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Rent and relax: How to protect your vacation rental


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This story is featured in Property Portfolio, Inman’s new free weekly newsletter. Every Tuesday, we’ll explore the overlapping worlds of real estate professionals and the fast-growing property investment and management sector. Sign up to receive Property Portfolio here.

Imagine going on vacation and making money while you’re lying on the beach. Thanks to the growing house rental market, that fantasy can be a reality when you rent out your own home while you’re away. However, in order to chill on that beach without a care in the world, it’s important to have the right safety and security measures in place back home.

Your house is likely your largest asset, so if you’re going to rent it to strangers, it pays to invest in security. A good security plan and system should protect your home, the items in it and the people renting it. Here are a few factors to keep in mind before renting your home out to strangers.

Screen Your Guests

Prevention is the best medicine, so picking the right guests for your house is key. Social networks make it very easy to do a little digging into perspective guests, as do the reviews hosts make on their guests. Check out both to get a sense of any prospective guest. 


While most home-sharing platforms offer some level of insurance, do not rely on that to cover all possible worst-case scenarios. Talk with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage and that said coverage is in force when renting out your primary home. 

Security System

A quality security system is a must-have for anyone considering renting his or her house. Many companies offer a wide range of solutions for any type of property and budget. Whatever system you select, make sure it is in line with Airbnb and VRBO’s security guidelines and disclose to your guest if you are using security cameras inside the house. Security solutions are available to monitor the outside perimeter of your property and the indoor living space. A security system with home automation will allow you to monitor your house via your mobile devices, as well as perform certain functions like turning lights on and off, controlling the heating and most importantly, locking the doors. With that function, you can avoid needing to meet your guests on-premise. A strong security system can be a marketing tool, providing an extra layer of safety for your guests.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset:Credit: Jan Kickinger / EyeEm, Getty Images

Sound Sensors

Guests holding wild parties tends to be a fear for many who rent out their homes. A simple sound sensor can alert you if your house might be turning into a nightclub. The device doesn’t record your guests, but can alert you of decibel spikes that could indicate a large number of people or loud music at your house.

Cyber Security

Standard routers allow anyone to trace an IP number directly back to the computer it came from. If you rent your house, it’s a good idea to use a VPN router for the simple fact that you don’t know what your guests might do online.  A VPN masks your IP address. The last thing you’d want is to return home and have to answer, and potentially be liable, for something illegal your guest might have done online. 

Extra Guests

Nearly all hosts set a limit on the number of people who can stay at their home. With a network security tool like Fingbox you can see how many phones are connected to your WiFi, which can be a good indication of how many people are actually staying in your house. It can also detect unconnected devices, which can be used to gauge if a large party is happening in your home. 

The Takeaway

By implementing strong security measures in your home, you can get peace of mind and the money to pay for all your vacation fun.

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