Should holiday homeowners take out public liability insurance?

by Mina Martin 04 Nov 2016

Should holiday homeowners take out public liability insurance?

Brokers who have holiday home owners and Airbnb operators among their clients should include the benefits of having public liability insurance in their advice since they can now be held liable for injuries to guests.

Worksafe has confirmed that like regular landlords, holiday homeowners and Airbnb operators renting out their properties are also subject to the Health and Safety Act, and can thus be held responsible if their guests get injured as a result of poor maintenance, according to a Fairfax Media report.

Gordon MacDonald, Worksafe CEO, said renters should manage risks and carry out ‘reasonably practicable’ steps to ensure the safety of their guests. This meant ensuring that the property and any recreational equipment offered to guests were well-maintained; and providing them with safety gear such as cycle helmets and life jackets, the report said.

MacDonald clarified, however, that the renters’ liability in the event of an accident was also limited by their level of control over their guests.

"If they choose to ride the bike inappropriately or take risks and don't follow the usual road rules, you have no responsibility for that," he told Fairfax.

Two entities that had taken concrete steps to protect themselves against such liability were Bookabach and the Bed and Breakfast Association New Zealand (BBANZ).

Bookabach​ had recently obtained public liability insurance to cover all owners who used the booking website.

"Some of the savvier bach owners might have their own public liability insurance, but because of the Mum and Dad operator side the business, we decided to seek a policy that covered everyone," said Bookabach GM Peter Miles.

Miles said he was getting legal advice on owners’ responsibilities regarding recreational equipment for guests.

BBANZ, on the other hand, has told its members to acquire at least $1 million in public liability insurance and recommended they have $2 million worth.
BBANZ president Kathryn Officer said holiday homeowners renting out their properties would be well advised to consider it, too.


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