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Declined an Inquiry : o (Spooked)

Greetings, All,

I am new to hosting on Air bnb and created my listing in late February. (Spare bedroom within my home with its own bathroom.) My house is located in a forest setting, but within driving distance to major attractions and cities of the mid-Atlantic region. So while not directly in the hub bub of things, I am close enough to major attractions that I figured would draw occasional visitors with various intentions – business people, tourists, hikers, skiers, etc.

I am a teacher, the thought of meeting interesting people and bringing in some extra cash, especially during the summer, appealed to me.

So I created the listing with a lighthearted, but not uncautious, spirit. I mean I am 55 five years old and I teach high school. So I am flexible by nature and young at heart, but I also can spot and squelch trouble before it’s even a thought. I’m very intuitive in that regard.

So thus far I have gotten three requests – the first was a lovely writer from NYC who ended up not being able to book b/c of transportation issues. We truly connected with each other in our correspondences, and I am confident she will book again at a later date.

The second is a relatively local college student and he is booked/paid and coming out tomorrow for a night away from dorm life. So technically he’s my first guest and I am looking forward to his stay. My intuition is that he’s a top-notch sort of person – this was confirmed sufficiently for me by a brief search of his bio.

So my first two experiences as host I feel have been favorable.

But then a third request came in, and it was for the entire month of April, which might have garnered me a healthy sum EXCEPT I did not get a good feel about the requester. It was from a woman saying she needed temporary housing while seeking to relocate to and rent a place in the area. She said she was from a nearby county (which happens to be very affluent) and wondered if she could come out to see my place before reserving the room for the month. She also sent me her telephone number and requested that I call her to arrange the “visit”. She was savvy enough to write out the number using a combination of numerals and letters so that I could make out the number.

I felt uneasy about the request from the start, but I wasn’t sure why, Plus, I admit I was briefly tempted by the notion of making some additional income by accommodating a guest for a month. But I did not reply immediately.

I mulled it over and I let the request sit just a little over 24 hours. Then it occurred to me to do a reverse phone lookup. Well, the number did not match the name she gave and the location for the number was in a very sketchy part of the state known for high crime–definitely not the affluent area she mentioned.

And then it dawned on me that if I were to call the number and allow her to come see my home, she would then know my exact location. I wondered: Could this possibly be a set-up for casing my house for a burglary? Forgive me, but the old adage that when something is too good to be true, it usually is, kept running through my mind.

So I did not call the number. I simply declined the offer and left a message saying “Could not accommodate request.” And I don’t feel bad about that decision. I believe I did the right thing.

Then just this evening I looked for my listing without logging in and it is nowhere to be found. I had my husband look for it, too, from his computer with the same result: Our listing does not appear.

My calendar is blank again for the dates she had requested, so I know the decline went through.

But I am wondering:
1.) Have any of you ever had a “sketchy” inquiry like I’ve described?
2.) To what extent do you check out your potential guests? And
3.) What do you think is the reason my listing does not appear?

Any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Mammy

@Mammy – think that when you decline a guest you are asked if you want your calendar dates blocked. I think you have to select an option saying that you will adjust your calendar yourself. It’s been a while since I’ve needed to decline, so I’m not sure… maybe others are more familiar … You might contact Airbnb help and ask if your listing has been accidentally blocked because you declined a guest.

I think you did exactly the right thing. You need to always feel comfortable.

Personally, I only accept guests who are fully verified and I message with them several times, asking questions so that I feel comfortable … but there are no sure bets :wink:

You were very savvy to do this. Even though you are a new host, you are a wise one. It is hard to pre-check guests because we don’t get their full name before they book. I’ve often Googled guests and found their work bios and LinkedIn bios, etc. It does make you feel more secure when you see these. Others have advised me, and I think it is correct, to always follow you gut feelings. If something about a guest doesn’t feel right, just pass up that guest.

As for guests coming to see my house, I have done this but very rarely. The times I’ve done it have been when an adult child is renting for their parent. And I always have the person meet me at the Starbucks around the corner and show me their ID first before I take them to my house. I live alone (Garry is my boyfriend/partner, but is only here select weekends) so I feel vulnerable. I also have our listing in both names and the photo shows him so that it doesn’t look like I am an older single woman alone :slight_smile:

Happy Hosting – Lia

Thank you very much, Lia! I very much appreciate your response. : )

P.S./ I turned off Instant Book. Maybe I will turn it back on in the summer, but not sure at this time that it suits my situation.

Unless it’s an extremely long stay, I can’t imagine ever letting someone come out and visit before booking. You will come to know these as “tire-kickers.”

Until someone is booked with a confirmed ID you really don’t want to be giving out your address.

Attempting to make contact outside of the site is a sign of potential trouble, either by seeking discounts or attempting to book directly, in which case you lose the customer support options and the liability protections.

There are plenty of fish out there. Don’t waste your time on one that makes you feel uncomfortable.

@Mammy We have had two requests to come ‘kick the tires’ I said I would only do this AFTER they made a confirmed reservation. If they didn’t like the property they could cancel and I would issue a refund. Both times were 1 month plus stays and I kinda understood the logic. They ended up staying and being OK guests.

Airbnb recommend that you contact them in cases such as this. I’ve only had someone ask to see the place once. I gave them the address of the complex (which is pretty easy to work out from the listing anyway) but said that I couldn’t let them into the apartment because I almost always have back to back guests.

I don’t know if they came round to see the location but they didn’t book. Because this was when we were a brand new listing, I rather suspected that it was a local host checking out the competition!

By the way, although we are fairly new to Airbnb (listed in December last year) we have been renting the apartment for several years. We don’t let guests stay for more than 29 days now because after that, they legally have rights as tenants (here, anyway. It might be different elsewhere). We had one couple who rented for several months and overstayed (without paying) for five months! This was in our pre-Airbnb days and it was one of the reasons (the main one) we decided to stick to short term rentals via Airbnb.

@jaquo where are you!?! Its the same here in SF regarding having ‘rights’ after 30 days.

Hi @azreala - I’m in South Florida. There is a statute here (or was) that anyone who stays for THREE DAYS is classed as a legal tenant but that is seen as being archaic. Understandably in such a popular tourist area.

But this doesn’t bother me with Airbnb because every bunch of guests have been people coming here on vacation.

@jaquo I grew up in Boca :grinning:

I’m English (my spelling gives that away!) but moved to Fort Lauderdale 22 years ago. I can’t imagine living anywhere else :slight_smile:

@jaquo I went to Westminster Academy!! LOL

Where if Ft Laudy are you?!

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The best part! Just off Las Olas Boulevard. Just over a mile to the ocean and walking distance to Las Olas. Paradise as far as I’m concerned :slight_smile:

Yes, absolutely!! That’s a fabulous area. We use to get drunk there as teens…heheheheh.

After growing up in So Flo I have a love-hate relationship with it. My DH adores So Flo and everytime we visit declares we are moving. I’m not sure I can go back, but we have def thought as a vacation home aka codo on the beach!

Yes, I’ve been incredibly drunk on Las Olas! All part of the fun :slight_smile:

It’s a great place for rentals but there’s SO much competition.A great place would be Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. - cheaper properties and a wonderful family-friendly resort.

I had SO many classmates that live in Lauderdale by the Sea! Many great memories on the beach by that beach club!

IDK if we will buy in S Fl, the ROI isn’t there right now. I was pushing for the Keys, but DH wasn’t biting. We will see!

I’ve declined a four inquiries in as any months, with no problems about it from Air. One from a “nominal” Indian who wanted me to contact him off AirBnb, one who just came across as a college age young woman looking to party, and another who asked me if we were going to be on-site during the holidays. OH – get this last one – our listing says no children, no pets, right up front. The couple asked me if there was an extra charge for their two year old, if they brought a blow up mattress for him to sleep on the floor, and by the way they have a 12 lb schnauzer which is box trained blah…blah. !!!

The last one I declined after asking them in the reply “what part of No Children, No Pets do you not understand?”

This reminds me of the person who asked if I could waive my no pets rule because their dog only had three legs.

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HAhahahah! People sure do the funniest things!

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What people do to qualify, I swear. To cut off a dog’s leg just to get him to stay!

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