Has anyone ever charged a guest for excessive utility usage?

Hi All-
I have a current group booked as 8 (my max) adults who showed up as self check-in with 2 additional guests (children over 2) and a dog (no pet policy). Ugh.
I just looked at my utility usage at my local provider and WOW! They are cranking it and using a ton of water.
I also saw them on security camera take my bath towels to the beach even though I provide beach kits upon request.
I will submit a claim for the extra guests and the dog as I can easily prove this. I can also provide proof for the utility usage but have never submitted a claim for this. And ‘Do not go crazy with the water and AC’ is not in my house rules. I have a WiFi thermostat upstairs but not downstairs. This will be added next week.
I guess I am just so tired of the extra stress of Guests who are not trustworthy and transparent.
I have never been denied a claim but this is NOT how I want to make my money.
I think I know the answer about the claim for utilities but wanted to tap the group experience here.
I am in FL and want guests to be comfortable. I see no need to keep the home at 65F inside.
Thanks in advance for your advice and for listening. They checkout this morning. Yay!

You’ll just have to eat this one. Raise your rates so that this isn’t so painful. You already know what to do about the thermostat, so good for you.


Or just consider that you’re almost certainly in credit from your ‘budget’ from all the guests who don’t use the utilities to the level that you allowed for when calculating your rates originally. We should expect to have to swallow the odd over-user which is absorbed by the huge majority of under-users. Can’t have it both ways really.


Interesting how no one ever needs to vent about those under users, huh? I have two guests in my listing for an 11 night stay. It’s summer weather here already (El Paso, TX) and they haven’t turned on the window unit AC a single time in the first 4 days. The guest two nights before them had it running all night even though the temps here were in the 60s that night. Since one of them is in the room most of the day while the other works I expected a utility bill surge. Instead I’m getting a bonus from not turning the room over multiple times and low utility use. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent. :wink:


Thanks for this perspective flip. I needed that. :wink:


I would have kicked them out in the first hour. Any damage or excess use is on you now because you allowed this to happen.

Good luck



I wouldn’t have let them in. How did that happen?

When a host starts complaining about excessive utility usage, it simply means to me that the host didn’t do their sums properly when deciding on their nightly rate.

I’m in Florida too and some guests haven’t used the AC at all, for example, and others have set it to 65. As @Snowdon says, it’s swings and roundabouts. Your annual utility payments are your best gauge. In Florida, we get used to thinking that 85 degrees is just a nice pleasant temperature but that guests from Canada or points north will probably (and I’ve seen this many times with guests) be out there sunbathing whilst we locals are wearing jackets, woolly socks and long scarves.


No but if it is put in your house rules in the future you can. Although most here won’t recommend it. Allot a certain amount per person for what would be slightly higher than average and then anything over a tiny bit more than that could be chRged at such and such a rate.

I also have a sense energy monitor installed to be able to monitor real time and not just aggregate daily usage. It’s nice to be able to pinpoint issues where they don’t close the fridge properly and it runs continuous. I get alerted and hen can check in to remind them about it (I point it out in the check-in tour and have it labeled that it is not a fully self closing fridge door like they may be used to.

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Hard to not let them in in this circumstance @jaquo

depends on what people are used to. I agree with you that price needs to reflect the different usage from various types of guests.

In Scandinavia on chilly days or cold evenings, the first a person here will do is to put on a sweater and some wool socks before cranking up the heating.
But people are very different and some prefer to walk around in a t-shirt and barefooted inside whilst it snows outside and then max the heating system. I factor that in and I don’t expect people to behave Scandinavian by putting on some clothing and being mindful of energy consumption and protect the environment.

I have priced my rate so that I can manage excessive usage of everything.


Excellent. So it’s not a problem. The best way.


Update: They checked out without issue. No evidence of the dog, except the camera footage. The children though…I am all about welcoming children in. I am all set up for it, IF YOU TELL ME you’re bringing children. I switch out the games, books and toys to be age appropriate and really try to welcome the littles in. I get great reviews from this effort. So these littles got a hold of my adult games and now parts are missing. :cry:. I know it’s a little thing but it’s the parents I blame. I’ve had this stuff in my listing for 5.5 years without trouble. My next guests are here on business and I remove the toys to make the home more appropriate.
Anyway I gave her a seriously honest review as well as private feedback. Then I requested the extra guest fee only. There was no trace in the home of the dog and they can just say ‘comfort/support animal’ and I have no claim there.
Let’s hope she just accepts and moves on.

We call them Russians… :wink:

Do not forget to mention that they always complain about the heating not working. When you then go into the room, the heat will almost smack you unconscious, and everyone in the room is walking around in their underwear. And often they have a window open for fresh air. :rofl:


That is actually the most accurate description of my “last” russian guests @Chris :astonished:
Ur characterization is almost precisely as one of my first bookings starting out!
Many years ago I got a booking from a Julia from Canada, but when I met her, she had Vladimir with her and all of the sudden she wasn’t Canadian but - yes she lied and what a start. I was a newbie and stupidly naive and learning the game.
At check out after they left:
I went into the flat and was literally knocked down by the biggest heat-wave. ALL thermostats were on top level and the heat was so overpowering! Of course with a top window in the bedroom open! :sweat_smile:

I since haven’t had bad Russians stay. I tend to avoid them - sorry to say but I don’t trust certain guests. Anyway, the guests who crank up the heating the most are actually Americans.
I understand the different cultural differences and I don’t mind since I got it covered but you wonder sometimes how people can be so different. And some cultures a sometimes so different that minor clashes are inevitable although mostly manageable.

Exactly. Utility usage is all part of doing business.

The tourist regulations here state that all “living” rooms must have AC and fixed (in place) heating, and if it is there, guests will use it. We have dual heat/AC units and the power consumption when used as heating is pretty high, fortunately it’s only about three months of the year where heating is necessary and four or five when AC is essential (40-45c during summer - 104-113F).

One of our few house rules is ask that folks use a bit of common sense and don’t run the AC with doors and windows open, or leave it on while they are out. We haven’t had many problems with folks abusing it. Our units are top end LG’s and when in use are so quiet it is a wonder we haven’t had more folks wandering off for the day and leaving them on as I’ve managed to do it myself on more than one occasion!



During winter we avoid them too. It is not about trust, it is really the heating system not able to handle their expectations.

Our heating system is calculated around based on a set temperature standard, combined with thermal insulation etc etc. Mid winter you will get 22C at max in a room, and not the 26-28C these guests expect.

I could turn up the base settings of the system, but then all my other guest would be complaining, and opening their windows. Which would be a, very uncomfortable to the other guest, and huge waste of energy.

So, now in my listings I clearly state the max temperature that will be achievable in the rooms.
And with direct bookings, we tell them we are booked already.

You all reminded me of my first two star review. A woman from NYC booked for 5 days for one guest, here to visit family. We were having a serious heat wave with heat indexes at 103F. She called to complain the AC was not working as it was only 75F inside. I explained that we use Heat Pump units for AC and to give it time to catch up, 20-30 minutes per degree change. And I also explained that a 25+F degree change was literally the definition of conditioned air. She flipped out about how she rented the space specifically because it had ‘Air Conditioning’ and it only has a Heat Pump. I explained further that Heat Pumps are THE most common HVAC units in the SE USA and asked that she please google it. This was her first day. I asked that she give it overnight to recover and call me right away if it’s still not right and I will send the repairman. She never called. Probably because she did sneak in 4 extra guests (before I had a camera). When I sent the request for extra guest fees, that’s when the public review came, stating I advertise AC but only have Heat Pump :woman_facepalming:
I do not enjoy running the heater too warm in the winter and am in the camp of putting on an extra layer first. I actually added floor heating to both bathrooms just so I can keep those rooms comfy while the rest of the home is refreshingly warm :wink:

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It sounds like you don’t really like making money from hosting. Which is fine. I get all caught up on little things: guests who aren’t communicative enough, guests who don’t rinse their dishes before they put them in the dishwasher, guests who don’t separate glass and plastics from regular garbage, etc. At the end of the day all I should be concerned with is: did they enjoy their stay, and did they trash my place. If the answers are yes and no (in that order), it was a successful stay. :smiley:

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Hmmm. I am not sure where you picked up that impression. That 3 day stay earned me $800 clear, plus the guest agreed to and paid the $90 extra guest fee. That’s real money to me even with the few days higher utility usage :wink:


Your words led me to that conclusion. Perhaps you were just frustrated with the situation. I’ve been there.