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Can You Have Cameras in Vacation Rentals?


Jul 22, 2020 by Liz Brumer

Vacation rental property owners want to provide a positive experience for tenants while also ensuring their property and belongings are properly protected. At first glance, while it may seem like having cameras in vacation rentals sounds like a great way to offer security for both parties, it may be prohibited.

Learn which monitoring devices are considered taboo in the short-term rental property world, what platform allows what, and alternative ways to monitor your home while providing privacy and safety to your tenants.

Camera policies explained

Airbnb and VRBO (NASDAQ: AWAY) have similar policies relating to surveillance cameras, both prohibiting the use of cameras (including wifi cameras, nanny cams, or baby monitors) in the interior of the home, regardless if it was disclosed to the tenant before renting or not. Exterior security systems -- such as a doorbell camera or home monitoring systems outside the garage, patio area, or front door -- are allowed as long as they're disclosed to tenants, notifying them of their location and if and when they'lll be recording.

What happens if you don't comply

If cameras or other recording devices are discovered that are clearly against either Airbnb or VRBO policies, the host can be expected to refund the entire guest's cost for the stay and is removed from the platform.

Alternatives to cameras in the home

If the goal is to protect your belongings and ensure items remain in the condition they were leased in, it's a good idea to have pictures taken of the home with a timestamp and have a detailed inventory of all items in the home. Most tenants aren't there to break or steal your belongings, throw parties, or conduct illegal or unwanted activities in your home. Speaking with the tenants prior to renting to them, inquiring about who they'll be traveling with and the nature of their travel, as well as looking at reviews of the traveler before booking will always help reduce the risk of getting burned.

If you notice missing items from the home or see evidence of unwanted behaviors left behind or reported by the neighbors, follow the proper channels to report the issue and file a claim with the short-term rental platform directly. Many times, if the issue at hand can be proven (like with pictures) the tenant can be held responsible for any financial damage that was caused.

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