Guests leaving door unlocked

Hi All,

I’ve been hosting for four years and recently have had a slew of guests leaving the door unlocked. It is in my listing and house rules four separate times to lock the door. Most of the time guests are letting themselves in so the door is locked and key in the lock box from their own private entrance. Sometimes they return the key to the lock box but still leave the door unlocked. They have a private entrance which is a feature of the listing and this is the door they are leaving unlocked. I’ve threatened a fee charged for breaking house rules and still came home after two days to a guest I never met leaving the house unlocked while knowing I was out of town. Any suggestions? I can’t do a self locking system without replacing the entire door as it is an old house and original door. I just want guests to use the key! I think I’m going to make signs for the door. I tell guests I see in person to lock and check the door but it doesn’t matter and still gets left unlocked. I’ve been hosting for years and never had this problem until now. Am I doing something wrong? Are guests just less courteous than they used to be? I live in a city so I know I’m eventually going to come home and find out I was robbed. Is there any way to charge a fee or security deposit to guests that do not follow house rules and leave the door unlocked? I’ve noticed the cautious guests that I would neve need rules for always make sure to tell me the door is locked when they leave so I know someone is seeing all the warnings. I’m at a loss for what to do with the rest.

Get security cameras for outside the door. This is important for making sure they don’t bring extra unpaid guests or have a party. You won’t be able to tell if the door is unlocked but at least you can see who breaks in. Maybe one with a motion detector and a speaker so you can talk to them as they are leaving. Not perfect as the lag time with the wifi might keep you from catching them until they’ve left. You’ve obviously ruled out a smart lock, the obvious solution. Sign on the door can’t hurt.

Maybe instead of a fine you could increase the cleaning fee a bit. State in the rules that if the door is always locked you’ll refund xx dollars after the stay is over. This isn’t hard to do via the resolution center. They say people respond to positive reinforcement instead of punishment so maybe that would work.

I’ve given up on trying to change the behavior of others I just try to adapt myself to reality as it is.


Don’t just threaten it, DO it! Put it in your house rules and remind guests when they check out. When you send the reminder text/message about checking out time etc, put it in CAPS. eg.

Yes, I know you have to go through Air to charge them in reality but I’m guessing anybody stupid and careless enough to leave a house unlocked is unlikely to have the wit to know that. Everybody understands $$ though.

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I would love to charge a fee but I don’t know how. From what I read here I can’t take money from a security deposit unless there are physical damages. I do not currently charge a security deposit but would start if I knew I could keep the money if guests break house rules. I also do not know how I would prove to Airbnb the door was unlocked. Every time it has happened it has been a one night guest so I can’t void their contract as it is already over before I realize.

I do have a security camera/speaker outside the home but I have a full-time job so I’m frequently not available when guests leave or as you said, there’s a lag in the camera and they are half way down the sidewalk before I realize. If there’s a break-in, I’ll have video of it but it won’t necessarily recover my belongings and from what I’ve read, insurance will not cover it if the door was unlocked. I do state in my listing the guest will be charged for any missing/damaged items due to an unlocked door but I don’t know if I could realistically get any money from them if that happened.

I have messaged guests who do not lock the door to ask if they had an issue I needed to be aware of to help future guests (even though in all the instructions I tell them to call me immediately if they cannot get the door locked) and not a single one of them answers which makes me think they didn’t even try to lock the door.

I have a smart lock on the main door to the house (that I use for entry and the other room I rent uses) and it has a learning curve, particularly for older guests so I thought the key was easier. I just don’t understand how you can use the key to unlock the door and not do the same thing when leaving.

Can you install a lock that simply locks when they close the door? I hate that kind of lock, but plenty of homes have them.

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I agree with @anon67190644 you need a physical solution threats re Security Deposit are only that, a knowledgeable guest will know you can not follow through

I maintain that a threat is worth trying even if it’s difficult to follow it through in practice. Potential excess charges will always attract attention.

No harm, but not a solution, how many Guests read that far?

I’m suggesting to include this in the House Rules and that it is sent to guests the night before they check out. In my experience, guests are much more inclined to read stuff when they’re due to check out.

Do you have signs on the door(s) saying “LOCK ME!” If not, why not? If it’s in big letters at eye level the guests might actually read it.

One of the constant themes in the host experience is that guests will do what they do when they are in their environment, and if specifics in yours are different, they will constantly disappoint you.

If manually locking a door is not how they live their lives, they will never be 100% consistent in doing that in your world. If turning down a thermostat is not how they do it when the leave home every day, they will not do it in your home.

The easiest solution for things like this seems to be to remove the choice or the option to not do what you ask - make the lock always lock when the door is closed, make the thermostat run on a schedule and make the parameters of temperature narrow, etc. A few dollars spent now will give you and your guests less points of friction and less possibility of a review that is not good simply because the guest was chastised for not doing the particular thing that the host thought was ‘what everyone does’.


Use an e-lock with auto lock set and install an auto door closer. Works perfectly for me.

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As I said above, I am not willing to change the structural integrity of my door. I’ve been hosting for years and using a key to lock the door has never been a problem until the last couple months so as far as I can tell, the only thing that has changed is the caliber of guest.

Most guests do return the key to the lock box hanging on the outside of the door. How hard is it to actually lock the door before putting the key back?

I’m not asking guests to adjust a thermostat, set an alarm, or do anything else. I’m simply asking them to lock the outside door of MY home which should be common sense anywhere, but particularly in a city.


I get this too and it annoys the hell out of me! It’s in my house rules, on my info sheet and it’s one of the first things I say to guests when they walk through the door.

Somebody said something to me the other day and it really hit home to me: ‘think of the dumbest person you know and then remember that 50% of the population are even dumber than that’ (ok maybe not entirely scientifically accurate, but it does make you wonder).

Sorry - that’s no help to you at all. Just wanted to show my empathy!


@Gardenhost Maybe not 50% but enough, remember somebody complaining about the cold who kept leaving the Front Door open?

A lesson learnt and now understand why the big boys have their locations set up the way they do, much easier to design the issue out as far as you can.


You can’t control what guests do you can only control your response. You are unwilling or unable to take the steps necessary to secure your house. (I’m not blaming you, just saying…) Nothing is going to magically change the caliber of guest; on the contrary you should be prepared for a steady decline as Airbnb use spreads among the general population. At the very least you should make sure your insurance covers your losses should you incur them.

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We use the Schlage Connect lock… I get notifications when the door is unlocked, and when the door is locked… If I notice it’s been left unlocked, I can lock it remotely with the Wink app on my phone. In addition we are able to remotely add and remove unique codes for each set of guests… this is has been one of our best purchases for making life easier and more secure. Well worth the $$$.

I have a smart lock for the other door. Unfortunately it is not more convenient since it is an old house and the door has to be held shut in order to lock. I’ve invited contractors out and the only way to get a smart lock functioning as it should would be to replace the door. This is not something I want to do as it lowers the value of the house and removes some of the character the original door has. I’ve also found older guests are not comfortable with the smart lock. I’m still using it on the main door in the house for myself and one room but I have had enough complications I would not do it for another door. While I tell smart lock users to check to make sure the door is locked, I feel like there is more room for error. With a key, if the door is unlocked the guest simply did not lock it.

Our concern is battery life on e-locks. Reviews I’ve read say that battery last 2 weeks to one month, depending on usage. What has been your experience with battery life on the Schlage Connect lock? It’s high $$$ and we’re 3.5 hours away from our property.

I’ve been using a Schlage smart lock for 5 months and the original batteries are at 44%. I know this because the app tells me which is great! I’ll replace batteries at 25%. And because we use rechargeable batteries, it’s not an added cost.

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