Live in host noise complaint from guest

Hi all. I am a live in host. I own a three bedroom terraced house in a popular city. My airbnb tends to be very busy & I enjoy hosting. While my rooms are stiylish & comfortable they tend to he referred to as budget friendly in my reviews which I have no issue. I had two bookings recently. A young couple in my double room & a single older lady in the single room. I woke up this morning to a notification from airbnb that a guest (the older lady) had cancelled their booking, she had booked for 4 nights. I also received a message from her telling me she wouldn’t be staying as she there was a lot of activity in the early hours throughout the house, that she could not sleep, heard intimate sounds & it made her deeply uncomfortable. I was a little surprised. Admittedly, I am used to guests coming in late, using the bathroom etc, but I wasn’t disruptied by any noise. I did hear the young couple come in after 1am. As for intimate sounds, I feel as a host, guests pay to stay & use the rooms. In my opinion, whatever they get up to in the room is entirely they’re business. I feel that her reaction was dramatic, but maybe I am being too laid back. I eventually replied to the guest that cancelled apologising but also stating that this is a lived in house with other guests, not a private apartment or hotel, that she paid accordingly. While most guests are considerate of others in the house, not all are but I have no control over that. That I never get noise complaints from guests, this one evening was a anomaly. I wished her all the best & that was that. I’m interested to hear other hosts opinions/experiences with this type of issue. I’m a little worried now that she will leave an unfair review. All replies appreciated,
Kat

Actually you do have control over that. I would impress on all guests that as it is a shared home, that they need to be mindful of not disturbing others. You might also institute “quiet hours”.

Of course couples are likely going to engage in sex, but if they are going to be noisy about it, they shouldn’t be booking a room in a shared home. Just as someone who is going to be fussed about hearing normal everyday sounds of other people living their lives should not book a shared home.

The way you responded to the guest who was disturbed sounds fine. If she writes a review stating she was disturbed by other guests during normal sleeping hours, that’s her experience, and I wouldn’t see it as"unfair". Of course, if she gives you low ratings, that would be distressing.

6 Likes

I agree with @muddy that you do have control over the noise.

As starters you can set ‘quiet hours’ in your listing (see below) AND state the hours and the rule both in the listing and in your messaging: 1) in your confirmation message and 2) in your pre-check-in message, along with other salient rules (like # of guests, check-in and check-out times, whether smoking is allowed (inside and/or outside), whether animals or pets are permitted, etc.).

Perhaps this summary might include a statement like the following: “. . . given that other guests are sharing this space, note quiet hours of [fill in the blanks] and please be especially considerate during these hours.”

I also agree that an unfavorable review would not be unfair as she did have an unfavorable experience, so much so that she felt the need to cancel.

I don’t know whether you have quiet hours listed in your listing and whether that is well communicated to guests. If not, you bear some responsibility. If you do communicate well on this, her experience was nevertheless poor and she was inconvenienced. And you’re still responsible.

You might also need to consider whether the construction of your home is such that noise easily travels, or whether the placement of beds could be changed to avoid some noise (e.g, are beds of each bedroom on the same wall?).

This language would encourage me to leave a review that warned future guests that not only was the stay so noisy that I chose to suffer the inconvenience of canceling and finding another place but also that the Host made the excuse that it was “not a private apartment or hotel” and that I had “paid accordingly.”

Your answer in my opinion purported to give with the right hand (“apologizing”) and then ("but also . . . paid accordingly), took what little you gave away with the left hand: what some call a non-apology apology. If I were a guest I would be sure to write so that you ‘get it’ – i.e., your responsibility as Host.

EXACTLY!

At the risk of sharing TMI, if I was planing a romantic weekend with my wife (or – in earlier times – my girlfriend) I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever ever book in a shared house. If the weekend isn’t celibate, it’s automatically embarrassing for me, embarrassing for others and just plain rude.

4 Likes

I have a shared home listing and get lots of couples. I have quiet hours - pool is closed after 9pm. quiet hours (music and TV to be turned down and many folks travel with headphones) are from 10pm to 7am.

While I suspect some of my guests have had intimate relations (oy), I don’t hear it at the other end of the house. If I rented my office, which is a Jack and Jill setup on the other side of the house, that guest or guests might hear the folks in the bedroom on the other side of the bathroom.

I’d amend HR for quiet hours and make sure all guests could come to me first if the other guest(s) are getting busy and making too much noise. Or just not rent the second smaller room and raise the price of the bigger room.

If she gives you a long review, make yours short and sweet “This is a room in a shared home with other guests. We do have quiet hours and ask all guests to respect that. We ask all guests to contact us immediately if there is an issue.”

2 Likes

I hear two separate complaints here – each of which is understandable if the guest is used to total quiet at nights at home and at other shared-home Airbnbs.

  • She may be accustomed silent nights, both at home and on the road: some shared-home airbnbs are constructed and configured in a way that the guest rooms do not hear a thing when others wander around the house late at night, and experience (and good luck) at other Airbnb’s may have taught her to expect that all shared Airbnb houses offer that kind of peace and quiet, and was surprised that yours wasn’t.
  • She may not be used to being within earshot of “intimate sounds,” and has made deliberate home- selection choices to make sure that things stay that way. Perhaps she was surprised that – as a host – you chose to rent out rooms that were within earshot of each other at 2am… because when you do that, and you rent to couples, then these moments are inevitable sooner or later. I would go so far to say that the inevitability of guests being uncomfortable in this way is built into your business model, and you shouldn’t be surprised (or throwing up your arms) when it happens.
1 Like

Thank you for the reply. I do have it noted on my house rules that its a shared space, to keep the noise down after 9pm & please wear earphones. Perhaps I do need to set actual quiet hours. Thanks again.

1 Like

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

1 Like

Or rent both rooms only to solo guests.

2 Likes

We don’t know that this Host does have quiet hours and, if so, whether they’re well communicated.

We don’t know that either.

The OP hasn’t made either statement.

The OP has also not made this statement. Should the guest have contacted the OP at or after the 1 am timeframe when the couple came in? If so, how? Knocking on the door? How was the guest to know this?

In fact, this Host feels:

and

This Host is just worried about its review:


In my opinion it’s not our role to coach this Host on how to wordsmith a response to a possible adverse review by making up things.

Instead, we should be coaching this Host on its responsibilities here and what could be done, just for starters, to provide the fundamental Host responsibility of providing ‘peace and quiet’ for its guests.

… an “unfavorable experience” (at least with respect to uncomfortable intimate sound) that was directly the result of host’s decision to rent out two unlinked guest rooms that were within earshot of each other, and do so without investing in soundproofing.

1 Like

I fully agree with you. If she stayed in a property where there are other guests, she shouldn’t be surprised that occasionally other guests will create noise.

I wonder if she’s ever stayed in a hotel???

Make sure that it’s clear in your listing that there are other guests on the premises.

Although my rentals are separate apartments, they are in a small complex that has some permanent residents so I always tell my guests to be considerate to others, especially regarding noise.

I explain that most of my neighbours in surrounding apartments get up early to go to ‘normal’ 9 - 5 jobs so I (and they) appreciate it if guests keep the noise down between 10 pm and 8 am.

In many years, I only once had a problem with guests making a noise in the early hours.

2 Likes

… with strict house rules against self pleasure?

1 Like

It was more than that:

As usual, it would be helpful to see the actual words of the message that was left.

Regardless we can’t know whether this guest was uncomfortable hearing any intimate sounds or whether it was like Meg Ryan in “When Harry Met Sally”.

I’ve stayed in hotels where you can’t hear a thing from other rooms and I’ve stayed in hotels with paper-thin walls. The paper-thin wall hotels fail their guests.

2 Likes

This goes without saying.

But a quick look for hair on the palms of the guest’s hands will be the giveaway.

:sweat_smile:

:rofl: I did have one guest who was rather loud about that. But as I only have one guest room, there were no other guests to disturb.

Is “hairy hands” a protected class under civil rights law?

So what none of us know – and neither does the Host – is whether this guest is being reasonable or unreasonable. Or maybe ‘reasonable’ isn’t the measure. Maybe it’s whether this guest is unusually sensitive. We just don’t know. Nor does the Host.

Some Hosts might think “Well, I’ve had ‘x’ number of stays and no one has complained before. So it’s really the guest’s problem, not mine.”

Maybe.

But not everyone with a justifiable complaint complains. Or maybe some don’t complain because the stay is ‘budget friendly’.

So, it seems reasonable for this Host to take the complaint and cancellation seriously.

I’ve been suggesting ways to start helping guests focus on quiet hours and consideration of other guests in the shared space.

Other possibilities mentioned by folks here include the arrangement of furniture, renting just to solo travelers, renting just the bigger bedroom, and also well communicating that as a shared space some noise even in quiet hours is unavoidable.


This is the journey of the conscientious Host: to really hear the comments of its guests, truly value their feedback, evaluate what if any steps should be taken to address that input, and re-evaluate from time to time.

This forum can be a useful sounding board. Even the range of our opinions – and we have no dog in this hunt (other than wanting Hosts to live up to their responsibilities) – gives the Host valuable feedback that even reasonable people can disagree, sometimes passionately.

And the Host takes it from there, to decide what actions might make sense to this Host right now.

4 Likes

Should be!!!

2020202020