Thanks in part to the rapid growth of rental-listing service Airbnb, many would-be entrepreneurs have taken a leap into the so-called sharing economy. But all of this collective enthusiasm is often dampened by the possibility of somebody taking advantage of the hospitality offered by Airbnb hosts.
We’ve all heard the horror stories: wild parties, stolen valuables, damaged property, etc. A little bit of technology, however, can go a long way to help you feel safer and more secure as an Airbnb host, or even help you take a leap into the sharing economy.
Not all technology is created equal. Some home security gadgets hold a lot of promise, but aren’t really all that effective, or, in some cases, are even legally problematic. Here are 5 cool gadgets that will get the job done, all while abiding by Airbnb’s legal terms and conditions.
Whether you’re out of town visiting family or busy at work, key exchanges for Airbnb hosts can be a major hassle. Keyless entry devices like Lockitron ($179) give you the freedom to open your Airbnb rental from the palm of your hand on your mobile phone. This type of device avoids the pitfalls of lockbox codes, easily mounts over your deadbolt, and is significantly more affordable than installing a full-blown automated home system.
Verifying identities as an Airbnb host can also be tricky. With smart doorbell systems like Ring Video Doorbell (Amazon), you can get a widescreen, HD visual of who’s at your door from your cell phone or tablet, and you can communicate with them via a two-way intercom. This gives you the ability to visually verify the identity of your guest, with the added capability of viewing from your mobile phone who is coming in and out of your Airbnb rental.
In order to keep your Airbnb investment safe and avoid potential lawsuits, some experts recommend that you disclose the presence of video cameras inside your home, while others suggest you place cameras in off-limits areas where valuables are stored. You can then monitor these areas with motion-triggered apps like Cammy ($30/mo) that tap into Wi-Fi cameras. Dummy cameras (Amazon) ($5 – $25) are also an option for hosts keeping things on the cheap.
Another innovative and less invasive home alarm solution is Point ($100), a sound sensor which does not eavesdrop or make sound recordings, but can alert you of decibel spikes using a sleek receiver and mobile app. Using a sound sensor allows you to eliminate the threat of guests holding raucous parties or otherwise disturbing your neighbors while maintaining guest privacy and avoiding any legal gray areas.
Many Airbnb hosts run up against the legal intricacies of the Airbnb Host Guarantee, which does offer insurance, but doesn’t cover the theft of personal valuables like jewelry or collectables. Tilt sensors like those offered by companies such as BrickHouse Security ($49) can keep you posted whenever a surface with valuables on it is disturbed. Keep in mind, however, that most tilt sensors are made to supplement already existing home monitoring systems.
Being an Airbnb host doesn’t have to be a risky proposition. With the help of any number of readily available and affordable gadgets, you can feel safer and more secure while you’re making a little extra cash from your rental investment.