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Do Guests Care if Hosts are Legal or Not?

I’m wondering if it might be a selling point to advertise in my listing that our Airbnb room is legal, pays all the associated taxes and is properly insured. As hosts, I know WE all pretty much probably care about such things, and might choose one place over another if we knew one was more compliant than another. However, I’m thinking guests are probably, for the most part, totally oblivious to these issues and even if they are not, most probably don’t really care? What do you all think?


I do think it’s important.

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I do if they expect me to lie for them.

I’ve been in two Airbnbs where the house manual said something like, “If anyone asks who you are, just say you’re my friend.”

I didn’t appreciate it, because I don’t like having to lie, for one. Also, in both cases the hosts were guys who were much younger than me. I don’t think the story would have been that believable. At least come up with a better story that makes sense.


I think you’re right Chloe - guests don’t care as long as it doesn’t affect their stay.

Sorry… I know you were hoping for it to be a selling point, but the whole thing of AirBnB is that people consider it an alternative to hotels (aka, alternative to paying money to legit, faceless businesses).

I know that I wouldn’t stay in an Airbnb where I was asked to lie.


Why would they say that anyway? Do you say that when you leave a Best Western motel?


There is a constituency of mostly older people who are reluctant (some are even hostile) to try AirBNB because they’ve heard stories about illegal rentals, reservations canceled, etc. They find many of the listings attractive and well-priced but they assume the units are illegal. Making it clear that you are a legal would be a huge factor to get these people over the hump and would probably mean very little to those who are indifferent.

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I think that is a scream! There were a handful of listings in my area that had pretty much the same request in the property description. I’m in a beach community with tons of apartments, so this kind of “scam” is going to happen a lot. One of them was a Super Hostess who’d been around for a couple of years. She was solidly booked with a steady stream of people coming and going. She was raking in the $ ! The only reason she got away with it for so long (she’s not on Air any longer) is because it’s an area dense with apartments, so she had some “camouflage”.

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…that’s cheaper than staying at a hotel. And that’s what it’s all about…hokey, hokey pokey :)))

For me it’s a selling point… Though I’m not sure if most active users care. You’re right there’s an older crowd scared to use Airbnb but they won’t be looking at the website… Or maybe they will! Either way I’d add it, it shows you take your responsibilities as a host seriously and that’s only a good thing.


@J_Wang, had similar host down the street. She is gone now but she lived free in that home and made tons of $$$$. When she moved she had four months of bookings waiting, don’t know what happened to those guest.

I care if I’m expected to lie. When I went to NYC last year I avoiding inquiring with any listings that implied I had to pretend or avoid talking to anyone, etc. Ultimately I stayed in a hotel. I prefer staying in a legal listing but will and have made an exception in a special circumstance.

It depends on the area.

In my market it will not add anything, we are all legal.

In a big city, with lots of illegal AirBnB’s like Amsterdam, Berlin or Barcelona, it will be selling point.
No guest wants to be in a place, where the authorities could come knock on the door.

I think they don’t care. The most has just a smartphone, and don’t want to read. They care just the price and the photos.

As a legal host in Barcelona- people dont care :slight_smile:

They want their vacation rental for the best price, amentities, amd location.


Why would you assume that I mean illegal is related to faceless? People like the personal touch that AirBnB provides. A hotel is impersonal, ie faceless, that doesn’t make it illegal. AirBnB is a sharing platform where people connect with people. The minute you start injecting taxes, regulations, legalities and licencing into a description, your home becomes nothing but a faceless house.

Yes, I guess people could try to massage the wording to minimise its impact. I actually “branded” my property complete with a website, answering all messages with the website included, and discovered to my chagrin that reviews talked about me as the manager and direct feedback advised me to improve certain items “with my staff”. Ditching this appearance of being a company and re-writing the listing as my home, immediately improved the reviews and star ratings. People were clearly happier in staying in a human’s apartment than in renting off a “company”. I did absolutely nothing different in how I operated, but the perception was everything.


I state in my detailed description that I own my townhome and that I and licensed with the city. Can’t hurt (I think). For me, as a traveler, it tells me that the listing, and thus my reservation, is more “stable” – as in, a lesser possibility of a last minute cancelation by the host, especially with all the news about guests being stranded at the last minute.

As long as someone is upfront that the listing is not allowed, I don’t really mind. It impacts my decision, but is not a deal breaker, especially in big cities. I would find it odd if someone advertised that they are legal; that is (or should be) assumed.

Its agood thing they did not tell you to say you are their mom. Or mom’s friend

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Well I just lost the first booking I’ve had in a month, because of the taxes. I clearly state on my listing that I collect the taxes in cash, but as we all know, no one ever reads the description. So a really perfect sounding guest made a booking for October and I wrote back with my canned paragraph about the taxes with the amount, and they said “oh, I had no idea. We will look elsewhere”

Ever since I started collecting the taxes in cash I have lost bookings right and left over it. Before I paid the taxes out of the amount as if it was rolled in, but that was cutting into profits pretty sharply. Now I’m not sure what to do.

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