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3 people in a one bathroom apartment


Here’s my apartment situation.

I have a 2 bed, 1 bath apartment with one roommate.

Having 1-2 guests would have 3-4 people to 1 bathroom. I would hypothetically sleep on the couch/livingroom.

Has anyone done a similar arrangement? If so, how has it worked/not worked for you?


No experience in this unusual situation, but some advice if you try it.

Renting out your room while you camp out on the couch, would make me feel awkward as a guest. But luckily everyone is different. I would say so long as you price it cheap enough AND, please don’t minimize what I advise next, explain the situation clearly on your listing, you will attract guests that are ok with sharing the bathroom with you and your flat mate while you sleep on the sofa. You do not need guests arriving and finding the situation awkward because they weren’t warned in advance as this will give you less than great reviews and hamper business. So long as you are up front about the arrangement, including how many people sharing the bathroom, and the fact that you are living in the lounge room, and someone thinks that’s ok, what does it matter what anyone else thinks? Many people share one bathroom with guests and it works fine. That’s not the weird part IMO. Personally I think it’s a terrible idea, but I’m not you or the guests that might like your nice room, cool apartment, or great spot in the city (or whatever good things your apt has going for it).


Hi Alex,

We have a two bedroom house with one bathroom. We usually limit the number of guests to two, but we have made exceptions and allowed three occasionally.

All of Sandy’s points are completely accurate. She’s quite an experienced host so please make the most of getting the benefit of her experience. I completely agree with her that I would feel funny staying someplace where the host was sleeping on the couch.

If you decide to list your apartment on Airbnb, here are recommendations coming from my experience of hosting with one bathroom. You should have a full length mirror and a hair dryer in the bedroom so that your guests don’t apply make up and dry their hair in the bathroom. Also, make sure to work out the bathroom schedules each day with your guests.


Wow! Awesome recommendations EllenN! I am going to get another hair dryer for the 2 bedrooms that share one of the bathrooms in my home. I would never have thought of it! I do have mirrors thankfully and agree about that 100%. I have another thing I do I say ‘please don’t set up shop in the bathroom as it is a shared area’ for the two rooms that have the shared bath. Works great so that people don’t leave their crap everywhere.

Another thing though Alex, the reason I believe this set up works so exceptionally well for EllenN, is because her home is spotless. She has a beautiful gleaming bathroom, everything shines everywhere with a magazine ready kitchen, despite two dogs. Sharing a bathroom that is as clean as EllenN’s would be fine by anyone I’m sure. But if you didn’t have such great standards, the happiness may vary.


Hi Sandy,

You are just the sweetest. I sure appreciate the compliments. If you were here, I’d bake you some muffins to say thank you.

I have to admit that the full length mirrors and hair dryers were suggestions from guests. In Los Angeles the climate is pretty dry so most of us don’t use hair dryers. Once the second Asian guest asked for a hair dryer, we bought one (inexpensive at Target). Regarding the full length mirror, a guest left in the private part of the review that if we added a full length mirror to the room guests could spend less time in the bathroom. Also, we bought an inexpensive plastic tray for the guests to use for their toiletries in the bathroom.

Alex, Sandy is absolutely correct that guests will be distressed if the bathroom and kitchen aren’t VERY clean. From Sandy’s posts, I can tell that she is by nature a very clean person. I used to not worry much about housecleaning. Due to Airbnb that’s changed 180 degrees.


Thanks for the tips Ellen and Sandy, this is great stuff. Another wrinkle would be the fact that that my bedroom also has my closet. This may be trickier than anticipated.


Yes, that’s a big problem, as guests need somewhere to store their clothes, and having someone else’s stuff in the bedroom you paid for is off putting. I stayed in a place like this once, and I really did not like it (although they were not there). It was clear the hosts just moved out while we booked, and we were sleeping in their bed, except they left clothes in the closet and dresser etc. I think having the displaced person actually there would be even more awkward.

Can I ask, do you actually own this apartment? If you do, why don’t you ask your room mate to move out and either move into his room, or use his for guests, if you think airbnb will be more profitable? And if you don’t, you should be aware it is totally illegal, and if you are caught (highly likely given the suitcases) you will be thrown out of this apartment for breaking your sublet clause. Not a great idea.


Hi Alex,

You will need some place for your guests to store their clothes. Also, if you are located somewhere where people stay for work I have found that they need an iron and ironing board. I haven’t ironed in decades, but we had our iron and ironing board stashed in our garage so we put it in the guest room.

If I were you I would seriously consider Sandy’s suggestion about asking your roommate to move out. She’s a quick thinker.

Another bathroom cleaning trip that I haven’t seen addressed on this forum is that it is imperative that you keep separate cleaning supplies for the bathroom. I have dedicated cleansers, gloves and sponges that are stored in the bathroom and only used in the bathroom. I stress this so strongly because if you have a guest with a suppressed immune system who gets sick from cross contamination that person can become seriously ill.


One major piece of advice if guests are using your bath, remove all prescription drugs from the bath. Also remove any sensitive personal items. Even common products might be removed. Guests do not need to see your skin creams or eye drops either. Think about what you might find a bit touchy or uncomfortable to see in a bath and remove it.
Make sure you have enough hooks and/or towel bars to handle the extras needed by the guests. I do have a bath that is sometimes shared by guests in different rooms, so I provide bathrobes for these guests.
Fortunately, I do not need to share my own bath with guests, but I have several Airbnb host friends who do and they say it works fine if your schedules do not conflict. If you have to be at work at a certain time and that coincides with when the guests need to also be getting to a conference, for example, it can be awkward.


Hi Alex! We often have many people sharing one bath (but just for showering) and it has been surprisingly easy. Fortunately a lot of people from other countries ((I’m in the states) don’t shower every day. I think that can be the easy part, especially depending on your schedules. You may have to become flexible as to when you shower and shave.

I’ve found it awkward having people sleeping in my bedroom (where my clothes were) even when they were family!! I don’t recommend this situation.

However, I’ve been busy with guests all summer (since June) and I don’t think anyone has ever put their stuff in the closet in the bedroom.

However, I have personally requested to book places that were just a place to sleep in the living room and was fine with it - I really just needed a place to crash on a budget.

Would you consider arranging your living room so the guest can stay there? A sleeper sofa or an airbed that can be set up when you have guests? Make space for the guest’s suitcases, and offer a continental breakfast or other amenity. Go to a discount place and find a nice bedding set that will add a touch of class for a little money. Purchase some nice bottles of water, candies, or something else to greet them when they check in - whatever you can find to add a little value and surprise your guests to help the visit start off right - if every body’s happy at check-in, chances are good they’ll be happy at check out. Put lots of photos on your listing so they know exactly what they are getting. Don’t put a ton of money into all that - just find one thing that will make your place shine. I assume you have to haul your laundry somewhere, so you’ll need extra sets of sheets for back-to-back guests, or, always leave space between them for getting the cleaning & laundry done.

If you try this arrangement it may be wise to limit the number of days a guest can stay. Also block out days between guests until you feel comfortable with how it’s working for you AND your flat mate.

Depending on your location and other amenities it may be the perfect crashing place for those on a budget.

HOWEVER! First! Do a lot of research as to what’s available and at what price in your area. If people are getting $75 for a private room, how much can you get for a place to crash on the couch? How much profit will make the extra work and hassle worth it to you? Do you have time to learn a new business and just want to make a little change and meet new people? Find out about sales and occupancy taxes - you can just call the local hotel and ask what the taxes are - and figure out how you will collect them - in cash when the guest arrives, or roll it into the price? Do you have renters insurance? Running a business from your home will have an effect on your coverage. What are the laws of your building? Believe it or not, this is a business. Anytime you accept money for something a whole new universe is opened up to you…

Good luck, Alex! We’ve had a blast with airbnb and have met very nice people from Asia, Europe, Russia, Australia, and more. But it is a lot of work, especially at first. It’s also thrilling when bookings happen and then depressing when they don’t. It’s a wave to ride, for sure.


This is all great info. I’ll be holding off on renting my room out. It seems like I won’t be able to make the money I want while giving guests a good living situation.


I hope it comes together for you soon, Alex

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