Airbnb allows individuals the ability to rent homes or property from people listing them for short periods of time. Sadly, with the increased populartiy of Airbnb, the number of sexual assault incidents occuring in such rentals has also risen. When a sexual assault occurs in an Airbnb setting, it can be a traumatic and harrowing experience for the survivor.
A Bloomberg report states that the Airbnb company faces thousands of sexual assault claims every year from guests staying at rental properties. Additionally, the company has used various means to try and cover up such claims, including the use of non-disclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration.
One of the most significant claims included a $7 million payout to a woman who was sexually assaulted at an Airbnb rental. The claim involved an agreement not to talk about the settlement or “imply responsibility” on the part of the host or Airbnb.
There may be several legal issues that arise for sexual assaults that happen in an Airbnb setting, and which must be addressed through legal action. At The Pride Law Firm, our attorneys are here to make sure that you receive the proper guidance and care after such an incident, and that you are afforded the appropriate remedy under the law.
If you or a loved one were sexually assaulted at an Airbnb, you have the right to pursue justice. Get in touch with us at 619-516-8166 to learn more about your legal rights and options.
As one of the preeminent sexual assault law firms in California and in the nation, we recognize the dangers inherent in Airbnb rentals. We intend to lead the litigation for these types of cases.
Thousands of sexual assault allegations are made each year to Airbnb without public knowledge. As a civil law firm that specializes in helping survivors of sexual assault, we are appalled by story after story of survivors who have been sexually assaulted at properties hosted by Airbnb for at least a decade. Investigative reporter, Olivia Carville, has exposed this in her report in Bloomberg: Airbnb is Spending Millions of Dollars to Make Nightmares Go Away.
According to the report, in 2011, two girls were plied with alcohol by their host and then raped. In 2015, on New Year’s Eve, a woman returned from celebrating and was raped by a man who had obtained a copy of the keys and was waiting for her. Airbnb doesn’t have a policy for how hosts exchange keys with guests, which poses a risk. Our Survivor Advocate reached out to the reporter to understand the magnitude of this problem. We are investigating and gathering documentation to determine if we can work with legislators to pass laws that create safer spaces and policies.
If you have been sexually assaulted while at a property hosted on Airbnb and have questions about what your legal options are, trust your experience to a law firm that is trauma-informed and works with survivors of sexual assault every day. We are here to answer your questions without any obligations.
While no amount of monetary compensation can fully undo the trauma of a sexual assault, a damages award can help set the survivor on a path where they receive the necessary treatment and resources for a full recovery. A damages award can cover:
Besides these damages, filing a lawsuit can help uncover similar instances of abuse and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions. This is especially important in Airbnb claims, where previous cases have been denied review by a court of law.
Broadly speaking, sexual assault includes any act in which a person is coerced or physically forced to engage in sexual activity agtainst their will. Basically, it involves any type of sexual contact or behavior without the other person’s consent. It can come in the form of:
Sexual assault can happen in many different settings, including at home, at school, or at work. When it occurs in an Airbnb, it is known as “Airbnb sexual assault.” Just like any type of sexual assault, Airbnb sexual assaults can involve various types of unwanted contact, including child sexual abuse, sexual assaults on males, and other forms of harm.
When sexual assault occurs in an Airbnb context, it can also involve a number of different actors and behaviors that are highly specific to that type of setting, which are discussed below.
Airbnb rentals present distinct safety risks when it comes to the security and well-being of those renting. Potential concerns can include:
A large number of Airbnb sexual assaults are committed by the rental hosts themselves. They may be present on the same premises during the rental stay, and may commit the assault during that time. Or, they may leave and then come back with the intention of sexually assaulting a rental guest.
Airbnb company policies involve screening hosts for criminal records and convictions; however, even such background checks will not always prevent a host from sexually assaulting a guest. Besides more obvious physical assaults of a sexual nature, you should know that hosts are not permitted to:
Airbnbs generally do not have the same security measures as hotels or other formal rental arrangements. As such, trespassers can gain entry into the rental property, where they may commit an assault. Many Airbnb rentals are located in areas of high foot traffic or exposure.
Also, the transfer of keys from the host to guests is a main safety consideration that is overlooked. Hosts may sometimes just leave a key in a place where anyone can access them, such as on top of a door post or underneath a mat. They may also leave them with a third party where anyone can obtain them without identification.
Airbnb sexual assaults are often carried out by another guest who may be staying in the same place. In many, many instances, this can be a friend, family member, or close acquaintance of the survivor. Illegal Airbnb parties also elevate the level of danger when it comes to sexual assault of guests on the property.
In most instances, you may be able to bring legal action against the party that directly assaulted you. As mentioned, this can include the host, other guests, visitors, or even trespassers on the property.
Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to sue Airbnb if there are certain liability issues involved in the claim. For instance, you may need an Airbnb sexual assault lawyer if:
Again, part of the problem surrounding Airbnb sexual assault claims has been the company’s previous attempts to sweep incidents under the rug. While it can be difficult for survivors to come forward, initiating legal action is a powerful way that abusive companies can be held liable for their shortcomings.
Until 2017, every person who signed an agreement with Airbnb regarding sexual assault instances was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. These agreements would prevent people from:
As a result of such agreements, many survivor’s stories and claims have gone unreported. These agreements also prevented Airbnb guests and hosts from suing the company in court, where records are made available to the public. Instead, survivors were forced to bring disputes through arbitrations that are often funded by the company, and where the proceedings are kept out of the public light.
After the #MeToo movement exposed how non-disclosure agreements are used to protect abusive companies, Airbnb allegedly replaced such agreements with a clause stating that “recipients can’t discuss the terms of their settlement or imply that it’s an admission of wrongdoing.”
However, even with these “adjustments,” such restrictive clauses are still damaging for the survivor. Part of the trauma of sexual assault is not only the incident, but the way it is processed.
If a person is being silenced and told that they can’t discuss the case or mention it publicly, that is an additional burden for the survivor to bear. Underreporting is already a major concern with sexual assault cases, and every story matters when it comes to sexual assault survivors.
Any type of sexual assault claim is going to be complex, challenging, and filled with highly charged emotions. Such cases require an attorney who not only knows the law surrounding assaults, but is sensitive to the needs and requirements of survivors going through the legal process.
In particular, a sexual assault that happened at an Airbnb in an unfamiliar setting can be particularly traumatizing for the survivor to deal with. At The Pride Law Firm, our aim is to devote our full attention to our clients and aggressively pursue justice to hold the perpetrators accountable.
If you or a loved one need legal representation and guidance, contact us at 619-516-8166 for a free, no-obligation consultation. All of our communications are held strictly confidential and conducted in a way that is reassuring and comforting for the survivor.
If you were assaulted at an Airbnb, the first thing to do is to get to safety. Make sure you are in a secure place, and contact a loved one who can be there for you. Contact local authorities and seek medical attention immediately. If needed, call a hotline for advice or if you need someone to talk to.
Be sure to preserve records of your stay at the Airbnb, including any emails or information contained in an app. Consider contacting an attorney, who can advise you on what steps to take next.
Airbnb’s main insurance protection for guests is called the “Host Protection Insurance Program.” However, the program only covers accidental incidents, meaning that sexual assaults are not covered.
Upon learning this, many people automatically conclude that a lack of coverage for sexual assaults means you can’t take legal action against Airbnb. However, this is not true, and an experienced attorney can help guide you toward the appropriate legal remedy for your case.
It is to your advantage to contact a lawyer and file a legal claim as soon as possible after the incident. This will help to ensure important evidence is still available and preserved for the upcoming legal proceedings.
Also, a statute of limitations (filing deadlines) may apply; if you miss your window for filing a case, it could be too late and you won’t be able to pursue legal damages.
After an assault, it can be a confusing and challenging time. You may not know where to begin, and you may even experience fear or apprehension regarding speaking about your case.
A lawyer who has experience in handling such claims will be able to help you begin the first steps you need to take for recovery. They can inform you of your rights, and will do all the work needed for you so you don’t have to worry about procedural details or requirements.
At The Pride Law Firm, we also have a full-time Survivor Advocate on staff to help you with whatever resources or care you need during the process.