I'm terrified of asking my guests for money to pay for damages

… that is why I mentioned a ‘Last Minute Review’ …if the guest has not posted a review you basically wait until the last day, hour or minute to post your review. Chances are the guest won’t know what hit him until it is too late to retaliate.

There are a zillion threads about this here …


stands to reason a certain amount of guests will be bitter at being asked to pay for something they thought they’d got away with, especially if they’d been pulled up on breaking rules previously. Bitter enough to leave a poor review, if they hadn’t already written one.

@Brandt has it right. Pick your battles.

You could also consider using an insurance service like Slice. The standard deductible is $1,000 which is high, but the small stuff like broken items have $0 deductible and you can claim up to $2,500. https://slice.is/homeshare-policy-summary/

My two bits: if you are not 100% sure that it was the current guest, I would be very careful making accusations of damage.
Sorry I have not noted if you mention what the damages are, & I’m not sure I would leave a home inspection to the cleaners.
It think would be more prudent to have a solid co-host, mind you that will cut into your profits, at $1000. per night, I can imagine reviews are very important to you.
If you are an absent host then I think there will always be issues v/s a host/co-host who is available and the guests have a personal connection with.
Good Luck

I’ve instructed our cleaners to text me a quick picture of any and all damage, large or small right away. Then I can decide if I want to pursue damages. I’ve only pursued damages once in almost 3 years, and after further cleaning ended up not charging the guest anything. But the info is useful for reviews, or sometimes it might be a tiny little spot on something that can be hidden but I want to address the next time. Good communication with your cleaner is key. I definitely don’t sweat the small stuff, most things are just the cost of doing business. I’m afraid that you will continue to get watermarks in that dining table and am thinking maybe you need a tablecloth or glass top or something??

Well, I do the cleaning, so for me it’s easy to see the damage and then I know what to do to report it. Of course they will deny and fight you. At that point you involve Airbnb. Just submit pics of damage and the receipt of the repair.
Also i have enough good reviews not to care about a few bad ones, because yeah, if you ask for money for damage, they’re are going to give you a bad review and try to find the most ridiculous things to complain about. You can then respond to their review in a manner that future guests will see who is right.

In the end it’s up to you if you want to absorb the repair costs or not. I didn’t have that many damages anyway. Perhaps like 2 per year. So all those other guests in between would most likely give me good reviews so those 2 bad ones won’t matter.

I appreciate everyone’s input! Learning a lot about how people handle their damages. It seems like I get more damages than usual because 1. 15-20 people stay at my house each time, and 2. I don’t live on the premises so its’ pretty much a bunch of unsupervised kids going nuts downstairs while the adults get drunk upstairs. What can you do, price of doing business I suppose.

What I’ve done is created a form on jotforms.com that my cleaners fill out ,and can upload images/description of any damages/broken items after each cleaning. That way I’ll have an accurate report for every single person with photo evidence if I need to seek damages.

I’ve been ignoring the small fry stuff, broken toilet seat here, towel rack fell off there, but everything around $100 I think I’ll ask the guests to pay for.

Since you started off by saying “guests don’t often leave reviews,” you might consider addressing that issue by trying to get more reviews so the occasional bummer review doesn’t stick out. I know not everyone agrees with my approach, but I not only ask for reviews, but ask for 5-star reviews. I also find it helpful to ask in my review-request email about suggestions to improve the place. Guests often send their minor complaints in response to that email instead of including them in their review.

You can do a lot @Scottk42

1.install CCTV
2. Vet your guests more carefully
3. Review you house rules
4. Include a high deposit
5. Get a co-host - unless you live in the middle of nowhere and i assume you don’t or you couldn’t get cleaners, this should be possible

Hi just checked Airbnb’s Extortion Policy and I’m a bit confused.

Airbnb's Reviews Policy - Airbnb Help Center

  • Guests threatening to use reviews or ratings in an attempt to force a host to provide refunds, additional compensation, or a reciprocal positive review.

If a guest left a negative review including contents that he was unhappy as host asked him to pay for the damage. Would this situation be considered as violation of the policy above?


To be clear, a guest left a review that said something like “this was a horrible place and the host asked me to pay for damage that I didn’t do” or something like that?

As far as I know, it’s not a violation at all. Reviews, from both the guest and host, are supposed to be an accurate description of how the stay went. Of course, from time to time a lot of hosts get reviews that they say are simply not true but Airbnb doesn’t consider that as a violation.

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You can always try. Let us know what Airbnb say @cyjoy


Sure I’ll update. Thank you @Helsi
The guest also said something implying ABB has provided judgment in favor of him which of course is not true. I’ve also reported those lines according to ABB’s content policy.

Airbnb's Content Policy - Airbnb Help Center

  • Content that provides specific details or outcomes of an Airbnb investigation

Extortion would be if they said something to you BEFORE leaving the review in order to influence you. It’s not about the content of the reviews.

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Is this still the case, in August 2020? I have the situation of a guest who I thought was great actually have an unauthorized guest for the duration of the stay and lied about it by sending me a Message that she was having an extra guest only for dinner the first night.

i’m afraid of giving a bad review to some very sketchy guests who stole my playstation. some of their party was local, and arrived with bling and loud music, and left weed lying around when they left. i’m afraid of backlash from the locals if i diss the guest

Yes. Once you submit a review, the ability to edit that review expires when any one of these occurs:

  1. 48 hours passes from the time the review was submitted.
  2. The other party submits their review of you.
  3. 14 days has passed since checkout.
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I looked into our magic Crystal Ball to read your future. Here it is:

Our dining room set is mahogany: table, sideboard and buffet. If someone forgets to use a coaster, there will be water marks. BUT … this stuff is magic. A quick wipe and viola. Cost? About $10 and a few minutes of time.

Your frustration is understandable. We all must make the best business decisions that we can, and build in a reasonable budget for “stuff happens”.


Occasionally, when a member has posted a problem here, another member has come along and said in their reply “I think that the hospitality business might not be the right career for you”. (Sometimes a lot less politely).

I might have implied the same thing myself in the heat of the moment, but most times, when I see a comment like that I think it’s not really fair as we don’t know the full story.

However, when hosts start writing that they are ‘terrified’ of asking guests to pay for damages, ‘scared’ to write bad reviews or ‘afraid’ in some way of managing their guests, I do wonder if some other business might suit them better. (There. I said it).


But don’t forget that Airbnb doesn’t tell people they are getting into the hospitality business. They are just “being part of a community while sharing their extra space for spare cash while meeting interesting people from all over the world”. People who have already been running businesses use Airbnb as advertising and an additional platform but a lot of hosts have not been running businesses and Airbnb makes it sound so fun, easy and huggy. It’s a different viewpoint.

I mean, it’s definitely a trick, but it does create a different viewpoint. I also don’t want to shakedown guests for damages, never have and probably never will. I am loathe to tell grown ups that they are messy or rude. And I most definitely do not want to have to manage them. Nonetheless, I have succeeded in the hospitality business. But it is not at all what I thought I was signing up for. I believe there are other hosts like this too - just fell right into the Airbnb bullshit well and trying to stay afloat :rofl: