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Lawyer for Sexual Assault in Airbnbs

Incredible legal help for sexual assault survivors

Find the Best Lawyers for Survivors of Sexual Assaults in Airbnbs

Airbnb began in 2007 when two hosts welcomed three guests to their San Francisco home. Today, four million hosts and one million guests all over the world utilize the services of Airbnb. Airbnb’s platform and business model are built on strangers trusting each other. It ensures safety to both the hosts who are renting out their homes and the guests who are staying there. But its platform isn’t foolproof. 

If you or someone you love was sexually assaulted by a host, guest, or another person, while staying at an Airbnb property, contact us for the support you need during this challenging time. We can help answer any questions that you have and help you file a lawsuit to hold the responsible parties accountable for causing you any harm. This wasn’t your fault, and you deserve justice and to be fully compensated.

Potential Risks of an Airbnb

Because Airbnbs are independently owned and have less oversight than hotels, they can potentially put people at more risk. For example, an Airbnb may have unsafe premises – exposing guests to break-ins, unsafe amenities, or hidden cameras. Airbnb guests are also at risk of fake listings or fake reviews and other instances of Airbnb scams. 

Airbnb Safety Policies

Airbnb has safety policies in place that include background checks for hosts, fire safety precautions, and rules for hosts and guests so that the Airbnb experience is transparent and mutually beneficial. Their policy requires hosts to disclose the presence of any security cameras or recording devices but they prohibit guests from having them at all. If a guest damages a host’s property or belongings during a stay and the guest doesn’t reimburse the host, Airbnb has a host guarantee in place – agreeing to pay the host up to $1 million in damage protection. 

How Airbnb Handled Cases Through Secrecy

On New Year’s Eve 2015, a woman was raped at knifepoint by a man who had somehow gotten ahold of keys to her Airbnb apartment in New York City – a duplicate set of keys investigators later found in his backpack. No one could fathom how the attacker had her keys. Airbnb also did not have a policy in place for how hosts exchange keys with guests, which threatened Airbnb’s reputation for safety and questioned whether the company was liable. 

At the time, the story managed to stay out of the media and Airbnb hoped to keep it that way – paying the victim a settlement of $7 million. In exchange, she signed an agreement that said she would not talk about what had happened or blame Airbnb or the host.

During the Bloomberg Business investigation of Airbnb, it interviewed Airbnb’s elite trust-and-safety team members and learned that they were encouraged to settle cases as quickly as they could — to avoid any media exposure. In addition, payouts before 2017 included a nondisclosure agreement, meaning it prevented victims from suing Airbnb or talking about what happened.

According to Bloomberg, Airbnb spent $50 million annually paying out hosts and guests in recent years. This was the price of silence — it protected Airbnb from bearing greater responsibility and pushed survivors further away from seeking the justice they deserved. 

Airbnb’s Updated Policy: Airbnb Can Be Held Liable

On August 13, 2021, Airbnb announced that it was removing its forced arbitration clause — allowing its 150 million users (guests and hosts) to file claims of sexual assault against the company. Since 2011, Airbnb’s 40-page terms of service included a clause that required anyone staying at their platform to settle their disputes through binding arbitration. In other words, when guests signed paperwork and chose to stay at an Airbnb, they were also surrendering their right to sue the company. 

In an arbitration, claims are settled outside of court using a third-party mediator or arbitrator. This means, as a victim, you’re limited not only in the actions you can take — but also in what you can voice and express. Because forced arbitration removes a victim’s right to file a lawsuit against the company after facing an injustice, it more often benefits the company over the victim. 

Even though Airbnb states that it hasn’t enforced the policy since 2019, the update will officially be reflected in its terms of service in the fall.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of an Airbnb Sexual Assault, we can help you get justice

If you were sexually assaulted in an Airbnb, know that what happened to you is not your fault and we believe you. We understand how overwhelming it can feel to speak out and go up against a company like Airbnb, but you do not have to face it alone. The team at HelpForInjuredWomen will match you with some of the best attorneys in the country, all who have an incredible history of obtaining justice for survivors of sexual assault.

Contact us to learn more about your legal options. We are here to support you throughout the process and make sure your voice is always heard.

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