Apparently on the Air platform, it is hit or miss whether making a claim on the deposit will end favorably for the host. Allowing a third party (Air) to make the decision whether I’m entitled to it is one of the aspects I don’t like about Air. On another platform, I handle the bookings and payments…and refunds so the security deposit carries more clout and supports its purpose.
I’ve always had a security deposit in place. In seven years I’ve only withheld it twice. Both occasions involved unauthorized occupants and in one case, damage as well. My house rules specifically spell out what the deposit is for and that it will be applied for infractions. The guests knew the rules and had to deal with the consequences. The fact that neither of the guests submitted a review was fortuitous but I would have countered anyway if they had.
Does having a security deposit encourage people to be more responsible, I believe it has some influence but unless the money is collected up front with the rental amount, it seems to be less of a deterrent.