Guests who request booking with children despite listing stating unsafe and no child amenitues

You have to be real careful on this one as there have been stories about a scam where someone was setting hosts up for being sued for refusing children with the intention of pressurizing them to settle out of court for large sum. This scam was exposed on several tv stations at the time. I believe all of them were confined to the East Coast USA.
I just found your post in a search, as after 4 years as an airbnb host, we had our first booking request from a person with no reviews, no photo, and no stated purpose of visit who specifically asked if was ok to bring their toddler with them. We had stated quite clearly in our “Houserules” no children under 12, along with a maximum of 2 guests regardless of age. Also that any booking requests include a profile photo and reason for visit. We immediately thought of a set up similar to the one described in the first paragraph. Because of this and the fact that the guest either had not read the listing or rules, we declined the booking while gving the reason for decline as booking requirements not met. Guest immediately responded with a very nice profile photo and reiterated the request for infant accommodation but did not state purpose of visit. We again decline that second request checking the AirBnb box for “Uncomfortable with this Guest” and sending a message to guest to the effect that we have have had 97% 5 star reviews and the ones less than that were always the result of guest not reading or understanding the description, houserules or location.
Airbnb should not have allowed the first booking request which was for 2 plus infant, apart from the fact that there was no photo, nor purpose for visit. We have good reasons for that as we have unfenced pool and do not want young kids around it. We also have a 100# dog who is super friendly to adults (and also gets great reviews) but who is extremely aggressive with other dogs and even will chase after coyotes and rabbits who are foolish enough to come close. We do not know how that dog will react with kids and babies and we don’t want to find out, maybe she will want to lick them to death as she does with all adults or maybe she sees them as a small animal and wants to kill them. We have deleted every amenity for children, and also specifically state no children or pets. We are the ones who would be held liable if a child was mauled by the dog, or drowned in our pool or even got bit by a rattlesnake (our house is surrounded by open desert).
Bottom line is simply that Airbnb should reject any booking request which does not comply with guidelines!


One of my listings has the highest National trust listing in our area and it is furnished with some stunning pieces. I get requests for children under 12 all the time - or - they just show up with the kids in tow. Then when I ask - did you read the listing as i don’t permit children I get…I didn’t think it mattered as I rented the whole house…ahh no you didn’t - you booked for 5 adults and standing here I can see 6 plus 2 kids. I don’t turn them away but they can see how very unhappy i am and i make them pay up and insist the kids sleep downstairs.
Happy host face turns to seriously pissed face…last lot left me 2 nice bottles of champagne and a lovely review because after being there - they actually got it!

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@RIGSBY where did you get the idea that a “stated purpose of visit” is an Airbnb Term of Service requirement? It never has been. You can ask. But really, it’s none of your business.

You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. All you had to do was decline the original request with “Uncomfortable…” and a note that you DO NOT accept more than 2 guests and that children count as guests. No need for posts about your star rating. No need for second rejections. No need for getting upset…

It’s actually not a scam. A scam is a fraud or illegal scheme. This particular person you refer to does all this legally. He uses the law to go after people. Read the other thread that @KKC posted a link on here especially the comments and links from @cabinhost to learn more.

I would be very hesitant to explicitly say that I don’t accept children in your case. If you only allow 2 guests, worst case scenario you end up with one adult and one child. You can explain all the features of your property that are not child friendly, and decline all booking requests over 2 people, but don’t set yourself up for a lawsuit.

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I’m really irritated by the fact that Airbnb does not include infants into total number of guests, as I am not allowed to accept more guests than it is stated on my STR permit, no matter how old they are. Everyone counts as a guest, even a newborn. And Airbnb is creating potential legal problems for hosts who are simply not allowed to host more guests than allowed, and as all the guests have to be registered through the central system, it is very easy for inspection to check how many people you are hosting. I don’t feel like breaking the law just in order to host someone.


I am in the same situation with my permit. Fortunately, I’ve had one parent/one kid bookings, but no “third” infants have tried to book (probably because of the small square footage and lack of full kitchen).
If I knew guests were planning to bring an infant, I would explain that, while Airbnb has a provision that hosts do not charge for infants under age two as a guest, my permit only allows two people to stay, regardless of age, and I could lose my license. “Undeclared” infants in tow – yes a legal problem for me also.

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So far a I’m solving it by stating this clearly in my “Things to note section” and House rules. Also, by refusing a reservation. But it’s trickier when it comes to Instant booking (which I have turned on) and people who wouldn’t let the existence of the infant known until the moment they show up. I guess I could potentially have some wriggle room available if there are only two people staying simultaneously in the second unit (as in the online registration, it is only visible whether there are 6 people registered for the overlapping dates, not how exactly they are distributed over the units), so having a fourth person in the first unit wouldn’t make for a very obvious rule breaking

However, inspectors do show up on the spot as well, and I wouldn’t want to pay a fine just in order to please an irresponsible guest and Airbnb.

People do not read, I just got off the phone with bookingdotcom unwinding a reservation where the guest booked my no pet property and in the opening email told me she was bringing her dog… I have a dog, I do not even bring him to my rental because dogs pee in new places. I have had some very good dogs over the years and every time ever brought one into a hotel room they peed on the rug. Every. Single. Time.

Oh kids, now my kids don’t pee on rugs though…



The thing is that guests also lie. If you add the rule to your listing that guests must tell you the reason for their visit they are going to lie if it’s dodgy.

Most hosts would accept ‘I’m visiting my beloved Great Aunt Lavinia’ rather than ‘there’s a fantastic strip joint not far from you’.

But who is lying?

No-one is going to give the true reason for their visit if they’re up to no good.

Who cares why they are coming as long as they do not cause damage or disturb the peace.



I agree so much. I can understand that hosts who are renting out spare bedrooms in their homes are pretty picky, especially if the hosts have kids. But our rentals are separate apartments. What the guests get up to in there is up to them - as long as they keep the noise down! :slight_smile:


When I started out with Airbnb the booking process asked guest to say a little it about themselves and purpose of visit. Maybe they have dropped that, but I ask for that in my listing. You are wrong, it is my business as I want to ensure that it is a good fit for both us and the guest which
helps result in happy guests and happy host. It must work otherwise we would not have so many rave reviews!
Regarding the matter of children, I checked a box on the Airbnb listing site which stated "not suitable for children 0-12years. I also make reference to that in my description and detail why it is unsuitable. Airbnb should not be sending me booking requests which include children.
I should not be put in the position of having to decline. If I were that person booking I would have booked with one of the 32 other listings which do cater to children, some of whom even have cribs and hi chairs. Why anyone would want to take their children to a place with an unfenced pool and a large dog, to say nothing of a barbed wire fence leading straight out to open desert is beyond me. Ourselves as hosts do not want that liability and it is doubtful wheter an insurance company would cover that.

While some guests may lie about their purpose of visit none of our guests have done so up to this point.

OK, so you think that it is ethical and morally right to entrap people by filing those kind of lawsuits in the hope that they will settle out of court for huge sums?

I might be wrong but I think that was a suggestion rather than a requirement? After all, people could say anything. Right?

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I might be wrong but I think that was a suggestion rather than a requirement? After all, people could say anything. Right?

I think it is. I recently booked a place, and it looked like I could have clicked past that part of the process if I had wanted to. As it happened, I didn’t just want to tell my host about my family, I wanted to make doubly sure that the listing was suitable for children under six, so I didn’t look too closely at whether I could bypass it.

I didn’t say it was ethically or morally right. I said it was legal. I do not agree with what he is doing at all. But you called it a scam, which implies something illegal, which it is not.