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Guests labeling kids as infants are able to exceed max allowed people in house

I have a tiny house with a max of 3 people as labeled in Airbnb. Our city is strict on guest maximums, as they don’t want over crowded homes in my neighborhood.

I notice that people can bring more guests as long as they label their kids as infants. I appreciate that at least people are being honest and telling me the guest count, however, our city laws don’t allow a larger guest count if some people happen to be infants. Is there a way to make this setting stricter in Airbnb?

Our house is really very small and a family of 4 is a bit more than the house can handle even if people are “happy to squeeze in” presumably to save a few $$$.

If not how do people handle this issue if they have a similar issue?

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Make it plain in your listing that the rental is not suitable for children due to safety concerns. (A sleeping loft, maybe?)

This is what I do and if a guest wants to bring a child I go on and on and on about steep external stair, the unfenced canals, tiled floors throughout etc. until the guests decide that they’d be putting their child in danger if they booked with me.

You say that your city is strict - does your STR license state a max number? (Ours do here). And does your STR insurance give a max? Again, our does. I explain this to guests too.

I’m not actively disallowing them from booking, more pointing out the cons.

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@naybrown86 No, just because infants are not charged doesn’t mean they don’t count towards the maximum number of guests. They do.

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I literally have a booking today that allowed the person to book 2 adults and 2 infants despite a max guest allowance for 3. It used to happen rarely but seems more common these days.

Then take a pic of your city license and add it to the photographs on your listing. Did you get in touch with the guest?

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Yeah, I am working it out with her and beefing up my rules but I was curious if there was a way to create settings that just disallowed the issue from happening in the first place.

I already have a “picture” that states our no pets or animals policy since almost everyone asks about that now. I also have a disclaimer related to a fraud scheme someone uses our house for on Craigslist. I don’t really want our photos to be all rules that inconsiderate people think they are above. I guess I will add the photo if the issue persists and the beefed up policies don’t work…

I’m not suggesting that the photograph is a ‘rule’. The idea is that to show potential guests that you are properly licensed and insured. They also ‘just so happen’ to point out that three is your maximum should the question arrive - that you are bound legally to have no more than three guests.

You should be able to have Airbnb cancel any booking that breaks the law without penalty to you. As for ensuring guests can’t book for more than 3, it’s unlikely Airbnb is going to change anything any time soon. However, even if Airbnb fixed their software, you would still have the problem of guests outright lying about the guest count (infant or not) in order to exceed maximum occupancy and/or save on extra guest fees.

Other than what @Jaquo suggested, I think your best defense is very clear communication in your initial contact messages with the guest that explains the legal guest capacity, how it differs from Airbnb’s policy, and how you will monitor it. This gives guests that might be breaking the law (either deliberately or accidentally) a chance to back out without penalty.

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They don’t actually. Doesn’t make sense, but we’re talking Airbnb. The wording when someone tries to book my 2-max place is “2 guests maximum. Infants don’t count toward the number of guests.”
I’m not safe or suitable for infants, but, oh look! It doesn’t matter! They don’t count…
It was when dealing with a particularly unpleasant and pushy guest that I learned this was the case.
You can do what @jaquo suggests. Find a way to talk them out of it (scary coyotes! raging river!) or invoke a licence or insurance policy. That works most of the time.
I had to go the cancelling route on the unpleasant and pushy one. It worked too. No penalty.

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I get I can’t get software to stop people from lying. I just think its crazy the software allows this loophole in the first place and there is no way for me to stop it. There’s enough time spent taking care of guests for all the things software can’t fix. Annoyed that I have to spend more time explaining the software loophole to people who are well intentioned, announce their infants, and think their booking is above board because the software allows for it.

I just read that about the wording on the booking form. That’s insane. It’s also dangerous- if there’s a major house fire, and the host tells the fire fighters there are 6 people staying in the house, they won’t be looking for more, once they get 6 out, when there could be another 3 in there with the others perhaps unconscious from smoke inhalation, unable to say “My baby’s still in there!”.

@muddy, They don’t count toward the max, and they do get a free ride, but they are reported (if the guest does it right) when they book. The wording says “infants don’t count”, but there is a box for guests to tick how many of them they are bringing along. So, theoretically, the host could give the fire dept the correct number when the place is burning down.
It’s only that, in my case, the coyotes might have eaten them up first.

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The problem is that many hosts would love to have more services such as better software and easier ways to do things when they use Airbnb, but some already complain that the commissions charged to them are too much. (Personally I think they’re not).

But the more services offered, the greater out fees would be.

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I recently had a request to book my Victorian catastrophe with 2 young children. I allowed it because they were coming to a funeral.
I made sure that there were age appropriate pool toys, ice cream for the children and children’s channels on the streaming service. The resulting review was the worst I have received for this property because the house isn’t child friendly and that I should be allowing the children stay for free “like a hotel”!
Four guests in total, SEVEN beds used and now they were the first and last!
Let no good deed go unpunished :crazy_face:

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It seems like any time hosts make special exceptions for guests who ask for that, the guests take advantage and show no appreciation.

Best to stick to guests who don’t consider themselves worthy of special consideration.

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Local legal requirements trump Airbnb TOS. As suggested above, clearly state the requirement in your listing, “Local ordinances prohibit more than three guests, regardless of age.” Then you can decline or ask them to leave.

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Agree 100% with @Brian_R170. It is essential to communicate with Guests after booking, for many reasons - some “Good Hosting” some “Hospitality”:

  • Validate size and composition of booking party
  • Have them confirm they read and agree to all House Rules
  • See if they need recommendations for places to eat / stuff to do
  • Answer questions
  • Etc
    .
    If you merely accept bookings and do not communicate between booking and check-in - then do not be surprised after the fact.

Food for thought:
In your rental description & in the message you send before accepting the booking,
you may wish to include wording of:

  1. Maximum two guests including child/infant.

  2. Unit is NOT toddler/child proof.

I can’t find it but I will keep searching, Airbnb states that hosts may include infants in determining the maximum number of guests.

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My Rules state

We currently don’t accept bookings for children under 12 (or infants) in our shared space because the house has not been childproofed and contains tripping and falling hazards as well as second story windows that are not safe for children. If you arrive with undeclared children we will not be able to accommodate you for safety and insurance reasons.

And when they Instant Book the initial message contains the same information, and reminds them that can cancel penalty free.

I have only had one person ask for an exception, which I turned down.

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THIS. I have a “Saved Message” for these types of inquiries/requests and it’s worked wonders. “Sorry, not suitable for children due to unfenced canal, pool, Insurance requirements, and tiny leopard on property.”

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