So I’ve just had a 2-1/2 month booking request from a guest with no profile, no reviews. Retired couple from the prairies wanting a West Coast winter escape. In my experience such folks are hard on my utilities and over long term are more likely to damage stuff. I don’t have a damage deposit on my rentals, hoping/ assuming the host guarantee would cover big ticket items. Cleaning fee would be paltry for this length of stay, so will negotiate further cleaning costs. Leery but I need the $$. Any advice about terms when accepting?
I would never accept a 2.5 month booking, esp not from unreviewed newbies – just opens up so many potential problems. Worst case scenario they end up squatters. Or less dramatic, they are just unpleasant or high maintenance, and you can’t get rid of them for half the season. Most long-term people want a substantial discount so you are likely to make less money but have people around a lot more than if you rented to 5 different parties a month.
If you still want to entertain the idea, I would find out what their plans are for the winter. Do they plan on sightseeing and traveling and need a homebase? (that would be great!) Do they have family or friends in the area? (That would also mean less time at your unit) What kinds of activities are they interested in doing in the area? (If they don’t have any, they’ll be home all the time). Have they done this before – stayed at vacation units all winter? What do they think makes for the most successful visit? Have they had any bad experiences and what do they think were the factors that made it not work?
I think it’s totally fine to have an extensive back and forth as 2.5 months is quite a commitment for both of you.
Thanks for your thoughts on this.
They didn’t actually ask for any discounts, and provided additional information about themselves - retired doctors with a son not far away, wanting to escape a prairie winter. They have friends in the area and seem to be fit and active (only in their sixties). My guess is they’re trying out the climate with thoughts of moving out here. I’ve had a couple of snowbirds stay here and for me the worst case scenario is that they are ill or sedentary, so sit inside all day with the heat cranked up.
Airbnb’s new long term stay cancellation policy seems to cover contingencies well: they are charged monthly and can bail at any time, but I will get paid for the 30 days following the cancellation.
So, crossing fingers, have accepted the booking.
We’ve had quite a few long term guests stay with us and they’ve all been great guests. I would definitely find out whether long term guests are a match to your expectations before accepting. For example, some long term guests will be at home all the time and if that bothers you, then it’s probably best not to accept. Ideally you’d want someone with previous reviews but if you really need guests then what you’ve done by finding out more info about them is the right way to go about it. Hope your guests are great!
I have had long term guests of up to three months – student interns, researchers, or families – and all were new on Airbnb. I asked for references in the cases of the students and researchers and verified who the families were visiting.
The rooms I rent are in the home where I live, not a separate back house or cottage, so it is important to me that the guest and I are compatible.
You can also get your real email through the Airbnb system by spelling it out or your phone number by spelling it out. Then you can actually talk or Skype with the guest … I have talked to guests in advance this way and it does help for those long staying guests… good luck
Thanks Cyn - I’ve been impossibly lucky with almost all my Airbnb guests, short and long stay, so am hoping for the best with these folks too. They’ll fill a necessary gap in the winter months which is the main concern at this point.
I think chicagohost is right on about what questions to ask them, if they haven’t arrived yet and you are still worried. Greed impels us to take chances that leave us worrying and regretting our decision later. If you’re worried you’ll end up being a caretaker and housemaid you might want to make sure your listing states your house rules and forward the guests a copy of how laundry will be done, what cleaning will be done, your expectations of guest behavior, etc. Remind them, if you are worried, that your home is not a hotel with accompanying services (unless you have listed it as such!).
I’m actually not worried about those things, thanks. My suite is completely self-contained, with its own laundry, vacuum cleaner and floor mop. I’ve advised them that the cleaning is a one-time fee for the changeover, and offered them options for handling cleaning themselves or via a paid cleaner. My house rules are clear on other matters I think (this is my fourth year with Airbnb, and I have been blessed with 99.8% cooperative, friendly and lovely guests)
Be really really careful! Any stay over 30 days makes them a month to month tenant, subject to all the protections of regular tenancy! Remember that case in Palm Springs? The guests knew this and squatted, and the hosts were stuck with squatters on their property and had to take them to court to get them out. I would never take a stay that long. My stays are no longer than 29 days.
Rhonda, I should add, this 30-day and over idea is for the States. When you say prairies it makes me think you may be in Canada?
I am indeed in Canada and haven’t heard of the Palm Springs case… I’ve had a number of long term renters through Airbnb, so far with no difficulties, all very nice people. Good point though, in some cases I’ve had them fill in a tenancy agreement which would probably be a good policy. Though the terms are pretty clear in the Airbnb rental agreement.
–Rhona, with no “d”