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How do you handle a guest who brings a dog without telling you

our house is pet friendly but we require a $25 pet fee. Our current guest didn’t tell us they were bringing a dog but we saw it on our Ring doorbell video. How do we handle - send message or just request the additional fee?


Both! Send them a message and then go ahead and send them the request for the money. It’s not an option, right – you have a fee and they brought dog in.


I also recommend adding a fee for failure to report and pay the required pet fee. I charge a $15 pet fee for house trained pets and $25 for non. I also have a $50 fee for each unauthorized (in registered and unpaid) people and animal. Sadly most of the time the owners who don’t do the former alsondont pay the latter but Airbnb usually does sonjt helps compensate me for the time it takes.


I would send him a request for the additional fee.

I allow pets and have a fee. I say that these fees must be paid in advance but the reality is I would take a different approach. I would say something like “I see you brought a pup. That’s a gorgeous Norwegian Elkhound. I’m sorry there was a misunderstanding about the pet fee policy, it’s normally due in advance. I’m submitting the request for the pet fee now. Once you accept we’ll be all set.” Then I would give them a few hours, between 12-24 depending on the length of stay and time I sent the message. I would not initially take a hostile approach. If they didn’t accept the fee I’d go try to collect it in person. If that didn’t work I would consider becoming much more forceful and hostile like telling them I’d be cancelling the rest of their stay.

I’ve hosted a lot of people with pets and there’s only been one sick dog incident but the potential for big problems is certainly there so a lot of it just depends on their attitude. If they get sassy with me they are probably going to regret it. I’m going to graciously give them to chance to own up and make right and if they don’t, the gloves come off.


Thanks - I like this approach. I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.


I get a lot of dogs through the various sites I advertise on but don’t require an additional fee. If it happened for me I’d say something like “I noticed you have brought a dog/s with you. No problem but as the listing says this means an additional $30 fee. Please contact me so we can arrange”. Just be polite but direct.

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I also like @KKC approach as I am currently in the same situation. I am yet to approach the guest. My housekeeper arrived and the guests hadn’t checked out and the dog came to the door. Incidentally they also left the place a filthy mess and it was only a one night stay. The housekeeper has labelled them “the ferals” as she was so shocked by the state of the villa.

As Mr Poppy says: if you are going to do something dodgy don’t get caught! You would think you would have been smart enough to check out half an hour early. Last time this happened I waited for them to write their review and then asked for the pet fee. They went back and edited their review complaining about having to pay for the pet fee.

This time I have taken a different tactic. I phoned Airbnb and told them what had happened and what I was planning to do so it was on file. The CS rep offered to contact the guest for me and act as a liaison. I said I wanted to wait to see if they wrote the review but I wanted the dog noted on file. The guest reviewed me yesterday. I am now waiting 48 hours and then I am going to ask for the pet fee. However, instead of going “on the attack” I am going to use @KKC approach and suggest they somehow “missed” letting me know. My pre- booking message and house rules state: small dogs under 5kg only accepted by prior approval, pet fee $80, no instant book. They must have missed that bit…

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People with dogs know perfectly well that many places do not accept them or make them pay an extra fee.

They also know if they leave their dog at home they need to pay a dog-sitter.

I’m a dog owner I can relate but also a property owner and I know dog hair is impossible to get out with just one pass of the hoover, and the next guest may be allergic.

I would call airbnb immediately and diplomatically confront them with it.

Perhaps saying the neighbors called to complain or somebody saw them going into the apartment with the animal, unless are you absolutely clear on the use of cameras and the issues related to that? Camera survellance apparently is very sensitive subject.


K9Karma how do you get firm with a guest knowing that they can leave a dishonest bad review and destroy your ratings?

Please help with this I’m still living in fear of dishonest bad reviews to the point where I probably get taken advantage of by the few dishonest people who are using the system to abuse house rules and get discounts and special treatment.

Could you give us some tangible tips.


First, one bad review can’t destroy my ratings because I have over 400 5 star reviews. LOL. Sorry, I know that’s not helpful. But I didn’t get here by cowering in my own home. Don’t give discounts, don’t give special treatment. It sounds like you don’t feel like you deserve respect. Scammers can sense weakness.

Also, I get to review the guest. Typically a guest has far more chance of one bad review hurting them than a host does. Why aren’t they afraid of you instead of the other way around?

Honestly, after 28 years in the public school system standing up to administrators, parents and kids doing it in my own home is easy. I don’t think I have tips that can translate well to others other than if you don’t respect yourself no one else will either.


Excellent Karma thanks!

Wow 400 reviews that’s great and you only got there because you figured out how to handle all this stuff I’m sure.

But in the beginning don’t you find that there is an imbalance. Did you ever get a bad review that got you kicked off the superhost status and what was the impact on your bookings?

Some guests take pride in their rating and number of reviews on airbnb. But most of my guests actually sign up for airbnb for the first time in order to book my apartment! They couldn’t care less about a bad review, they’ll just change emails and credit card or go through their husbands or sister’s account next time.

How long did it take you to get 400 reviews?

Surely you sometimes had to compromise and be diplomatic if everyone is giving 5 stars…

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Update - took this approach and guest acted offended at first. I explained that there wasn’t a problem, that our listing has a pet fee and perhaps they missed it and sent a payment request. They said they would pay but still haven’t responded to our request for payment. The 72 hours is up tomorrow morning - talked to Airbnb and they saw that she agreed to pay in her response. Said to call back tomorrow if she hasn’t responded.
Unlike K9KarmaCasa, we are new hosts and only have 2 reviews (both 5 star) so I am scared about what they have said in their review (was actually surprised that they submitted one). Thinking about not reviewing the guest so that I won’t be subject to a false review. Any thoughts on that?

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Review them!!! And do it honestly about how much trouble it was to get them to pay the required pet fee for the dog they did not disclose.

I am similar to K9KarmaCasa in that I stand up and get the negative reviews from those trying to scam me. I am different though in that I have less than 20 reviews for each siting and it does very much effect the stars (and I have no chance of SuperHost status) and have even had listing paused for the bad reviews. I care but not enough to let people walk on me. I still get bookings. I still get some really GREAT ones sometimes. And in those cases I thank them profusely, give them examplary glowing reviews and thank them several times for just reading and following House Rules. They can see from the bad reviews that the people OBVIOUSLY didn’t read them and had a bad time indicated in their reviews, or like some have said, the stay was great except the pet fees. Most of the time the say they had no idea and complain there are too many rules. Just shows that they didn’t even bother to read them.

Eventually I won’t get those that even try to screw me and if they do they will see that I Ann it going to be intimidated by those bad reviews to allow them to get out of it.

Follow your own rules by enforcing them or don’t bother having them. When Airbnb doesn’t back us up that is another matter but don’t back down yourself. It may be scary, but it will be worth it!

No, but my beginning was in May 2014. Airbnb then was a different situation. I had about 16 listings that I would have considered my competition in my town. Now there’s at least 60.

No, I’ve had Superhost every quarter since I qualified in Sept 2014. My lowest true review was 3 star and those guests were justified in giving it to some degree. I learned from it and moved on. I didn’t notice any effect on my bookings. I also had a one star that was a mistake.

I just have a different kind of guest than some hosts. I like to call them travellers rather than tourists. But I don’t know what explains it.

About 4 years. As of today I have 439 reviews. My goal was to have 500+ by the end of the year but I booked out most of Sept, Oct, and Nov to one guy who left me zero reviews. His first 8-10 reservations were on Airbnb then we switched to direct payment so the review rate slowed way down.

My thought is that you need to learn more about how Airbnb works ASAP. After 14 days their review will post whether you review them or not. And honest reviews really are the lynchpin of the system. When people don’t review it hurts all of us in the long run.

I’m seeing a pattern of bad guests looking for new hosts to abuse. Since she copped an attitude I’d eviscerate her in the review. But what do I know?


Remember to NOT recommend these guest so they can NOT auto book. Once they get away with it once it becomes there M.O.


People with a thumbs down can still instant book. They simply have to find a host who doesn’t require prior good reviews. I cancelled a woman’s reservation back in June due to lack of recommendations and poor reviews and she has booked many, many Airbnbs since. At the time she had ~16 reviews now she has 40 (but only 27 hosts have recommended her, some hosts she stayed with more than once) but none since October. Maybe her shenanigans caught up with her or maybe she finally settled down somewhere.

final update - guest submitted payment but there was a problem with it which she corrected within the day. They left a great review and now is trying to make me feel guilty about leaving a not so great review of them. My review was clear that the only issue was with the dogs - didn’t even mention trouble collecting payment. She immediately sent me this message: “If you can’t say anything nice why say anything at all when we left your house perfect. I’m sorry I misunderstood the extra fee.”

thanks for sharing your experience!

I think starting in 2014 was a different world than today.

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