped it from closing is also on video. If the owner is basing the claim mostly on the video, I would ask them to produce the video of the guest entering the garage and the door being left open.

I think the guest comes out ahead on this one and AirBnB doesn't cover the loss.

ETA: The fact that AirBnB made contact means the owner filed a claim against the guest.
Matsui
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Interesting thread. Keep us posted !
htxag09
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Agree. Just stating I don't think garage access is weird. Having garage access and leaving a several thousand dollar bike in there? Absolutely stupid.
Aggie87
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Stayed in an AirBnB in Scottsdale this past weekend. The house had a 2 car garage and a separate 1 car garage. We had access to the completely empty 2 car garage but the 1 car garage was locked/unaccessable, and presumably filled with either a car or the owner's personal items. If they had an expensive bicycle I'm guessing it was in there.
Ryan the Temp
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AirBnB gives a guest 72 hours to respond to a claim and typically makes a decision on claims within 24-48 hours after that.

ETA: Looks like they reduced the guest response time to 24 hours.
https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1415/
Ryan the Temp
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Did AirBnB make a decision on the claim yet?
bagger05
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Haven't heard. I'll let you know.

Plot twist he was there for work so the company will take over on the situation if AirBNB tries to pin it on him.

I could see that going either way.

I'll still be shocked if AirBNB asks him for the money. Seems INSANE to hold a guest liable for this.
Bluecat_Aggie94
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We have both a homeowners policy and AirBnB's coverage on our rental home.

First, I've been very satisfied with AirBnB's coverage. We haven't had anything major, but with just our word and minimal documentation, we've gotten AirBnB to cover our claims. As an example, we have a retaining wall along the driveway of our home, and a guest hit it and damaged the end by the driveway. With nothing more than us telling them and sending them a photo, they paid for the repair. There was no proof that our guest did it, no proof of when it happened.

We also had a set of towels taken from the inside and AirBnB covered us replacing them.

In both those cases, I do not believe AirBnB charged the guests.

I actually suspect, based on my experience as an AirBnB host, that you'd have it covered by AirBnB.

But if not, I would think the backup homeowners policy should cover it.

combat wombat™
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Why on earth would an Airbnb host leave a crazy expensive bicycle in a garage the guests have access to? At least lock it to a bolt screwed into the wall.
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