Opening up your home to holidaymakers using short-term accommodation sites can be extremely lucrative at any time of year, with reports that the short-term rental industry grew a staggering 47% in 2019.  However, there are risks when it comes to managing vacation rentals. In addition to the damage guests could potentially cause at the property, the chance of items being stolen or guests cutting keys for unauthorised access at a later date should not be taken lightly.

While some sites help to minimise the risks by encouraging guest reviews or offering host protection insurance, there are a number of other things you can do to help safeguard a rental property, such as installing a security alarm system and using smart locks. These security measures should be of particular priority for properties that are often empty outside peak periods, or those in remote locations not seen by passing neighbourhood traffic.

ADT Security’s Darryn Bull takes a closer look at the potential security risks impacting holiday homes, including protocols around the use of cameras, explaining what homeowners can do to protect their holiday rentals during both peak and off-peak seasons.

Guest reviews

Most holiday rental sites allow guests and hosts to review one another after a reservation is complete. This helps owners considering a booking, to make an informed decision about whether they should accept the booking. Remember, if you’re renting out your property, it’s a good idea to check if an applicant has received any reviews before you accept their booking. If another host has had a bad experience with that guest, chances are they will have written a review to warn others.

Security Deposits

As an additional measure to protect your home against damage, homeowners should consider adding a security deposit to their listing. Most holiday homes and hotels ask their guests to pay a security deposit before their stay, which is refunded in full shortly after their departure. This means that should a holidaymaker damage anything during their stay, the owner isn’t out of pocket and doesn’t have to worry about chasing money retrospectively.

Keyless access

While most people staying in holiday accommodation have good intentions, it’s important to remember that you’re letting complete strangers into your home. With this in mind, always communicate directly through the rental site, via their website or mobile app, rather than providing them with your personal phone details. It’s also wise to avoid giving guests a set of keys that can be copied. The best option to avoid keys is installing a keyless lock, such as the Keyless Z-Wave Deadbolt available on ADT Security’s online store. This smart lock combines a highly secure lockset with an electronic interactive touchscreen allowing users to access and control their home easily through the ADT interactive app. Each time new guests arrive, you can quickly and easily set a new pin code, giving them entry to your home without the need for keys, or to meet them in person. Then, once the guest checks out, the pin can be deleted remotely so they cannot re-enter the premises.

Monitored security systems

Holiday home occupancy rates can fluctuate wildly depending on the property’s location; most holiday rentals experience a lull in bookings, leaving the rental vacant for weeks at a time. To help secure the home during the off-season, while also providing additional safety for guests during their stay, consider a professionally installed and monitored security system. ADT Security offers protection 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If the alarm is triggered, owners will receive an immediate alert. If required, ADT can arrange for a patrol car to visit the property to assess the situation.

Security cameras

For owners who may be considering installing CCTV or other surveillance devices to keep an eye on their property, it is important to remember there are rules around personal privacy that must be respected.  If you’re a short-term rental host with cameras located in or outside the property, the devices must be clearly disclosed to guests at the time of booking and are prohibited in certain private spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms, regardless of whether they have been disclosed.  ADT Security’s CCTV systems are easy to operate remotely and can record up to 30 days of footage or more if set to motion-activated mode, making them ideal for holiday rentals.

With these security measures top of mind, your holiday home will be well protected, and your guests will feel safe and secure, too.