Airbnb Security Deposit: 3 Important Things to Know
When guests check into a hotel, it’s pretty standard to collect a credit card number for any incidental charges…you know, stuff like missing towels, beverages removed from the fridge, or furniture glued to the ceiling.
Some hotels merely collect a card number, while others actually run a charge and hold a deposit until after you check out.
As an Airbnb host, you may be wondering if you should also charge an Airbnb security deposit. After all, strangers will be staying in your home. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind…
- Never handle the Airbnb security deposit outside of Airbnb. Exchanging funds outside the context of their website is against their rules and regulations. More importantly, it can lead to a huge legal mess if things head south of the hospitality border.
- Know how Airbnb security deposit work. When Airbnb charges a deposit, they actually don’t collect a charge until you make a claim through the resolution center. So, make sure you’re able to scope out the scene after your guests leave (either in person or by sending someone in to verify that all is well). Since Airbnb never collected an actual charge, you have to be proactive and initiate a claim yourself.
That said, you might not be sure if charging a security deposit is necessary. And if you do charge one, how much should it be?
Here are three things you’ll want to do when it comes to putting your home on the Airbnb market, and how each one relates to a security deposit.
#1 Protect Your Home and Valuables
It’s more than reasonable to add a security deposit to your listing. Airbnb will let you enter an amount anywhere between $100 and $5,000.
A small Airbnb security deposit can cover the cleanup for any minor accidents, damage to smaller items, or missing items. But, if you have expensive furniture or valuables, you might consider making the security deposit higher.
However, a high-security deposit could scare some guests off from booking with you, even if it’s not collected right away. The perfect balance is to be reasonable.
For example, I charge $200 for my 1-bedroom and $350 for my 2-bedrooms. In my almost two years of hosting on Airbnb, I only had to file an Airbnb security deposit once.
You could set the deposit amount at one night’s stay. Or, 10-50% of the total estimated value of your movable property.
#2 Establish Ground Rules with an Airbnb Security Deposit
The presence of a decently sized security deposit will set a tone of respect for your property. Guests know they can’t just trash the place because if they do, they’ll have to pay (remember to always document this via the Airbnb app).
That said, a security deposit can be the first line of defense in protecting your property from guests. After all, renting your home out to strangers is a pretty vulnerable thing!
#3 Airbnb Security Deposit Can Help Buffer the Cleaning Fee
An Airbnb security deposit is also a great buffer to protect your Cleaning Fee.
If you charge a fixed amount for cleanup and your guests leave behind a mess that surpasses your budget, file a complaint in the resolution center. Hopefully, they can help pay for steam-cleaning party-induced vomit off the carpet, or perhaps getting a painter to cover the blood (we won’t ask what happened there).
A security deposit can protect your home, gain respect, and provide a cleanup fee buffer. Even better, it’s not charged to guests until you file a claim, so you might as well require a security deposit.
Because renting out your home falls into the category of a business pursuit exclusion, most homeowner insurance policies will not cover Airbnb rentals—so in addition to charging a security deposit, you may want to look into Airbnb insurance policies that will cover your property.