Hi, I am fairly new to hosting and have a full house vacay rental. I lived there formerly and have a nice yard with flowers. This week was rainy and the family with boys in soccer camp played on the front lawn grinding the grass down to the dirt. Yea, it will grow back, but it is right in front! The kids didn’t mean to do that—they were practicing. I am dismayed. I have new guests coming today. Thoughts?
Do you have a rule against walking or playing on the lawn?
If not, I don’t know what recourse you have.
If you do or did, what recourse would you want? Do you have any written estimate of what it might cost to repair or treat while the grass is growing back? What is it that you want?
Do you have any evidence of what the lawn looked like before the rental? Some here have suggested videotaping the property with each turnover, using one of the free apps that show the time stamp. I’ve been doing this inside and outside.
We don’t have grass but sedum that cannot be walked upon. We state that in out rules and we have several signs from Etsy that say “Do Not Walk on Landscaping.”
You might want to edit your rules and get some signage. Or live with it.
You’ve come to the right place. There are experienced Hosts who can advise you. My view is one data point among that.
There’s a green spray (seeds and fertilizer) that you can buy and spray on the lawn. That should help it look decent for your arriving guests. You can also purchase signs to put on the lawn to remind folks not to walk on the grass. If you didn’t have it in your house rules to stay off the grass, I doubt Airbnb will back you up. You might have to write it off as a business expense. Save your receipts.
I have several of these.
I polyurethane the metal posts before putting them out.
These signs, the rules and messaging have been effective except for one place near the curb where people parking cars there find it more convenient to walk on the plantings. I’ve been advised to there live with it or make it guest-proof by putting a low fence that would make walking on the plantings less convenient than walking on the street.
One other thing. If you spray a product with seeds, you’ll likely have ‘soft’ costs to keep it watered, weed until the grass takes. It will be hard if not impossible to document these costs. My guess, without knowing the extent of the damage, is that the hard costs you can document will not be all that much money. You could find yourself in a dispute or battle, with the potential reimbursement not a material amount. And lots of stress along the way.
SO, I’d take this as a learning opportunity. Revise your rules, messaging, signage. When you have guests with children you might go out of your way to say something about playing on the grass. Maybe you distinguish between the front grass and the back yard grass? I don’t know your backyard setup. Would it be weird or unreasonable to say not to walk on the grass? Play on the grass? Are other distinctions needed – please stay off front lawn grass. Can walk on back yard grass, but no playing on back yard grass when wet, or anytime with cleats/studded shoes, or in any way that causes visible damage to lawn?
Mostly your rules are there for communication – prevention – not primarily as a basis to seek reimbursement from the guest, which will be stressful and likely will never recover your total hard and soft costs. [BUT they do provide a basis for reimbursement.]
Just casually mention to the incoming guests what happened. “Sorry about the lawn, apparently the previous guests’ young boys had a good time playing soccer, and the grass was wet, so they ground it down to the dirt. It’ll come back on its own, but not immediately.”
As long as the guests have some other outdoor space to hang out, a patio or deck, I wouldn’t worry about it.
While grinding it down to the dirt is extreme, I have never understood the concept of grass being something to just look at, and never walk, play or sit on. Not to mention there are lots of places where watering lawns is verboten in seasons of drought. Everyone has to let the lawn go brown in the summer, it all comes back on its own after dry season.
Exactly what @muddy says. Just talk to the new guests when they arrive.
as usual, some sanity from @muddy. do people seriously want to turn into “get off my lawn” old grumps? the lawn is part of the listing, and the guests (with kids, esp boys) will full-well expect to be able to use it.
an easy-going casual comment about it is enough, and it’s probable that grass will bounce back in under a week anyway.
If it’s just grass - I wouldn’t stress it. Mention it to the next guests and wait for the grass to recover.
I have kids and a large dog - and our grass survives daily dog zoomies , fetch , soccer, kids and all. So you may want to consider the type of grass you have and who knows - maybe there’s something more durable ?