Hi everyone! Here’s my situation…I’m a new host and have only had 2 reservations, so far, and both had several Airbnb stays prior to mine. Today, I received a request for a full month’s stay, which is exciting, but this potential guest doesn’t have a history with Airbnb. I sent a pre-approval and am waiting to hear back. Anything I should know while I wait? I love all the experienced advice!
I wouldn’t have pre-approved without dialoguing with the guest first.
And you said they sent a Request. But Pre-approve isn’t an option on a Request. Do you understand the difference between a Request and an Inquiry?
An Inquiry only requires responding by message within 24 hrs. It isn’t necessary to either pre-approve nor decline.
A Request requires that you either Accept or Decline within 24 hrs, but you can use the time to dialogue with guests before deciding whether to accept or not.
On an Inquiry, if you pre-approve, the guest can go on to book without ever answering the message you sent them, so never pre-approve while you are waiting for a response to questions you might have posed.
As a homeshare host, I don’t use Instant Book, as I want a chance to communicate with guests before deciding whether to accept. If I see that the guest has multiple great reviews and has sent an informative, nice message along with their request or inquiry, and it’s clear that they have read through all the information in my listing ad, I will often go ahead and accept or pre-approve without feeling the need to communicate first or ask them any questions. But if they are new, don’t have reviews, send an initial message that just says, “Arriving at noon”, before I have even accepted, or raise some kind of red flags, I want to communicate first to see if I feel comfortable accepting them.
And a newbie with no reviews asking for a month long booking is not something I would accept, especially as a new host.
The full-month stay means that almost certainly under your local law the guest will not be a guest but a tenant, subject to the landlord-tenant laws in your area.
That can have many consequences, including the likelihood that if the tenant overstays that you can remove them only through a court-ordered eviction, which can be costly and take a long time (think potentially many months).
If you had asked me (others here might have a different opinion – and the attractiveness/unattractiveness of a tenancy depends in part on the laws of your state [they’re really onerous here in MA]) I would have suggested, IF accepting:
– A back ground check prior to accepting,
– A security deposit of at least one month’s rent [that might be all you could charge in some states; also note that in many states that security deposit needs to be deposited in a separate bank account for that purpose with notice to the tenant and sometimes any interest payable to the tenant.
– A signed written lease (transmitted via DocuSign as an example), ideally one crafted by a real estate lawyer but often landlords will use a form found on the internet that they modify. Others here might have suggestions on contingencies to consider in crafting that lease or you can look at other sites where tenancies are offered to see what terms those landlords require and consider whether those are best practices for you to adopt/modify,
– Hosts here differ on whether the landlord would require a housecleaning after two weeks as an additional charge to the tenant. The rationale for such a cleaning is an opportunity to observe how well the property is being treated.
– In my opinion there’s a lot to consider and do before accepting a tenancy.
– If this would-be tenant offers a check or cash, think ‘scammer’ and flag the message as a violation. You can only accept payments on the platform. Also beware if the would-be tenant wants to meet.
I’m perhaps more conservative than the average Host and would want to have all this considered and my procedures developed well before I accept a tenancy, rather than develop this in a rush for this tenant. But that’s me.
If it were me I would not accept this rental, and would withdraw any approval before acceptance by the tenant. I would think you could still do that. I would limit rentals to the maximum number of days before it would become a tenancy; often this is about 28 or so days. You can do this in one of the settings within Airbnb.
Please don’t rely just on my two cents as other more experienced landlords and Hosts might have a different opinion for you to consider.
You don’t want a long stay as a new host. You want a lot of short stays at first to build up a lot of reviews.
I’d suggest a new host setting a one or two week maximum booking length.
Be careful of squatters. I’m in the USA and the max days allowed for my listing is 28 days. Otherwise, they would have squatter rights. If you can see their full name and state on their reservation, do a quick google search for that person.
Actually, I did interact with the potential guest. She is trying to find a place for her mom and dad, who just had double lung surgery and needs to stay in town until the hospital allows them to return home. This correspondence all took place on the Airbnb site. Also, the send approval/decline highlighted in red, didn’t appear to be an option, rather a necessity. I do have 24 hours to reverse my approval without repercussions, fortunately. Lastly, I believe 28 days is the maximum considered ST, so it sounds like that’s what I should approve for. Lesson learned but no harm done! That’s why I jumped on here in a timely fashion. Thanks so much for the clarification and advice from everyone!!
The options you will see:
Inquiry: Pre-approve or Decline
Request: Accept or Decline
You won’t see the option to just reply to the guest’s message on an Inquiry, but you still can simply reply within the24 hrs, without pre-approving or declining. The inquiry will just expire after 24 hrs, with no penalties to you.
You will get prodding messages from Airbnb to pre-approve or decline, but you can safely ignore those.
You have 24 hrs to reverse the pre-approval IF a guest has not gone on to book and had their booking confirmed.
Also, this is a third party booking, which you should not normally accept. The person who books should be among the guests who will be staying.
The wife of the man who had the surgery should really set up her own account and book it herself. That said, some hosts might feel okay about this booking (for 28 days or less) if the wife wasn’t tech savvy and would have a lot of trouble setting up an account while distracted by her husband’s condition.
“Swatter” rights? I’d assume that was a typo, but you wrote it twice. It’s “squatter”.
Muddy, you asked the right question…it was an inquiry, not request. Thank you
I don’t know why you think this is exciting. As a beginner, you should be taking the shortest stays you can, even one nighters.
No one truly knows how long the new host boost lasts but it is at least a month. During that month you could potentially have twenty or more reviews under your belt.
As others have said, a stay of that length gives the guest tenants’ rights in most places.
Long term guests tend to see the place as ‘theirs’ and can do the craziest things. A neighbour had a one month guest who painted the bedroom walls and furniture in dark green and brown.
You’ll also need to supply the guest with fresh towels regularly, clean bedding and preferably a weekly clean, especially the latter.
I’m so pleased that you found us and that the forum was helpful - don’t hesitate to ask again.
Prodding, is the right way to describe it! Anyway, I know now to ignore. Also, I understand about third party bookings, so I can also ask that she have her mother book instead. Sometimes older folks need a little assistance, especially in this case, while “mom” has her plate full with her husband, I’m sure. I’m speaking for myself, as well, since I often ask my 21 year old for tech. advice, lol
I know when starting out and even later in my first STR I would never have accepted someone for a month. Too many things to go wrong, get more short stays under your belt.
Also, if they are annoying people then I can live with that for a few days because I know that they’ll be gone very soon.
I think new hosts find a long booking exciting because they see it as having a full month booked at one go, without realizing all the pitfalls.
And I started out with a 2 week maximum and have stayed with that, for exactly the reason Zillicop stated. If it was a repeat guest Iiked, I would make an exception.
My first and second STR, 1 week was the max. Both guest’s quarters were a separate part of my house. A week was still too long.
Yes, it’s ideal that the mother book – and might be important for AirCover, though many would call into the question the value of Air Cover it seems prudent to do what you can to make sure you have a chance at recovery there should something happen.
You might also think about a communication strategy here, of texting (with permission) the daughter on messages sent on the platform to the mother and father. OR, perhaps as a practical matter, the daughter will have access to the mother’s Airbnb account (ask). You might suggest that both download the Airbnb app and enable notifications.
I agree with others that as new Host you want more rather than longer listings. Especially because the boost that new Hosts get in search results last just for a month (I think) but maybe you’re almost past that.
On the other hand this appears to be a do-good opportunity, gives you 28 days of income, and feels (to me) ‘safe’ plus you’re limiting to 28 days.
You might want to check this out; maybe others know more about it, but would seem to benefit this guest more than you,
I found this exciting because I’ve been “live” for almost 2 months and haven’t had any inquiries since my first two reservations at the onset. I also search my listing regularly and I believe my “boost” in the position lasted less than a month. I routinely tweak things in order to rise in the algorithm ( this market is fairly saturated ) so any interest excites me. I do have 3 future reservations but they are months away ( September, November and May of 2024 ) I’m patient but also looking forward to a more consistent type of hosting. I will, however, try to contain myself I know how important reviews are, but without any bookings, it’s a catch 22. Also, we are in a slow period here in North Central Florida. Things should pick up in a couple months for football season ( I’m in a college town ). Until then, I figured a booked months stay during this slow period, trumps leaving my calendar open and praying for some action
I hear you, Zillacop, however, this is a whole house rental.
Thank you HostAirbnbVrbo, I did offer a discount for a longer stay. As for the first 3 bookings discount, that has come and gone, so this particular guest will not benefit from it. I appreciate all the advice:)