How to find out about laws and regulations in your area. Navigating local regulations regarding short-term rentals’ safety and security can be a confusing minefield. With laws constantly changing on a national, regional and most frequently city level, hosts have to put in increased efforts to keep up with the latest requirements. Most of the time not fulfilling these requirements can mean not only putting the safety of your guests at stake but also risking being banned from running your Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO. For example, as stated in an article by Justin Ford on VRMintel, “many localities around the United States […] require vacation rentals to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, emergency exit lighting, and fire extinguishers in place.”
Additionally, some places also ask STR hosts to follow certain procedures in order to avoid health issues. These can, for example, involve linen sanitization or pool and spa maintenance.
So where do you begin? Not to worry! We’ve compiled a guide on where to look for your area’s safety and security requirements for your short-term rental or vacation home.
Consult Your Local Government
Firstly, your local government will be able to provide materials on what safety standards need to be fulfilled by STRs or even if safety inspections are required. However, which department of the government is responsible varies a lot. Generally, you will be able to obtain information from the city hall or the city’s general website. At times, it is also worth checking with the housing department or the licensing department, since running an STR can be considered a business. For example, to obtain a Short-term Rental Licence in Denver the “STR must have an operable smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher”. Find this information on the city website under the Business Licensing Center section.
Check the Airbnb Website
Secondly, the Airbnb website provides some great guidelines on how to be responsible host in the US. These recommendations proof useful even if your not in the United States or if you use other channels than Airbnb to promote your STR. Further down the page, US hosts can find the regulations specific to their city. For example, in Seattle, WA, the Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance requires certain rental property owners to register with the city. In Seattle short-term rentals need to abide by certain standards, which include safety and security variables, in order to legally welcome guests.
Join Facebook Groups
In addition to the above, Facebook groups, where fellow short-term rental hosts come together, can provide a great resource. It might not give you the most reliable answers but will provide a great starting point for your own research. Find our short-list of the 5 most useful Facebook groups for hosts to join here.
We are experts when it comes the safety and security of short-term rentals. We work with a Safety & Security Committee of renowned experts in the industry. Furthermore we’re constantly providing recommendations to hosts on how to keep their guests and property safe. This is why we’re always up-to-date with the latest regulations and are happy to share. Get in touch!