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Damages: Collecting right documents / proof. How to make a claim on security deposit so you get money from guests or Airbnb

Hi Everyone! My AirBnb has been running pretty smooth and successful in last 6 months, till last week. Dealing with resolution center now and would like to share and discuss with other hosts what are the best practices in dealing with it :slight_smile:

Had two young couples. First made stains on the walls all over the apartment, that cant be removed. I tried magic eraser and but the only way is to make apartment look nice again is to repaint most of the walls. I am not sure what the guest was doing, but makeup and oil stains were also on blankets and chairs. A lot of stains, not few. Stain on stain. They came for 1 day and I took out 6 garbage bins full of crap. My husband’s tool box was taken out of storage and left on the table… Scary. Everything was moved around the house including printer and cleaning supplies in the bathroom cabinet. They also broke the dishwasher.
BTW they did instant booking at 12 am and texted they are coming in 20 mins. Of course it was a red flag but as I allow IB I checked her in.

Second couple (again, booked for one, came with a woman, saying it was his wife, then saw me and said its not a wife its just a GF) - broke the bathroom cabinet door; cooked BBQ and stained green barrel chair which was bought in March this year for $300. I bought fabric stain remover and it did not help. The guest never told me about it and asked for late check out, - never heard from them again.

Right now my challenge is:

  1. to find a way to communicate with the guest about damage the way that they take responsibility and cover some cost of cleaning/repair/replacement. Maybe there are some secret techniques or phrases to make it work for both sides? Or this kind of people just dont give a dime?
  2. in dealing with AirBnb and the resolution center - they make it really hard to get a portion of the deposit, even with pictures and the superhost history. They dont accept estimates in Word and Excel, request a special format with breakdown for tax, labor, materials, and give you few days to turn it in. How do I get this damn estimates? I called 10 painting companies and they all are booked till October. I finally got one company to give me an estimate, its on official company letter, but in Word and without the breakdown. I am afraid AirBnb wont accept it.
  3. how do I get an estimate for bathroom cabinet door? Is anyone going to provide this kind of estimate for free, or I need to fix it first and then provide the invoice to AirBnb?
  4. when my husband spends half of the day on fixing the dishwasher himself, there is no compensation?

Will appreciate any input.
Love all the hosts,

Do you ask for a security deposit? I think it’s easier to collect damages through resolution when it is the guest’s money we are talking about. You should add one, and make it large. If I remember correctly, your apartment was high end, a luxury one… you had guests trash it for a super bowl party??? Right? Your first guests??

While having a security deposit won’t stop all nonsense, it does send a message to the guest that you expect them to behave well in your place and that it is not a free for all. It will not cost bookings to add this.

Second, I think you should take it off IB.

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Yes! Hi! You remember correct, you helped me that time with the house rules and my security deposit is $500. Now guest has 3 days or 72 hours to accept or decline the charge. In both recent cases they ignored, so I had to involve Air. And its when they ask you for official estimates and invoices, so basically I will have to hire someone and pay them first, and then see, if Air will cover or not… Thats a problem for me because security deposit system doesnt seem to work! For example, to repaint only walls that she stained is $1500

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I agree, it is unfair to have to get estimates for repairs. When a guest damaged my table, I just linked to a comparable table online and they paid the damage, which was in excess of their deposit.

Do you have security cameras on site? Exterior ones are allowed, and might be a good deterrent to at least the party guests.

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Are you using any other platforms? I am using VRBO, its much less bookings, just a few, but I think guests are more responsible. Also, you choose to release the security deposit or not, lets it - very simple and convenient! Of course, I wont ever abuse it, but for example when they booked for 2 and 4 people showed up, I just refunded $500 minus $40 for 2 additional guests. They were cool with it and everyone was happy, especially me, because I felt like I had control.

I am on Wimdu and FlopKey. When a guest enquires on Flopkey and they seem legitimate, I try to steer them to Air. I will never ever book another guest through FlopKey.

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I had the same story with them. They told me about the format and how they can not accept word and exel, then they did not like the check i sent to them. I now collect deposit in cash. Though i did get a 500$ the first time, but the second time i had case manager somewhere in China and i dont think he understood any of my questions and requests. He kept on repeating the same thing like a parrot.
In my experience guests usually deny charges


I think that you only have to provide proof of the amount of the loss if the guest contests the claim. I just had a guest ruin a mattress. It was one of the free ones from Tuft & Needle. I looked at the Tuft & Needle website and put in a claim for the amount of a new mattress. I did not include any support for the amount with my claim. The guest agreed to the entire amount.

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Right, I once had a guest who agreed to pay $200 and it was over. My last guests don’t communicate since they checked out :joy:

Hi Yana! Thats cool. So you collect $500 every time the new guest checks in? Do you think you lose some guests because of this rule? And when and how do you refund them, for example, what if they are checking out at 5 am?
Thank you!

What about credit card deposit like hotels does pre autorization on card

Like to do it independetly from AirBnb?

Yes. Better than cash i think

Might be. Are you practising it? Not sure what systems allow that, I only know Square

But I am not sure if it is limited to few days the authorisation

I do stripe rhat allow me to click and refund clients. I know it s might be possible to do like hotels pre autorization bur don r know how. The click and refund with stripe is maybe a solution

I think i t s 5 days pre autorizatiom. But.charge and refund don t have the problem

It does sound like a solution. Thank you so much for the advise, I will def look into this option.
What kind of reaction do you usually get when you ask to charge a credit card for security deposit? I am worried people would not want ti deal with it

In sweden very very rare to have deposit so we don.t have it. Never a problem yet on 6 months. Air bnb does pre autorization on clients cards for deposit so it s quite similar.

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Right, thank you. Do you say it first thing in your house rules section? How fast you refund the guests, on the day they check out?

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