Just how safe is your vacation home rental? If you assumed that it was safe, purely because there are no obvious safety hazards that you can see, it may be time to take a good, hard look at your property. No rental owner likes to think about disaster. In a 2015 article on Medium, a journalist told the story of his father dying at an Airbnb. The tree holding a swing that the father was using split, landing on him. It turned out that the tree holding the swing was completely dead.
Obviously, this is a worst case scenario. Accidents can and do happen however. Other horror stories surrounding short term rentals include a guest being bitten by a dog left at the property, and Canadian woman dying from toxic fumes after a heater was left on a closed off balcony near her room.
The vast majority of stays will be uneventful, and memorable for all the right reasons. To ensure that you are able to give your guests (and yourself) peace of mind, it is essential to make sure that your vacation home rental is safe.
The Importance of Vacation Home Rental Safety
Some of the vacation home rental features that should be considered include:
- Swimming pool fences and covers. Whether your guests are travelling with a child or not, having a pool fence is the simplest way to avoid pool related accidents. Pool covers should be used for all guests with children. Even if you don’t use the cover, it is always good to have on hand in case your rental is booked by families.
- Carbon monoxide detectors. That death that we mentioned early from the toxic fume poisoning was preventable. Carbon monoxide detectors are vital to detect potentially toxic fumes. These fumes are caused by fuels not burning completely. They can be caused by wood, gas, coal, propane, natural gas, and heating oil.
- Smoke alarms. Equally important are smoke alarms. Fires can be caused all too easily by an unchecked open fireplace, faulty electrical appliances, heaters, kitchens and many other things.
- Alarm systems. A comprehensive alarm system that includes motion sensors, panic buttons and armed response is the simplest way to protect your property against break-ins. Security features such as alarms are also pre-requisites for most household insurance plans.
- Burglar bars and security gates. While alarms are important, physically barriers are also a must. These can be a strong deterrent. They also provide visible peace of mind to your guests.
- Floors. Be careful of highly slippery flooring. Tiles can be especially slippery. If your rental has floors that are potentially unsafe, be sure to make this clear in your listings or guest communication – especially if guests are travelling with kids.
- Stairs. Stairs should be non-slip, with hand rails. As lovely as modern, open stairs look, they can be dangerous. As with slippery floors, be very clear in your listings if your stairs are open or not safe for children.
- Safe gardens. That accident we mentioned above was also avoidable. Checking your garden for dead and rotting trees and other potential problem areas can literally save a life – especially if you have an older property with large, etablished trees. Keep your trees trimmed, so that there is no chance of branches falling.
- Broken appliances, furniture and fittings. Something as small as a broken oven or kettle can be a liability waiting to happen. Broken couches, bed frames, tables and chairs are also dangerous. Check your household items carefully after each guest leaves to be sure that everything is working fine.
- Emergency contacts. One of the many, many advantages of working with a dedicated vacation rental manager is that it gives you the benefit of day to day management, guest services, bookings management and marketing. Having someone for guests to contact around the clock is vital in the case of emergencies (and even for regular guest enquiries).
You do not need to lose any sleep worrying that something might befall your guests during their stay. With that said, taking the time and effort to ensure that your vacation home rental is equipped with the above items will go a long way in providing your guests with a safe, welcoming place to stay. For more advice, check out our short term rental safety tips for hosts.