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Hot tub woes and suggestions to limit access to amenities

I would like some advice regarding my hot tub. It is a real draw to the home, and I estimate that 80% of guests specifically ask if one if available. The issue that I have with the hot tub is the noise that seems to come from it. Guests like to drink, and there is associated loud music and lively banter. All in good fun, but all three seem to worsen as the evening turns to quiet hours. My wonderful neighbors are loosing their patience since this noise is unsettling. I suggested limiting access to the hot tub, and locking the gazebo doors a half hour prior to quiet hours. My super host manager says that Air BnB does not allow me to limit quest access to amenities. Further, she worries of bad reviews, and points out that I run a high chance of “breakins” as people will want to use it anyway. She feels that either is offered freely without condition, or not all all. What is your understanding limited access to amenities? Or more pointedly, any suggestions on limiting unruly tub behavior fully knowing that writing additional rules will be disregarded.

I suggest limiting access to the hot tub, and locking the gazebo doors a half hour prior to quiet hours. Neighbors are more important than anything. Your manager doesnt care enough.

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Thanks georgygirlofairbnb, I have seen some of your posts and advice and it seems well thought out. Are you aware of any prohibitions in the bnb rules ect that keep me from placing limits on amenities? (it makes absolute no sense that such a rule will be in place.) I know that the terms from air bnb are exhaustive and I only worry that I am cautious that breaking a rule that could cost superhost status or be grounds for cancelling a booking

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There are no limits as long as you spell it out clearly in your rules. If you live on site …why are you paying somebody to run your rental? Especially one who gives such poor advice. I worry much more about keeping my neighbors happy rather than about superhost status.

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Thank you so much. I am an nurse practitioner in very busy rural clinic and dont have the ability to attend to the proper running of the home. However, I am never too busy to worry of my neighbors. I have been reading through the posts on this site and others and am amazed by how Air BNB can hamstring hosts through rules that are perhaps well intended but poorly applied/ implemented. I really appreciate any firsthand advice and clarifications. Conversations regarding rules ect will have be based on factual information (which you and hopefully others will provide) and not something that just makes sense to me. I want to proceed deliberately and informed

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There is absolutely no issue with limiting amenities as long as it is clearly stated in your House Rules. For instance, we had a house rule that fire pit was only available until 10 pm and never had any issues at all. It was just a House Rule plain and simple and you can do that no problem. A more common one is laundry hours or AC units. We state that laundry is only available from 10am-8pm “no exceptions” and also that there are AC units only from May 15-Oct 15.

These kinds of amenity limitation rules are common and normal. If I had a hot tub I would not hesitate to limit the access to it. How to do that…the gate should work depending on what type of guests you’re dealing with. Another idea, and I have stayed somewhere that did this, is to shut off the electricity to it at a certain time. That combined with a gate and a nice sign as a reminder, should do it, IMO.

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Excellent, thank you so much. I am glad I joined this site. I have read many posts from hosts who are suffering from “paralysis by analysis”. I (we) want to do everything right and are so concerned by accidently breaking a rule or getting a bad review. I have been doing this for a year and a half and keeping running into issues that need to be addressed. I find the best way is to avoid a problem rather than react to it. My manager sees it as an either or option (offer it or dont) or risk bad reviews ect. I dont agree, and does not sound like you do either. Especially since this will remove one of the two biggest sources of noise that bother my neighbors.

The other is an out door deck that is lovely but where several people talking in moderate tones with occassional loud laughter can become quite loud. (espec after quiet time). That is harder to address

I do have quiet hours posted in the house rules and about the home/ welcome book. Generally speaking, I find that most of the guests are not ill intended but more boisterous that they believe themselves to be. So you run the risk of looking like the proverbial “old guy screaming to get off my lawn” to paying guests who are unwittedly disturbing neighbors

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The home I purchased came with a hot tub. However, it’s an amenity not included in the rental. We drained it, hide the electrical cord inside the access panel and covered it. It’s not mentioned on the listing nor are there any pictures of it. I have had a few booked guests that have inquired about it once they checked in and saw it, and I simply tell them it’s inoperable and that it came with the house.

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Absolutely. And now that everyone is outdoors more lots of people are having to get used to it even aside from Airbnb. My Airbnb is not in that situation but I am. I have friends over every Sunday to watch the NFL games, eat and do our fantasy football stuff. But everyone leaves to go home around 8 pm. Plus now its colder at night. Unless one is outside listening a lot they might not realize how sound can carry.

You need a new property manager who understands that you are the boss of them, not the other way around.
Disappointment of guests is short term. Enmity of neighbors is forever.

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As others have said, add the limited hours to your listing and you’re good to go. If questioned, say that it’s a requirement from your insurance company. Which it probably is.

We don’t provide any extra amenities (we are waterfront and wanted to add kayaks, for example) but our attorney easily talked us out of it. And the insurance company wouldn’t entertain the idea of us providing bikes for guests.

So do check. I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who has fallen when getting out of a hot tub after a boisterous and boozy evening. :wink:

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I couldn’t agree more. I have a caretaker who is my lifeline and my eyes and ears, but we laid the ground rules early. Our relationship is a partnership. Every once in awhile he would get a little worked up and I playfully offer to let him pay the mortgage. :wink:

As for quiet hours and rules: We have that clearly stated in our rules on Airbnb, our direct booking agreement and at the house. We also added that our caretaker lives adjacent to the house and and I feel that really cut down on people that might have more boisterous ideas. Our clientele has definitely trended differently than the prior owners were getting and I believe that has a lot to do with listing wording and managing expectations.

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From your profile:

I live on site in separate apartment from guests.

Then if you wish to keep the amenity, simply deal with any noisy guests yourself.

JF

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We are in a very, very quiet complex. If a cat walks by, I can hear it. I always point out during the house tour that our quiet hours are strict because although the neighbours are lovely, we live where we do for the quiet.

Neighbours can be a host’s best asset. We’ve had comments in our reviews that everyone was so friendly. That can only happen if guests behave themselves. We’ve all had noisy guests at one time or another and they need nipping in the bud straight away. The host or co-host should be knocking on the door the very minute there’s unacceptable noise.

I once had a guest with a really loud and quite annoying laugh. She was sitting outside talking to her friend and exploding with the horrible laugh very often. I so wanted to go and tell her to shut up. The problem though was two in the afternoon. I couldn’t bring myself to ask her not to laugh so loudly, she was obviously having fun.

Unless she gets a ‘five-star review bonus’ then she has no business worrying about reviews. She is, in effect, being held to ransom by her fear. That strongly suggests to me that she’ll never be firm with guests who are behaving unacceptably. She doesn’t sound like a good co-host to me.

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It sounds like you have patient and kind neighbors who are at least involving you FIRST.
I’d thank the neighbors for engaging you. Advise them that you will be making changes. Ask them what timing would work for them and if there have been any other issues.

Once you have defined the rules, post those rules in your listing’s house rules, so that there is no dispute post arrival. Don’t limit the rules to just the hot tub; you may need to enact noise rules. You might consider implementing a noise monitor that will alert you or your manager so that you can manage the problem before the neighbors alert you.

Your guests will come and go, but your neighbors are a permanent factor. Take care of their needs first and you’ll have smoother sailing. You might also advise your neighbors of the actions that you are taking so they feel they have an advocate in you.

PS
Last February the neighbor to the left me of asked to use my guest house, as they were having a family reunion and needed some extra rooms for relatives. They insisted on paying, but I would not let them. This Christmas my neighbors on the other side have a sibling in town for the holiday and with social distancing being practiced they asked about the guest house, which I will be making available to them. I tell you this because there may be an opportunity to reciprocate for your neighbors patience and kindness, and have them be supportive of your AirBNB business.

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I’d be looking for a new manager if the one I had was more concerned about guests being fussed that they couldn’t use the hot tub after a certain hour, or that they’d complain in the reviews, than they were about your ongoing relationship with the neighbors.

The manager seems to be clueless that pissed-off neighbors could get your entire Airbnb business shut down if it caused ongoing disturbance to the peace of the neighborhood. The manager is also clueless if they think that Airbnb “doesn’t allow me to limit guest access to amenities”, which is completely untrue. I wonder what else this manager is doing incorrectly. Leaving generic “Nice guests” reviews for all of them, even if the guests leave a mess behind them and ignore house rules?

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I agree with you, @muddy. We have an indoor pool, and we limit access to 7 to 10 p.m., and only when one of us is home to be in the pool room to oversee.

That would be my solution, too. Some amenities are NOT worth offering. A hot tub and its associated maintenance and insurance liability (I hope that the OP has such insurance) would make me remove it.

And after reading the rest of the posts here, if I were you I would have a heart to heart with this timid “manager”. What would she do if you were unlucky enough to have partiers show up? Would she get them out? She needs to understand that your neighbors are more important than her paranoia about bad reviews. For your sake, I hope that she’s a co-host and doesn’t have your rental under her account.

If I were you, I’d start looking for another “manager”.

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I would remove the hot tub. It is a liability. Drowning, injury, neighbor issues. I wonder if 80% ask about it because they filtered for it. Remove it as an amenity and see if it really affect business.

RR

Edited to add, people who filter for a hot tub may just be prone to being loud, party types.

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