Your Very Detailed Guide to Safely Staying in a Rental House
What to know, what to disinfect, and whether it’s okay to swim in the pool
With travelers clearly still wary of hotels — in April, bookings were down by a staggering 85% compared to last year — many are instead considering (or already planning) a stay in a home rental property this summer.
Eleanor Murray, ScD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Boston University’s School of Public Health, agrees that a rental house can be a good way to take a vacation in the next few months. Unlike hotels where you will naturally come into contact with more people (cleaning staff, other guests, and so on), she says staying in a place where it’s just you and your chosen unit could be safer. “When you get there you can make sure everything is sanitized to a level that you’re comfortable with, and then it would be just like your house,” she says.
Still, there are a few issues you’ll need to navigate to ensure a safe stay. Here’s what to know.
How home-sharing companies are responding to Covid-19
Last month, Airbnb announced plans to launch an “Enhanced Cleaning Initiative” in May (it’s not up yet, but an Airbnb spokesperson confirms it’s on track to launch this month). The new protocol offers hosts Covid-19–specific cleaning guidelines informed by the CDC and other health experts like Vivek Murthy, MD, the former surgeon general of the United States. Hosts will receive training on important cleaning and sanitation practices, like how to properly use personal protective equipment while cleaning a home (like wearing a mask and gloves) and what disinfectants are EPA-compliant. The initiative will also require hosts to leave a 24-hour window between bookings to minimize the risk of airborne particles in the space.
If a host does not commit to completing the training for the heightened cleaning protocol, they can still opt in to something called “Booking Buffer,” which includes a 72-hour vacancy period between guest stays. Hosts can also opt out of participating in either of these new precautions, so be aware that neither of these are mandatory. Check the listing page to be sure.