Airbnb presents legal liability for multifamily owners

How building owners can reduce risks.

September 21, 2016 |

Photo: Francisco Anzola, flickr Creative Commons

When renters sign up to be Airbnb hosts, they open liability issues for building owners.

Airbnb’s popularity has skyrocketed, offering appealing, affordable experiences to travelers and an easy way for renters to make quick cash. The overwhelming majority of Airbnb travelers use properties responsibly. There have been horror stories, however, with condos being held hostage by guests citing squatter’s rights, thefts, allegations of sexual assault and damaged property. 

With no contractual relationship between a building owner and an Airbnb renter, the owner holds little leverage if an incident occurs. The building owner’s rights, limitations, and duties when dealing with an Airbnb tenant might not be fully known, increasing the risk for the building owner.

The best strategy for mitigating the risks of Airbnb usage is to explicitly prohibit tenants from subletting their units for any length of time, Greg Offner, a producer with the Graham Co., told To ensure compliance, he recommends that building owners monitor Airbnb and routinely check for listings at properties they own, and check with an insurance broker to find out how building coverage interacts with tenants’ coverage.

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