California VRBO Accident Injury Attorney
Vacation rental homes have become a big business for homeowners who own second homes in tourist destinations. In the past, few homeowners who owned second homes rented them out when they were not using them. However, the Great Recession changed that.
According to a report in Curbed, 90% of second homeowners in the 1970s did not rent out their vacation homes. Even as recently as 2000, 80% of second homeowners did not rent out their vacation homes. However, the Great Recession left people in situations in which they could not afford their second homes. Selling the homes was not an option because of the steep decline in housing values. Many of these owners turned to companies like VRBO to rent their vacation homes out to others. This has helped owners of second homes to realize substantial profits from the side income streams that their vacation rentals provide to them. Currently, 42% of vacation homes are rented out to others using sites like VRBO and Airbnb.
Being able to rent a vacation home instead of a hotel room when you travel may allow you greater privacy and the ability to stay in a more luxurious residence than a hotel might provide when you visit Los Angeles. However, there may be some liability issues if you are injured while you are staying in a home in LA that you have rented on VRBO. The property may have a dangerous condition, and it may be located in an area that is not safe. You are not always able to tell much about the location of a home from pictures that you can see on the VRBO website. If you are injured while you are staying in a VRBO home, you may need the help of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to figure out the liability issues so that you might recover compensation to pay for your losses.How Does VRBO Work?
Vacation Rental by Owner or VRBO was founded in 1996 and is one of the oldest platforms through which homeowners can rent out their vacation homes on a short-term basis. Instead of renting out spaces like Airbnb, homeowners on VRBO rent out their entire homes. This means that when you rent a vacation property on VRBO, you will be assured that you will not have to share it and will have privacy during your stay.
VRBO charges both the homeowners and the tenants fees. Homeowners subscribe to the service and either pay an annual $499 fee or pay 8% of all of the bookings they complete through the site. Tenants are charged a service fee that ranges from 6 to 12%.
As long as they pay the fees, anyone is able to list their properties on VRBO. Hosts post photographs of their vacation homes that prospective tenants can view when they are searching for a home to rent for their vacations. The hosts will talk to the prospective tenants about their homes online until they reach an agreement for the short-term stay. There is no guarantee that the home will be located in a safe area or is in a safe condition. The home that you rent could be located in a bad area, or it could contain dangerous defects that could result in serious injuries. For example, there might be a broken window lock that allows someone to break into the home while you are there. There might be other defects such as a broken handrail, tripping hazards, and other problems that could cause you to slip and fall. If you are injured during your stay because of a hazardous condition on the property, you may have some trouble recovering damages to compensate you.Issues With Recovering Damages From Homeowners
Homeowners owe a duty of care to keep their properties in a reasonably safe condition. If there is a defective condition about which the homeowner should have known or knew, the homeowner should have taken corrective measures to repair it or to warn about its existence. If a homeowner breaches his or her duty of care, and the breach results in an injury accident, the homeowner may be liable to pay damages to the victim.
However, most homeowners' insurance policies exclude injuries that might occur when the homeowners are renting out their homes to make a profit. This means that you might not be able to recover from the owner's insurance policy unless he or she has purchased an additional liability policy in addition to his or her homeowner's insurance coverage. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the policies that the homeowner has and try to find all potential insurance policies so that you might be able to recover sufficient damages to fully compensate you.VRBO's $1 Million Liability Coverage
VRBO offers up to $1 million in liability coverage to property owners who choose to purchase the policy through the VRBO website. This liability insurance is meant to cover homeowners in the event that a tenant is injured in the vacation rental. If the homeowner purchased this liability coverage, you may be able to access it by filing a claim against the property owner. It may cover up to $1 million in losses related to your injury if it was caused by the negligence of the property owner.The Potential Liability of VRBO
VRBO disclaims its own liability in its terms of service. However, it is still possible that you might be able to hold the company liable for your injuries if they resulted because of VRBO's own negligence. For example, if the company did not screen the property adequately, and its failure to do so resulted in your injury, an experienced personal injury lawyer might be able to overcome the company's attempt to disclaim liability and help you to recover damages for your losses. Recovering compensation from VRBO may require you to get the help of an experienced and qualified personal injury lawyer.Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
Renting a vacation home on VRBO can be a good way for you to plan a memorable vacation. However, if you are injured while you are staying in the home because of the negligence of the property owner or the rental platform, you might need legal help to recover damages for your losses. The experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat might be able to help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation so that you can learn about the options that might be available to you.