How do I handle property damage by guests?

We understand that renting out your place is quite personal, which may lead you to wonder what happens if your property or belongings are damaged by guests.

For the most part, guests do respect the properties they stay at. According to our statistics, it’s very rare for guests to cause damage – only one in every 5,000 bookings – and most of those incidents are accidental rather than intentional.

Below we offer some suggestions on how to prevent damage to your property and how to react in the unlikely event that it happens:

How to prevent damage to your property

Put a face to your place

If you’re meeting guests on arrival, welcome them to your home, show them around and tell them a little about your history there. When it’s clear that it’s your private residence, guests are more careful than they would be in a hotel. Even if you can’t greet them in person, you can add a personal host profile to your Booking.com property page, as well as leaving a welcome pack.

Make your house rules clear

If guests know the dos and don’ts of staying at your place from the start, there’s less chance that issues will arise. In the extranet, you can set up house rules that address common issues around pets, smoking, parties and noise.

If you have other specific rules that can’t be covered in the extranet, you could type them up and print a copy to leave at your place so guests are reminded of them during their stay.

Check your insurance policy

The chances of guests damaging your property are extremely low, but it’s smart to insure yourself against the unexpected. Regular homeowner insurance doesn’t always cover short-term rentals to others, so contact your insurance provider to check if you’re already covered or whether you need additional coverage.

Even if your insurance policy covers short-term rentals, there’s often a separate ‘excess’ charge for damages – meaning you pay up to a certain amount, and the insurance company pays the rest.

If you wish to cover these particular risks , you could set up a damage deposit. However, it’s worth remembering that damage deposits tend to result in fewer bookings and more cancellations.

How to handle potential damage to your property

Even if most guests are careful and considerate when staying at your place, accidents occasionally happen. In such cases, here are your options:

Keep the damage deposit

If you’ve already collected a damage deposit, you’re within your rights to keep it in cases where the damage is proven to be caused by the guest. Learn how to set up a damage deposit.

Make an insurance claim

If you have an insurance policy that covers short-term renting of your property, you may be able to make a claim. Contact your insurance provider for more details.

Note: Any insurance claim you make is subject to your own risk/claim threshold and may have an adverse effect on your insurance premium. Most insurance providers ask for proof of damages in order to evaluate your claim. We recommend that you take photos and retain any evidence that may prove useful to your claim.

You can also report damages using the guest misconduct tool in your extranet ‘Reservations’ tab.

Important: This article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute any (legal) advice or guarantee, and you cannot derive any rights from this information. We advise you to consult your insurance broker, provider and legal advisor for further guidance and assistance on protecting your assets and mitigating damages, losses and expenses.