Guests smoking in unit - appropriate response

In an error of judgement I changed my listing from 2 night min to 1 might min in an effort to fill gap days.

So this guest books a Friday night only.

I get awakened at 11pm with a notification that my Minut unit has been removed from its mount. It has a battery backup so it still records and sends data when unplugged. I look at the logs and things are a touch loud but no big deal, could just be conversations.

About 30min later I get a crowd alert from the Minute unit. It does this by determining how many unique devices (phones, tablets, etc) are within range.

I messaged the guest and tell him I got a noise complaint from the neighbors and ask if he has people over. I didn’t want to let him know the Minut device was still reporting data back so I made up the neighbors story.

He goes on about a couple friends are over that he hasn’t seen in a while and they are leaving right away.

I try to get back to sleep but am awakened at 12:30am with an alert about high noise for 10min straight. A few minutes later I get a call from my neighbor that my smoke alarm is going off.

I messaged the guest again and he says he was “smoking a hooka” and will stop and air things out right away.

Needless to say I did not sleep well.

I arrive with my cleaner this morning and all the windows are open and I can already smell weed before I go in. Going in was obviously way worse weed smell.

I feel like I need to charge a smoking fee to this guest. I’m thinking $200, but am wondering if I should do an Aircover request or just ask him to pay an additional cleaning fee.


I don’t know what a Minut device is, but sounds like a way to spy on your unit. Cameras aren’t allowed inside but these are?

First alert AirBnB customer service in writing of what the guest did and get ahead of any retaliatory moves the guest may make once you take action. Make sure this is all on record with AirBnB before you seek any compensation.

Zilla, I believe these are allowed but are supposed to be disclosed. I believe (not sure) they are considered safety devices because they monitor smoke, not just noise. They are about the only way to be able to prove a guest was smoking.

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OP, Minut’s website tells you the steps to take with AirBnB on a situation like this.


I would see why not. He violated the house rules and left the place in an un-rentable condition. Hope you have enough time to get it clean and smelling nice again. Kindly let us know how you cleaned it - just as a help for other hosts (and me :smiley: )

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I did a little reading to see these are allowed in certain sections of a rental. However, I think Airbnb needs to seriously look at their barking against any indoor cameras yet allowing Minute devices.

I know some people have difficulty with rule breakers and it seems to have gotten worse in the last few years.

I’m glad I’m out of the business now but feel I had the best setups, both as part of the house I lived in, but separate. And, didn’t ever feel the need to use cameras to control who came or went.

Seems weird to me to refer to a charge for breaking a rule as a “fee”. A fee is not something punative, it’s something that is charged for a service, or like an entry fee to a venue or contest.

Charging a guest for bringing pets to a no pets listing or smoking in a no smoking zone should be called penalties or fines, not fees, just as driving without a license incurs penalties and fines, not “fees”.


There is no camera in a Minut device, it monitors sound decibels, motion, networked devices and smoke.

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Do you find this to be useful to the topic?


I think terminology is important, as it accurately or inaccurately reflects a situation. If we call something a fine, it is clear that the person being fined has broken a rule or a law.

If we call it a fee, it indicates that it is something allowed, but that we charge extra for, like a pet fee.

I’m sorry you had such a disrespectful guest, and yes, I think you should charge him for extra cleaning. As far as I’m aware, you have to first ask the guest to pay for damages, extra cleaning, extra guests, etc., before filing an AirCover request, so you have to start there anyway.


To what extent does it matter what it’s called if the host has to pay for additional cleaning services or offers that service himself? Fee, fine, penalty - I don’t think the host, Airbnb or the guest do really care what you name that child…

Yet hosts object to guests portraying not getting their money refunded when they cancel, according to the cancellation policy they booked under, as a “penalty”, or “greed”, when in fact it is simply an application of the terms under which they chose to book.

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Thanks for all the feedback @Hosterer and @Keugenia .

I ended up chatting with the guest and told him he broke the house rules and my cleaner now has to spend extra time cleaning and airing out the house. He agreed to pay the additional fee.

To get the smell out I opened all the windows in the home for about 3 hours, then I turned on the fan mode of the HVAC (changed out the furnace filter) and ran a small air filter unit I have. Then a spritzing with fabric freshener and it’s all good. Of course all the linens were washed, but thats just normal.


:nauseated_face: :face_vomiting: :nauseated_face:


Yeah, cigarette smell is so much better than fabric freshener.

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Do the smileys stand for a particular cleaning protocol? I’m still new here and wonder if this sort of graphical communication is considered helpful.

I know “English is not your first language” so I thought emojis would be universally understood.

fabric freshener is a really gross smell to many of us. There are many, many threads about scent sensitivity here on the forum if you can to search and read about it. Working for three hours to get a smell out and then undoing it by purposely inserting another smell is nonsensical to me. I find Febreze to be particularly noxious. If I go into a rental and find a plug-in or any other sort of “air freshener,” I’ll remove it to the exterior of the building. Some scents will trigger a headache.


Just wondering why you didn’t just post what just wrote in response to Justarock. It’s actually helpful what you mentioned.

We had a smoking guest as well recently who went the extra mile to smoke in the bathroom as it is the only room without a smoke detector instead of just walking the same distance to smoke outside… I’m always interested to hear how other hosts are battling the obnoxious cold cigarette smell - that’s why I asked.

No one said cigarette smell is better, both smells are offensive. And many people are allergic to air fresheners, or just find those scents disgusting.
If I had done everything I could to mitigate a bad smell, as you did, and was still concerned about a lingering odor, I would at least use something natural, like a few drops of mint essential oils in a pot of boiling water.
Most commercial air fresheners are full of poisonous chemicals and don’t smell fresh or natural, they smell chemical.