House Rules Recommendations?

How’s this for a list of rules in the event we choose to go with IB? What have I missed?

House Rules:

Act like you’re staying at your girlfriend’s mom’s house for the first time - be respectful, clean up after yourself, and be prepared to make new friends!

As the good king Hammurabi once said “Good rules make good livin’” (paraphrased), so I’ll spell out some specifics:

Communicate your arrival and departure times, and any changes. We want to be sure we are here and ready to greet you! Please don’t arrive early without prior notice.

Do not smoke anywhere in the house. If you smoke outside, pick-up your trash.

Children are welcome, but children of all ages count as ‘people’ and must be included in the guest count.

Use ‘inside’ voices! You are not renting a concrete bunker ; ). If you come in after 11 or wake up before 7, be thoughtful of everyone else who may be sleeping. “Do unto others”

Arriving at the home with more guests than you booked, including babies and small children, violates airbnb rules and our policy. (Can you believe guests actually try to do this? Yep! It’s true!) If you arrive with more guests than you booked for, the reservation must be changed to reflect the proper number of guests before you will be allowed to check-in. This will be done standing at my front door. No one will be happy at this point. Please book for the correct number of guests.

Remove make-up before crawling into bed. Make-up stains bedding. Please don’t eat or drink anything while sitting on the bedding. We want to provide nice-quality bedding yet still keep our price low. This is a family-owned business. However! Accidents happen! If you spill something on the sheets or blankets, please alert us immediately so that we can wash it. Thanks!

Strip the beds of sheets when you leave, then fold the blankets and place on the beds. This benefits you! I once found a very expensive high-tech watch in the bedding, and often find clothing mixed in. It also helps us keep this little business a happy place for all.

Communicate to us promptly if the accommodations to not meet your needs or expectations. Give us a chance to fix it - because we will try!

If you are here for more than 2 days, and/or if you put raw meat or vegetables in the trash, take the trash out. This will keep your kitchen area clean and pleasant.

The trampoline on the property is very old. If you choose to use it, or anything else on the property, including the bicycles, it is entirely at your own risk. If you choose to allow your children to use it, it is entirely at your own risk. I make no warranties or guarantees about the safety of the trampoline, swing, bicycles, or anything else.

Thanks for reading all our rules! We love our guests and can’t wait to meet you!


Just curious, do your guests have a separate kitchen space all to themselves?

I love the opening line: “Act like you’re staying at your girlfriend’s mom’s house for the first time - be respectful, clean up after yourself, and be prepared to make new friends!”

I think it sounds great. You may want to add in the beginning for guest to confirm they have understand and read all rules when they make a reservation. Tell them to note it in the message field. That way you will know right away if the IB has even read the rules. You can also note it in your description so that you direct them to the house rules area.

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I liked the rule about arriving early, I am going to use it myself:).

The line , act like you are staying in your girfriend’s mom house not so much.
Wouldn’t we feel uncomfortable for the first time staying in ours potential “in-laws” house?

I know many people ask their guests to take of sheets of the beds. I wonder why? It never occured to me whereever I stayed to do it and also ask my guests to do it. Ony1 out of 50 did it, and I was surprised. I actually prefer if they don’t . If they spilled something, or body fluid stains I could treat it right away instead of putting it through wash and then not noticing put it through


I find clothing in the bedding - once even a google watch - so the idea is that they will find their stuff more readily.

But really, I hadn’t thought about it - whenever I rent a cabin, or the few times I’ve done airbnb, that seems the norm. Thanks for the thought.

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They have basic cooking facilities that we’ve set up in a very partially finished part of the basement - there’s a refrigerator that we share (it’s a second one for us), a hot-plate, microwave, sink, some basic items - plates, glasses, one pot. Cabinets and sink. We are about to invest $8,000 in having the whole room finished off because, after getting some bookings for the winter, we realized that it’s totally freezing in that room during the winter. (duh).

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I was reading recently about being a good guest and the article said old school (Emily Post) is strip the bed, fold the linens and leave on bed, but that few people know about that anymore (HGTV November issue). I had a military guest who did it, but otherwise people leave the bed made or unmade. Either way is fine with me but above all don’t start washing them because yes, I need to see the sheets to see if any need spot treatment.

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I prefer to strip the beds myself. My bedding is delicate (many have ladder hems and other hand drawn hems) and I prefer to see if any stains are present. If anything is taken off, more than likely someone is hiding a stain in my home. I’ve only had one person strip here, and they did tear a pillowcase. I recently had a guest tear an expensive long bolster pillowcase (the edging) I suspect they were trying to remove it because they had a full face of makeup planted on it but gave up. I really wanted to charge for that damage but was being a softy and didn’t :frowning:

On your apartment, the pics are great! I especially love the bright and inviting breakfast table! Everything looks lovely. Wow, at those prices anyone would be thrilled to stay. No wonder you are booked out so much!

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You know what is so interesting? I looked at your reviews (great job btw), and saw that your guests are a completely different demographic than mine. I think we’d already worked that out, but it is incredible to see it. You seem to get many international visitors who are thrilled to be in an American family home. It is amazing what different kind of places attract.

I think your rules look great, too. I like the girlfriends mom thing. It’s funny as well as giving a nice hint ::wink:

Well DC…I don’t agree with every one here… and I will be honest…Please don’t hate me for being honest!! :smile:

GirlFriend’s mom’s house-- Well, just my 2 cents… but some international travelers with limited English may not get the joke. Some might read your listing and google translate it and not get what you mean about girlfriend… I try to keep my descriptions and rules in plain English that translates easily. Also it comes off as a bit condescending…that’s how I read it. Better to give more specific expectations of behavior IMO. Also the “concrete bunker” reference could get lost in translation too.

Arrival-- It sounds like you are saying early check in is OK with you as long as they let you know!?? In my rules (in the guest doc I send out), I say “I cannot accommodate early arrivals. Check in time is 4PM.” and then offer a plethora of ideas for things to do if they arrive to Kona early. I am friendly about it. Your rule makes it sound like it’s OK and optional as long as they let you know first… But maybe early arrivals are OK with you? They certainly are not with me. :smile:

Smoking— You make it sound like smoking is OK on the property as long as it is outside. I tell my guests “No Smoking allowed on property, but if you simply must, it’s certainly OK to walk up to the street, just as long as it’s not on property. This includes e-cigs and vapes.”

Smoke wafts and drifts and clings and you don’t know if you’ll get a chain smoker, etc… Depending on where you are a cig butt could light up a forest fire… Not worth it. Let them walk off your property if they have to light up.

Sheets-- I do the same, ask the guests to strip and put it in a basket I leave. Some do and some don’t. The blanket rule you have (fold up and leave) kinda doesn’t make sense and seems a bit unnecessary… I mean you are going to make the bed anyway and probably take the blanket off and/or wash it, so I kind of don’t understand the point. If I were your guest and I read that, I would think, are they so fussy that if I don’t do this I would get a bad review??? Are they fussy in general?

Inside voices-- This sounds like a kindergarten rule. I’m a substitute teacher and a mom and I stopped using that phrase when my kids turned 4. :slight_smile: It just sounds a bit condescending… I would state it more in an adult way. “Please be aware that sound carries so we would appreciate quiet guests who keep their voices and music modulated at a normal level.” or something like that.

Trampoline--- They are such a huge liability. I would wager to say that just because you gave a warning here it would not protect you from liability AT ALL should someone get hurt. I would reduce the number of potential liability producers on your property if it were me. A trampoline described as “old” (does that mean about to break, or unstable?) is not something I would let my kids play on… I dunno… maybe it is just me. I hurt my back on a trampoline when I was a kid, and I can still feel that injury at times today… some 40 (or 50) years later. :slight_smile: But it seems like having a trampoline and telling them it is old and therefore not in good shape would be asking for trouble… Maybe have them SIGN an additional contract and release of liability because there is some dangerous equipment on your property. But maybe that wouldn’t even make a difference?? Check with a lawyer??

I don’t mean to rip it to shreds…but this is what occurred to me as I read through it…Just MHO and 2 cents! If it’s all working for you by all means disregard my comments… :slight_smile:


Good points Kona. I didn’t even think about the comments being lost in translation! Esp. if DC has many international travelers.

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I don’t believe there is any reason to underestimate the ability of international travelers to get jokes, especially such obvious ones. They’re not mentally impaired, just having to translate, and these phrases will translate just as well as anything else.

In regards to safety, it is up to each host what kinds of risk they are prepared to deal with. I don’t even want the risk of children on my property, let alone children swimming in my pool or doing anything else risky, but others feel differently.

In regards to making guests leave the property to smoke out on the street, it reminds me of a hospital or something, especially when you are involving vapes which have hardly any smell at all, especially outside. We have had so few smokers (I can think of just one) since doing Airbnb, and I don’t believe the smell wafts or clings that badly personally, especially if you ask guests to close the windows at least while smoking to make sure the smell doesn’t get inside if they smoke a lot. It’s everyone’s choice to make their own rules that suit their homes, but you can certainly start sounding uninviting if your rules are too restrictive.

I thought yours seemed really suitable for a home with kids that often caters to families, DC.

Btw, anything positive you could offer Kona rather than just ‘ripping it apart’?

Yes they do. I had a couple book for two and arrive with a 2 year old toddler in hand. Didn’t pay for three, said the child would sleep in their bed. Oh, and with no warning, my house was not child proofed and very dangerous to a toddler. They never considered any of that.

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House rules? Mine are minimal here is what I have in total.

“Unfortunately, I can no longer take infants and toddlers as part of the guest party. I happily will accept families with children 8 years old and over.
I allow full use of the kitchen and utensils. But I ask you to only do light cooking and snacks. Make your own breakfast and light evening meals, reheat take out foods, that is fine, just keep it within reason.
We only use the back door. Please don’t open the front doors in any case.
We maintain the Swedish Tradition, so Please leave your shoes inside the back door when you enter, there is a convenient seat there to use and a place for your shoes.
No smoking of course, but outside is fine.
I like to maintain a quiet, informal and friendly atmosphere. You can feel at home here! You’ll have full privacy downstairs after 7:30PM and till 11:00AM each day.
The cat loves people, but if you don’t like cats, I will put her into her room away from guests for your entire stay and she can sulk.”

Now, I don’t bang on about early check in, I communicate this in messages to guests a couple days before arrival. This last minute message had prevented any and all arrival problems. Ask them 48 hours before arrival, they respond and problems solved. Don’t over do the rules. I have to do laundry and therefore there is zero reason for guests to strip beds! Keep it simple. The secret to preventing problems is the Air BnB message system. I message and ask if they have any questions right at booking time, and repeat the message 48 hours before arrival. This system has always worked for me. But there is always the odd ball out there, and nothing can prevent a mess up from time to time.


Ahh i have a guest right now who made me explaining to her what light cooking means. I explained that light cooking means what you described: reheating, may be some boiling, like eggs, spaghetti , making sandwiches. " is it ok if panfry fish and use a bit of your oil?" She asked after all this explanation. This is heavy cooking , I said. Smell of fish will stink up my whole house, especially fried fish. Also, oil cost me money. Ok, she said, I will leave you couple of $. I said, you still can not fry fish in my house, I am a vegeterian and I am not tolerating any animal or seafood cooking.
Well, she said, you should specify then in your listing then that you are vegeterian and no one can really cook in your house.
With this person " within reason " won’t work. :grinning: I am just curious what goes heavy cooking means to her if frying fish is light cooking? May be Thankshiving turkey?


Ughhh, Yana I worried that you might come up against this problem – guests challenging your definition of light cooking… seeing that some guests’ idea of light cooking is very different from other guests’ definitions. You might have to put that in your listing… what you define as light cooking. Or just eliminate cooking as an option altogether. I could never really understand why people go on holiday only to cook up a storm. Don’t you want to sightsee and relax?

In any event they should respect you as a vegetarian and not challenge that status at all.

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Thanks everyone! The different perspectives are very helpful and I didn’t feel torn to shreds by anyone. Those were all good points and I had already taken the trampoline comments out.

The blanket folding request is so they find their clothing before the leave. It doesn’t do anything for me.

By early arrival I meant before the arranged time, not early in the day, so I will definitely change the wording.

yes, my prices are low because the toilet is literally in a closet under the basement steps. The sink is in another room. The shower is upstairs and shared. Another host is near me (though farther from the bus stop) and her place is a private entrance studio with nice furnishings. So I set my price a bit below her. I feel like my price is right for my area. Once my calendar gets a bit more full for next year I’ll edge the price up.

thanks again for the different perspectives!!


Kona - Re: “Fussy” comment - I’ve always kept my rules simple because I don’t want guests to be uncomfortable, but somehow I got it in my mind that, if I do instabook I need to have some very detailed rules. I don’t know how I got that idea! I’m not really fussy and don’t care personally if they take the sheets off or not, I just want them to find their expensive google watches before they leave… It’s sad when you know someone’s vacation plans just got set back hours because they had to return for something like that.

But thanks for the comments. And thanks for trying to ‘talk’ to MattG about taxes - wow, that guy was looking for a feud!

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I’ve had very few rules, mostly about alcohol and smoking.
I’m having to expand them though as I currently have month long guests that have no problem talking very loudly in their room after 10 pm.
I guess I’ll keep expanding the rules as I go, and incorporating all y’all’s advice!


Thanks for worrying;). I knew one day I will have another case of die hardcooks😃. This lady has dietary needs snd she is visiting her old father, she is just from west coast 4 hours drive from here, so it’s not really vacation . It’s her first time With Airbnb. She came for 2 nights, brought huge cooler and put it literally in s middle of my kitchen. We came home yesterday late and found a bag full of groceries in a middle of kitchen table.
I moved her things out of the way. She is leaving tomorrow morning. I will be out all day until 9:30 pm, so I won’t see her much, I warned her if she uses my kitchen she better clean up really well after herself, floors included.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s usually the same person who does multiple " things". When she saw full size bed she was in tears , literally. She said she can’t sleep with her husband on such small bed. This is what you reserved, I said.
I have another king bed upstairs but someone else stays there. She was sitting in my dining room trying to find smth on Airbnb but there was no instant book at her price range. Then guest from upstairs came back and I asked him if it he would not mind moving downstairs so I can accommodate her in king size bed. Young guy in his 20s, did not mind at all. So after all the moving, changing sheets she said, o , but my doctor said I should not be going upstairs.
I just looked at her. I said, you can cancell , I don’t mind.
She goes, but where am I going to go??. I said, you need to decide what you want to do , I am taking off soon and I nerd to know what your plans are. Finally she decided to stay only to say that may be tomorrow they will sleep on a full bed downstairs :grinning:. No, I said, you won’t !! I already changed sheets for you unnecessary twice. I am not doing it again. Mind you this all is for 55$ a night!!.
What a guest… But thankfully today is the last night,
I am definitely clarifying my kitchen rules with very detailed description.