Damage Deposits, extra charges

As I read others rules, I keep seeing things like “Extra penalties for smoking in the house” or "50$ will be charged for late check out, or Damage deposit will be forfeited if smoking in the house. Can we just make up our rules and expect airbnb to enforce this and take this money we state in our rules out of the damage deposit? Or ". In the event of a party, we have the right to immediately cancel the reservation without any refund and immediately eject the guests. (Is it this easy- you find a party in your cottage rental and you can just kick them out?

Please use the little magnifying glass on the upper right to search for “Damage deposit” and “house rules”, and you will find lots of previous posts that will provide a variety of responses.

But no, you should never expect AirBnB to do anything other that be a booking and advertising platform. Whether they help to enforce your rules seems to depend on who’s answering the phone and how much they know about Air’s policies and rules.


Breaking house rules has never been something Airbnb has entertained using the damage deposit for. Damage deposit is for damages. A house smelling like smoke is not considered to be damage.

And even if the guest does damage something, you certainly can’t depend on Airbnb to cover it.

Some hosts feel the stating a fine for disobeying rules can make guests more careful, but that isn’t something I’d depend on either.

The bottom line is that it is up to the host to enforce their house rules.

There really doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to which claims Airbnb decides to honor and which it doesn’t.
There are tons of host reports of guests doing serious damage, with proof in the form of photos, etc, the host following the claim procedure to the letter, only to have the claim rejected.

Then there are guests who have been falsely accused of causing damage (I say falsely because the guests had lots of great reviews, saying what respectful guests they were, welcome back anytime, etc. and the guest came across as totally reasonable and believable- there are definitely some scammer hosts out there), but Airbnb tells them that if they don’t pay up they’ll get banned from the platform.

One of the big problems with Airbnb is lack of consistency or logic in what decisions they make.


I have a few “charges” listed in my Policies section. they are just to scare people cos I’m sure ABB won’t back me up, but at least if i try to charge that I can point to it in my rules and tell ABB that the guests were warned beforehand. who knows.

I don’t have a rule for vomit but recently got an extra $125 fee out of a guest for cleaning after they vomited everywhere.


Please don’t tell me they didn’t clean up after themselves. That is so
disgusting… Did you just ask and they gave it to you?

I’m not getting a clear sense of damage deposit refunds- the retrieval
process. If you say 500$- you still have to ask airbnb for it…

Some people say they work well, some don’t. I would think for sure
that someone smoking in a house- for eg should be grounds for damage
deposit cleaning fees.

I see lots of people using these “fee penalties” in their rules… so
it seems best to err on the side of caution and use them.

Airbnb will ask for proof. And unless the guest has left evidence in the form of butts or full ashtrays, how do you “prove” a smell?

You have to first ask the guest to pay. When the guest refuses (as many will, because responsible people who cause damage fess up and offer to pay for what they did, they don’t just walk away from it), then you are into getting Airbnb to dock them or cover it themselves under their AirCover.
The process of claiming for damage is explained in Airbnb Help articles.

They must have cleaned up a bit but there was vomit on the bedding, the floor, and in the sink and inside the cabinet. The whole place reeked. I ran the ozone machine twice. Had to hand treat the pillowcases with my special magic soap to get the stains out. (Red wine vomit, oh joy)

We still found vomit 2 days later even after I did a 2 hour clean, including on the curtain.

I don’t have a cleaning fee on that cottage (I’m trialling a different pricing strategy) so I had no issues with charging them that fee. They must have been so embarrassed they paid it without a word, and still left me a nice review.

1 Like

There isn’t a damage/security deposit now. They got rid of them recently and instead are going to use the guest’s credit card if there’s a damage claim, more like a hotel. In reality, that’s how they were doing it already anyway.

Really- ? Cause I am setting my account up this month and just saw it
in my window… Unless it was a few days ago they made changes? I was
able to put the amount $500.00 in…

I will have to recheck- because if I am putting this is my rules (as
I’ve seen other very experienced superhosts) do- then this would look
silly and be incorrect…

You sure?

I think it was maybe June 1. They sent out an email about the new policy and saying that the security deposit would be automatically removed from my listing. And I checked my listing right before I posted and it is indeed gone. I’ll see if I still have the email for the date.

Yep. I couldn’t find the email, I must’ve trashed it but I did find the resource center document that says the same thing:

To better support our Host community, starting at the end of May guests will be informed that their payment method on file may be charged if they cause damage to your place or belongings. As part of this update, security deposits will be removed from the listing settings page. If you previously had a security deposit, this will no longer be in effect on your hosting account.

from: https://www.airbnb.com/resources/hosting-homes/a/how-were-holding-guests-responsible-for-damage-503

And the security deposit help page has already been updated to reflect the new policy:

And I no longer have a setting for it anywhere in my setttings. It’s gone.

They said “starting at the end of May” but mine only went away last week, so they must be updating in batches or something.

Thanks for letting me know- this is a big help as I would have had my
rules all wrong! I sure hope its better for hosts… like they say,

I don’t think it’s going to make any difference. Even though hosts could add a security deposit to their listings, Airbnb had full control of them and made the decision to deduct from it or not. It always felt like a fake security deposit, something to make hosts feel more secure.

Even though forums have a lot of stories of damage and some horror stories too, I don’t think it’s all that common. After hundreds of guests, I’ve never had anything that I would claim as damage. Some hosts add a little bit to their rates and keep that little bit of money from each booking and put it away to cover damage if it happens. And that’s a better plan than counting on Airbnb. Though to be fair, I’ve heard plenty of stories of hosts getting paid for damage when they claimed. Either way it’s not going to be a main theme of hosting.

Thank you for reassuring me on that front. I appreciate it as yes
there are lots of horror stories and it was impeding my progress-
worrying about all that. Your points about putting away for damages
-makes good sense.

1 Like

I would venture a guess that while most of us here find that the majority of our guests are unproblematic, and even great, the “bad guest” scenario may be getting more common as more hands-off host listings are becoming more common.

Also Airbnb has changed in that it didn’t used to bombard hosts with suggestions, from pricing to taking last minute or long term bookings. So new hosts who don’t know any better think they should follow those sugggestions, as well as those they read online from youtubers trying to get a piece of the action, who give out bad advice like maximizing guest counts with sofabeds and air mattresses.

So inevitably, naive remote hosts with entire place listings get more partiers and damages and people sneaking in pets and extra guests. I always shake my head when a host complains that their damaged claim got rejected, when they’ve “only” made 3 damage claims in the past year. They obviously think that is somehow normal, when plenty of hosts who’ve been hosting for years have never made a claim.

I see yes… Yes there certainly is lots of info to go through and glad
you mentioned to be wary of the youtubers…with the ulterior
motives… I didn’t know I could just call up airbnb to get lots of my
questions answered in a timely fashion- too… which is certainly

You should be aware that the Airbnb CS reps often give out erroneous information and terrible advice. Half of them don’t even know Airbnb policies and have to be spoon fed them by users.

If you ask a question of 6 different Airbnb reps, you will likely get 6 different answers. And they are notorious for not being able to explain anything in a simple, straightforward way and leaving out crucial information.

You are much better off to familiarize yourself with all the policies and ask other hosts for clarification. To avoid frustration and being given bad or incorrect advice or explanations, limit your interactions with CS to those things which only they can fix- technical issues with your account, payout and refund issues, and cancellations for inappropriate bookings.

Out of how many bookings? Airbnb claims millions of bookings a year. Even here at complaint magnet central there are only a handful of really horrible stories posted per year.

Only you can assess your risk tolerance. Years ago we were told by a supposed Airbnb “insider” posting here that only 6% of bookings had any issue whatsoever. That includes problems with hosts, not just problems with guests. That includes fairly minor issues as well. So your chances of having problems is relatively low.

You need to be proactive in setting up, and also have STR insurance to prevent disasters. Any money making venture has risk associated with it.