- Make sure your property meets government safety regulations for your area (ex: International Building Code)
- Have functioning smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Provide a functioning fire extinguisher, and complete required maintenance
- Clearly mark a fire escape route, and post a map in your home
- Establish safe occupancy limits—your local government may have applicable regulations
- Ensure all electrical appliances and other equipment in your home are properly and safely installed
- Remove any hazards that might cause guests to trip or fall, or mark these areas clearly
- Remove or lock up any objects that may be dangerous
- Fix any exposed wires
- Make sure stairs are safe and have railings
- Child-proof your home, or else notify guests of potential hazards for kids
- Make a first aid kit easily available, and provide a disaster relief kit depending on where you live
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated and that temperature control is clearly marked and functional so guests know how to safely use the heater
- Show guests how to lock doors or windows, and how to use your plumbing system
- Document safe practices for using all your amenities in your House Rules
- Go through your property regularly to make sure all safety precautions are up to date and in accordance with local safety laws and regulations
There is currently no "Safety" section under Airbnb's Hosting Standards. The Trust section of the website offers a "responsible hosting" guide, which links to safety tips for hosts, but this is less specific than the list Papas provided HuffPost.
Airbnb's website also notes that "adding an extra layer of protection with your own renter’s or homeowner’s insurance may be right for you."
This is a key issue.
As the New York Times reported last December, many home insurance policies for residences exclude coverage on commercial activity -- like an Airbnb rental. In January 2015, Airbnb began offering $1 million dollars in Host Protection Insurance to provide additional coverage. Figuring out how to reconcile homeowner's insurance with hosting insurance, however, can still lead to headaches for mystified property owners.
Airbnb's website also provides safety tips for guests, such as "sign up for traveler's insurance" and "read listing descriptions closely."
"Guests can look for listings that indicate they have safety features, including smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, first aid kits, safety cards, and fire extinguishers," Papas told HuffPost. "If a host or guest ever alerts us to a hazard or safety issue at a listing, our Trust and Safety team works quickly to review it, fix the problem or remove the listing from our community."
As Stone documents in his feature, Airbnb has added more protections for hosts over the years after various horror stories emerged, but it hasn't done as much for the guests who use the platform.
As Stone notes in his article, which is worth reading in full, "while New York requires hotels to adhere to much stricter safety standards than apartment buildings (portable fire extinguishers, automatic sprinklers, posted emergency guidelines), unregulated hotels -- whether a sketchy commercial operation or a branding consultant’s Williamsburg loft -- usually don’t."
New York City began cracking down on Airbnb earlier this year, holding that a majority of its listings were illegal. Last week, San Francisco residents voted down tough new Airbnb regulations that would have placed new restrictions on short-term rentals.
Consumer advocates aren't convinced that this is enough and are pushing to draft new rules or apply existing housing and transportation regulations to this new category of businesses.