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How to identify guest scammers or troubles?

I am a new host and I have a guest who reserved for half a month with us. I am hosting a private room in a house. I have a no pet policy and the guest just informed she has a service dog that she will be bringing with her. Her initial message before the booking was asking if I had a private bath which I mentioned in my listing I did. Her profile shows she joined in 2017 but has no reviews.

This was her latest message to me:

“Hi. As you can see we’ve booked your place it looks lovely. We are quite excited to have an extended visit with our daughter. I have a small professional trained service dog that reminds me to take medicine and such. She will never be home alone as I need her and she does not bark. She was injured as a pup and just simply doesn’t bark. Thank you for kindness in advance. We look forward to meeting you Becky.”

Also, my name is not Becky so I found that last part to be weird. Should I be worried about this guest?

Someone else could answer this better but I believe it’s pretty difficult to turn down a booking of someone with a service dog (especially a service dog over emotional support animal). The guest says that the dog will be with her at all times which makes me feel like it’s a true trained service animal. I believe it’s Air’s policy that a service animal is not to be left in the Airbnb alone.

The name wouldn’t concern me that much since the rest of the message seemed sincere. She was probably looking at a bunch of places and got the names confused.

I’ll throw this in here too… many people in this forum advise against longer stays when you are starting out on Airbnb as it keeps you from racking up positive reviews. Depending on how many guests you’ve already had, maybe you should consider lowering the maximum stay. Just a suggestion. Welcome and good luck! :slight_smile:

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Can you let us know exactly what you feel is worrying about the guest?

We all have our intuition, and when it itches, I find it best to request additional information. By coincidence (Maybe? Maybe not), earlier today I received an inquiry who also has been a member of AirBNB since 2017 but has no reviews and no information in her profile. And she had a really odd question:

I am a little confused, is this a small condo to ourselves? Would we have the pool to ourselves? Thank you so much!

Understand that the title of my listing stays ‘Guest House’ and the description gives further details of what I re-described in my response.

My response to her inquiry is below, … I’ve not yet had a reply.

Hi ____; Thanks for your inquiry.

I’ll do my best to answer your question and clear up any confusion.

  • It is not a condo. The listing is a guest house that is on the same property as the main house (where I live).
  • It would only be you (and your guest) using the pool.
  • But it’s important to note that while the private patio pictured (within ‘Patio’ section) is really only in view of the guest house, the pool and main rear yard is in view from the main house.

If you are still interested, I have some questions / requirements:

Since you’ve been a member of AirBNB for a couple of years but have no reviews and little information in your Profile, I ask that you provide some information about yourself, what brings you to town and confirm that you have reviewed the listing and house rules.

Also to minimize potential fraudulent bookings I also ask that AirBNB registration include:

  • Guest Photo to be on AirBNB profile
  • Gov’t issued ID validated by AirBNB
  • Payment form on file with AirBNB

Thank you for your understanding. Please know that it’s not that I don’t appreciate your interest; it is that ABNB is a review based business and as such I do my best to ensure that my guest house and my guests expectations are in synch.

Thank you.

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It’s complicated. A possible downside is that 2 weeks of your “new host visibility promotion” will be used up by this one guest.

I would not be happy about being informed after the fact about a service animal with a “no pets” listing. I do understand that air has “their policy” about this, but it’s our property. Can you claim allergies - for you or a family member or another guest?

Perhaps I am reading too much into it, but I find it suspicious that a “no review” profile that is 2 years old seems familiar with the air policy that service animals must stay with the guest at all times and not be left behind.

At a minimum, I would want more info and have a back and forth, to see if you have reason to be “uncomfortable with this guest” or want to allow them to proceed forward.

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From what I can tell, the only reason for refusing someone with a true service animal, which this appears to be, is if you are in a shared listing and have an allergy. From Air’s Host FAQ:

I am allergic to dog hair. How should I handle requests from guests with assistance animals?

It’s important to be empathetic to guests with assistance animals and to make every effort to accommodate them. However, if an assistance animal would jeopardize your health, or that of a roommate or family member, you do not have to host the guests. Please be clear and polite when communicating with guests about this. We also suggest you include this information in your listing description in order to better inform prospective guests.

In my case, I would tell the guest that I’m horribly allergic to dogs and ask them to find an animal friendly booking. If she refused, I would call Air and ask for a no-penalty cancellation.

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We run a no guest pets Airbnb, private bedroom and bath in our house. But I would absolutely accept this guest.

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I might accept this guest if assured said dog was good with cats, which a trained service animal should be. I’d let the guest know I have a hybrid cat and they can figure it from there. But I’d prefer to not book animals at all. Because #BengalCatMeltdown

I’m the same, although our rentals are separate apartments. We don’t accept dogs but with service dogs, that’s a different matter.

I don’t know if that was what the OP is worried about or whether it’s the other things he/she mentioned (asking about a private bath, no previous reviews, calling the host by the wrong name…) and he/she hasn’t responded but might do by the morning.

Luckily none of those things would worry me at all. :slight_smile:

I read it as the guest’s name is Becky and she just forgot a comma.

Do you have a yard where this guest will be able to take her dog? If not, or if there are other reasons the guest would have a difficult time staying with a dog, make sure you let them know.

She sounds like a good guest to me, but I run a pet friendly listing.

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I wouldn’t find this suspicious. A true service dog really wouldn’t be left behind, policy or not; that is the whole point of a service dog.

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Ah, but this is the comment that would make me feel better about the guest. I’ve had people try and book with pets and “lol, my animal is crated” after several messages. That’s not a service animal, that’s a pet. In a crate. Yelling at my cat. :cat:

I like that the guest is trying to reassure the host that the service animal really will be attached to its person.

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I think we are both saying the same thing, you have just worded it better. :grinning:

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Tell the guest that the dog must be crated, in her room, at night.

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I mentioned this on another thread…but I get a lot of these, but it’s wrong to assume they are first time airbnbers. They may have been guests several times, but if the reservation was made by someone else, the review does not show up in their profile.

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Thanks everyone for your answers! It sounds like she is a genuine guest, I was just worried because of being a new host.

Thanks for the tip Lauren! Didn’t even think about that!

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Surely you know under Airbnb’s policy for service animals, they don’t need to inform you in advance at all @Jefferson

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I have not run into a service animal booker yet, but have had requests to make exception to my “no pets” rule.
I have an out in that one of my dogs simply will not tolerate other dogs on the property, and I regretfully decline based on the possibility of dog fights or injuries.

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