Additional guest fees - how to enforce?

I had guests stay last night who listed 2 guests but clearly had 4 guests and at least 1 child (which I could see on my outdoor video camera). They did contact me beforehand to notify me that they were bringing a pet, but said that they were looking “to avoid additional fees”. I charge them the pet fee of $30, but as they only listed 2 guests they did not pay the additional $10 per guest per night fee that I charge after 2 guests. Other than that they were considerate, easygoing guests who stripped the beds, cleaned up after themselves, left the place in good order, and seemed perfectly friendly (although I did not meet them in person).

So my question is, now that they have left, should I ask them to pay the additional $20 for the 2 extra guests? It’s not really about the money as much as the principle of not paying the full cost that I have listed and trying to get around it. This is not the first or last time this has or will happen, so it’s more about figuring out my policy for how I’m going to deal with it. Is it worth risking a negative review from them at this point over $20? How can I prevent this from happening in the future? And should I say anything about it in their review?

I would charge them. Keep it business like. Put in the request through the resolution center and mention that the outdoor camera showed they had 5 guests but paid for 2. No need to make any accusation just state facts. I do think it should be mentioned in the review. As you know from reading on another thread I have a similar situation with a fellow’s pet charge. Although I don’t think he is trying to avoid paying it I think others hosts should be aware. I’m going to wait until the last day to leave a review.


I’m curious why you didn’t contact them immediately when you saw the additional guests on your video camera? That is when it should have been done, not wait until after they have left.

For $20, I probably wouldn’t do it at this point but I would definitely include it in their review.


They were just here for one night - they got in late last night and left early this morning. I just checked the camera this morning to see if they had left yet as I needed to drop some things off at the house, and noticed they had lots of people going in and out.

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I would check your security footage from last night to make sure the guests were there overnight - rule out that they weren’t just there in the morning picking them up and helping with their stuff, for example.

A $10 per guest additional charge is not much and they should have been up front about it and paid it, so charge them. They’ve turned it into an awkward situation, not you.

How can you prevent this from happening again in the future?

If it were me, I would place an a small sign in the rental stating something along these lines:

Dear Guest,
For security purposes, this property is protected and monitored by video surveillance at all times. If you have allowed an unpaid guest or animal in the rental, you will be charged appropriately via AirBnb.

…or something to that effect.


That’s a really good idea. It’s likely noted all over the place in rules, etc. but if people don’t read them or choose to ignore them that is one way they cannot ignore the fact.

I noted on a recent Airbnb booking that the guest had the option of noting all of the names of the people in their party and thought that might be a good thing to implement in all rentals. It would also be a good reminder for guests to make sure everyone in their party is registered.

There have been a couple of home we’ve stayed at over the years where each persons’ name needs to be noted, and in some countries it is mandatory.

How can you prevent this from happening? LIVE within 200 feet of your rental; greet every guest as they arrive; visit with the guests while they are there; and have the guests check out with you when they leave.

Absentee AirBnb hosts are far and away the ones who complain most about guests, and have the most legit complaints about guests messing up their rentals. But if you aren’t there, things are gonna happen – you and your property are targets of opportunity.

I know, I know all the young yuppie, entrepreneur Millennials who are using Air to try and strike it rich without actually working are gonna jump down my throat now; but that’s how I feel about it, and I’m entitled to my opinion.


I like the matter of fact based approach K9 suggested.
Don’t accuse, just send the bill for the additional guests.

No matter how well they left the place, sneaking in extras is defrauding you. That alone makes them bad guests I wouldn’t want to rent to.

The great thing about this forum is that you’ll get a variety of answers because very host is different. :slight_smile:

Personally, I’d let it go. There was no damage, they left the place in good shape and were friendly people. For $20 I wouldn’t want the to take the time and hassle, I’d just move on to the next guests.

It depend though how much the extra guests cost you. We’ve had an extra guest sneak in just a couple of times and on both occasions just for one night. (Quite possibly hookups). But in those instances, it hasn’t added to my hosting costs. They might have used a little more hot water because of extra showers but lighting, AC, cable, internet etc. costs don’t increase with an extra guest so I don’t pursue it.

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This is what I all too often end up doing, too. It seems it isn’t worth the hassle.

But I also don’t like to reward someone that has lied by letting them get away with it. So for my own peace of mind I am really trying to find a way to make them accountable. For now I just don’t book to them again.

In that case, I’d be sure to mention it in the review. Hurt their egos rather than their pocket. :slight_smile:

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I would ask for the $20 in a nice way - letting them know that Airbnb can not facilitate extra charges, and that you must make a request through the resolution centre. If they balk, let it go, and do not leave a review for them, so any nasty comments will not be visible to public.

Starting now, I would be vigilant about making those request during the time of stay, if you can. I forget my airbed charges all the time, and by “letting” this stuff go, I was out hundreds of dollars a year. I hope airbnb can come up with a better app soon. Good luck!

I decided to make my price the same for 2 as for 6, to avoid this. I live abive my rental but don’t want to be counting guests. I had one group cancel when they figured out that I was on site, guess they were planning a party or much larger group than 6.

@portlandgirl This is bad advice. After 14 days, whatever reviews have been written go live. If the host doesn’t review, then only the guest’s review is released to public view.

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I did not realize that - thanks for the heads up!

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@portlandgirl We all have each other’s backs around here.


I just had this problem Dec.22 to 24th booking. I stewed for a while as to whether or not to charge the extra guest fee.

My Air guests have so far been honest with number of guests booking, however this past Dec. booking was my first one from VRBO. The lady who booked was a pain from the start. She asked for a discount, claimed the booking was for 4 overflow guests for a family get together dinner they were doing at her place and insisted on seeing my place first. (I know… probably shouldn’t have rented to a local) She needed hand holding in many ways, but I obliged later saying to my husband she was a lot of work for a two night discounted booking.

My husband went by to add chemicals to the hot tub and noticed Happy Birthday streamers. I had previously given her access to the key and showed her everything so I didn’t greet her on arrival. I immediately called to ask pointedly about her having a party. She said yes for 10 people all in their seventies and then we were disconnected as I tried to tell her I was unhappy.
Meanwhile I was entertaining at my own home and distracted and annoyed at the fact that this guest blatantly lied.
My listing states in BOLD in several places Only registered guests have access, no visitors and absolutely no parties or events.

The place was left in good order and I did have to wash bedding for all 5 of my large beds, plus extra towels etc. on XMAS Eve.

I needed a review on VRBO and since things were in good order I didn't quite know how to proceed.  Should I apply an extra guest charge or let this one go?   I'd had at least 10 people before her want to rent for an event and declined every singly booking.   Why should she benefit from lying?

Finally I decided it bothered me enough that past guests followed my house rules and this one was such a cheapskate and lier that I deducted 160.00 from the damage deposit.

Well she replied back that it was extortion.

I was flabbergasted that she was so shameless in her response… She ended up filing a "serious complaint " with VRBO who then contacted me to explain why I was keeping some deposit.

The icing on the cake was that she also wanted to book privately to avoid fees but I declined that offer and made her book through VRBO.

I too, didn’t feel it was about the money but the principle. She had one of the guests message me about everything wrong with my home and how she was going to write a bad review and I should refund the whole damage deposit.
I felt some contentment that extra guest fee did get deposited in my account but I know I will be disheartened if she is allowed to write a bad review as I don’t have any up on VRBO yet. My review are great on Air as this is where my guests mainly book from .

I really hope this all is over and done with and one for the history books. Meaning she leaves me alone and does not write a review. I don’t know how it works with reviews for VRBO. Doesn’t seem there is a deadline for either of us to write one?

@Sonia -
Hi, all, I’ve been reading the forums for awhile now but haven’t signed up. 950 of my rentals come from VRBO/Homeaway, but I’m starting to pick up some from AirBnB (we have a typical vacation rental, large house with high prices per night, so we’re not the usual ABB place)
Sonia - For VRBO, you have 14 days to review your guest. They have up to one year. But be sure to keep any email/text correspondence from your guest where they threaten to give a bad review if you withhold their security deposit, since VRBO doesn’t allow extortion like that and you could call customer service to have a bad review removed.
However, many states don’t allow you to keep some of the damage deposit for extra guests. You could, however, keep some for having to wash all the bedding and any other extra cleaning fees from having a large group.

Did your guest sign a contract? A big difference between ABB and VRBO is the contract. Most VRBO owners have a customized contract for their rental. For instance, I have a $200 per night penalty for each extra guest over the ones that booked.

The problem with most contracts is that they do not state the penalty for breaking the contract. If your contract just says “no parties” without a penalty, then you are stuck with giving her the damage deposit back, less any extra costs for cleanup.

Good luck! I prefer VRBO (better cash flow, especially since we book 4-9 months in advance, my own contract, no “nanny state” to control things), but I know I have to be diversified to keep my VR rented out.

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I live one block from my Airbnb and this is pretty much the first complaint I have had with a guest in over 200 so far. I personally strongly prefer an “absentee host” experience when I travel so I try to give that to my guests unless they request otherwise, and most of my guests prefer privacy.