Bad guest: enforcing rules without getting a one-star review

I have a bad guest.

Before checking in, he asked if he could order items online and have them shipped to my house. I said no.

Once he checked in, he claimed that the kitchen was dirty and he was going to “protest to airbnb”. I think that he was angling for me to offer him a discount. I asked him to send photos of the problem and offered to have the cleaner come back… he never responded. The cleaner sent me pictures of the job that she did, which was perfect.

In other words, the guest lied about the state of the house, likely in the hope of extracting a discount.

My listing does not include a washer/dryer though I have one in the garage (outside of the listing space). It has a sign on it saying that it is not for guest use (in both english and a “no-touch” hand with a slash through it.

While the sign makes it abundantly clear that the guests are not to use the washer & dryer, it is not stated explicitly in the house rules.

I’d like to minimize the harm that these guests do by minimizing any physical damage that they can do, ensuring that I can charge for any harm done, and keeping them from giving me a 1-star review.

What can I do?

It’s not really possible to avoid a bad review if the guest is being impossible and unfair.
You did the right thing and offered to clean again from the pictures he chose not to send, so you can’t really do more than that.
Sometimes guests do things that don’t seem normal for others and you might just get a 5 star review although you expect the opposite. You can only wait and see.

I’m not sure if he violated your rules by using the washer? If he did, I’d message him in the app that the sign clearly says not for guests and he should refrain from entering that room as it’s private.
Then update your house rules.

In the amenities I too don’t have ticked off the washer and dryer but I write it in the listing description as well just to make sure they don’t use it against me. I have had guests who asked about it even though it is very clear there’s no washer/dryer but thankfully I haven’t had any using it against me when reviewing me afterwards.

I’m not sure this is possible. Obviously you shouldn’t expect people damaging your stuff but things happen and sometimes you get unfortunate guests. Most people don’t book a place to break things but if they do, you ask for compensation via the platform and sometimes you escalate to Air if needed.

If you have a possible conflict, you reach out to the guest, ask for what’s wrong and offer them a solution that you your self would find acceptable. If the guest would retaliate in some way, you contact Air and make them read your messages.

How long is he staying for?
I would perhaps send a follow-up and ask if everything is okay since you haven’t heard back regarding the cleaning and have him message you back and see what he writes.
If its just a few days, I’d let it go and see if he’d review you afterwards and if not, I’d let it go and move on.

Why not add in your house rules that the washer and dryer are not for guest use. Then you are covered by Airbnb. Also, you probably did this, but make sure you communicate all of this including the photos using the Airbnb app. If he texted you off platform then copy his text into his messaging, reference the text and add the photos so that it’s in the record. If he tried to contact you outside the Airbnb platform tell him that Airbnb requires the all messaging is done within the website/app. My behavior with a bad guest is directed toward Airbnb Customer service to make sure I have good documentation if things go out. You might want to send him a friendly, just checking in to make sure everything is as you expected message via the app. (I do it for every guest within about 1 hour of when they arrive.) Not all guests get back to me but at least I can show that I reached out to make sure they were happy.

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Re - washer. Was the door to the garage LOCKED? If so, I think that’s a violation of TOS. Otherwise, if it’s not explicitly stated in the listing description, not just checked, then you’re outa luck.

If you’re hard-core serious about not letting guests who break into your garage use the washer/dryer, I would suggest a couple lockable cargo straps to go around the entire machines, strapping the doors closed and then locked.

Re - damage. “I’d like to minimize …any physical damage that they can do, ensuring that I can charge for any harm done, and keeping them from giving me a 1-star review.”

Solution: Live in the same space (or at least on the same property) you are listing as a rental. Interact with each guest every day from welcoming them to wishing them goodbye.

Get a giant roll of bubble wrap; cover the entire interior of the house. Lock the doors and do not let anyone enter!!:scream:

Seriously?? Never have a piece of furniture or decoration that you aren’t willing to throw away. Second-hand/thrift shops are a decorators friend! Photograph everything in detail 15 minutes before and after every guest visit. Security cameras outside and in non-guest interior spaces. Keyless entry/exit lock systems on all exterior doors. Sealed and locked windows. Tile floors throughout the listing. Allow no cooking/kitchen use.

So he didn’t use washer and dryer yet?
You don’t have to to even say in your house rules anything If you didn’t mark that it’s for guests use.
May be that will end with that, he didn’t answer you hoping for discount. Now he is silent . It’s a good sign.
Are you worries he will damage something on purpose, I am not sure I understood that part about damages

In order to enforce things they have to part of the rules. Put in the rules that the washer and dryer are not for guest use. Why do you think he is going to use them? If you don’t have a lock on the garage door how do you keep guests from using them? Strange approach you are using about that.

It’s too late for this. You can’t change the rules after the booking. You must just hope for the best. I don’t know why you assume the guest will damage something just because he claimed the kitchen wasn’t clean. As for the review, you can’t prevent that either. After he reviews if you feel he was retaliating or was in any way violating Airbnb review guidelines, contact Airbnb about it.

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You earn your stars by doing everything your listing promised.
Guests earn theirs by following house rules.

When guests don’t follow house rules and you call them out for it, there’s always a risk the guest will take it out on your rating. People don’t like being told they did something “wrong”. Even if it was stated in your house rules. Even if you approached them in the most diplomatic, kindest way possible.
There is no way to both enforce your house rules and guarantee high ratings

Fortunately most guests aren’t rule breaking or trying to cause property damage. The tools I’ve found helpful to monitor the space without being invasive to guests:

  • Lock away items you don’t want guests to use (lock the garage! If they never see the washer/dryer there will be less temptation to use it without permission). Under “guest Access” or house rules say X,Y,Z locations, including your garage, are off-limits to guests.

  • Keep an eye on exterior doors with a camera.

  • Use smart home devices to detect leaks or access to your locked door spaces.

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