Guest forgets key, ends up closing the listing

A horror story from Tokyo. Thankfully, not my listing.
A guest left her key and got locked out of the apartment building. She called the host, but since he was working across town, he advised the guest to wait until somebody opened the security door.
She waited for ten minutes, then decided to call the building’s management company hotline, which was posted in the entrance lobby. Unfortunately, they didn’t take kindly to having Airbnb guests causing trouble in their building (although it was tolerated before), and advised the host that he would have to close the listing.
Lesson: keep a spare key available outside for emergencies.


My most recent blog post is exactly about this! Even though I use a keyless entry system, I keep a physical key hidden and locked in a combination key lock. I don’t run the risk of the guy in Tokyo, but I run the risk of have a guest stuck outside and having to incur the cost and time of dealing with a locksmith.

Just out of interest … how do you keep a key outside an appartment block? Do you leave it under a pavement stone and hope no-one random takes it ? Or maybe you tape it to the back of the post box ?


Another angle in the “how does the landlord find out you are doing Airbnb” story. It sounds like in this case they tolerated Airbnb as long as they didn’t get any phone calls about it and I can’t say that I blame them.

A friend of mine stayed in an airbnb in Paris and they lost the key the first night. When they contacted the owner the owner informed them they didn’t have an extra key! I can’t imagine anyone so incompetent running an airbnb. ABB put my friends up in a very nice hotel. I’m not sure what happened to the owner besides losing the booking.

A key cafe or a lock box somewhere?

1 Like

Mine is in a lock box inside next to my apartment entrance and they have the code to key into the apartments

Are your flats serviced ? That sounds like an unusual arrangement … mine are serviced flats with 24 hour concierge and there’s no land when you could sneak a lock box without them coming after you . That’s why I’m suprised anyone has lock boxes to be honest; flats are surrounded by communal land you don’t have access to build on.

To be honest this is an over reaction and makes me wonder if it’s wasn’t officially banned in the building in first place.

@helsi sorry could you clarify. You have a key lock box or is it an access pad outside your flat ?

1 Like

Keys in Paris are a whole different world. One of my cousins estimates that her key is at least 200 years old. Getting copies is just about impossible!


In classic my non sequitur style; did you know they preserve their staircases too? It’s not uncommon to find a building with a staircase hundreds of years old… even though the building around it may be younger …

But losing a key is not. So either you get a replacement key and a spare or have a new lock fabricated? They had to get into the apartment somehow.

No merde, Matlock! That doesn’t change the fact that once the key is lost they have to do something about it. If you are going to offer your apartment for STR you need to have a plan regardless of the type of lock you have. Depending on guests to not lose the key is not a plan.

A lot of hosts use a combination lockbox that is affixed to the building fence or gutterpipe or some other hidden location. Real estate agents also use them.

I have a lockbox but I want to have a smart lock in the future.

But who owns the land outside the building?

As a resident in a flat I wouldn’t be able to just put up a lock box as I don’t own the land it would be on; the management company owns it. That’s why I asked where you are meant to put the key… it’s essentially the same problem. You’d have to go to the same management company that man reception and say hey can you guys install a lockbox outside the flats? Why do I need a lockbox? Oh because I wanna do Airbnb. Cue immediate shut down.

I can see getting lost in Tokyo would be scary and a nightmare!

Hi @Zandra

I live in a Victorian building with ten apartments. I am the only one of the ground floor.

I asked the property owner and they were quite happy for me to put the lock box in. It’s right next to my door, but under a shelf where post is put, so you can’t really see it. He knows I do Airbnb. But actually I installed it for my forgetful son :slight_smile:

It’s not serviced in the traditional sense. We don’t have a concierge.

They do come in and clean the communal areas and maintain the courtyard.

I hope,they were able to leave a review before they were shut down.

Can’t recommend. Guest lost key, informed building management and got this listing closed permanently.

And yet you occasionally run into guests surprised that the host would have a spare key, as if they expect to have the only set of keys for the place in existence!

So essentially it’s the same issue; in order to put your lockbox in you got permission from your freeholder / management company. So you’re still running the chance of being shut down if you’re trying to do Airbnb in the sly… In essence flat owners can’t really provide keys outside in lock boxes without prior permission; something I don’t think the OP quite gets.

1 Like