Airbnb rentals may pose insurance risk
Published 18/04/2015 | 02:30
Irish people who rent out "a sofa, spare room, or their entire house" to holidaymakers online risk having their home insurance cancelled.
There is currently a boom in this kind of letting - but it can be fraught with risk, according to experts.
The last few years have seen a surge in social travel sites linking holidaymakers with those willing to rent out all or part of their property, usually for a given period of time.
Websites such as Airbnb, Wimdu and Couchsurfing have rapidly grown in popularity.
Rental accommodation website Airbnb has had huge success in Ireland.
About 4,500 properties in this country - from castles to caravans - are available to rent on the website.
But renting in this fashion could be riddled with pitfalls for the property owner.
It may even result in home insurance being cancelled.
Some insurance companies view allowing a stranger to stay in your home for financial gain as increasing the risk of fire and theft.
The revenue authorities have also begun keeping a closer eye on families who have tried to boost their incomes by renting out a room.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Michael Horan of Insurance Ireland said owners could run into particular problems if they fail to notify their insurance company they are planning to have tenants.
"The message is to tell your insurer. It all depends on the terms and wording of the relevant policy. But if there is a change in the risk of something happening, the insurance company must be informed so that they're on notice."
He said the company involved can then inform the householder what other steps may need to be taken - so as to ensure the property is covered in the light of changed circumstances.