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Vacation Rental Safety Expert Witness: When to Use One

vacation rental safety Oct 05, 2023

In the constantly evolving world of vacation rentals, it’s easier than ever to become a vacation rental owner. From Airbnb to VRBO, marketing and owning a vacation rental property no longer requires an expensive property management company. But while the extra income it provides may be nice, owning a vacation rental comes with its own unique set of risks.

From natural disasters to plumbing mishaps, you might have done your routine safety checks, but unforeseen circumstances can sometimes lead to disputes, legal proceedings, or insurance claims. When you come face to face with one of these issues, you may need a qualified expert witness by your side.

At Safer VRS, we’re proud to offer Expert Witness testimony in vacation / short term property lawsuits. With over 30 years of experience working in the Health, Safety, Environmental and Loss Prevention industry, we can provide expertise on many aspects of a case. Additionally, we have extensive real estate experience, which means we understand the unique perspective of property owners, managers, and investors.

To help you determine when and why you might need our services, let’s discuss what you need to know about using Vacation / Short Term Rental Expert Witnesses, including exactly what an expert witness is, why you may need one, and exactly how they can make a difference in the outcome of a trial.


What is an Expert Witness?

An experienced vacation rental expert can offer an unbiased and professional opinion that can make or break your legal case should an unexpected problem arise.

This expert witness is a recognized and vetted professional with specialized knowledge, experience, and expertise in a particular field relevant to a legal case.

What do they do? An expert witness is contacted and retained by an attorney to opine, or address a set of questions relative to the case through deposition or to appear in court to testify as an expert to provide their opinion, analysis, and interpretation of facts and evidence.

The expert witness will be either requested to provide a written report meeting the judicial requirement for expert witness, or may be retained to provide insight and specific information on a particular topic for the attorney. Their testimony as seasoned vacation industry professionals offers valuable insights and opinions in cases involving property management, rental agreements, safety, loss prevention and related matters.


An Expert Witness vs. a Fact Witness

When you think of a witness giving testimony in a trial, you probably first picture someone giving a first-hand account of events related to the case. A fact witness gives this type of testimony.

An expert witness provides a different type of testimony. In the case of a vacation rental safety expert, their specialized knowledge helps provide analysis and interpretation based on their extensive experience in the vacation rental industry and in safety, fire protection and prevention.


Why You May Need a Vacation Rental Safety Expert Witness

From slips, trips and falls to fires or serious injuries occurring in or around your property, there are many unfortunate circumstances that can make legal action necessary.

Generally, suits brought against you by a guest may regard personal injury or illness cases or situations where a guest has been, or perceived to have been put in a potentially dangerous situation. You may have to file a claim against someone who stayed in your rental and caused property damages.

Occasionally, rental owners find themselves involved in suits regarding compliance issues in regard to safety, building codes or fire protection code.. Lawsuits can also be the result of insurance claims and suits.

No matter what the reason is, one thing is certain. You’re going to want an expert on your side.

Hiring a Vacation Rental Safety Expert Witness can strengthen your case with the insight only an experienced industry professional can provide. Obtaining one quickly is your best defense against protecting precious rental revenue.


Expertise a Vacation Rental Safety Expert Witness can Provide

Experience in Property Management and Rental Operations

A Vacation Rental Expert Witness offers the advantage of having hands-on experience in the vacation rental industry. This can come from being a vacation rental property owner themselves, or from experience in property management and rental operations.

Knowing the logistics of vacation rental ownership equips an expert witness with an understanding that the general population does not have. They are familiar with the ins and outs of maintenance, booking procedures like check-in, and guest relations. Should a dispute arise about your cancellation policy for your AirBnb rental, you’ll find the experience of a seasoned industry professional invaluable.


Knowledge of Industry Standards, Regulations and Best Practices

Having an expert witness who follows current industry best practices and is familiar with industry standards can prove extremely helpful in a lawsuit. An expert’s knowledge of things like local rental regulations, safety requirements and fire and life safety codes can also prove to be priceless.


Ability to Evaluate Property Standards and Practices

A good expert witness has a deep understanding of the loss prevention aspect of rental ownership. They can testify whether a property meets industry-standard safety and quality requirements. This testimony can be crucial in cases involving property damage, personal injury claims, or disputes related to the rental property’s condition.


Analyzing Rental Agreements and Contracts

Legal contracts and rental agreements can be complicated. An expert witness can review these documents to determine whether they adhere to legal standards and best practices. In doing so, they may be able to uncover any clauses or terms that may be unfair, ambiguous, or in violation of applicable laws.


Benefits of Hiring a Vacation Rental Expert Witness

Having an industry expert can make a huge difference in the outcome of a suit. Being able to provide knowledgeable and credible testimony strengthens your case. It is also possible that an expert witness can come in and find the basis for your case is not valid from a technical standpoint and could save you and your attorney a considerable amount of time and money.

An expert with lengthy rental property management and safety experience will be able to recognize the steps you’ve taken, or not taken, to ensure your property is safe and up to date on all regulations governing it, and any industry best practices, which may not be regulatory.

An expert's ability to analyze relevant information and provide opinions formed from experience also means they may be able to discover something that would’ve otherwise been missed.

An expert can also help by clarifying confusing vacation rental safety and loss prevention concepts for the court. Misunderstandings can determine the outcome of a trial, so it is essential to be able to break down complex topics for those not familiar with the vacation rental industry. A good expert witness can make complex topics simple for the court and jurors.


When you Need an Expert, Safer VRs is There

While we can take all the necessary steps and precautions to ensure our property complies with rules and regulations, life happens, and sometimes that includes accidents or events where the controls we put in place did not work, or did not function as needed.

When you’re met with the misfortune of a lawsuit, hiring a vacation rental safety expert witness can be one of the deciding factors in winning or losing a trial.

This insight allows them to offer you an expert testimony from my perspective as both a safety and loss prevention expert and a seasoned property owner and manager. I can deliver this in a way jurors understand, simplifying a complicated process and allowing them to see the facts of your case clearly.

While we hope you never need these services, we’re here to help if you do. Contact us or go directly to our Expert Witness Testimonial Services so we can work together to build a testimony that will support your case.


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Don’t rely on copy and paste answers. Your properties and guests deserve personalized attention to ensure your going above and beyond in your safety measures. In this call, we’ll discuss your concerns, establish solutions, and learn how you can mitigate risks.

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