Leave a bad review for single mom?

I just had a guest leave one of my properties the messiest I’ve seen in 5 years. I know I need to leave a review to let other hosts know what to expect if they welcome her booking request but I’m not sure what to write. Maybe someone has had this situation and has some advice.

A single mom came to stay with her three little girls and two dogs. (I know she’s a single mom because she told me so in her intro letter and that she was originally from the area and was visiting family for the holidays.) We had good communication before and during her stay and she was pleasant and responsive.

A few times during her stay, I drove past the property and saw her two dogs running around the yard (having a great time!) It has been raining lately so I leave old towels at the front and back doors with notes on them that specifically say “Please use for muddy paws and shoes.”

After she checked out, my cleaning staff called from the property - they were in the weeds and needed help. The place was an unbelievable mess. It took four of us four frantic hours to clean the house (we had a same-day turnaround.) Mud was everywhere. Duvet covers are ruined. Towels are beyond bleaching. The dogs were allowed everywhere with their muddy paws- on every conceivable piece of furniture. She tried to wash a load of linens at one point and turned them blue. Garbage was all over the house, in every room, in the beds, all over the floors, filthy kitchen, fridge full of food, backdoor left unlocked, shower rod broken, the kids left the toys I provided out in the mud in the yard, the dog poop was not picked up and there was a lot of it. About the only clean thing left in the house were the old towels I provided for muddy paws which were not used.

I put her on my ‘no-fly’ list because I won’t host her again and I feel like I have a duty to let others know about the experience but she’s a single mom who obviously has her hands full and I don’t want to add to her burden. She seems like a nice lady but, my god, the mess. Ugh.

What should I do?


We’ve probably all been there, feeling sorry for a guest who was obviously struggling in some way. But the review is not counseling, social services, an intervention or compassion for the afflicted. The review is for the next host. You don’t want to host this guest, so why would we? If you’d like to help this single mom in some way, leave us out of it.

Also, many single moms with kids and dogs don’t leave messes, or so I’d assume. You’re making excuses for her and valid or not, the review isn’t the place to implement them. Also avoid trying to say things like “she’s nice but…” It’s not a personality rating either.


As a single mum I have stayed in lots of rented holiday accommodation and have never left them in a mess.

Please leave an honest review.


Why does it matter that she’s a single mom?

I don’t doubt that every one of your bad guests has had their own challenges and been in “situations”. Is it possible that you just happen to relate to this particular bad guest’s situation more than others? Does it make her any less of a bad guest? Nope (and it kind of makes her worse for setting such a bad example for her kids). It’s not relevant and, more importantly, it’s purely a coincidence. She’s a bad, inconsiderate, rude sloppy guest. And that has nothing to do with being a single mother.


Single - schmingle! A dirty, guest is a dirty guest. Don’t even mention her marital status. just unemotional details of the messes…


I was a single mom with 3 kids and I can assure you your guest’s behavior has nothing to do with that. Yes, it’s a lot of work to keep a house clean and reasonably tidy with a bunch of kids, but millions of parents manage to do so. Empathy has no place in this situation. She’s a disrespectful pig, raising more disrespectful pigs.

“While XX was pleasant and responsive in communication, the horror show of irretrievably damaged items, filth, and total disrespect for the property that greeted my cleaners and I upon check-out was shocking. It took 16 hours of cleaning to bring the place back to a rentable state, not to mention the expense of replacing all the destroyed and damaged items.”


I understand what you are all saying and I would not mention her marital status or personality or any other unnecessary comments in a review. I was hoping there was a way of wording the review to be respectful while also indicating that I would not recommend her. It’s frustrating that I can’t just say YES or NO would I host her again; Airbnb requires that I write something that the guest then sees. So yes, reviews are for future host’s benefit but they are also seen by the past guest, one of which called and threatened me in the past after I left him a bad review. So I’m super careful now about what I write. I know I need to leave a bad review because this guest has 18 prior 5-Star reviews! Past hosts rave about her! My place was trashed. Were they lying? Should I say ‘she was wonderful!’ and then respond NO to the ‘would I host her again’ question? She doesn’t see that part.

1 Like

Sorry but that’s a really pathetic excuse.

We’ve ALL had that. It means nothing. People hide behind computer screens.

So what?


Why on earth are you concerned about wanting to write a “respectful” review when this guest showed you total disrespect? Okay, so one past guest harrassed you over the honest review you left- you can’t let one bad experience guide your future behavior.

Has it occurred to you that she has 18 5 star reviews because other hosts also had her trash out their homes but felt sorry for her as you do and didn’t leave honest reviews? Or that she only stayed for a night or two so things didn’t have a chance to get that bad?

You don’t need to concern yourself with being the outlier review- your reviews of guests should be an honest expression of your experience with them. And why should you care if she can see the star rating or review you leave? Don’t you think she should be made aware that the way she treated and left your place was wholly unacceptable? Writing a non-commital “respectful” review would be a huge disservice to your fellow hosts.

Are you serious? “She was wonderful” is a total lie!


You had someone track down your phone number, call and threaten you on the phone? Wow, kind of glad to know I’m not the only one dealing with that.

1 Like

And a single mom with 3 kids who has 18 reviews sounds like she lives at Airbnbs. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she can’t find permanent housing because she was evicted for destroying other places she has lived and therefore has no decent references.

1 Like

Yes, thank you. I will use this language in the review.

I’ll also use some of this wording.
Thanks everyone!


Guests don’t need to track down a host’s phone number- it is given to them by Airbnb when their booking is confirmed.
I’ve never had a guest harrass me, but I’ve read plenty of posts over the years from hosts who have. One host said his guest called him dozens of times with ranting threats. These kinds of guests are obviously insane, but you can’t let them scare you into being afraid of it happening again and therefore not be honest in your reviews.


@anon20255013 One thing that may help a host who is loathe to have to mention negative things in a review is to eliminate the terms “good” and “bad” reviews from your mind and vocabulary. Reviews are intended to be “honest” and in fact, except in the case of extremely poor guests with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, you can usually find something positive to acknowledge about most guests, even if some or most of their behavior was objectionable and needs to be mentioned.
So the question should be not, “I need to write a bad review and want advice”, or “Should I leave bad review for this guest?” but “I had a guest who … and need to leave an honest review to warn other hosts- any advice on wording appreciated.”

Thinking “bad review” can make you feel like you’re being mean, or scared of what the guest’s reaction will be. Thinking “honest review” can help make you feel that you are doing the responsible thing.


Yep. Thanks for clearing up the language. Very helpful.

@anon20255013 I understand the hesitancy to leave an unfavorable review. And I have also had a guest blow up my phone and harass me so I understand that too :slightly_frowning_face:

Personally, I think it helps to just let it sit for a while and maybe make notes in the meantime if that makes sense to you, I don’t know, it works for me. On the rare occasion that I’ve needed to write an unfavorable review, I’ve found that it gets clearer and feels more reasonable with a little time. The sort of initial review I would’ve written if I had to do it that very same day might make me uncomfortable in a way that a review I’d write a few days later doesn’t.

It doesn’t become any less honest, but maybe more objective or something. And I think that a more objective review is ultimately more useful to other hosts and less antagonizing to guests and so easier to publish. Just as a brief example, perhaps “guest trashed my home” becomes “an unusual and extensive amount of extra cleaning was required after guest’s stay”.

And certainly, this guest doesn’t deserve this because she was so nasty but I’ve been tempted to just write “meh” for a guest now and then. It’s brief but clear :joy: One of my few IB cancelations was for a guest that had a review from a host that merely said, “No. Never again.” :rofl:


Why do you want to be respectful - in what way was the guest respectful to you or your property?

The point of leaving an honest review is to help warn other hosts considering this guest about how she left your property .

@muddy has left you a great example of the type of review you could leave

1 Like

A guest can only harass a host multiple times if the host doesn’t block the guest on Airbnb/your phone etc

I’ve never been harassed by a guest but if they attempted this I would just block them and report harassment to Airbnb.


Unfortunately, random number generator apps are too cheap and too easy now. Blocking doesn’t deter everyone.

I would be truthful and would write something like "Guest left the home untidy. There were muddy paw prints all over the furniture and floors and towels provided for doggie paws were not used. "

1 Like