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Just became a host - my guests scratched the floor

Me and my husband decided to give it a try since my neighbors are making all bunch of money on Airbnb. We have a luxury 2 story condo in the heart of Silicon Valley. 2 guys booked it for 1 night for a Super Bowl. I guess it was a red flag which I ignored. I checked them in and they seemed cool. Next day when I got home I was really disappointed to see our place. They brought some girls - it was a lot of hair all over. They pulled the chairs and accent chairs from another room and set it around the dinning table. It would not be a problem if they didn’t leave marks and scratches on the floor. They also left toilet paper on the floor. They were drinking champagne with OJ and left about 10 glasses in the sink not washed. Champagne stains on the floor. Next days we got flies in the kitchen. I texted the guest after he left and he never replied. Any suggestions what I can do? I don’t have an experience as a host and not sure how to handle it? Also, how to avoid it in the future? Thanks everyone in advance! Great Forum!

Well, some questions come to mind.

Did they have any reviews? How many people were shown in the booking? Do you have an additional fee set for more than a certain number of guests? Did they say in their request that they were coming to watch the Super Bowl, or did this just happen on that day?

If you plan to pursue it, be sure to have pictures of the damage in hand as close to their checkout as possible. At this point, it’s a bit late to claim against their deposit. You only have 48 hours to initiate that. Beyond that point, it is difficult to prove the damage resulted from them.

What you can do is inquire of them via the messaging system on Air and just ask them what happened. You’ll want a written response from them acknowledging they did indeed do the damage. For example, you might say you are trying to lift the marks from the wood and need to know what sort of liquid caused them so you can apply the proper chemical to remedy it.

Not all Super Bowl partiers are trouble. We had a pretty good profit that night from a guy who wanted to impress his friends. You just have to be up front on such days with your rules and remind them that they will be responsible for any damage, so hopefully they will keep their friends in line. Also, it helps to have a fee set for guests above a certain number. Not only does it defray your cost for additional cleaning, but it also gives you something to stand on if your guest brings too many extra friends back. Depending on your licensing type and state laws, it can be classified as Defrauding an Innkeeper, or something similar.

So, in summary, keep it simple and to the evidence. I would forget about the unwashed dishes and hair. The same goes for the paper, unless it was soiled and in some bizarre places. That’s part of cleanup. You can establish a cleaning fee to recover your time or a professional’s services. If you want your guests to load the dishwasher, etc., you can put that into your house rules or checkout instruction sheet. You can initiate a payment request via the Resolution Center, but I think you will want to get some confirmation from the guest as to what happened and that they caused it. Be as tactful as possible in securing that information. Once you get that confirmation from them, move forward with your payment request. If they don’t pay up there, then you can follow up the request with a summons to small claims court.

Best of luck!

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Hi Felixcat, thank you so much for your suggestions. I definitely let it go this time, especially since it’s been few days, but make sure it doesn’t happen again. The guest had no reviews and only had verified ID and Facebook account. They were coming for Super Bowl. It was 2 people in the booking and I checked them in. I do have fees for extra people after 4th person. In this case, I can only guess how many people they invited.
What are some ways to remind the guests about their responsibilities for such a damage as floor scratches? I have it written down in the description - is it enough or I should also tell them that in person?
Thx
Anastasia

Well, I don’t think you need to let the wood damage bit go. Focus on the wood damage specifically and your case will be clearer either through resolutions or if you need to approach it in court. It’s just a bit more complicated by time. Have you fielded an estimate for repairs?

Anastasia: You obviously have a nice place, a lot nicer than most people do have, which suggests to me the slot of guests that meet your expectations also are narrow in numbers, and probability. I am assuming your place comes with a higher price. Price level is an interesting filter, normally it works very well with few exceptions, in this case the SB changed the normal dynamics and probability, meaning it led to a ‘rough’ guest wanting (or having) to stay in a ‘nice’ place…

Hi Mearns, your comment really made it clear for me - I lowered the price last minute, wanting to make money on a Super Bowl weekend, and it attracted the “wrong” guests in my case. I realize I would rather rent my place few times a month but at the premium price, rather than making a sale every time I can. Since I just started I wanted to attract guests with the low price till I have my ratings and recommendations, but I guess I need to slow down and really filter from the beginning…

Have not fieled the estimated, I feel like I screwed up by accepting them with no reviews and not making clear for the my house rules…

Not having reviews isn’t always a bad thing, so don’t blame yourself. Even when we first list we have no reviews, so guests are taking a chance on us and our space.

As to the house rules bit, even if you had nothing posted, a court would still find someone liable for property damage if proper evidence were presented.

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Right. Have you ever gone through the court? I hope these damages don’t happen too often.

In regards to house rules - what do you think about this:

The Guest using this condo assumes all risks related to property use (including all medical bills associated with property use).
The Host is not responsible for damages or loss of any items left in the property during or following the stay.
Maximum occupancy - 6 persons.
Keep the property and all furnishings in good order and return the loft in the same condition it was found.
Guest shall allow Host access to the property for purposes of repair and inspection. Homeowner shall exercise this right of access in a reasonable manner.

Anastasia: It is a matter of pragmatism, who has the time or the will to pursue small matters, really. The value here is on what one learns and applies forward.
I have had one guess bring extra people and promise to pay extra at the end and disappeared, now it is ALL up front; another took out ‘property insurance’ and passed the cost to me, I didn’t catch the move but from there on I go through every request with a fine-tooth comb; another conned me into cancelling them so they could ‘change’ their reservation, and never heard from them again, and so on. Every happening caused me to instantly change my policy to prevent such shifty moves in the future. Learning to me is more fun than arguing. Win the war, don’t stress over small insignificant small battles.
You get it already Anastasia, charge what would ~in all likely~ bring you guests who do have nice things, and thus do know how to treat them. You may find also what I did, if you have something unusual, by charging more you will get better guests, work less and cover the occasional ‘small stuff’.
I am of the mind that too many ‘insurances’ (reviews, rules, disclaimers, discussion of liability, deposits, etc) takes the fun and smoothness out of hosting, It could come across too caustic or too uptight, I rather gamble on the level of the individual.
Good luck.

You need to put “no parties or events” in your listing in an obvious place, and under “Rules”. It can still happen but this helps.

Not sure you will be covered with liability just by stating that.
Be more firm:

Guests MUST respect the property and its contents. Large, rowdy parties are not allowed. Quiet time of our condo association is ____. This hour must be respected. Thank you.

This is a family home and belongings are personal and sentimental. We expect our guests to treat and use these items with the utmost caution and respect.

Damage to the condo, contents or furnishings will be charged to your deposit.

Only your registered guests allowed on premises.

And frankly Anastasia… six? Six just invites parties and mayhem. Why not four? You’ll get the same number of bookings with less impact on your place. Six is a lot of impact!

And as you have learned… Maintain premium pricing to attract the more respectful guests. Collect a security deposit and a cleaning deposit!. Set your policy on strict.

Remember! Lowering the price will bring out the riff raff! (“Hey dude I got this really CHEAP place on Air B&B!!! Let’s parteeeeeeeee!”)

It’s your place… you TELL the guests how you expect them to behave!

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Thank you Rod! Will do.

Thx Kristina. Loved what you said. So true. It’s all about positioning your place as any other service or business, and setting up boundries…
Thank you for your help in putting house rules together! I will definetely use it as a template.
Also I put 6 people since we have 2 bedrooms. Our neighbor has 1 bedroom and he says his place accomodates 4 people. He offers a sleeping sofa in his leaving room.
I wanted people when they looked at comparissons to see the difference btw our places (similar units setup). However, I would not want 6 ppl in 2BR apartment. It would remind the dorms or something.

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Yes. I think in the end you’ll be more comfortable and even make more money if you limit it to four. I would not worry about it not being competitive! Don’t obsess too much about what your competition is doing… Really. It starts to drive you crazy. I stopped looking at my competition ages ago!

My sis manages a vacation rental that sleeps six. It’s above her apartment, and is a three bedroom house with two baths. Even with all that space, six is way too many!!! JMHO! :wink:

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Yes, I think so too. You really inspired me to do the right thing! Thank’s a lot. How long you’ve been doing AirBnb? Where do you girls do vacatinal rentals if you don’t mind me asking? I am looking into investment property now somewhere by the ocean perharps Florida or TX

Six years and in Kona, Hawaii. :slight_smile:

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Also in your experience - would you write a negative review on the guest? Or just learn the lesson and invest my time into writing my home / rules duscription and etc for the future requests?

Yes… but be sure to also open a case with AirBnB. AND while you are on the phone with the rep, ask for the guest review deadline date and time. You will want to wait until the very last minute (2 or 1 minutes before the deadline that the guest has to respond so that it does not prompt them writing something negative in return). Have it ready before hand (you can write it exactly as you have stated it to us) and then let it fly. No one will ever rent to them ever again on Air BnB! If they have already reviewed you, don’t wait. you can let it fly now.

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Awesome! Got it! Thank’s a lot!!!

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