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AirBnB’s “security deposit”?


Hi there fellow hosts. My query is regarding security deposits. I only recently introduced a minimal $200 security deposit, which I have called my “BBQ and bin bond”. My rules state that if guests fail to clean the BBQ I will charge them $100 and if they fail to bag their rubbish properly, again I will charge them $100. So far I have failed to claim anything, however I emailed Airbnb as I couldn’t tell by looking at my reservations which bookings had paid the $200 security deposit and which ones hadn’t. I then find out that in fact nobody actually pays a security deposit. It’s only if I make a claim they will then claim from the guest.

Airbnb called me back and explained this. Now I probably should have known this if I had read up on it. I mistakenly assumed if you say you charge a security deposit then the guest actually pays a security deposit. I asked the guy from Airbnb what is the difference between charging a security deposit and not charging a security deposit and he finally conceded there was no difference. So I’m asking; what is the point in putting a security deposit in your listing?


It makes you feel better, and may intimidate some guests into doing “the right thing”.


Security deposit as you have found out is fake. I would imagine you also will have trouble collecting for the two items noted unless you can provide receipts for extra cleaning.

Vrbo collects upfront and is more of what you are taking about.


You can’t apply arbitrary fines to guests and expect to collect via the security deposit.

Your ‘BBQ and bin bond’ is more Basildon Bond than James I’m sorry to say.


The only real difference is that some guests may think they are real.

I always wondered how such fines would stand up in court, I am pretty sure they would not in the UK, US not so sure, may vary by State.

Usually Courts restrict fines to themselves, now you can sue for damages.


They are not arbitrary fines. They require significant extra work if they are not done, which clearly I can prove (as in photos).

I state it clearly in my house rules multiple times as well as it being in the house manual. As I said I’ve never tried to claim as I’m just too soft and I get a lot of repeat business. When I explained it to the guy on the super host line he didn’t say anything about it not being enforceable. I guess we will find out when I try and claim.


I’m a super host who recently found out the hard way that the Airbnb security deposit is NOT actually a security deposit. Here’s the story:

Like many hosts, one of my House Rules is No Smoking. When a guest burned a hole in one of my beautiful chair covers (handmade), I wanted to file a claim to keep part of the security deposit. Having never filed a claim before, I immediately called Airbnb for advice. They said, “When you file a claim, your claim goes directly to the guest who then has to approve having her credit card charged for this damage.” The Airbnb agent then confided in me that, in her experience, no guest had EVER approved payment for anything a host had reported as damaged. Then she added, “Do you realize that the guest still gets the opportunity to review you AFTER receiving the report of your requested claim?”

Airbnb then explained that the only way to get a real security deposit is for the host to explain to the inquiring prospective guest that the posted cost of the listing does not include a security deposit, which the host will then add onto the listed rental fee by making a “special offer” for the cost of the rental, adding the security deposit amount. Then if there is damage, the host can deduct the amount and return the rest (or return all of it if no damage occurs). Clearly, this is not going to go over well with the prospective guest, when they find out that the amount will be higher than expected.

So… finding myself shoved into a corner with no advocate at Airbnb, I didn’t file a claim and I didn’t write a negative review either – because the guest has the option of publicly responding to my negative review on my site, and she clearly couldn’t be trusted to do (or say) the right thing.

In the end, all I could do was to give Airbnb some feedback here

Bottom line: we Airbnb hosts need a REAL security deposit (like VRBO & HomeAway). And we need a guest’s ability to review us to be SUSPENDED as soon as a host reports that they have broken a house rule or done damage to property. If enough of us requested these changes to their policy, maybe we’d see some results.


Dia…But clearly some hosts have recovered funds for damage from guests. Is it only if they agree to it that you get paid for damage?

I too am a super host and am coming up on 2 years hosting. I’m yet to make any sort of claim for damage but in the back of my mind the ability to do so was there if I needed to. Now I’m not so sure.

Of course I have my own insurance but the guy I spoke to at Airbnb made a big deal about the “host guarantee”. I wonder if more hosts started claiming under their host guarantee whether Airbnb might rethink this ludicrous policy. If it’s hittung them in the back pocket through increased premiums for them something may change. Of course I’m sure they’ve got safety guards in place that make it extremely difficult to do this.


In a nutshell, this.

An extra change to bag up rubbish and clean the barbecue seems excessive to me and probably not enforceable.

I’m not really sure how this is workable. In addition to us lot here (who are all the most marvellous hosts - with one or two random exceptions :wink: ) there are plenty of unscrupulous hosts who are only too willing to abuse systems like this.


Yes, Jo, the only way to claim funds for damage is if the guest agrees to allow their credit card to be charged for it.

True, some hosts have been able to recover costs for damage. A colleague Airbnb host in my neighborhood, for instance, had a horrible group of guests & extensive damages (thousands of dollars on a high end property). She had sufficient photo evidence so Airbnb’s insurance covered the damages – not the guests’ credit card.

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