Airbnb is becoming the new essential app for every modern traveler. Much like Booking.com, it allows vacationers to book rooms and houses offered for rent online by hosts, all at an affordable price.
Since Airbnb is a relatively new phenomenon, California’s premises liability laws are not yet up to date to deal with liability issues that arise if a guest gets injured in an Airbnb rental.
That is why many of our readers here at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg, ask our Los Angeles premises liability attorney, “Who will be held liable for my injuries sustained in an Airbnb rental? Is it the homeowner or Airbnb, or both?”
Airbnb could be held liable for your injuries, too
In order to answer this question, it is important to understand how Airbnb works. First and foremost, Airbnb works only with home and property owners, not hotels or commercial establishments. This makes it more complicated to hold someone liable for your injuries sustained during your stay in a rental apartment or house booked through Airbnb.
“It makes sense that it is the host’s and homeowner’s duty to ensure that the property (room, apartment, or entire house) is safe for the guests and vacationers,” says our experienced premises liability attorney in Los Angeles. “But it is not that simple, as Airbnb could potentially be held liable, too.”
Liability issues with Airbnb rentals (compared to Uber)
Airbnb has become insanely popular because of its simplicity, accessibility, and affordability. Thus, the app allows homeowners to offer their rooms, apartments, and homes for rent to strangers, mostly vacationers.
Let’s draw a comparison between Airbnb and Uber, a popular ridesharing app. Both Airbnb and Uber act as an intermediary between the service provider (the homeowner and driver, respectively) and the customers (the renters and passengers, respectively). However, the biggest difference between Airbnb and Uber is that Uber requires vehicle inspection before allowing its service providers to drive passengers, while Airbnb does not require or conduct any inspection of the properties offered for rent online.
Unsafe properties on Airbnb: why it’s becoming a big problem
Complaints of unsafe properties offered for rent via Airbnb have been on the rise lately, as an increasing number of people all across the world are now using the app. And while many people love to compare Airbnb to hotels, it is essential to understand that guests staying in Airbnb rentals are more prone to injuries compared to those who stay in hotels.
“That is because the vast majority of homeowners do not have the luxury of retaining maintenance crews, security guards, lifeguards, and/or conducting regular inspection and maintenance operations on their premises,” says our premises liability lawyer. “Hotels, on the other hand, do have such a luxury, and are required by law to adhere to the highest standard of care.”
Because Airbnb hosts do not have to adhere to the same standards and procedures to ensure guest safety or care, it creates a higher risk of guest injury. If you, as a vacationer, stay in a room, apartment, or home full of hazards and dangerous conditions, it is only a matter of time before you get injured.
Who’s liable for your Airbnb injuries?
So who is liable for your Airbnb injuries? Is it only the homeowner? This question is tough to answer without considering all the factors and circumstances of your particular accident, as the homeowner may not be the only party that could be held liable. Potentially, you could also seek compensation from Airbnb and/or the property landlord, among other parties.
Interestingly, in its “Terms of Service” Airbnb users have to agree to when creating an account through the company’s app or website, the company clearly states that it is immune from premises liability and personal injury lawsuits. And while Airbnb does not check the safety of the properties offered for rent on its app and site, it does ask homeowners to take certain safety precautions, including but not limited to inspecting the smoke alarm system, removing trip and fall hazards, eliminating exposed wires, and many more.
As you can see, it is rather complicated to establish who can be held liable for your Airbnb injuries. Consult with our experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to find out more about your particular case. Get a free consultation by calling 310-997-0904 or complete this contact form.