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Safeguarding Your Short-Stay

Short-term rentals have become a highly lucrative stream of income, but for those making the switch it’s essential to follow security best practices, writes Eric Hammond.

By: Eric Hammond

3 December 2023

During your property’s initial setup consider investing in quality lockboxes or digital locks. For standalone properties, smart locks or digital door locks offer the best protection. While they tend to be more expensive, the long-term investment is worth the price and hosts will not need to leave their keys unattended.

With smart locks, keyless access can be managed remotely and a digital record of each entry will be logged. Thorough encryption protocols make it extremely difficult for smart locks to be hacked and most can seamlessly integrate with smart security home systems. Basic digital locks with keypads are a viable alternative and codes can be changed between each stay.

If your property is located in an apartment complex, your guests will likely need keys and a building access card. Dial lockboxes are your best option because they are more effective at deterring thieves. As professional short-term rental management experts, one of our go-to brands is Master Lock. Retail prices for their dial locks start at just under $70 from the likes of Bunnings.

Be sure to always change the factory defaults with a unique code. For added security, reset codes on a regular basis. If you prefer a lockbox for your standalone property, buy a wall-mounted one.

Security Devices

While hosts can install security devices in central surveillance locations, there are strict guidelines you should follow. Concealed cameras and audio recording devices are not permitted and cannot be located in private spaces such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or sleeping areas. When listing your property online you need to disclose the presence of any surveillance devices and if active recording is taking place. Platforms such as Airbnb have their own regulations, so make sure to check before listing.

To get your property guest-ready and ensure it is as safe as possible, be sure to complete a thorough inspection and note immediate repairs, such as broken door handles or dead batteries in smoke alarms. If you join a professional property management company such as The Stay Hub, in-house experts can ensure work that needs to be done is taken care of fast and efficiently. They will also organise a deep clean before your first guests arrive.

We would also recommend providing a fire extinguisher and a well-stocked first aid kit.

When it comes to bookings, guest vetting is essential to ensure the safety of your property and neighbours. While Airbnb requires all guests verify their identification before they book, a team of professionals can implement the most thorough processes for screening guests, including background checks and social media vetting.

Weapons

For fraud protection, real-time detection systems will evaluate and flag suspicious activity during the booking process. Unsecured and undisclosed weapons, regardless of their legality, are prohibited in short-term rentals. If a guest wishes to bring a non-lethal or legally-owned weapon, they must flag this with their host before their stay.

Most online platforms will allow hosts to include a security deposit as part of their booking process and offer options for insurance. On Airbnb, AirCover for hosts is included free and helps reimburse damages for up to US$3 million in the event a guest refuses to pay. This also covers you for income loss if you need to cancel bookings due to guest damage, and offers a host liability insurance of up to US$1 million.

With the warmer weather finally here, now is the perfect time to jump ship and join the short-term rental market. If you want to safeguard your investment and maximise your returns, consider joining a professional property management company.

The Stay Hub can provide you with unbiased advice on the short and long-term rental market, with the capabilities to operate across both in conjunction with our sister company, Hammond & Co Property Management.

The Stay Hub offers a full range of Airbnb and short-term rental property management services, covering everything from extensive global marketing to hands-on revenue management, guest vetting, cleaning after each stay, and plenty more. We have a technological and data-led approach, with owner and guest experience at the heart of our operations. Visit www.thestayhub.co.nz.

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