12th July 2016

The need for insurance and possible regulation as four injured at an Airbnb property in Brighton

The need for insurance and possible regulation as four injured at an Airbnb property in Brighton

A balcony at an Airbnb property in Brighton has collapsed, injuring four people. Airbnb has since removed the property from its listing while it investigates the incident, which resulted in two men and two women being hospitalised with serious leg and arm injuries when they fell from the first floor flat into the basement.

ABTA Chairman Noel Josephides said there were 'many questions to be asked' following the collapse of the balcony.

"Did the host have a public liability policy which covered for the fact that the property was being rented?" said Josephides. And, he queried whether Airbnb has a duty to check the policy.

"If the host was a leaseholder, did he/she need permission from the freeholder before renting the property? If there was a mortgage on the property then do the terms of the mortgage permit sub-letting? Does Airbnb have a duty to check such details and has the host followed Airbnb instructions?" he asked.

Also, Josephides wanted to know who a client would pursue for damages following such an incident.

"Is it the host or Airbnb? If a client books with an operator that complies with the Package Travel Regulations then the course of action is quite simple, the action is against that company because the PTRs say the operator has to take full responsibility for the actions of its suppliers.

"ABTA checks that every tour operator member has adequate public liability insurance. It is then up to the operator to sort it all out with the supplier," added Josephides.

Airbnb states on its website that it provides protection insurance against guests injuring themselves or damaging a property, which is automatically included in every hosts' account.

However, while tour operators, hotels and even small B&B owners are tightly regulated, there is no requirement for private properties rented on sharing sites such as Airbnb to be inspected and checked for health and safety issues.

As the organisation promoting Shropshire we have always taken the view that we have a duty of care so we require all our members to have public liability insurance irrespective of whether they are inspected and graded.


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