Discovering an unregistered guest at checkout. How do you handle it?

I had a booking for 2 guests and didn’t see them come or go during their stay. Today was check out time and they were a few minutes late getting out and I hung out on the front porch waiting for them to leave (there is a private rear entry) and lo and behold, there were 3 of them getting in the car. I talked to the person who made the booking, pointing out the discrepancy and letting them know that they were responsible for the difference ($60) and that I would send a bill via Airbnb. They seemed to think nothing of it!

Now it could have been a simple mistake, but it’s rather like getting caught shoplifting and offering to pay after getting caught. Ultimately, bringing in another guest without payment is theft. Is there an “official” way of dealing with this? Could a host press charges? I sent the bill and let them have it on their review. Thoughts?

I would hold the review for 14 days if you have not hit the submit button yet otherwise be prepared for a bad review from them. I think you handled it right otherwise.


What did you say in your review? I would just request the charges as you’ve done, mention it in the review, mark them down on rules. How did they leave the place otherwise? I don’t think you can press charges. While it’s irritating, sneaking one extra guest in wouldn’t upset me that much.

Wait and do a last minute stealth review. In the meantime be sweet with the guests and ask for the money nicely. Dishonesty is always a thumbs down in my book. Low stars for communication and rules also.

I saw your other post where you mentioned calling the police and just didn’t reply because you seemed so certain that your clear, no grey areas rules had everything under control. Now I see a second post where you mention “charges.” So you need to know that in many, perhaps most or all communities, an airbnb booking, like a lease, is a civil matter. The police are not going to get involved or assist you in removing unwanted guests. And even if they would respond to a call in your jurisdiction is that really a good use of taxpayer resources?


You are probably right, but I see sneaking in a guest as being on the same level as shoplifting and trespassing as well. They have no legal right to be on my property and use of the quantifiable services without payment is theft. Again to flip the issue, if I had one bed less than promised the sky would fall. If I stole $60 from a guest’s room, it would be a criminal act. Why any different stealing my services?

Is it worth the bother is probably more to the point. I have removed self check in as an option and will do face to face check ins from now on.

It’s just too loose for me. I’ve had several issues with early arrivals too. Airbnb’s vetting doesn’t cover the other guests and their selfies are worthless about 30% of the time. The other guests are generally not even named. I guess I may need to turn off the automatic booking too.

I work from home so it’s not a big inconvenience. I’ll have to arrange appointments for check in a give them the lock code then.

Personally I would charge them for the additional person as you informed them you would and leave an honest review.

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WHY should the OP “be prepared for a bad review from them”??? The guest cannot see what the OP wrote, and vice versa.

Some people see it as booking “A Space” and think it’s nuts the host cares how it’s used, so long as it’s done within bounds of reason.

From their worldview it would be like renting a 4-passenger car and then finding the agency is irate because you carried 4 people. The liability exposure along with use of utilities and linens just doesn’t occur to them - nor the fact that this is someone’s HOME and they want to know who is there!

I’ve had 3 stays with extra guests. Intent and honesty matter a lot in how I address it. Sometimes it’s truly unintentional and an opportunity to educate them on the difference between homestays and hotels. Other times…:rage:

In two cases the guests were up front: either presenting as more than booked or mentioning their extra person would arrive. They were new to Airbnb and it just hadn’t occurred to them that while they were fine with someone sleeping on the floor, I might not be. I charged them an extra person fee, pulled out the air mattress and we were all happy. Good groups, good reviews.

Another group was sketchy and snuck the 5th person into the house around 11pm. My outdoor security cam even caught them talking about sneaking her in. I was more offended by the dishonesty than the loss of $30 so didn’t bring it up with them but burned them in the review.

After the first case I added a house rule about ensuring the accuracy of their guest count and in my pre-check-in message ask for confirmation. The sneaky guest neglected to reply to that part of my message, so I already felt on edge about their stay.

I think it’s good you’re finding your feet in terms of the amount of control you’d like over your listing. Greeting guests yourself alleviates a lot of issues so I hope that provides a nice balance for you.


People don’t like to be confronted or scolded. People get defensive. Like the fellow who showed up two hours early and I said to his face, check in time is in 2 hours but the room is ready. 4 stars for check in and a two word review (“Nice place.”) isn’t a bad review, but it’s not what I deserved. Confronting someone and saying “I’ll be sending a request for the additional 60 bucks” will probably result in a pre-emptory bad review. If for no other reason than they suspect they are going to get one.

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Absolutely this! With extra guests it helps to put the blame on insurance and safety. They seem less irritated if “the lawyers make me do this” :wink:
“Airbnb and my homeowners insurance only covers guests on the reservation, so I have to make sure the count is correct.”
“If there were ever an emergency I need to know how many souls are in the house.”


What @KKC said.