Is there really a security deposit?

I have a $200 security deposit on my listing. I just recently had some guests check out and they took a few extra belongings with them. The replacement cost is $183. I contacted the guests and let them know if they promptly return the stolen items I won’t charge them, but went ahead and started a dispute with airbnb. 72 hours later and the guests quit responding and didn’t respond to the payment request. Now I’m waiting to hear if the Host Guarantee covers it. To me this sounds like I don’t actually have a security deposit at all. Is the security deposit really just words to make it sound good, does anyone know?

This is only the second time in nearly 7 years that I’ve ever charged a security deposit.

No there’s not, as has been well documented here for years. When the guest has to approve it, it’s not real. That doesn’t mean you won’t be reimbursed.

1 Like

Does airbnb just pay out the cost and the guest is completely off the hook?

I think so but I don’t know.

You can read how it’s supposed to work here:

Based on what I’ve read over the past couple years, Airbnb is not consistent about how these policies are applied or followed.

The only other time I made a claim was for smoking in the house. They disabled the smoke alarm and my cleaner spent 8 hours there. I was reimbursed for the cleaning fees, but I really feel like airbnb just said … oh guest didn’t respond so we’ll just pay you.

At this point the current claim is being reviewed by airbnb, the guest did not respond in 72 hours. All the wording I read makes it sound like airbnb will pay out with the host guarantee, if they do at all. It feels as though it sets a bad precedent if guests are not held accountable at all. Fortunately this is a rare occurrence. I hate writing bad reviews but I guess it’s time to start on this one.


I suggest an attitude change about this. Here’s your evening meditation (with wine if you indulge):

“I hate writing reviews when I have to be honest about what a poor guest this was. It’s especially galling when someone thinks a rental agreement is a license to take what it not theirs. Reviews writing is much more pleasant when it’s been a good guest.”

Reminder: don’t post the review until the 14 day period is about to expire.


Why? Please let us know.

As I’ve said here before. if you knew that a bad guest was heading to a rental owned by your mother or your sister, wouldn’t you let them know?

Okay, you don’t know us, but isn’t it only fair to let us know about bad guests? Surely you’d want that?


I do too.

I’m a goody-two shoes sap who wants everyone to act nicely and love each other.

Sadly after years of working with and managing people & projects I will call it as I see it.

The rude part is that jackasses think nice = weak. Nope. Could not be more wrong.


Had a dreadful guest that abused my beautiful house.
She told me she was looking to move to the area and which agency should she rent through.
I am in a very small town, and everyone knows everyone… guess who will never get a rental here!


Stop thinking in terms of bad reviews and good reviews. What we need to write are honest reviews.


A Big Big BTW, about getting compensated. Airbnb says you have to open a claim in the resolution center before the next guest checks in. Even though there are pages on their site that say 14 days with no mention of the “before the next guest checks in”. Recently I sent pictures of the damage to the guest prior to the next guest checking in asking them if they could let us know what happened. I gave them a couple days to respond which they didn’t. I then opened the resolution center claim, and airbnb denied it because I hadn’t opened an official claim prior to the next guest checking in. (btw, the guest has never responded) I think this “before the next guest checks in” is an onerous policy. Most days this only gives you a few hours to file a claim, which if you are doing the prepping for next guest can really put you in a pinch. Its much nicer to just send pictures to the guest in the message center without opening a claim prior to the next guest checking in. A couple other times when there was damage, I sent pictures and the guest responded with a nice story and compensated us and apologized. Opening the claim before trying gentle communication with the guest is rude and inviting a bad review. It makes the guest defensive. Getting the pictures sent before the next guest arrives is necessary so their is documentation of when the damage occurred. Airbnb’s requirement that the pictures be in the official resolution center is not kind and gentle CS. Host’s beware, you have to file the claim before the next guest checks in, or 14 days, which ever occurs first. Pictures and a request in the message center are not enough. When damage occurs again, I will send an apologetic message to the guest telling them that because of airbnb’s policy, we have to document the damage for their protection in the resolution center…" Along with some other gentle words, and hopefully the guest won’t feel defensive that now they have a “resolution center” case opened against them. I believe a much nicer and gentler policy would be that the pictures be sent in the message center OR the resolution center prior to the next guest checking in. After all, whats the difference? There is documentation on the site and when it occurred. Whether its on a page labeled “message center” or “resolution center”, really airbnb, what’s the difference?


It’s a bit of a hassle. But I require guests pay a deposit after booking so I have it in hand.
Airbnb has no problem with this if it’s stated in listing and house rules that guest agrees to.
If they have lots of 5 star reviews, I waive the deposit. If there are damages, I have the money.
But the real magic with this policy in place is it scares off the partiers and people that know themselves well enough to know their deposit is at risk.

How do you have your guests pay for the deposit?

Since the guest has already booked, what would you do if the guest refused to pay for the deposit?

1 Like

I’m not sure of the source for your information. If you are on the AirBnB platform as a professional property management firm, this is true.

If you are on their platform like me as a owner/host of 1 or 2 properties, this is their response a couple weeks ago

1 Like

Funnily enough, when I spoke to them about it a few weeks ago regarding using a channel manager to admin the deposit, this is what I got:


1 Like

Hmmmmm. Maybe the difference is really using a channel manager.

Multi-property professional managers use channel manager software to coordinate their listings on multiple rental sites and sites like VRBO allow upfront security deposits.

People like me who list on one or two sites (please no lectures on putting all rental eggs in one basket) probably won’t use lodgify or eviivo so can’t collect an upfront security deposit

Now the question becomes, what is the tipping factor that makes a channel manager worth the time & money investment:
Number of simultaneous listings on different sites?
Number of listings?
Desire for additional security deposit protection?

Not according to two different support folks. The “confirmation” mentioned was details of our channel manager.


I request deposit via the send/request money link under guest details.
If they refuse, I can cancel them without penalty because they agreed to pay it in the house rules.
Some people don’t read everything. Only happened once.

I have been on the phone to cancel a reservation with support and they even handled the refund of the deposit. No issues at all. It works great for me.

I do have a PMS and channel manager connecting my units to airbnb and BKC and more. But I don’t think that is why I can do deposits. I know others who are doing it with no problems. I don’t have a business account. Just me and 5 units. There is something different at 5 units though. Accounts with 5 units seem to get the multi calendar. Not sure what else.

or does everyone have this view?

I change my prices a lot last minute. So for me. Setting the price in the PMS and having it instantly update all listing sites with pricing is huge time saver. Imagine updating just 2 sites with pricing on 2,5,10,50 units!!! impossible. So you would never change pricing. Which means you have to price unit low enough that they will always book. So you probably miss out on peak pricing unless your region is very consistent year to year. My market has a lot of last minute bookings for short stays. So discounting last minute is useful. Or if a storm hits in the winter, raise the prices for the skier rush.