Airbnb’s official guidance on health and safety compliance may seem intimidating, but most requirements are simply common sense! For peace of mind, we’ve condensed all the safety requirements into one easy-to-read blog, so you can be confident that your Airbnb is a safe space for guests.
Please note that this is not an official guide, and Pass the Keys is not qualified to guide legal rules and regulations. All official guidance for UK landlords can be found at www.hse.gov.uk.
Now we’ve got the legal stuff over, let’s begin:
What are Airbnb hosts responsible for in the UK?
Aside from providing an enjoyable guest stay, an Airbnb host’s most important role is keeping guests safe while on their property. And to do this, they must follow 5 key steps.
It is a legal obligation that hosts ensure the following:
- Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are fitted and working correctly
- The electric systems, appliances, and outlets they install are safe to use
- The property is fit for occupation
- Gas appliances are regularly maintained
- Carry out a fire risk assessment
So, how can hosts ensure they are compliant with these 5 key safety rules?
Test Smoke/Carbon Monoxide/Fire Alarms
According to the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, as an Airbnb host, you must carry out an annual gas safety check by a registered engineer, and a gas-safe, the registered engineer must carry out any maintenance on gas appliances. This applies to boilers, gas fireplaces, ovens, and hobs. A record of this safety check must be kept for at least 2 years.
Government legislation states that a fire alarm must be installed on each floor of your holiday home and tested between each guest stay. Carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted in all rooms with a fuel-burning appliance.
Test electric systems, appliances, and outlets
Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, it’s a legal requirement to ensure that all electrical equipment you provide in your rental accommodation is safe and adequately maintained. It’s recommended that all electric items in your Airbnb have an annual PAT test conducted by a qualified engineer.
Ensure your Airbnb is fit for occupation
As set out in the Defective Premises Act 1972, as a host, you have a duty of care to ensure your property is fit for occupation. Essentially, you need to ensure the property does not fall into disrepair so that guests are as safe as possible from the risk of personal injury.
It is worth taking steps to reduce the risk of trips in your Airbnb e.g. inspecting surfaces such as rugs, carpets, and other objects that could cause a hazard. If you have any outdoor space, the same applies here. Ensuring there is adequate lighting will help reduce this risk.
Carry out annual fire risk assessments
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 while not strictly for ‘domestic’ abodes, does apply to Airbnb properties. As a host, you are required to carry out a fire risk assessment by addressing any fire hazards, identifying emergency exits, and keeping these exits clear in case of fire. We recommend conducting an annual fire risk assessment of your Airbnb in case of furniture has moved around, etc. If emergency exits on our Airbnb property are not clear, especially at night, ensure some emergency lighting or a clear emergency exit plan for guests to consider.
Hosts should also check that their upholstered furniture meets the fire resistance requirements in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. Still, most modern furnishings have a label confirming they meet the requirements.
Common sense approach
As a host, you know your Airbnb property better than anyone. If something doesn’t feel right, always get it checked straight away, and don’t allow guests to enter the property. Gut feelings are often correct, and when it comes to guest safety, you can’t be too careful. A top tip is to keep a record of all safety checks carried out by yourself and any housekeeping staff. This will demonstrate that you are a safety-conscious host in the event of a negligence claim.
Of course, these are only the basic safety requirements that you are legally obliged to fulfill. To protect yourself and keep your Airbnb as safe as possible, we recommend taking a proactive approach and staying vigilant for new potential safety risks around your Airbnb. And, remember, you cannot host without adequate holiday let insurance. To find out more about insuring your Airbnb, see this blog post.