Help with reviewing guest

Perhaps there are some ‘unspoken rules’ that you are ok with… but what are those rules, and why would they have any bearing on the mess?

Is it the trope “treat my home like your own”? Sadly, airbnb makes this the leadoff title in their 'ground rules for guests - and as we see from your situation, that is a recipe for disaster - it’s very possible that their ‘standards’ are extremely different than yours. And they might not ‘see’ the messes since they live with them at home.

If there were just a few, I’d say the same. And if she has to wipe off a few, wiping off 100 probably isn’t much different.

What that many child hand prints indicates, though, is that these women just let their kids do whatever. It’s pretty irresponsible to let 3 kids under the age of 7 touch someone else’s electronic equipment at all.

That letting the kids do whatever is also evident in there being food all over the house. While you may have found that normal, based on experience with family and friends, I don’t consider it so and I raised 3. I also have 6 grandkids and none of my daughter’s houses are a mess just because they have kids.

Many parents these days seem to be lacking the consciousness that one of our jobs as parents is to civilize our children.

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I don’t know how many were there. I didn’t have any idea (though may have missed it) until the OP clarified it after my post. I was just thinking about how sometimes there’s a handprint or something on the screen and I only notice it in certain lighting so thought it worth exploring.

It does sound like these children were not adequately supervised. Whether it’s normal or not I don’t really know but it sounds fairly typical to me from my experience (not just in my own home but out in public at restaurants and stores and being around friends and family in their own homes). However, it’s not really relevant what either of us think of the parenting style because either way, these guests were at the very least what I would call, “messier than most” :grin: and deserve a call-out in the review and maybe more sternly in the private feedback as well.

I didn’t grow up around many electronics and my parents were your age. The only time I got to touch electronics at someone else’s house was when the adults would get really high and want to watch me play pong :rofl: As I am sure they also provided snacks during this activity I don’t think they held the fingerprints against me. :rofl:

Alas, things are very different now. Most children have their own electronics or at least use other’s electronics likely on a daily basis. It’s also not a coincidence that the screen of the TV has handprints as children are trained to start touching screens right away because of the way most electronics work these days, e.g. by touching the screen.

@Rolf Thanks for including the link to “Ground Rules for Guests”. I don’t remember seeing that before and I agree that “Treat my home like your own” is a disaster waiting to happen. I guess the unspoken rules I’m thinking of is to not leave an excessive mess, but even that is subjective.

@muddy that’s a really good point about the handprints. Cleaning didn’t really take any longer but maybe I was unwittingly wanting to imply that her kids clearly weren’t supervised.

We’ve hosted many families with little ones and almost all have been wonderful, even though it’s sometimes a bit more time consuming to clean.

But I’ll definitely be rethinking my house rules and check-out instructions, for sure. Even though it’s driving my husband crazy that I haven’t posted my review yet, I’m going to sleep on it one more night. Thanks again for your help, people.

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This is such a great question, thank you for posting it. And the responses have been thoughtful and thought-provoking.

I only want to add that many airbnb guests do not think of your home as a “home,” but as a place they paid to stay in (a hotel does not require you to clean). It is also clear to me that a significant number of guests do not read the house rules.

I have been taken aback a few times by guests who leave gross trash or wet towels on furniture (or other things that seem disrespectful to me), but I believe that is the “cost of doing business” in this arena.

I will confess: when I am traveling and choosing a place to stay as a guest, I will not choose an airbnb that requires extensive cleaning (sweep, strip beds, etc). But I am a guest who actually reads the house rules lol.

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@DanieNY I totally agree with re: when I travel and stay at an Airbnb… I don’t stay at houses with extensive cleaning rules. I understand that every host has different needs and I suspect that those of us on this site are some of the more hands-on hosts out there. Why else would be spending this much mental energy on this stuff!

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by 90% of our guests and how tidy they leave our house. As for towels, I have so so so many hooks throughout the house and so far, I’ve been lucky that the wet towels have been hung up.

I think Airbnb urged hosts to put the check-out list in the house rules not too long ago, but some hosts don’t, so reading the house rules might not help.

My son-in-law travels a lot on business and uses Airbnbs. He’s a thorough listing reader. He said he hates it when he’s charged a cleaning fee and then finds a list of “strip the bed, start a load of wash” chores only in the house manual in the unit.

I’ve never been a guest, but if I was and encountered that, I simply wouldn’t bother to do those things, and I’d let the host know why not. Springing that stuff
on guests only after arrival isn’t right.

Maybe I’m an outlier, but I wouldn’t mention in the public review. A guest new to Airbnb, particularly if there is a cleaning fee, might act as they would in a hotel room, and assume that crumbs and smears are taken care of by the cleaning crew.

UNLESS you have something specific in your check out instructions, e.g., “Please clean up spills, sweep crumbs and dirt from the floor, and wipe down surface smudges prior to check out. Cleaning products and tools are in the pantry.”

I would just be happy they managed to check out on time, wrangling 3 young children!

I might send a private note: "The small guests left quite a trail of food bits and smears that required some extra cleaning time on our part. This is understandable when traveling with children. But for your future Airbnb stays, hosts may expect excessive crumbs, spills and smudges to be cleaned up by the guest prior to check out and will downgrade guest ratings if not taken care of. When in doubt, check with the host.


I’m not sure why people would think a guest allowing their kids to carry food all over the house and not bother to clean it up is any more understandable than a guest leaving the yard covered in dog poop. The adults are responsible for cleaning up after those who travel with them, be it dogs or children, when they are not capable of cleaning up after themselves.


Your comment ’ it was so nice to actually meet our guests’ makes me feel so sad. It’s meeting my guests that is at the core of everything I do at my B&B.
I live on the premises, I speak to my guests, I give them advice (if they want it!) I help them to plan outings. That is what doing B&B is.


I ‘hearted’ your post - I wish I could have hearted it many times. I agree so much.

:purple_heart: :blue_heart: :green_heart: :yellow_heart:


Thank you, so glad we are of like minds!!


This is what I always hope to be recognised as ‘value’ when getting a review from a guest. If the guest is interested we’re there to provide additional help with whatever they need. Something they might not even get when staying at a hotel or other special requests.

The off-site multi listings in huge apartment buildings with paper thin walls often show reviews complaining about the host not even being reachable, nor able to intervene in a timely fashion. We strive to actually be there for our guests any time they need help.

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I’m certain that the algorithm is set up such that you can’t stop children coming now, as an exclusion, as it’s considered discriminatory. (Maybe this is just in California). Even if you have jaw-dropping heights , wild tigers, etc. You can put in the safety section all the reasons why your listing isn’t suitable for kids - but you can’t stop ‘em coming.

The thing that I do at checkout, is add a selfie of me hanging out with our cleaning guy in the rental, all dolled up with our feather dusters. It seems to bounce people into better behavior at check out when they realize real humans (on an hourly wage usually) have to clean up behind them.


I love that!
A friend of mine, back when she was 18, moved into a big house with a bunch of her same age friends. She thought it was going to be so much fun, but she was the only one who ever cleaned anything.

One day, after cleaning the bathroom for the umpteenth time, she came into the living room, where her roommates were all sitting around drinking beer, waving the toilet brush, saying “Okay, it’s someone else’s turn to scrub the toilet next time!”

One of her roommates looked up and said, “Silly- no one cleans toilets.”
The girl apparently thought toilets were self-cleaning and didn’t realize her mother cleaned the toilet for the 18 years she lived with her parents.


Nope, it’s not considered discriminatory. Not even in California.

In California, you have the Unruh Civil Rights Act that does apply to short-term rentals as it does to all other businesses in CA as well as websites doing business in CA but “familial status” (e.g. having kids) is not one of its many protected classes.

Otherwise, you may be thinking of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) which does protect familial status but the FHA does not apply to short-term rentals (only long-term tenants). Incidentally, even hosts who do long-term rentals may likely be exempt from the FHA anyway because it does not apply to all housing and has a few rather encompassing exemptions.

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Thanks for legislative overview , my point was Airbnb policy. See Airbnb non-discrimination policy updated end Jan of this year. If you can tell me where on my listing it’s possible to restrict booking based on age of children please do, as far as I’m concerned my ability to do that flipped in Jan and now all I can do is flag under ‘Safety Concerns’z

The point being that Air updated policy on non-discrimination due to age is not limited to the >40, as is common in workplaces and at state level. It’s defined as any age.

Very happy to be proved wrong on this one.(again. they could be selectively applying this California because always…)
Please do lmk if I missed something.