Guests who break house rules

I have rules I put in writing e.g. about noise and not slamming doors or having loud music. But some guests still seem to break them. Some guests seem to have a border-line anarchy in the way they live there lives. They don’t like or resent being told what to do and what freedom to do what they want. Why stay somewhere that has house rules if you don’t like the rules? I never get that. I’m thinking of putting in my Ad writing Houserules(STRICT enforcement policy and anyone breaking them will have there booking terminated). But I’m worried that will turn to many guest away from booking if they feel like there going to stay in the Army.

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Guests don’t read. If you have your house rules buried in a long description, most guests won’t see them.

Guests pick a place (IMHO) based on photos and location, not wonderfully crafted verbage.

We’ve stayed in probably a hundred AirBnb properties, and I can’t consciously remember ever reading anyone’s actual House Rules. I assume they’re all alike – no smoking, no loud noise, no messes, etc. I also assume I will meet my hosts and they will remind me personally about things that really matter to them.

You might think about posting an actual piece of paper with the house rules in large print, in an obvious place, like the bathroom opposite the toilet.


Why don’t guess read a long list of Army style house rules? And if it’s there in print it saves time in chat when you meet them. It seems that might be the unfortunate reality, guest picking based on pics/location and not bothering to read house rules. Hence why I’m now tempted to put in in big capitals STRICT HOUSE RULES on my Ad

The fact is that they don’t, it’s as simple as that. It’s all very well saying that not talking about your rules (tactfully) saves time during the ‘chat’ but the house tour is the most important part of your interaction with guests when they are staying with you. This is when you set up your own expectations and ‘sell’ the accommodation to your guests. This selling includes carefully reiterating your house rules. For example, instead of saying ‘there must be no noise after 10pm’ say’ this is a lovely peaceful place. One of our condo rules is that there should be no noise after 10 and it’s such a good idea as it keeps the place quiet and restful for everyone’.

I wouldn’t book a place that treated me as though I was in the army, in prison or three years old.


House rules really suggest a series of prohibitions, for example 'No Slamming Doors (should be a normal consideration of course) is really saying ‘Don’t Be Loud’.

Perhaps a different tack may work for your listing and what you want of guests. Right from the outset (so they can’t help but to read it) describe what type of guests are best suited for your place eliminating those that won’t fit and thus they do not bother to apply in the first place.

I took this tack with my island some time ago. and it has worked 99% of the time: 'The central theme of Bird Island is a Robinson Crusoe style, self-catering adventure best suited for guests that are looking for…" In other words you are on your own and do not expect a catering resort type of experience.

Just a thought.


I think one of your problems (beside that guests don’t read the listing) is that your rules are open to interpretation. What some consider door slamming, others considering closing the door. What some consider loud music, others consider medium volume. You might want to change the rules to turn the doorknob whenever you close the door and use headphones when you listen to music.

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Yes - that’s a good point - the truth is, people are so different in what noise is acceptable and what is not. 95 reviews and no one has complained about the noise from above one of our guest rooms - and the room above them is the kitchen. Personally I would not like it. I would say something like “the room above us was the kitchen, so while generally quiet, there was quite a racket at meal times”.

We had a long-term renter who was noisy as hec and made me crazy. But when we were what I would consider especially noisy and would apologize, she would look at my totally mystified. The noise didn’t bother her. Noise didn’t bother her. She she didn’t bother not making noise…

We once had friends over while we had guests. The guests had a small child. My friends were LOUD. (You don’t realize how loud your friends are until you have airbnb guests!) VERY LOUD!! I was horrified- and the family began to play a game which made it raucous. I texted them to apologize and they responded as if nothing inordinate was happening. Their kid went to sleep and they were just ‘chilling, watching a movie’.

People who slam doors, talk loud, etc., aren’t NOT reading your rules, they don’t even understand them. They aren’t relevant to them because they don’t have a problem with slamming doors or loud voices so they don’t understand that you do. And, they sure can not change their habits just because they’ve read your rules.

Living with other people is hard - it just is. Hence the beauty of STR - Off they go!! “check-out and pay-out” as @konacoconutz says! Right now we have a young couple with a two year old son. Dang, that kid is loud! We don’t like it - but he’s just being two. He’s as cute as can be but very, very verbal and energetic. We realize it’s a short-term situation. Most guests are easy to have - it all balances out.


Our criteria is that ‘if it can be heard outside the apartment, it’s too loud’.


Good answer DC you make some good points there.

I just had those kinds of guests - so noisy with the slamming doors - holding a conversation yelling from bedroom to bathroom - that it was almost laughable;
Like "are you freaking kidding me?"
Every time I asked them to dial it down, kids are sleeping ,etc. they looked at me as if I was very odd.

In their review they wrote
"keep in mind even NORMAL talking is not allowed after 11pm"

Ha - glad it was helpful - trust me, I’ve come by them the hard way - one of the best parts of hosting, for me, is being in a position to decide to grow as a person, becoming more tolerant of different lifestyles instead of letting it frustrate me. Trust me, it’s easier said than done (as I’m typing the two-year-old guest we have is hollering his head off - so LOUD! - just talking and chattering - in a way it’s funny…in a way…they check-out today…)

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My family typically communicates at the top of their lungs. Moving out and meeting my husband, I learnt that this was not “normal” for some people.

When my sister moved in with us during her Working Holiday stint, she would slam the car door to close it, because that’s what she does. It upset my husband but was perfectly normal for my sister.

It takes all sorts to make the world go 'round. What is normal for one person isn’t normal for another. I agree with making general rules about noise and respect. I disagree with a bizillion and one rules because it’s not hospitable and will turn good guests off.


That is why the description of your listing can set some initial parameters somewhat; if you mention a ‘quite setting’ for example potential guest should get the hint, that if they are loud by nature they probably wouldn’t fit.

I think one of the beauties of Airbnb (at least thus far – who knows what Airbnb is morphing into or where it will go…) is that there are all kinds of hosts and all kinds of guests, and people can pick a place to stay that fits well with what they want, like or need.

As far as I can see, if you’re offering something or setting up house rules that fits within Airbnb’s rules, and you’re able to attract enough business to suit you, and obtain guests who don’t continually create problems, then that’s really all that matters. So, whether you have no rules, or 101 rules, doesn’t matter if it works for you. Hosts need to do what works for them, and if what you’re doing doesn’t work, try something slightly different.

What I’ve noticed is that often hosts when hosts complain about guests not following their rules, the issue isn’t actually the rules themselves. It’s not as though, no matter what guest you obtained, all the guests would violate your rules, because the rules are a problem. I’ve never yet seen that to be the case. Rather the problems seem to lie in these three areas:

(1) The rules are not clear enough – perhaps they are ambiguous, perhaps they actually fail to communicate the type of behavior you want to curtail or prohibit. For instance, if saying “no loud music” does not suffice to curtail this type of behavior, maybe you need to work on defining what exactly is “loud” – for instance, “you may not play music at a volume that is clearly audible outside your room.” (Is the music coming from their room or are they playing your stereo, eg in the living room? If the latter, just prohibit guests using your stereo equipt)
I dont’ actually have a rule about music playing in my house, and have had many guests over the years, and it’s been very rare that a guest actually plays any music at any volume. My guests are coming to my area for an activity. They aren’t coming to my house to party. ( I make sure of that when I screen them.) So as far as I see it, there really isn’t much need for guests to play music at my house.

(2) Your rules are clear but you have not specifically asked the guests to read them and agree to them. One of the most common issues hosts have – and it tends to be newer hosts who have this problem – is that they assume guests will read everything before booking. This is a problematic assumption to make, mostly because it’s extremely common for guests to read little or nothing of the listing or rules before booking – as some of the respondents on this thread have indicated. Therefore, every single time a guest inquires to stay at your home, or issues a reservation request, you should ask them to read the entire listing and house rules description, let you know if they have any questions about those, and state affirmatively that they can agree to follow these rules without difficulty or resentment during their stay. IF they cannot agree to this, dont’ accept their reservation.

(3) You are not screening guests as well as you could – develop some techniques for guest screening that will help you avoid these problematic guests.

I know of many hosts with fairly strict house rules, and they have no problem getting guests. Strict house rules dont’ have to be communicated in a sharp, harsh or disagreeable way. Simply coming across firmly and clearly will do the job.

Consider that with everything you say in your listing and your house rules, you are conveying a certain tone about your home. If you successfully convey that your home is a quiet place where things are in order, that you welcome guests who can respect this, and that it WILL be maintained that way, then it’s more likely you’ll get guests who fit this, than if you seem to convey that anything goes but there are limits X, Y, Z.

In other words, I’ve seen some hosts who I think are speaking out two sides of their mouth when they say something like, “Hi, we’re friendly, laid-back party people who love a night on the town and we’d love to have a drink with our guests and please make yourself at home in every way and let us know if we could possibly do anything more for you, but hey, be nice and dont’ X, Y or Z.”

Guests will read between the lines and this is what they hear: “Hi, we’re a couple of naifs who are complete doormats, and we have house rules but we don’t really mean them.”


Pretty sure you mean “quiet setting” but I wouldn’t read that as the people in the setting have to be quiet; just that the space is located in a remote and quiet area. You really would have to be more direct, and then rely on natural noisy people to KNOW that they are noisy people. Good luck!

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Totally agreed. For years I just posted that we are in a quiet area, but people did NOT interpret that as “we need to be quiet too”. I had to change things to ensure my guests were only the sort that do not make noise after 10 pm, according to bylaws of our area.

In my initial reply I state “we are in a quiet family neighborhood and it is very important that our guests adhere to “no noise after 10pm”. We want to maintain a good relationship with our sensitive neighbors. Please consider this when deciding if our home is a good fit for you.”

If they want to pursue the booking further (assuming it is through Airbnb) I will then tell them “please make sure you read our house rules in our listing because we will ask you to sign our paperwork prior to arrival”.

I got this idea when I was planning an event for about 125 people. I was sent a list of rules and wasn’t going to read through it (I assumed I would automatically know what was expected). But the sheet required me to sign off on every rule they had, so I ended up reading them all. I adopted that in my own policy sheet.

Our policy sheet now has about 15 rules - EACH rule has had the wording honed to be as succinct as possible so there aren’t volumes to read through - and EACH rule must be initialed. There is space for a signature at the bottom. Mind you, ours is a whole-house booking so someone “on-site” may not need such a long list.

It certainly doesn’t work 100% of the time, but I really think that I’ve discouraged quite a few guests that are there to party after changing my procedures.

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I still have the first rule I ever wrote in my listing. We are a quiet, family home in a quiet, peaceful neighborhood. Our neighborhood curfew for quiet time is 10pm. This rule must be respected. No loud parties at any hour. Barbecue activities must be completed by 10 pm. Thank you.

Seems firm enough! I had to add the BBQ one later because I actually had guests who would come home from a day of sightseeing and fire up the Q at midnight. Idiots.

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^^^ Exactly my point kona, define your listing and what you want in a guest, in any way you wish, according to your particular personality/style/necessity. It tends to pre-qualify who books in the first place. Eliminates 99% of the problems.

I agree. Some people like a very defined structure in their life. They enjoy living in communities that have homeowner association rules and restrictions. Some prefer less structure and choose to live in neighborhoods that aren’t governed by homeowner associations. It’s the same with Airbnb guests.

Here is my first rule:

  1. Read ALL house rules. You will be responsible for following the rules. Full details are available in the “description” section. Please ask all questions regarding the rules before booking.

You can see all of my first rule when booking - but you do have to “toggle” to see all of the rest of the rules. (Airbnb only show the guest first 3 or so lines by default) If they don’t read them - the guest may have some surprises - but - since I have them, it is easy to refer the guest to them if needed…

For example:
–Check in starts at 4pm. No early checkin.
–Check out is 10am. No late checkout.
–All children and infants count as guests in your total guest count… You may not exceed the maximum.

I have all of my rules numbered, short and to the point - so that they can easily be read and digested if the guest chooses to read them.
I have found that guests don’t read the long wordy paragraphs as well as the lists.

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