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Department of Engineering Health & Safety


As of June 2016, University guidance states that certain forms of unregulated accommodation (e.g. Airbnb or similar) should not be used for University work purposes, due to the lack of health and safety regulation of the accommodation and other inherent risks.

In a limited number of circumstances there may not be an alternative to Airbnb (or similar) accommodation within easy public transport or taxi distance. If this is the case, the risks associated with such accommodation can be reduced by risk assessment (see below), which should be undertaken and approved by your Head of Division prior to making any booking.

Pre-approval is a requirement for any valid expense claim in this regard.

If using Airbnb or similar accommodation, personal property and financial loss due to cancellation will not be covered under the University of Cambridge Travel Insurance Policy and therefore individuals should decide if they wish to put in place their own insurance cover prior in this regard.

Use of Unregulated Accommodation – Risk Assessment Checklist

Anyone planning to use unregulated accommodation against the advice of the University of Cambridge should consider:

  • Will you be travelling as part of a group? 
  • Will your group be the sole occupiers of the property?
  • Does the property have two final exits to safety and are these clear?
  • Are smoke detectors (plus carbon monoxide alarm if applicable) and a fire extinguisher/fire blanket present?
  • Is the property, and access to the property, well maintained?
  • Can a responsible person at the host organisation vouch for the property and/or the neighbourhood?

If the answer is no or unknown to any of these questions then the accommodation should not be used.

Safety Office Contact Details



Inglis Building

Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1PZ


Gary Steele

Department Safety Officer (DSO)

Departmental Fire Safety Manager (DFSM)

Tel: 01223 (3)32740


Steve Wickens

Department Safety Coordinator

Tel: 01223 (7)61455