First time renting a room

Hi I have just listed my spare room and got my first booking. I work during the day and may have to go out - do you give guests a key? I think the guy is here for a conference so will probably out most days longer than myself but it feels weird him being in my home without me there. Any tips or recommendations would be appreciated! Lucy

I used to be the only one on this forum to not hand over keys to guests. The reason being a high crime rate where we live and the fact that we thought we could arrange for someone to be around the whole time. Reality proved me wrong :relaxed:. At one point we decided to hand over keys to most guests. Very rarely (mostly national one-nighters) we still don’t hand over any keys and just make sure that this doesn’t inconvenience the guest in question.

In your case, since you’re not at home, it seems like quite impossible to not hand over any keys. I think you should rather work on your “security”-feelings. Take some measures to make you feel more comfortable with strangers being alone in your home: cameras, temporary access (coded, magnetic strip card, etc. …), a safe for your valuables, etc. …

(And a warm welcome to the forum btw!)


Lucy, are you sure that you want to be a host? You’ll almost always have people in your property when you’re not there. You’ll have to learn to trust them.

Well, actually, you can equip your home to some extent to ‘guest proof’ it. For example, with a Ring doorbell so you can see who’s coming and going. Yes, they will need a key but a better option is a simple keypad - you’ll need to change the code for every new guest. It means that if a guest loses the key, you won’t have to have the locks changed.

Have a good read of this forum - it’s like the Airbnb university and at some time or another we’ve discussed just about all aspects of hosting (and we’re all different so you get a great variety of viewpoints.)

Welcome to the forum and ask away!


If possible, I’d recommend

  1. getting a keyless entry lock with a unique code for the guest (so you don’t have to exchange keys, and will allow you to document entries and also prevent someone from making a copy). This will give you piece of mind that after a guest leaves, they no long have access.
  2. put locks on doors where you don’t allow access.
  3. The video door bell is good, but I’d add other cameras (need to disclose on your listing) so that you can survey the environment when you are not at home, And also have documentation should something be amiss (extra guests when you are not there)

Write explicit house rules and post in your listing so if you see a guest not complying, combined with your video recordings, you can build a case with AirBNB.

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Put away anything small that you don’t want to lose. Guests can be complete sticky beaks! Even in my whole house rental I find EVERY drawer opened and they are all empty… sometimes I feel like I want to put the “pink” adult toy in one of them so they are never disappointed…:joy:


In a whole house rental I expect every drawer and cabinet without a lock to be opened. Otherwise how will they find everything?


The house tour. Show them where everything important is, and show them the locked cabinet that they’re not to go into.

You need to give them a key. It’s best to get a keypad lock where you can automatically change the code after every guests. There are lots of stories about guests returning with copies of keys or using old key codes. Some of them are scary. Don’t be another story.

Lock up your valuables (cash, jewelry, credit cards, collectibles, even papers that could be used for identity theft).

Lock up your personal space (your bedroom, your private bathroom, storage, or any space not specifically stated in your listing is available to guests).


We lock one room and a few closets. I good in-person orientation eliminates some, but not all, of the poking about by guests. Ironically we put a lock on one closet and forgot the combination. I guess we didn’t need anything in there too badly since we have yet to have it removed. I don’t see how you will be able to host if guests can’t be in your house when you are not there. If you instant book, set your requirements for allowing this high and then ratchet them down if you feel comfortable. Consider a security deposit if you don’t have one. We are fortunate to be in a safe area so we don’t have the added worry of non-guests coming. There are hosts who require information on all guests, not just the one booking, before the party arrives. Developing a history of good guests and experiences will eventually make you more comfortable.