Airbnb dangers: Keeping guests safe during their stay
Most countries require hotels and accommodation houses to comply with strict safety laws – with fire escapes, extinguishers, smoke detectors and other devices provided in case of an emergency.
When it comes to Airbnb, what are your obligations as a host? Laws and regulations differ in various parts of the world. Making your home as safe as possible will not only increase your bookings, but also protect your guests and property.
Local Airbnb regulations
Your first step as a host is to find out about government regulations and safety codes in your area. In the UK, for example, fire safety laws apply if anyone pays to stay in your property, which means you are legally required to do a fire safety risk assessment and implement fire safety measures.
Other parts of the world are less strict when it comes to safety regulations but that doesn’t mean you should become complacent. Keep in mind that international visitors will favour Airbnb properties that have a range of fire safety measures in place.
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Focus on the kitchen
The majority of accidental house fires start in the kitchen. If you are providing a cooking space for guests, make sure it is as safe as possible. Avoid placing or storing flammable materials (such as curtains, paper towels or dish cloths) near your gas cooker.
Provide spark devices rather than matches for your guests as they present less of a risk. Don’t put toasters under wall-mounted units.
Open fires and heaters
If guests are staying with you over the winter we strongly recommend you give them a safety tour of the house with demonstrations on how to use portable heaters and open fires. Educate them about the dangers of hanging clothes to dry over, or close to, certain types of heaters. Run them through the safety procedures of lighting and stoking a fire.
Make sure you check all your electric plug-in points and replace any that are damaged. Also, check all appliances – particularly making sure cables are in good condition and not frayed. Provide power boards with safety switches that guests can use for their devices.
Smoke alarms should be fitted throughout your home. These alarms can warn guests if a fire breaks out – especially if it happens at night, when they’re asleep.
If your property uses gas or oil for cooking or heating, you need to place Carbon Monoxide alarms in appropriate areas. Heat alarms can also be installed for safety. The most important thing to do is check the batteries on a regular basis (preferably after each guest).
You should have at least one fire extinguisher on every level of your home. They should be placed in the rooms with the highest probability of a fire — the kitchen especially, as well as any areas with open fires.
Another option is a fire blanket which is a safety device designed to extinguish small fires. It consists of a sheet of a fire retardant material.
Emergency contact information
Always keep a list of emergency contact numbers in a central place (stuck on the fridge, by the front door, and in your welcome letter). Don’t assume that your contact information will be enough if a serious emergency occurs at your Airbnb property. Information to include in your safety card:
Contact numbers for emergency medical, fire and police services.
- Locations of fire extinguishers and fire blankets
- Emergency exit routes
- Location of first aid kit
- More than one contact number for you (i.e. include your landline plus mobile, or your partner’s phone number as well as your own)
List your safety features – don’t forget to tick all your safety features under the Home Safety section for your Airbnb listing. Some hosts will even include a paragraph on safety at the end of their property description that mentions smoke alarms and first aid kits in order to reassure guests.
Check out this fire safety guide put together by Chief Fire Officers Association for Airbnb hosts in the UK as well the Airbnb Home Safety page.
If you are uncertain how to move forward with safety for your home, GuestReady has a team of Airbnb experts who help hosts all around the world with these kinds of issues.
We can assist with organising fire safety assessments and installing relevant devices to ensure your home meets the legal requirements of your area.