Renting out a property always involves risk, and perhaps even more so for renting to short-term renters. Owners of these properties are often more lax when it comes to the screening process. However, these situations can often be high-risk, especially when renting a home containing the landlord’s own furniture and personal items. Therefore, landlords should screen short-term renters.
Fraud, Property Damage and Identity Theft Risk During Short-Term Rentals
Even taking steps to lock away personal items isn’t a guarantee of security. Over 40 percent of short-term renters have admitted to snooping through the owner’s personal items during their stay. Property owners want to keep their living spaces in great condition, and this requires discernment regarding each renter.
Renting via sites like AirBnB, VRBO and similar outlets is not without risk, but the following tips can help to protect landlords and their properties from short-term renters:
1. Vet the Site Thoroughly
Many of the online companies serving as hubs for short-term rentals offer their clients protections against damage from negligent guests. For example, AirBnb offers a host guarantee of up to $1 million in property damage reimbursement.
2. Request a Security Deposit
Another effective way landlords can protect themselves when offering short-term rentals is by asking for a security deposit. While a few hundred dollars won’t pay for major damage, it can offer some protection if there are damages.
3. Examine Renter Reviews
Many short-term rental sites enable reviews of short-term renters as well as the hosts and their properties. Landlords should read the reviews of anyone interested in renting their property carefully to get a sense of their track record from other landlords. New applicants without a rental history should be screened carefully using other resources.
4. Telephone Screening
Talking with potential tenants via telephone allows landlords to get a more personal sense of who will be renting from them. Having a list of questions created ahead of time to screen short-term renters will ensure that all key concerns will be covered.
5. Professional Tenant Screening
The best way to verify the quality of short-term renters is by using a professional screening service. A comprehensive screening can yield insights about the applicant’s finances, rental/eviction history, national sex offender registry, and criminal background. It can also determine if information provided on the rental application is true or fraudulent.
In the current gig economy, short-term rentals have become a popular way to make extra income. However, landlords should take steps to ensure they are always connecting with high-quality renters no matter what the duration of the agreement.