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With the increasing popularity of short-term property rentals, many home and apartment owners are finding they can make a nice income renting out their homes to guests who prefer a more relaxed and affordable lodging to impersonal and expensive hotels.

However, there are risks involved to opening up your home to a complete stranger. Even though Airbnb does do a good job of screening your guests and even offers to cover certain types of property up to $1 million, there are some things they don’t cover, which are up to you to make sure are secure. Items like credit cards, personal information or important documents and other items are not covered.

There has been a well-publicized case where a guest broke into a locked closet, stole valuables and gained access to the homeowner’s important documents, making copies of them in an attempt to steal their identity.

There are ways that you can, and should, protect yourself and your valuables when taking advantage of this excellent way to gain extra income.

Don’t rely on the Host Guarantee alone

Airbnb does offer their hosts an insurance plan against damage and theft, however, they don’t cover everything. This is why you need to read the policy carefully so you have a clear understanding of what you will be responsible for. Also, before listing your property, contact your own insurance agent to find out what your policy covers when renting out your property.

Get a safe deposit box

An excellent way to secure all of your important papers, jewelry or just about anything else, even if you aren’t renting out your home, is to get a safe deposit box at your bank. Not only can these items be easily stolen from your home but if damaged or destroyed, they are difficult, if not impossible to replace.

Do your own screening

According to your Host Guarantee, you are required to communicate with your potential guests and review their profiles thoroughly to qualify for damage and theft reimbursement. Here it pays to go with your gut, if something just doesn’t seem right, don’t take a chance. Even if an item is covered by insurance, somethings are irreplaceable.

Protect your mail

It has been proven in several cases of identity theft that a person’s mail is a goldmine to an identity thief. This is why you need to take extra care in making sure your mail doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. If you can’t be sure that someone will pick up your mail regularly, or you don’t have a locking mailbox then get a P.O. Box or stop your mail altogether at the Post Office.

All of this may seem like a lot of work, but you are always better safe than sorry. In the long run all of your efforts will be paid off with added income and piece of mind, knowing your valuables are secure.

About Pillow

Pillow, a San Francisco-based company is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on Airbnb. Pillow is the official and exclusive multifamily housing partner for popular short-term rental listing platform Airbnb. Pillow takes a complicated, time consuming process for multifamily building owners and created a solution that greatly benefits Multifamily operators and residents alike.

If you own a multi-family complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email partnerships@pillow.com or visit www.pillow.com.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for short-term rental insights for the multifamily industry. Or subscribe to our blog!

Author: Todd Conway is Co-Founder of Pillow

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