November 20, 2017
Companies like Airbnb and VRBO have completely changed the way that many people vacation. No longer do you have to pay hotel prices for few amenities. Now you can stay in the houses of real people who choose to put their home up for short-term rental. However, with this new way of vacationing, new questions arise in the world of premises liability.
In long-term rentals, such as apartments, rules have been established through the years based on different situations. Even hotels have established set premises liability rules and bought the insurance to cover the possible claims. But who is responsible for premises liability issues in short-term rentals? Before you book your next vacation, educate yourself on these important matters.
Who Was Injured?
When considering premises liability in short-term rentals, the first thing to consider is who was injured. There are many people that can be involved in an accident at one of these rentals, and each case would be handled differently.
Renter: When you turn your home into a business, certain business-like precautions should be taken. Therefore, you should treat your home as a store and fix any hazards you’re aware of. You may be familiar with your loose railing or slippery floor, but your guests are not. When renting your house out, everyday hazards can turn into potential lawsuits. People renting the house may not understand what you know to avoid. Therefore, if someone slips on these floors or falls because he leaned on the loose railing for support, you, as the owner, would be liable for the injuries.
Social Guest: If someone renting a vacation home for a week invites social guests over for a small party or get-together, the liability of these guests can swing either way depending on what causes the injury. For example, if a guest trips on a loose floorboard, the owner of the house can be liable for any injuries obtained in this fall.
On the other hand, the person renting the house could also be held responsible for a different type of injury. For example, if a person at the party experienced a personal injury because the people renting the house did not wipe up water that spilled on the floor, the renters could be liable.
There is also the case that the fault is the liability of the person who was injured. If the injury was not caused by any type of negligence of neither the owner nor the renter, the person who fell could be liable. For example, if the fall occurred because the person drank too much alcohol or didn’t drink enough water, the person who fell could be liable for his own injuries.
Trespassers: If a trespasser is injured on the property, the homeowner can be liable under certain circumstances. One of these circumstances might be if the homeowner purposefully sets up a potential hazard to deter trespassers that causes severe injury. For example, if the homeowner leaves out a bear trap for the purpose of injuring trespassers and a trespasser injures his leg in the trap, the homeowner may be held responsible.
However, the trespasser is typically liable for his injuries in most cases. After all, he was not invited onto the property, and therefore the owner might not have recognized any potential hazards on his property. For example, if the property floods and a trespasser trips because of the standing water, the trespasser would likely be liable.
Help from an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer
The world of personal rentals has changed the way that many view vacations. However, that does not mean owners should not still exercise caution. If your vacation was ruined by a personal injury due to a homeowner’s negligence, call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online.