Airbnb is a website that allows travelers to book stays in properties owned and rented by private individuals. It is a lightly regulated home-sharing service that makes it easy to rent a place for days or months at a time. Unfortunately, Airbnb is not always the safest way to stay. Since its inception, Airbnb has been at the center of conflict and controversy for issues such as dangerous premises, property liability issues, and public nuisances. Understanding the Airbnb laws in Denver, Colorado may help you protect your rights as a guest or user.
In 2016, the Denver City Council created an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals, including Airbnbs. Under this ordinance, any property owner who wishes to list a short-term rental must have a license and must list the license number on any advertisements for the short-term rental. The rental must also be the host’s primary residence. Furthermore, the property owner must follow all rules in terms of safety, zoning, and insurance.
Per the Denver Revised Municipal Code, if an individual wishes to start an Airbnb within the county, he or she must obtain a license to do so by submitting an application. The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses will verify that the location listed is the applicant’s primary residence and that other requirements have been met. This includes checking for noncompliance with city and state laws, such as an owner who does not have adequate insurance or is not adhering to safety requirements.
Denver’s short-term rental rules include requiring a functioning smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher; complying with all applicable city and state laws; and purchasing fire, hazard and liability insurance. Failing to fulfill these responsibilities can result in a hefty fine for the property owner. Airbnb can also face a fine of $1,000 per day that an illegal listing is posted on its website.
In addition to Denver’s requirements for short-term rentals, any property owner who wishes to rent his or her home on Airbnb must follow Colorado’s standard premises liability laws. Premises liability is the legal responsibility that all property owners have to maintain safe premises. Property owners have a legal obligation to check their properties for hazards, repair any discovered defects and warn visitors of possible safety risks.
If a property owner fails to ensure the reasonable safety of a short-term rental, he or she can be held financially responsible (liable) for a victim’s related injuries through a personal injury lawsuit. Since a renter from Airbnb is classified as an invitee, he or she is owed the highest duties of care by the owner of the property. Any lapse in the obligation to maintain a safe, hazard-free environment for the short-term renter could place liability for a related accident or injury with the owner of the premises.
In most cases, a property owner in Colorado will pay for a premises liability accident through his or her insurance coverage, if found liable. This may include a homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. It may also include Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance if the property was being rented out as an Airbnb at the time of the incident. Airbnb offers up to $1 million in primary liability insurance to pay if someone gets hurt or property gets damaged during a rental.
Airbnb’s Host Protection Insurance automatically applies when someone lists a property on Airbnb. If a guest suffers an injury on the owner’s property during a stay, this insurance will help pay for medical bills and other losses related to the bodily injury. Unfortunately, Airbnb may try to avoid liability for guest injuries and deaths to protect its own profitability. The injured victim may require assistance from an personal injury attorney in Denver to obtain fair compensation from the property owner and/or Airbnb after a serious accident.
If you were injured while staying at an Airbnb in Denver, Colorado, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses if the owner of the property was negligent. Negligence refers to the failure to act with a reasonable level of care to prevent injury or harm to others. Proving negligence and recovering compensation from an Airbnb injury claim requires evidence of four elements:
To win an Airbnb injury claim in Denver, there must be evidence showing that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused the injury; for instance, the dangerous condition existed on the property for a long period of time. The host’s failure to remedy the hazard in a timely manner must have caused or significantly contributed to the victim’s accident or injury.
Liability for an Airbnb accident in Denver will depend on the circumstances. Under Colorado’s premises liability laws, it may be possible to hold the owner of the property where the Airbnb accident took place responsible for a visitor’s injury if negligence can be established as more likely to be true than not true. If the location was licensed as a short-term rental in Denver, the property owner may have additional coverage on top of homeowners insurance.
As stated above, Airbnb offers up to $1 million in liability insurance to pay for injuries that occur during a stay. If the owner of the Airbnb was not properly licensed and insured at the time of your injury, however, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the property owner directly, instead. The owner may have other forms of insurance available to pay for your medical bills and losses or be required to pay for your injuries out of pocket.
If you or a loved one has been injured while renting an Airbnb in Denver, Colorado, don’t hesitate to contact the Denver personal injury attorneys at The Fang Law Firm for a free consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your present and future losses. Our lawyers have years of experience in personal injury and premises liability law and know how to pursue maximum compensation. We can thoroughly investigate your Airbnb accident, collect evidence of property owner negligence or fault, and negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf. Call (720) 379-6363 today for a free consultation.