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Locals wanting to rent

Hi, I am a fairly new host (only rented twice) and have a question. I am getting mostly requests to rent from very young locals who express that they are “down on their luck” who ask to stay weeks or months at a severe discount. I have declined them all and am wondering if there is something I am doing that is attracting this type of guest. I do not mind longer stays but I do not really want to rent to locals. I am afraid they are having “bad luck” for a good reason and are looking to rent from someone who will not research them. AB&B sure does not give you much info on potential guests and these people have only set up their accounts this month and have only 1 or 2 verifications. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Oh dear, those are definitely not the guests you want. I would say raise your price and not offer automatic discounts. If you are already priced right and don’t offer discounts, maybe it’s the part of town where you are located?

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Can you link to your listing? I’ll look it over to see.

I have people leaving today who stayed in my apartment for a little over 2 weeks who just moved to the area and their house closing got pushed back 2 weeks. I have a family coming next week who are selling their house and have a week left at their job here before they move out of state. I had another family inquire about staying for a MONTH (thankfully that fell through) who were waiting on military family housing.

All of these situations are families, homeowners, relocations. Totally cool in my book. I’d consider a renter between as long as they were respectful, willing to pay my rates without negotiation, and had a set time period. In my case I’m offering a fully furnished and stocked apartment for $55/night, if you get the weekly discount and stay the almost month I offer, it’s just over $1000. I think about it and realize it’s a steal, all you have to bring is clothes and buy your own food.

Anyone who doesn’t respect that is not going to respect your place. There’s a difference of being between situations due to uncontrollable circumstances (closing dates, relocation), and being a crappy renter with “bad luck” who is looking to squat in a nice place and take advantage.

One of the rules I have set for myself is to deny requests from anyone complaining about the price, or asking for a discount. You can’t walk into a hotel and ask for a discount so its an immediate red flag for me. Anyone telling you that they are down on their luck are worth avoiding at all costs.

I have also had several requests from people wanting to “help on the farm” and rent from me because there is ZERO houses for rent in my town and there are zero apartments also. I deny them of course. In my situation, I have zoning approval to do B&B type renting, not long term. If you try to help people out who are down on their luck, chances are you will end up stuck with them and have to evict.

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Since I am new, I do have my rates a little lower than places around me, as I am hoping to get more guests…but not by much. We are on 6 acres in the country, so not really in town at all, but a very good neighborhood area. I offer the “suggested” discounts, but these people offer 1/3 of that. I hate to keep declining guests, because I have heard that causes problems. When they request 2 weeks and the total comes up to over $600 and they offer $200, I am wondering what would happen if I just accept the AB&B booking (even though they offered less in the text). This would not actually be a “decline”, right? They would actually have to pay the $600 if they wanted to stay, and they probably would not do that.

It depends on whether you are getting Booking Requests or Inquiries. Since they are asking for discounts it sounds like Inquiries, which you can turn down with no consequences. As long as you send them a reply using the Airbnb system it counts on your Response Rate - you don’t even have to use Accept or Decline, just write a note.

A Booking Request means that the guest has already committed the money which is why you have to use Accept or Decline. But if they’ve already committed the money then it means they HAVE the money so I wouldn’t give a discount.

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Do not, I repeat do not rent to locals for long stays, they will become squatters. I looked at your listing and I’m trying not to judge here, well not too much but it is a trailer! That might attract this kind of guest. I didn’t check your maximum stay but I would limit it to two weeks for now which will prevent your showing up in any searches for longer stays. This might eliminate these inquiries. Nice rental though, looks very cozy.

Also since you are a new host they think you won’t know any better!

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Your place is similar to mine except yours is a RV and mine is a “mother-in-law” apartment. I would decrease your discount to just a weekly discount of max 10% and make your maximum stay only 2-3 weeks. That would deter squatters. Offering a full place with a kitchen is just going to attract this type, but if you take away the long term discount and don’t allow stays past 2-3 weeks then that should cut down on people looking to stay long-term due to “bad luck”

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2 have been requests to book, but within the verbiage they are asking for discounts or one actually asked to put up 2 tents for family members. But, yes, they had been assigned my $$$ rate. I guess I can accept, but put the caveats in the reply that they are not getting a discount.

If they’re wanting to put up tents, not only would I not give a discount but I would be adding surcharges. They’ll be smashing your grass, taking showers, using electricity, making noise, etc. Send a special offer with an additional $10/tent/night.

I think the low price is attracting them, and any weekly or monthly discounts.

If you are new and trying to get reviews, l would recommend limiting your stay to a week max, no discounts. I made the mistake of accepting a 3 week stay for my first guests, who were moving here, and they were awful. With the AirBnB recommended weekly discount, renting from me ended up being cheaper than renting an equivalent space in the open rental market. All while providing furnishings, snacks, cleaning, etc., things I wouldn’t provide tenants, who would be paying more. Now I make sure I am charging a LOT more than I could make from a tenant.

I used to rent rooms in my house for below market rate to down and out acquaintances, and they were awful roommates! They did always pay, but wanted me to be their mommy and maid.

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Thanks, Sarah. I will adjust my listing to 2 weeks max and see if that works!

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I second and third all the people saying reduce your max stay and remove any discounts. If you get an inquiry that you like and want to extend the availability or give a discount you can send a special offer. More frequent, shorter stays will get you more reviews quicker. I also agree not to fall for the down on their luck types. I have a lot of compassion for people who have fallen on hard times but I’m not doing ABB to be a social service agency. If I wanted to do that I’d take in Syrian refugees. Finally let me say welcome to the forum fellow Texan (I’m in El Paso) and I’m so glad you found us first so we could help you avoid problems. So many people come here after the bad thing has happened.

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I was not interested in having tents at all because there would have been about 8 people here (WAY too many) using one restroom and kitchen inside the RV. That was totally out of the question, so I told her it was not a tenting venue. But I did have to decline that request for booking also. Weird requests.

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Here here! I totally felt like I was running a social service when I had roommates. Some were great roommates (usually the women from Craigslist) but the down-on-their-luck types were men in their 20s and 30s that my husband met through the Occupy movement or similar activism. Of course he didn’t have to play mommy to them! I eventually realizes if men in their late 30s were still living with roommates in shaded housing, they probably had some issues that also made them unpleasant roommates.

Pardon my rant getting off topic, I’m still bitter! I have a lot of compassion as well, but have resented when that compassion has been turned into me supporting moochers.

I’m sure Syrian refugees would be much better housemates than bachelors!

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Thanks for the welcome K9KarmaCasa. I appreciate all the good info from everyone. I hope to not make too big of a blunder here before I get my “host” legs under me. This forum is a big help

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I also feel that way. If they request to book, they see the price there and should be prepared to pay it. What happens to them if I accept it even though they are asking for a discount in the message. Do they just have to cancel if they do not want to pay that rate? Just wondering how to do this so that I don’t get the “ding” for declining.

We travel in our RV often and really enjoy it (instead of a hotel room) and that is why we thought it would be a great “guest house” to rent out here. Maybe that would attract the wrong customer for a longer stay, but lots of people love RVs for a short stay. I made the maximum stay for 15 days now as that seems to be a good suggestion.

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One more thought, as another Texan (Houston area). I would stress that your listing is for vacationers - you did well with mentioning spots in San Marcos - but drive it home with a short paragraph like “our RV is the perfect spot for vacationers and travelers who want to stay off the beaten path in a camping environment with all the luxuries of indoor living.” There are lots of people in Texas who live full-time in RVs and would see your listing as a cheaper and more private alternative to buying their own RV and having it in a park.

And maybe you should change your listing to RV instead of home. Reading the description didn’t clue me in and so the pictures were a surprise. It might attract the right kind of travelers.

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