Tourists looking for a peaceful stay often opt for a holiday home or Airbnb property over a hotel.
But a health and safety expert has warned that tourists could be putting themselves at risk by doing so.
The holiday home industry can be unregulated and tourists could end up at an unsafe property.
Nick Higgerson, CEO of Phoenix Health and Safety, said: “Holiday let hosts are not held to the same health & safety legislation as hotels and other places you might expect high standards, such as workplaces. Unfortunately, this means guests aren’t always properly protected when staying at a property that is being rented out by hosts.”
Nick shared his top tips to avoid making a booking mistake and explained exactly what tourists should be looking out for.
Avoid listings with heavily edited images
Holiday let owners are always going to want to show off their property but if they’re using edited images, it could be to conceal some major flaws.
Nick said: “If you come across a listing which looks like it may have had some editing applied but you are keen to still book, be sure to ask the host if they can provide any unedited images first.
“Travellers have been known to report concealed cracks in walls, holes in the floor or other damages around the property which can make for an unsafe stay.”
Potential guests can also check out reviews from previous travellers to see if the property matches up to its pictures.
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Check if the property has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
It’s not a legal requirement for properties to have a carbon monoxide detector but every home should have a smoke alarm on each storey of the building.
Nick said: “Carbon monoxide builds up in a property due to the burning of fuels. Properties that have traditional fireplaces or a wood-burning stove are at a higher risk of causing carbon monoxide poisoning and without detectors, it is a silent killer as it has no smell.
“Check that the listing shares whether or not it has fire alarms and CMD alarms. If not, it’s strongly advised to avoid it so you aren’t putting yourself at any unnecessary risk.”
Airbnb hosts can share if they have a carbon monoxide detector on the property details page for potential customers.
Check if there are security cameras on the property
If the property has external security cameras, Nick says it’s a sign that the host takes safety and security seriously.
Nick said: “Airbnb hosts can list if they have a security camera on the property in the ‘home safety’ section of the description or alternatively it will appear under ‘not included’.”
Some guests have recently complained about hidden interior cameras in their holiday property. Airbnb prohibits hosts from having cameras in private spaces such as the bedroom or bathroom and hosts must indicate if they have cameras in other areas even if it isn’t turned on .
Nick said there’s not much guests can do about this at the booking stage but they should do a quick check of the property for cameras when they arrive.
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