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Charge uncle to stay in my airbnb room?

I’ve lived in my home for almost two years now. Recently I split with my spouse and we’re in the process of getting a divorce. I’m keeping the house and it’s currently my sole form of income. I list two rooms in my house on airbnb. My uncle wants to come in September or October for 7-14 days. I would miss out on up to $1k in income if I let him stay free of charge.

As I’m writing this, I realize I have to have a conversation with him. My aunt and mother know I’m going through a divorce, but I haven’t told my uncle as this is a recent event and I wasn’t particularly keen on sharing that information with people.

Also my uncle and I aren’t very close. He sends a card every so often and random emails. He is a very active guy, and the last time we got together, he complained that our family isn’t active enough for him. So I know most of his time will be spent outdoors biking, hiking, and exploring. He also has friends in nearby cities he will visit. So most of his day he’ll be out and about.

I do have an additional room in my home that is on the second floor above the airbnb rooms. I could offer that room to him free of charge… but the floors are terrible and squeak and pop which would annoy my guests.

I know if other friends or family came, I would likely have them stay for free or negotiate a discount. They would spend most of their time with me, cook, and my mom would definitely give me money without me asking because that’s how she is.

Any suggestions on how approach this sensitively?

I’d give a 25-50% discount if it was family and my only source of income. Aslong as it wasn’t long term.

If you need the money then no discount. He pays full price. Is your husband still living there and that’s why the uncle wants to come??? Why would he want to stay 1 to 2 weeks with you if you aren’t even close?

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My ex has moved out. My uncle and my ex don’t have any sort of bond or even a rapport.

Put him up in the free room if he does not mention money but say that he has to float as you can’t afford guests to be disturbed by the floorboards as airbnb is your only income- hint hint


We are constantly dealing with friends/family asking to come stay “to visit me” but actually of course, it’s to have free accommodations in NY. When we lived in a bigger house it wasn’t such a big deal, although after dealing with guests all day and all night, any guest in my home, even a beloved brother, was a bother. Now we live in a smaller place and have only a futon in the office, so immediate family only, three nights maximum. We’ve been contacted by my husbands sister who wants to come with two girlfriends (her third visit this year) and asked if they can all crash at our place. I finally put my foot down and told her that we couldn’t host her in our own house, and she had two options: an emergency basement suite in one of our other houses (for overflow/friends & family) or she could pay cost +25% in one of our listings. If she chooses option 2, it still means less revenue because now I’m giving her a deal that I wouldn’t give to someone else.

So to your uncle - give him two options: room with squeeky boards for maximum of three nights OR pay the value of the listing room for the duration. If he doesn’t want to spend money he can stay for three nights, and if he really wants to visit for a week, he can cough up the $$.

That’s my advise.


I like your advice. Who would want to visit family for more than 3 nights anyway? I emailed my uncle and explained the situation to him. We’ll see how it goes.


Keep us posted. I’m interested to hear how he responds.

He said “Got it.” That’s it! Who knows what he’s thinking.

So reply and say “What does that mean? What are your plans?” Grrrrr.

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He said “still working on it.”

Probably too late, but the question of friends & family comes up so often.

They often KNOW it’s our income but even so still treat it as if it’s just our home and expect to be automatically welcome at no charge.

I think we have to be blunt because let’s be fair, they are not being considerate either when they expect free accommodation. Or a discount either - remember that offering a discount is exactly the same as handing them several hundred dollars, and relatives generally would not expect this. They just don’t see it that way, but the owner DOES, so it’s the owner who needs to spell out what a discount/free really represents.

In your uncle’s case I would probably just do as cassid suggested. [quote=“cassid, post:8, topic:7575, full:true”]
Put him up in the free room if he does not mention money but say that he has to float as you can’t afford guests to be disturbed by the floorboards as airbnb is your only income- hint hint

Yes, $1000 is a lot of money for that room downstairs. I can only guess whether you’re in the USA, but even so, $30 per night is not an extortionate nightly cost, your guests should not really be of the snob-factor-level where occasionally hearing someone on floorboards above them ruins their holiday.

PS Can you put some extra rugs down? It really does cut down on the amount of travelling floorboard noise.

PPS If mentioning the income loss is tough for people in future, you might try suggesting they come in the middle of winter when you won’t be losing money on bookings. Of course that won’t suit them, but it might help nudge-nudge them that you depend on high-season income.

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I explain to extended and even immediate family that I can’t block my calendar in the suite for them. They will have to stay upstairs with me as long as my kids aren’t home from college. Then there’s barely enough room for three of us. If the kids are home, sorry, no guests, I can’t accommodate that.
I blocked off my calendar before and got burned. I just asked myself… why am I paying for their vacation? Because that IS what you are doing.


I have a brother in law in South Africa: His motto is - Come and stay when I’m having a holiday there or if you want to come another time, you pay full price. My friends that live far away always ask me when is a good time to visit. I don’t mind them coming when its our low season but definitely not the busy season, which for us in
Australia is Aug through to March.

In Ireland, you would be expected to put a family member up regardless. Its like if you are hairdresser you give free haircuts, if you are a taxi man, you get free lifts, if you are a doctor your suppose to give your medical opinion for nothing. Its like a barter system or based on the system like reciprocity. You do a favour and then you are due one. If you mentioned the word money, your name would be dirt for years. One of my children was very ill and intensive care for 12 weeks, we used to come home to collect bits and pieces from the hospital and find dinners at the door, or come home and find the grass cut , the bins put out or find little presents for the child. Families members you would barely know would just to simple little things, it was a kindness I never forgot.


An occasional correspondent mentioned to me once that Ireland was the most welcoming and hospitable place he’d ever been to. He was British, but settled in Australia, and was a grad student in the US. So I suppose he had some basis for comparison.

I’ve got two places on my lifetime wish list to go that I’ve not already arranged: Somewhere in Africa and Ireland. After reading this, even more.

I told my uncle what superhostnyc suggested. Three nights in the free room or full price in the Airbnb room.

He then told me how he has been down on his luck. He wants to move away from Hawaii (which he’s never offered for me to crash at his place). He feels trapped on an island. He had a job transfer lined up, but then he lost it cuz he he wouldn’t pay his own relo costs. Then he said he had to buy a new car (not sure of the reason), so he bought a brand new car. He said they had two hurricanes coming. So he’s very stressed.

I can tell he wanted me to feel bad for him. Like his situation deserves pity and that he deserves to stay at my place for free. My life sucks too, man, so where’s my free stuff?


Will your uncle have to purchase plane tickets to go to your area? If this is a vacation for him…then how can he afford any of it if he is so down on his luck.

Kona said it perfectly - ask yourself “Why am I the one paying for this person’s vacation?” - Giving up a week’s worth of your sole income source is something most people would not do even for family…unless they are well off, and this is just play money.

Would he give up a week’s worth of income to spend on you?

Honestly, I would completely rescind any offer. If your squeaky floors are as bad you say, and you know they will annoy paying guests… Don’t even go there. You may end up with a negative review that might hurt future bookings…all for someone who manipulated you into letting them stay for free. True “family” doesn’t take advantage of other family members.


I thought that is what they do best! :slight_smile:

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