A landlord has won damages in the small claims court against an Airbnb guest.
The agent, Key One Property, managed the property and took action on behalf of the landlord after Airbnb refused to pay out under its ‘host guarantee’, which is designed to cover damages caused by guests and which says it will pay up to £600,000.
The agent, which prepared the papers and presented the case in court, said: “It is rare that we find any damages in short-term stays, but as a matter of course we always check properties after guests have left.”
On this occasion, said the agent, damage was found to plasterwork, décor and furnishings.
“We made the required claim with Airbnb and sent photographs and an estimate for damages, electronically as requested, proof of which was provided to the court.
“But despite this, Airbnb closed the case on the basis that they had not received the claim. They then refused to enter into communication about it.”
The guest refused to pay the damages and the agent, based in Belfast, took him to court.
An order for £638 was made against him.
The agent said that it no longer trusts the Airbnb host guarantee and has stopped taking bookings through it.
Key One Property started running a short-term guest service last year and used Airbnb to start with but said it was “like talking to a brick wall when you had a problem”.
The agency, which says there has been a huge growth in Belfast in demand for Airbnb-style accommodation, now uses a different service, Bookings.com
According to Key One Property: “The short terms do generate a lot more income (sometimes up to five times as much) but then landlords have to factor in all the extra costs, especially turnaround cleaning.”