House Rules - How Many?

I have 24 rules in my rental contract. I tried to edit down, but each one has it’s merit.

Yes as Cabinhost points out… sometimes guests ask things in person to put you on the spot. I guess in the future you can have an answer ready. Oh sorry, our access up here isn’t any better than down there. Maybe if you walk up the road a bit?

Make things REALLY clear. Short, simple and clear.

No need for 911 or anything like that. It’s a given.

Sorry host home and lanai area are not guest accessible.

Just leave it at that!

If you put loopholes in the guests will justify that the loophole applies to them.

Yes, I had one of those “slap the forehead because whey didn’t I think about this before?” moments.

The router is in the office at the side of the house and much closer to the cabin than the deck. I set up a couple of chairs for them with comfy cushions on them on the side of the house. I cannot see them, they cannot see me. Problem solved.

A lesson for me in making things more complicated than they need to be.


Yes… it’s always such a revelation when the easy fixes were so so easy we fail to see them.

I once had a problem with guests leaving outdoor lights on… these would shine into my bedroom. NOTHING and I mean nothing helped to remind the guests to turn them off at night. I would toss and turn at my own guest lights shining into my bedroom and become resentful… I tried texting, putting it the house notes and then finally the house rules. And still no change.

finally I hit on the perfect solution! Simply unscrew the light from the outdoor fixture. Problem solved and new guests never missed that there was a light out there. :smile: They still leave the front one on all night but it’s a low watt orange curly that shines the other direction so no biggie. :smile:

When something becomes an issue again and again, it’s incumbent on US to find the solution for them. :smile:


Our house is close to your cabin, but our home and deck is private property and not for guest access. We kindly ask that you respect our family’s privacy. We will do the same for you.

(Now I might be too harsh myself… but people tend to take liberties when we are not blunt.)

I think that wording is extremely courteous. I’ll leave it as is for now and mull over all of these great suggestions.

I also have to consider that our listing is in a Spanish-speaking country and nationals also book our cabin. I want to ensure any language is “culturally appropriate” to the lovely people whose country we and guests are enjoying. :slight_smile:

@Perezo May I ask which country?

Of course you may, @sandy2! We’re in Costa Rica.

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@konacoconutz, how about installing a motion sensitive outdoor light? There are even solar powered ones available. Just a thought. I like your idea of unscrewing the bulb. I have some hallway lights that guests insist leaving on, even though there is a lower level LED light in the hallway that is battery operated and motion sensitive.

After 2.5 years, this is what I have so far… New guests, new forum info, new research may mean more rules. The house is multi-story (part is one story and part is two story). It is decent size and the rooms are disbursed throughout, so I have guests leave a key by the door. The last person to leave is responsible for setting the alarm or contacting me to do so remotely. There are several rooms available. I try to keep the max guests to 3. The rules, hopefully, make it easier for all guests to have the same expectations and know their responsibilities. Also, the majority of my guest are long term, from several weeks to a month or more.

This old house was built in the 1930s and she has her quirks. Please treat her gently.


  • Short term parking in the driveway is only permitted to unload your vehicle. Please park your car in one of the available spots on the street. The host will provide information regarding the best places to park and help keep up good relations with the neighbors.
  • Remove your shoes when you enter.
  • Leave keys on the table by the door to indicate that you are in the house.
  • Exceptions for Check-in or Check-out times may be possible if arranged for and confirmed at least 24 hours in advance through Airbnb Messaging. Fees @ $50 per half hour will be charged for unconfirmed Late Check-outs. No exceptions.
  • Eating is allowed only in the den, dining room, kitchen, or breakfast nook.
  • Do not eat, keep, or store food in your room. (Exception: a glass or bottle of water*). Cabinet space is available in the kitchen and there is space in the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Kitchen usage: Wash, or place in the dishwasher, any pots, pans, dishes, flatware, etc. Knives, wooden utensils and wooden cutting boards must be hand-washed. Wipe down counters, stove, tables and clean up any food droppings in the microwave or on the floor and generally leave the kitchen clean for the next person.
  • Use a splatter screen when frying food.
  • Conserve Water. California is experiencing a severe drought. Use water sparingly, e.g. turn off water when brushing teeth; take quick showers.**
  • Conserve Electricity. Turn off lights when you leave a room or the house.
  • Recycle. In Oakland, the majority of waste is recycled. Glass bottles and jars, cans (aluminum, bi-metal etc.), certain plastic containers, cardboard (e.g. boxes, TP rolls etc.), and paper should be placed in the kitchen recycle bin. (Check the reference sheet in the kitchen if you have questions)
  • Compost. All food waste goes in the collection container at the kitchen sink. Cardboard and paper food containers (e.g. pizza box, Chinese food box, etc.) may be deposited in the green waste bin outside next to the garage.
  • Window open = blinds open! You are welcome to have open windows. However, winds can come up quickly. When windows are open, blinds must be pulled up to prevent them from becoming sails and causing breakage or being damaged. (e.g. broken windows)
  • Quiet after 10 pm: This includes use of the kitchen. Do not walk through the dining room at night.
  • Step softly/lightly. Step softly, especially at night, and gently close doors, cabinets, and drawers. Noise carries through the house.
  • 24-hr access. If you do come in late, please be mindful and keep noise to a minimum.
  • Towels and Linens: Please be respectful of bed sheets and towels. Makeup/foundation, face medications/creams, and tanning products will stain and/or bleach linens/towels. Please avoid using regular hand/bath towels with all skin products. Guests are not to wash laundry belonging to the host. Unsalvageable linens/bath towels will be charged to the guest.
  • Long term guests note: bed sheets and towels will be changed weekly at the hosts discretion.
  • No strong fragrances, perfumes or strong aftershaves, as these tend to linger. It is preferred that you do use them, but if you must, please apply them in the bathroom only and not in the guest room.
  • No smoking (including e-Cigarettes).
  • No candles.
  • No incense.
  • No curries or cooking with other strong seasonings or foods that linger.
  • No overnight visitors.
  • Visitors or Meet-ups that will be in the house must be arranged and confirmed with the host in advance.
  • No pets.

Safety and security are priority. Guests are required to make sure the house is secure, lock doors and windows, and set the alarm when leaving the house.

Cleanliness is a priority. Guests are required to keep the house clean and habitable. If you notice anything that needs attention, please inform the host immediately.

Privacy Please! - The host’s quarters, storage areas and other guest’s rooms are off-limits.

Upon acceptance of your reservation, review the House Manual.

Please let the host know if you have questions.

That is a very important qualifier.

Well, I’ve got one upstairs permanently set to off because they can’t seem to work reliably.

Guests will never know there is not a bulb in the one that shines in my room. They still leave the other one on all night. When they go to bed they draw all the blinds and never see they’ve left it on. Oh well.

Seems a little excessive, but if it’s working for you, don’t change anything.

@katnhat I do not doubt it for a second that you have found it necessary to have such a lengthy and rigid House Rules list, but if I was a potential guest, I would be a bit frightened of it. Why? Because it emphasizes negativity and forbidding and would make me feel that a simple mistake may turn into a confrontation or a parental scolding, or even worse being thrown out altogether midpoint in my stay.

I would have used more the word ‘Please’ in more places then the word ‘No’, for starters.

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I tend to agree with Mearns. I also thought the same. I’d be really scared to stay with her if I didn’t shut a drawer more softly. and frankly, I might be moving on to a host who didn’t sound so uptight.

It is possible to get negative sounding in rules without realizing it. It happened to me. I looked at my rules and there were too many NOs.

I then went through the rules one by one to try to restate them more positively.

Instead of:

“NO coffee grounds, meat pieces, fish bones or pineapple chunks down the disposal,” I changed it to “Liquids only down sink.”

Instead of NO overnight guests or unknown persons on property, it became,

“Only authorized guests in the apartment or on property.”

In fact the only ones that had to keep their NOs were No smoking and No candles. I couldn’t think of a positive way to say those.

I would advise Kat to look over her rules and edit out the excessive ones. The drawer closing comes to mind… Maybe please be gentle with antique drawers, cabinets and doors.

But even that is common sense.

A good rule of thumb is that if you have had it happen three or four times add it to the rules. Just once? It’s a one off.

I replaced them with the little flickering bulb type (Home Depot). They are a big hit and now no more open flame. True, still got to say it, in case someone brings them.

I did the same but I still have to say no flames and no candles and no smoking. I just can’t figure out how to say it positively and clearly.

“Flameless candles only.” Seems a bit lame!

It is. I provide them and they are getting a big kick out of them.

No I mean the RULE stated like that is lame.
The flameless candles are cool. And are way better than live candles!