You guys, you really gotta get a camera if you don’t have one. We’ve had one for a couple of years now - that we use in the interior of our apartment.
First, it’s completely legal because it’s in a public part of the apartment (the living room/kitchen area). And it is conspicuous - it can be easily seen. And we tell guests we have it in our Airbnb listing. So, it’s all on the up and up and totally legit.
Yesterday, these two Canadian sisters checked in. Very nice people… or so it seemed!
Late in the afternoon we got a message from them asking if it would be okay if they brought a male friend over to spend the night - because he didn’t have any place to stay! (Sure, so come stay at our place - for free - and violate all kinds of insurance and safety regulations, because some guy who is a total stranger to us - doesn’t have a place to stay! No problem)!
Of course, I wrote back and told them definitely NO!
Around 2:00 a.m. we went to bed. This morning when we woke up we were curious if they had brought anybody back - as they had not yet arrived home by the time we went to bed last night. So we checked in with the camera.
And guess what we saw!! At 4:02 a.m. the two girls, looking like sneaking thieves, open the front door of the apartment, peek in to see if anyone is there - looking very nervous! I had left the lights on so they could see when they got in - but they must have thought we were still up with all the lights on.
Once they convinced themselves no one was there, they waved for the guy, who was waiting in the hall, to come in and they quickly ushered him back to their room!
So… my wife and I decided to play a little trick on them to smoke them out! We normally stay back in our room until very late in the mornings. Guests come and go while we’re back there and we don’t see or hear a thing.
But this morning, we decided to station ourselves in the living room! No one can leave the apartment without walking through the living room, so we knew this would cause a big problem for them! They would either be stuck in their room all day - or they’d be forced to eventually tell us.
It was so funny. The girls were going back and forth between their room and the bathroom like crazy. When one goes from their room to the bathroom, they can sneak a peek into the living room… so they were obviously using the bathroom as the excuse to check and see if we were still in the LR.
My wife and I were laughing so hard to ourselves, realizing what a mess we had put them in by hanging out in the LR!
Finally, one of them came out and started casually chit chatting. I knew what she was trying to get out. Somehow she had to get us to tell her how long we’d be in the living room. And I was very interested to see how she was going to do it!
She started off by telling us about their day yesterday and all the amazing things they saw in Manhattan. Then she told us about their plans for today. And then, she got to what she really wanted and she said, “So what are you guys up to today?”!!! VERY SMOOTH!
I said, “Oh, we’re just going to hang out here all day.” And when I said “here” I kind of motioned to indicate I meant the living room!
She said, “Ah okay cool… well have a nice day.” And then she rushed back into her room, where they apparently had a little conference to decide what to do!
Oh and just to make it a little more fun, I looked at her and very sincerely said, “by the way, I’m so sorry we couldn’t allow your friend to come over last night - but thank you for respecting that and not bringing him over.”
To this she said, “Oh, no problem!” She didn’t even flinch. Not a single discernible change of expression or any sign of body language that would tell you she was LYING through her teeth.
What a smooth liar she was! I almost had to go back and re-watch the video to see that they really did bring him over.
I was laughing so hard thinking about this poor guy - if he needed to use the bathroom, he wouldn’t be able to come out. Because they had to keep him hidden. It was obvious he’d have to come out sooner rather than later. It was just a question of how long they’d put off the inevitable.
And it only took about 5 minutes. They came back out and said, “You know that guy we asked you about last night - well, HE CAME OVER THIS MORNING. He wasn’t here last night, he’s only been here a couple of hours - is that okay?”
This was at about 10:00 a.m. I asked what time he came over and she said, 7:00.
Well, no - it wasn’t 7:00 a.m., it was 4:00 a.m. 4:02 to be exact! And because she lied - I told her she’d have to pay a $50 fee. Which is $20 for our regular extra guest fee and $30 for breaking our rules. If she had told the truth I might have felt a little mercy, but… they lied.
They knew they were so guilty they didn’t even put up a fight - which was decent of them actually. Some people would have kept fighting. But they knew when to quit. And they paid the $50 bucks on the spot in cash!
I also let them know what they did was a serious violation of our rules and of Airbnb’s requirements. I told them they (meaning “we” actually - but to scare them I said ‘them’), are not covered by Airbnb if anything happens while they have someone who is not on the reservation in the house. And I told them to think about it - ‘you’re staying in someone’s home, they don’t know you from Adam, and they certainly don’t know who you’re bringing over from Adam, and it can be very scary to have a total stranger who is in no way documented on your reservation in their house. So, not only is it a serious violation of the terms of service but it’s also scary for the host.’
Airbnb’s Response: But here’s the important thing to know. I wrote to Airbnb during this time to ask them if we could kick them out. (They have one more night with us).
Here’s what Airbnb wrote back - and take careful notice about what they require:
John here from Airbnb. I hope you are well.
If your guest has violated your house rules the n you can ask them to leave. They will not be entitled to a refund from you.
Did you see the person that they brought to the property? We would need some evidence of this.
If you are willing to let them stay for the final night then it is entirely up to you but you are well within your rights to ask them to vacate the premises if the rules have been violated.
If they have any issues with that or are refusing to go then we can reach out to them. The decision is yours and we will support you no matter what you decide.
Isn’t that amazing. We can kick a guest out for violating our rules - as long as we have EVIDENCE! So our eye witness report - doesn’t count as evidence. We have to actually have some kind of tangible proof if we want to kick a guest out for a rules violation.
That’s why we feel we have to have a camera. How else could we have evidence of something like this without one?