Homeowners seeking extra income may consider turning to short-term rentals to turn unused space into cash. Property owners invest significant amounts of time and money into these spaces. As such, they want to protect their investments from harm.

Whether for peace of mind or insurance purposes, planting a security camera in an Airbnb may seem like a smart idea. However, the best intentions could turn sour if a host fails to comply with Airbnb regulations or state recording laws.

What does Airbnb have to say?

Airbnb’s host rules do not prohibit the general use of security cameras or recording devices. They do, however, pose instructions for how to treat these devices.

Hosts must mention the presence of recording devices in the House Rules provided to all guests on the booking website. Airbnb rules specify that hosts have to notify guests even if the devices are not hooked up. If the devices are on and recording, the hosts have to provide that information as well.

Airbnb does prohibit the use of cameras in private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms without exception. A guest can cancel their booking and get a refund if the host fails to mention the devices before the guests book.

Airbnb considers all of the following “surveillance devices:”

  • WiFi cameras
  • Nanny cams
  • Web cams
  • Baby monitors
  • Security cameras
  • Smartphones

Why does this matter?

In 2019, Business Insider reported that Airbnb hosts recorded guests and uploaded images and videos to several Facebook groups. Hosts used these groups to identify problematic guests. Many of the posts included detailed personal information about the guests, which is a violation of Airbnb’s community standards. Airbnb has a team of experts devoted to reviewing standards violations and dictating penalties.