Renting your holiday home can be a minefield of mixed emotions. On the one hand you have the opportunity to make money by letting your holiday home whilst it is not in use. On the other hand, you’re allowing virtual strangers to stay in your home. A recent spate of holiday home burglaries is a timely reminder to always ensure bookings are legitimate and that you are taking all practical steps to prevent loss to your home.
With this in mind, Initio have complied some tips to keep you and your holiday home safe.
1. Screen Guests
- Check their online reviews via the listing website such as Airbnb or Bookabach.
- Ask for the names and ages of all guests.
- Don’t be afraid to do some cyber stalking – visit Facebook and LinkedIn to checkout their profiles and friends.
- Ask for photo identification.
- If you have a bad vibe, give them a call or ask for references.
- If you’re still not comfortable be prepared to decline the booking.
2. Don’t go off platform
- If the property is listed online don’t accept a guest’s request to go offline.
- Be wary of guests only wanting to pay in cash, or who pay with prezzy cards.
3. Question Intentions
- Be cautious of guests wanting to stay for extended periods at short notice. Especially during the off season and if your home is in a remote location.
- If guests cancel a booking only days after making payment, and requests the refund to another account, you should be very suspicious. To avoid assisting money launderers and credit card thieves, only provide a refund to the credit card used to make the payment.
4. Protect your stuff
- Don’t leave your valuable (sentimental or otherwise) personal effects in the property.
- Have a lockable cupboard or room to store items you don’t want to share with guests.
5. Key safety
- Don’t always leave the key in the same place.
- If using a hidden lock box, remember to change the code frequently.
- Or better yet, meet your guests onsite to handover the keys.
6. Neighbourhood Watch
- Talk to you neighbours and let them know that you are renting your home to guests.
- Ask your neighbours to contact you if they have any problems with the guests or observe any suspicious behaviour.
7. Chemical Alarms
- Installing (and advertising its installation) a chemical alarm such as Meth Minder or P Alert could be enough of a deterrent to prevent would be cooks from renting your home.
8. Holiday Rental Insurance
- Make sure that your insurance policy includes cover for lost rental income following a claim, contamination caused by the manufacture of methamphetamine, theft and deliberate damage by guests.
- If your current policy does not provide this cover as standard, then check out www.initio.co.nz
- Initio provides specialist insurance cover for holiday homes that are rented out and is recommended by Bookabach.
Most of your guests will be lovely people who are grateful to you for allowing them to relax in your home. Unfortunately, a few bad apples can spoil the fun for everyone. Provided you are conscious of the risks and take the appropriate steps to minimise them, everyone can enjoy the holiday (and the view).