Premise Liability: Airbnb — Chicago Accident Injury Lawyer Blog — July 22, 2015

Premise Liability: Airbnb — Chicago Accident Injury Lawyer Blog — July 22, 2015
January 10, 2017 steinshulman

Airbnb is a website that connects people looking to rent their property with people who are looking for a place to stay. There are two primary types of Arbnb users: hosts and travelers, according to Investopedia. Hosts list and rent out their unused space, and travelers search for and book accommodations. Hosts benefit from Airbnb because they can earn extra income, and travelers benefit from the website because they can rent a room for less money than a traditional hotel would cost. While this sounds very beneficial for both the host and the traveler, the host subjects themselves to liability from this type of arrangement.

Insurance Coverage

If a person is injured while staying at your property, you could be held responsible for any injuries that person sustains, and you might not be covered by your insurance. Airbnb offers free one million dollar liability coverage to hosts, according to the New York Times. But the website offers secondary insurance, which means that Airbnb wants hosts to use their own insurance first for claims arising from guests’ injuries and deaths. After polling several of the biggest insurance companies, the Times concluded that most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies do not cover regular commercial activity conduced in the home. Furthermore, the owner of the property has an obligation to tell his or her insurance company about all facts related to the insured property because this information could affect insurance coverage and negatively impact future coverage.

Chicago Laws and Ordinances

One way you can rent out your property in Chicago is to obtain a vacation rental license. In order to get this license, you must pass a Department of Buildings inspection, a Department of Zoning board review, file an application with the Department of Business Affairs, and pay five hundred dollars per unit, according to Curbed. Also, the ordinance limits the number of vacation rentals in a building to six units. Not all apartment leases allow tenants to run a business out of their apartment, reports the Chicago Tribune. If you live in a condo, you will need the board’s approval to obtain a license.

The other way you can rent out your property in Chicago is through a sublease. The city’s landlord-tenant ordinance does allow renters to sublet, if the tenants abide by the sublease conditions of their lease agreement and obtain approval from the apartment manager. Even if the management approves, leasing offices require the person subleasing the apartment to participate in the same screening process as a tenant, so it is not likely that the leasing office would go through this process for someone who would be staying at the apartment for a weekend.  Similarly, a condo’s sublease rules usually have minimum-stay requirements.

If you or a family member or friend were involved in an accident, please call our office for a free consultation so we can discuss your rights and how best to handle your injury claim. There is no charge for speaking with one of our experienced attorneys so call us at (312) 422-0509.