House Rules to CYA as a host

Just wanted to share, as I’m asked this by many fellow hosts, these are my House Rules that I have developed over 7 years & found this protects me against bad acting guests:

  • You are not staying in a hotel, but rather an actual residential home - so there are full time residents around you, not other people on vacation. Please respect this and set your expectations accordingly. The best way to enjoy your stay is to treat my home like yours and there will be no problem.
  • All of the rules reflect my expected standard of Guests behavior, and are so listed due to past confusion about expectations and unruly Guest behavior.
  • Concierge and on demand requests are meant for hotels, not Airbnb stays. What is provided to Guests is detailed in the description. Do not contact me demanding additional amenities that are not listed, my co-host and I are not your employees.
  • Incoming mail & packages are not allowed to be received during your stay. There are nearby Amazon Lockers & a UPS store where you may arrange to receive your packages while on vacation. This information is online for you to review yourself.
  • Never disclose that you have paid to use my apartment. The building permits this use by consent & permission of the HOA, and as required is licensed, but discretion is appreciated to avoid problems. Do not give a full time resident neighbor a reason to complain about your stay. Its best not to mention Airbnb if there is ever reason to discuss this, you are simply an invited guest staying in my apartment. If you are behaving, there will never be a reason to discuss this. Neighbors have complained to the Board because of past bad acting Airbnb guests, do not put me in this position. This is the reason I have to list so many rules.
  • Do not disturb the neighbors, they are not on vacation. Do not stand halfway into the hallway with the apartment door wide open having conversations with people in the apartment or yelling down the hallway.
  • No undisclosed guests, visitors, family, or friends are allowed over to the apartment during your stay. This includes even your friends/ family/ people stopping by to hang out, wait for you, or visit you during the day. Only paid guests in the reservation are allowed in the apartment at any time. No exception. Violations of this will result in either a $150 claim per unreported guest, per occurrence, on your security deposit or cancelation of your booking with NO REFUND.
  • You are provided towels and bedding according to the number of registered guests. One bath towel, one wash cloth, one beach towel per registered guests. Up to 2 guests will have bedding for main bed, extra bedding for the futon must be requested in advance of your arrival.
  • Per Airbnb’s requirement, all communication must be done via Airbnb messaging to maintain a record of what was communicated. No outside phone calls, texts, etc. unless in case of emergency (like a fire or flooding).
  • AC is locked via NEST smart thermostat for guest’s use between the range of 72F to 90F. If you prefer to use of the AC lower than 72, my apartment is not suited for your needs.
  • All issues, problems, and complaints must be reported in real time during your reservation to allow the Host time to respond accordingly.
  • No smokers, please book with someone else. Smoking inside will result in a $200 additional cleaning fee placed on your security deposit.
  • Throw away all trash in the dumpsters located behind the building. Do not leave trash outside the door, or in the common areas, or on the building grounds.
  • Self wash all dishes when used, DO NOT leave dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
  • Do not open the windows and run the AC at the same time. Do not leave any window open while the apartment is vacant.
  • The apartment door has a Ring video doorbell. A video recording is made each time the door is opened. The building entrance is also video monitored.
  • The smart door lock creates an uneditable time log of each time the door is opened and closed.
  • Do not hide, conceal, or fail to report any damage or lost items you may accidentally cause. Bring back items you take out, leave items in the same working condition. The maid makes a full inspection after each check out. Unreported damages & cleanliness will be reflected in every Guest’s review.
  • The building has a monthly extermination treatment on ……… This may fall during your reservation. Treatment is required by the HOA and can not be rescheduled as it affects the overall sanitation of the building to not treat some units.
  • Lost items / damaged items / bodily fluids / make-up / and damage to linens will be charged at the following reimbursement rate per item: $5 dish towel, $5 wash cloth, $10 bath towel, $20 beach towel, $20 flat or fitted bed sheet, $10 pillow case, $40 duvet cover, $20 umbrella, $40 beach umbrella, $20 beach chair. Soiled linens will not be washed for another use as this is unsanitary and a health issue for both the cleaners & future guests.
  • At check out, Guests are to wash all used dishes & take out the trash to the dumpsters behind the building in the alley. This is a courtesy for the cleaners and expected when staying in someone’s home - as again, this is not a hotel. The cleaning fee is for the cleaners who prepare and ready the apartment for the next guest, you are still expected to minimally pick up before your checkout.
  • Requests for early / late check outs must be communicated in advance. There are fees for a late check out: $25 up to 12pm, $50 up to 3pm, anytime after 3pm requires that entire day be booked. Early check ins are provided as a courtesy when possible.
  • Non approved late check outs will be accessed a $75 fee per fraction of each hour.
  • Travel insurance is recommended as the Strict Cancellation Policy is upheld. Host is not responsible for costs a Guest may incur because of a changed itinerary. A missed flight, delay in your arrival, or unexpected early departure is your responsibility.
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This makes an assumption of how a guest treats their own home and it’s a bad assumption.

Regardless of your motivation, this rule smells so strongly of illegal STR that I wouldn’t book it.

I know that I’m not the type of guest that would break any of the rules, but with so many of them that sound so authoritarian, I wouldn’t book. But, as long as your occupancy rate is where you want it to be, carry on.


I agree with Brian. Just the first paragraph alone will keep me from ever booking your place, nevermind all the others.
I think your tone is almost like you are addressing children. Nothing wrong with having rules, but I will feel that I have been reprimanded if I am a guest and I read that.


To each their own. Your house rules have become a manifesto of every grievance experienced over 7 years. I find that laundry list patronizing and it makes me think your place isn’t totally above board. But I’m sure you’re able to book guests who appreciate your attention to detail.

I’ve been hosting for 5 years and have it down to 6 rules. Since my rules are simple and few it’s extremely rare someone breaks them.


yes, actually my rule reads treat this home as you would you mother’s.

And yes, it looks like this is an illegal Airbnb that I wouldn’t want to book. I also think that people who are prone to misbehave won’t read this litany of a rule list. People’s attention span is very limited. short sentences and bullet points work best in my experience. one time a lady booked me after looking at 2 pics on her phone and reading nothing about the place. so, i could have written the “snow white” instead of description, she wouldn’t know the difference

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Allison, would you share yours please?


I agree that I wouldn’t stay at a place with such a list of rules. I didn’t want to be treated like a six year old when I was a six year old and I certainly don’t now. Sorry, but I expect to be treated like a decent human being. (I also expect my guests to behave as decent human beings - and they do).

Our rentals are in a complex with a very strict HOA and it is therefore my responsibility to ensure that guests don’t annoy neighbours. Our HOA is fully aware that our apartments are STR and rightly see that maintaining a pleasant atmosphere for everyone, guests and residents alike, is my job. And I see my job as being much more than writing a laundry list of rules including telling guests to lie and say that they are invited non-paying guests.

Sorry but I think a host telling guests that they should lie, simply because he or she can’t be bothered to manage them properly or create and maintain a great relationship with their HOA is not being my definition of a host.

It’s also noteworthy that if, in seven years, there have been so many guests doing so many things wrong that a huge list of rules is required, there’s something wrong somewhere.


Your house, your rules. I probably wouldn’t book with you. I’m sure your intent is clarity, but the feeling it gives me (and this is just my opinion, may many opinions bloom) is that there is a host just waiting and watching for me to screw up. Not so relaxing for a vacay or any other kind of trip.
On a side note, I expect “bodily fluids” and clean and sanitize accordingly.
My rules are not warm and fuzzy, they’re no-nonsense legalese-y, with cites to my county regulation (consistent with Jacquo’s “third party made me do it” suggestion), so I do have coverage for miscreant guests without, I hope, appearing too personal or critical. It just looks like any transaction contract you would agree to.
Gentle moderators, if this link is OK with you, here is my somewhat irreverent blog post on being an Air guest.


Wow! I’d recommend people never stay here voluntarily with that list.
That is just extreme.
I’d scrap 80% of that list and communicate with them like a human.


Yes, I’m averagine 90% occupancy over the past three years. But also adjust my pricing accordingly each each to ensure I’m priced low enough to get a bite.

Interestingly re: authoritarian tone: that is exactly the type of tone I intend to convey - as I don’t suffer abusers lightly. And since having these rules, in the past three years I’ve only had 2 guest’s I’ve had major issues that resulted in me kicking them out - ironically, both were fellow Airbnb hosts. Both my reviews and pricing have increased positively since I’ve become a no nonsense style host. Much better to be strict than to allow people to pass b.s. sob stories and take advantage of you.

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Which tell me I’m doing something right. I prefer people who don’t like my rules stay elsewhere. Exactly why I’ve had considerable less headaches from bad acting guests in the past three years. The adage of “give them an inch and they’ll take a mile” definitely runs true in my experience dealing with Airbnb guests.

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I’ve been very lucky to avoid problem guests with this strict stance and still maintaining a 90% occupancy rate. People may think the rules are harsh, but apparently many are willing to consent to them to avoid paying x3 for a near by hotel. It CYAs for me when guests do break the rules and provides a basis to impose my penalty fees and have them upheld by Airbnbs.

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Thankfully these have worked wonders for me. I really don’t care who doesn’t chose to stay with me- its a bullet dodged as far as I’m concerned. No normal person who comes and behaves has ever has an issue with me. Its reflected in my 90% occupancy rate, 6 year Super Host status, and 4.8 average rating. Guest go on & on in their reviews about how attentive and how much my efforts are reflected in my listings.


Most guest do behave like children, who lie, steal, break rules, and then demand more than they paid for. My rules have worked wonders for me to avoid these bad people - they can cause another host stress. I’m good with a 90% occupancy and 4.8 average rating.

People do what you allow them to. I don’t allow monkey business and glad for it.

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It likely is patronizing to some, the same I’m happy to avoid hosting. Yes, many guest and my reviews do reflect guest’s appreciation of my attentiveness and care put into my properties. 90% occupancy and 4.8 average rating reflect this.

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You are very correct in that. But its not my responsibility to ensure other adults are responsible for contracts they agree to. It is my responsibility to CYA and ensure a method for me being compensated by Airbnb for their bad acting guests. Its worked wonders for me.

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I imagine you could up your rates if you didn’t have the worlds largest rules list. You are surely slicing your supply of travels considerably. I would never book this place.


Sure! This forum helped me whittle them down a year or so ago :slight_smile:

BEFORE YOU ARRIVE we’ll ask for a guest list with first and last names (and ages, if under 21), as required by the city and insurance. Only these registered guests are allowed on the property, checked with an exterior door camera. No cameras are in the suite.

WHILE YOU’RE HERE: We hope you have a fun time and enjoy the space! We ask that you and your traveling companions follow these five rules during your stay:

  1. Keep gates shut.
  2. Don’t enter our ground floor living space or outdoor deck without an invite.
  3. Ask before starting a fire and agree to follow our checklist for having one safely.
  4. Smoking (nicotine & cannabis) allowed OUTDOORS ONLY. Please inquire so I can point you to a spot with an ash tray.
  5. Before leaving put trash & dishes in their bins, hang towels, and lock the door. It isn’t necessary to strip or make beds. Cleaning in excess of 3 hours (it typically takes 2) is charged at $35/hour.

Thanks for reading! Tell me you’re a “good reader” I’ll have a treat for your arrival :slight_smile:

Having a list of named guests prevents all kinds of issues like undisclosed kids, visitors, and parties. If there are minors I can choose to leave ice cream rather than wine.

Most of the rest protect my property, pets, or personal space.

Putting a dollar value on our cleaning time means I don’t have a litany of rules like “no shoes indoors”, “no eating in bed” or “please don’t celebrate with glitter”.

Almost everyone leaves the place in fabulous shape. I’ve never had to ask a guest to leave. (Although I was close to doing so to the Doctors without Boundaries)


Your way too extensive rules list makes a few good points, but I wouldn’t book the place based on the tone of the list and the length of the rules list - classic tl;dr. And I’m from NYC, home of “the tone!” Seriously, you state you’d be pleased to not host any of the folks on this forum who don’t appreciate the authoritarian and condescending way this reads, that’s lost business for you.

And the biggest red flag

Smells like an illegal rental to me. And the travel insurance caveat tells me it is and that I could potentially be “homeless” by the time my reservation comes round because the HOA has shut you down.

As a New Yorker, I can come across as abrupt and curt and I’ve spent years traveling trying to “tone down the tone,” plus if you’d known my parents, it’s genetic. :-/ You could make the same points without sounding like the nightmare nanny. I had flashbacks to my Victorian era grandparents…

Good luck.


Luck is for fools, proof is in the pudding: my 90% occupancy rate and 4.8 average ratings. No sweat off me if people don’t book, I’m doing just fine and avoiding SOOOOO many headaches and horrendous, spoiled, entitled acting, trashy people. The travel insurance is to stop the woe is me stories about late flights, having to leave early, etc. I don’t care about your problems, I’m not taking a loss because you can’t plan properly.