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Guests turning off security camera


#1

We recently purchased a home, did a quick remodel, and opened it up as an AirBnB last week. Our first two guests were great, no problems. The 3rd guest booked for 2 adults and said they would be arriving late. A little after 1am, I get a notification on my phone (which I didn’t see until the next morning) that the security camera had gone offline. (This camera monitors the driveway/entrance.) Made me curious, so I reviewed the footage from the night before. I saw a car arrive a bit after midnight with 2 adults and a child. Toward the end of the recording, one of the guests obviously noticed the camera and walked right up to it, squinting and staring into the lens. About an hour later, the camera went offline. This is a camera that is built into the porch light, and the only way to turn it off is the turn off the light, which is why we put a screw-on light switch guard over that switch. I messaged the guest about it, and he said he didn’t remember turning it off, but may have accidentally. There’s no way that a light switch with a cover over it can be turned off accidentally. It takes quite a bit of effort to squeeze a small finger into the side opening to get the switch moved.

I hate to think the worst of people, but this has me really suspicious. I already know that they weren’t honest about the number of guests, but now I’m really curious if there were more people that showed up later or something! (I do charge an extra fee for over 2 guests.)

Another thing was that every bed was made up very carefully in the exact same way I make them up, but it was very obvious that all of them were slept in. I have it noted in my welcome binder (which had been moved, so I’m assuming they looked at it) to please not make beds when you leave so that I know which beds need to be laundered. Even if they hadn’t read that in the binder, they are the only guests so far that have made the beds. And all the dirty bath towels were left in a soggy heap on the bathroom floor, so it wasn’t like they were trying to leave the house spotless or something. If I hadn’t been paying really close attention (or if someone else had been cleaning for me), I might not have even realized the beds were slept in, resulting in the next guests sleeping in dirty beds. Yuck!!!

Would this bother you? What would you do? The extra guest fee really isn’t a big deal to me, but them deliberately turning off the security camera has me feeling really weird about the situation. Because we’re brand new to AirBnB, we have no reviews yet, so I’m trying to tread lightly and not piss off the guest with additional questions about the camera. :worried:


#2

They lied and are not to be trusted. Thumbs down. Making the beds was just stupid, but let that go. Some hotels ask for used towels to be left on the bathroom floor.


#3

Hi @jkamm, welcome to the forum.

What was the child’s age?
Would the child be able to reach the light switch?
Could the child have been jumping on all the beds? You know how some parents just let their children do whatever they feel like.

Adjust your camera setup so that it’s impossible to turn off.
Reconsider accepting children.
Reconsider giving access to all beds or preparing all beds, when people have only made a reservation for two.
To get a few reviews in, ask some good friends to stay over for a couple of nights. They will also provide you with excellent feedback about your listing. In case you don’t have friends :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:, the imaginary ones are also fine, although they won’t give you any feedback.


#4

It was a younger child who appeared to be sleeping when they carried him in. And considering the camera was turned off a little after 1am, I doubt it was the child.

That’s why we put the switch guard over the light switch. It is open on one side (because I can’t find any that are completely solid), but it’s a very small opening. The cover is rounded and fits very close to the switch. I’m honestly not sure if even a finger would fit between the switch and the cover. You maybe would have to stick a pen in or something. Either way, it would not have been easy. (Because I’m new to the forum, I can’t attach a picture. But if you Google “amerelle switch guard home depot,” you’ll see the type of cover I’m using.)

It’s an entire house rental, so I can’t really restrict beds.


#5

Would you leave this info on the guest’s review so that other hosts were aware?


#6

I would.
“Guest turned off my security cameras. “

If it was a multiple night stay I believe you can contact Airbnb & evict them for doing that. Make sure you put in your house rules that the security cameras may not be touched.


#7

Yes you can restrict beds. You can just make up a bed with a mattress protector if not in use, you could lock unused bedroom doors, all sorts of options. The guest should tell you which bedrooms they need.


#8

Be sure you have the cameras explicity noted in your listing. If you haven’t done so…go do that now, as it is a requirement.

How many beds did they use?


#9

Their actions are bordering on criminal, yes of course review them as having tampered with the cameras. Use the passive tense if need be.


#10

One queen and two twins.


#11

I’m not sure I want to ask each and every guests which beds they will use ahead of time. If I were a guest, I would prefer to choose once I got there and viewed the rooms.


#12

Anyway your porch light shines into one of the bedrooms?


#13

You could put locks on the room doors and lock all but one room if they only have 2 guests.


#14

That’s actually the first thing I thought of. But I was there last night late doing some repairs and went into the bedroom to see if the “room darkening” blinds didn’t actually work… and it was pitch black in there! So that definitely wasn’t the case. Also, I would think that the guest would have told me that when I asked why the light was turned off, but he said he didn’t know, that maybe it was by accident.

Can I do that if the listing specifies “entire place” as the listing type?


#15

Well yes. I mean all guest numbers should be disclosed on booking, right? If there are only 2 they won’t have paid enough to launder every bedroom. Just make up the best room. Leave a key to a spare room in case they have a row.


#16

If you are advertising 2 bedrooms you cannot do that. And a 2 people can use 2 bedrooms easily.


#17

If you don’t live onsite you need fool proof security cameras. Supplement what you have with something that is harder for guests to tamper with. I have a ring doorbell as well as vandalism proof outdoor security cameras mounted on the eaves of my house.


#18

Only if you have different rates for renting certain parts of that house, and disclose exactly what that means.

I rent a two bedroom place: one king bed, and one queen bed. When only 2 people rent, both beds often get used. Some people could be sleeping separately, or they just like to go to a new fresh bed since they paid for it.

I do charge a $15 additional person fee, over four guests and they are provided the floor mats, extra bedding, etc. But even if two guests only book, they still have access to it to the extra bedding items, as it would be too much a pain to try to put it all away.

If the cameras were disclosed in your listing, any chance the guest overlooked this and then he was surprised when he showed up and saw them there.


#19

Well, I’m really glad that I noted this when I reviewed the guest instead of just letting it go because the guest gave me a very brief, lukewarm review. He gave me 4 stars for cleanliness because the house smelled “a little bit” like smoke… which was disclosed in the listing!!! I am so pissed about this whole experience. My house is absolutely spotless, but does have a mild cigarette smell left over from a previous tenant. I’ve used cleaners, air fresheners, smoke enzyme sprays, and an ozone machine. But because the smell is still very slightly still there, I disclosed it. But apparently he didn’t read the listing, and now my overall rating is a 4 because he is my one and only review. :sob::sob::sob:

He also dinged me one star on location, and I have no clue why. Do guests actually not look at the map for where they are booking? My listing doesn’t show the address, but the map shows the exact neighborhood where the house is located and the description states exactly how far of a drive it is to the nearest large city.

sigh.


#20

No, they don’t. I’m getting dinged down on location all the time. I’m in quite central area, but not in the historical center, so guests have to either use bus to go for sightseeings or have 45 min walk. I also sometimes receive questions like how far is to center/main attraction/some square… or what is our closest metro station. It’s all described in listing and there is also map, which narrows down location to few blocks. This sometimes also cost us 4 stars in overall.
If they wanted to stay in very central area, they have that option but it will cost them 2x, 3x more. So they rather save the money and complain.


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