AirBnB is big business, 17 million people have stayed in an AirBnB property to date with most of the experiences being a generally positive one. However, having been in the security industry for nearly 40 years I can see a potential problem with AirBnB security. The vast majority of Airbnb users are honest and respectful. The trick is to protect yourself from the bad ones. I have observed that the general population is made up from 3 groups of people. Those who are fastidiously honest and will not steal under ANY circumstance. Those who will steal if the opportunity is so easy to take and the last group who regularly LOOK for any opportunity to steal.
The key here is to avoid the last group at all costs and eliminate temptation from the opportunistic. Placing valuables in a locked room or cupboard is a good start. However, it is possible to protect both yourself and your property for a very reasonable price. When you let your home out via AirBnB you will have to give the guest a key. That’s fine but what happens if they can copy your key. In theory, they could be amassing an array of keys to hand to criminal associates. They could enter even your home the next time they visit the city and use their previous visit to note what’s worth taking.
Installing “restricted keys” is both easy and cheap and will stop people from nipping into Bunnings to copy your house keys. Restricted keys CANNOT be copied without the correct identification and paperwork. When your guest hands back your keys you can sleep well at night in the knowledge there are NO EXTRA unaccounted keys out there. Alternatively, you can have a digital door lock installed that allows you to change the code your guest used during their stay.
Australian Police forces are very busy these days. In my opinion, they will only investigate serious crimes or those that are an open & shut case. Suffering a theft, months after you cease your AirBnB business will be difficult for the Police to investigate thus placed in the too hard basket. With potential suspects scattered all over the country, it becomes just another unsolved minor crime.
Large Hotels worked out very early the challenges involved in giving and rescinding access to their property. They now manage this issue very successfully with swipe cards and locks. These locks have a programmer which embeds an expiring time and date which stops guests from future access. You could set up something very similar to this as now it is possible to install a Smart phone alarm system which allows you to add and delete users easily and quickly. These systems also alert you via SMS whenever the alarm keypad is used to turn off or on the alarm. Additionally, they also allow you to “dial in” and see what’s going on in your lounge room from anywhere there is a phone service.
All in all AirBnB Australia runs pretty well with few tales of woe. It is however, easy to make yourself safe with just a little planning. Oh in closing AirBnB carefully vets its members but what about their members giving copied keys to criminal associated for reward. From a professional Airbnb host one tip that was shared is that make sure you do your own vetting, if someone lives in the same town as you and they want to rent your house, it is probably best to skip that booking because in his experience it is usually a sign that they are up to no good. But for your own sense of peace of mind for overall security, install restricted security keys or any of the other recommended solutions which best suit your situation and rest easy !