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Airbnb Liability and Legality in Santa Barbara

By Renee Nordstrand on August 28, 2018

In recent years, services like Airbnb have grown in popularity. But renting the home of a virtual stranger carries some risks, especially when it comes to liability for any injuries you may suffer from an unsafe premises.

If that Airbnb host was renting the place from a property owner to begin with, liability can become even more complicated. It is worth noting that such short-term rentals are considered hotels in Santa Barbara, with regulations and taxes involved in their use. This may help you if you need to file a claim against an Airbnb host for your injuries and other damages after an accident.

Airbnb and Similar Services

Airbnb and similar services act as “middle men” to connect people looking to rent a house or an apartment short-term in an area with property owners and hosts who want to rent out their property. As such, these services have many stipulations in their contracts meant to keep them immune to liability for injuries suffered by renters on the host’s property. Airbnb offers some insurance for hosts, but the best way for guests to be protected is to rent from a property owner who has homeowners or renters insurance that covers a wide range of issues.

Liability for Injuries

If an accident occurs at an Airbnb home, liability comes down to the details of what happened and who might be considered negligent for it. For example, imagine that an Airbnb renter slips and falls, breaking her arm, because of a leaking sink pipe. The host is going to claim the pipe was the responsibility of the property owner or landlord, who in turn will likely say they were never notified about any issue. With so many people involved, liability can be difficult to determine, which is why it is so important to talk to a lawyer right away after such an accident occurs.

Santa Barbara Regulations

In Santa Barbara, any location that is rented to occupants for less than 30 consecutive days is considered a hotel. There are regulations in place that only allow hotels in certain districts of the city, so renting out a house or apartment short-term outside of these areas may be a legal violation and result in a fine for the host. Certain permits are required to operate a hotel, and taxes must be paid to the city for occupants. Airbnb hosts in Santa Barbara have definite rules they must follow, so if they don’t abide by them and an accident occurs in which a guest is injured, that is definitely a factor worth looking into.

The city has recently been cracking down on people hosting guests through services like Airbnb. If you were injured during an Airbnb stay, getting compensation may be complicated without the help of an attorney. Call NordstrandBlack PC today at (805) 962-2022 to discuss your options with an experienced Santa Barbara premises liability lawyer.

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