Missing house key, but can't prove that my guest took it?

Hi Guys,
I’m new to AirBnb and decided to rent out one of the rooms in my house as I have 3 spares. I was very lucky to have an amazing first guest. All went well and when I got my second request I quickly accepted. This one wasn’t so good. He is a young guy, about 20 or so, and a really nice friendly person. He asked me early on if his girlfriend could stay a few nights with us, which I agreed to since he seemed pretty good. He is from a different state and she is local - I should have cottoned on that it was a bit unusual that he wasn’t staying with her. It turns out that she is a high school student, i’m not sure how old but maybe 16 or 17, which I wasn’t really prepared for. I’m not sure what I did to her, but she would run and hide (like heels in the air flee!) whenever I caught sight of her around the house and said hello. Its really off-putting to have someone in your home who runs from you! I just let it go, but at night, around 2am she would go crazy, yelling and running around slamming doors and thumping things. She sounded hysterical! She did this for 3 nights and after getting just 3 hours of sleep and then having to go to work I was fed up. I asked my guest not to let her stay with us anymore. He was very apologetic and I felt pretty bad for him…

I had given him a house key to use while he was staying with us. Our front door doesnt have a little switch to lock it from the inside, so I keep another spare key in the lock so that I am able to lock it at night. I noticed one night during this guests stay that the normal key wasn’t there, but in it’s place was a different key for one of the back doors which I had been keeping on a key ring on the kitchen bench. It looks like someone has taken the working key, removed the other key from its key-ring and put it in the lock instead. I have asked my guest about it, thinking he gave one to his girlfriend, but he swears that he has no idea about they key and neither does his girlfriend. My partner and I didn’t do it, we know our house and which keys go where. It couldn’t be anyone other than my guest, but I don’t feel comfortable accusing him of doing this since I have no evidence and he seems so sure that he doesn’t know what is going on…

I’m really concerned about this as his girlfriend is a local and lives nearby. She knows that I am away at work all day and if she does have a key then she could potentially come by any time…Also, I imagine that i’ve upset her by kicking her out! I’ll have to change the lock but i’m not sure I can charge my guest because I can’t prove that he took the key. He still has the one that I gave him. I don’t think I can go around accusing people of stealing with nothing to prove it was them… Any ideas on what I should do? Am I just going to have to foot the bill?

I would change locks asap


I have a sliding bolt on the inside of the door as well as a lock, so I have been using that while I am there. Not much good while I am away though so i’ll try to get it sorted this weekend. Its just so annoying. All of the money I made putting up these people will be used up on changing the locks. It’s so pointless having them stay and i’m starting to think Airbnb isn’t worth the risks…

Sigh…this is why you must never ever allow your guests to bring over persons unknown to you. Change the locks. The peace of mind is well worth it.


Does Airbnb insurance cover this? Or is this my fault for being a push over :sweat:

They might but you need to make a claim within 48 hours of checkout. Be sure to have receipts of how much it would cost to change locks. Yes your guest is culpable if they didn’t return the keys.

Lesson: don’t let guests push you around. He was in the wrong to bring the crazy girlfriend over. Don’t allow strangers not in the party you rented to to come on the property. Your house, your rules,

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Ok, he checks out on Tuesday, so I still have a couple of days with him. I’m hoping the key will mysteriously reappear… The problem is he will return the key that I gave him. It’s the spare that was missing, the one that I didn’t give to anyone.

If another key is missing from the ring you can innocently ask him. Possibly he gave it out and didn’t remember to return it? Oy, this is why you don’t let guests bring gusts! Lesson learned.

I’ve tried that - I havent accused him yet, just kind of hinted that i’m worried that it has disappeared and if he or his girlfriend had seen it or if they had had any friends over that might have seen it. His response is

I only have the key that you gave me when I first arrived. I asked her and she honestly has no clue, and I agree entirely it is extremely worrying. I agree and no I actually don’t know literally anyone else who’s from Victoria apart from camille, and I can see why it would be scary I’m quite concerned myself, I honestly wish I had some semblance of a clue as to where it would be but sadly I do not

I can’t accuse him based on that…

No and can t get money from him as you didn t gave him the extra key…

Youtube have to makellos a Check in List Witten Keyboard. And letzten the guest sign

Welcome to the forum. You will learn quickly that if you come here first for advice many problems can be avoided. Everyone here would have told you, no girlfriend. And if he’s 20 and she’s 16 it’s quite possible that they are in violation of the law. Here in TX that would be the case. In fact in TX there is an “obligation to report” if you think a child is in a relationship with an older person. If I were you I’d get them both out ASAP.

If you want to save some money on changing the lock you can remove the lock yourself and take it to the key shop and they can re-key it there. Probably $15 vs the $75 house call. Or you might consider installing a digital lock with codes you can change. Finally, I’m a big fan of ABB hosts have a security camera or two or at least a Ring doorbell type thing. If you disclose it I think it helps to discourage guests who are going to be doing something they shouldn’t from choosing your place. I don’t think ABB is going to pay for your lock and if the key reappears I would still change it out.


If the guest was in his 20s and his girlfriend was 16 or 17, he could have been committing statutory rape which is illegal. Additionally, if you permit illegal activity on your property you could be subject to asset seizure.

If I were you, I would ask Airbnb to cancel the rest of this guest’s stay and change the locks immediately.


Thanks for your response. I’m in Australia, 16 is the legal age of consent here so the relationship is ok. Though I did struggle with the idea that her mum would drop her off at a strangers house to stay the night with her new internet boyfriend…

I don’t think my guest will be back now that I have kicked out his girlfriend. They don’t like to be apart and her mum lets him stay at her house. I haven’t cancelled his stay, he only has 2 days left.

Yes, I think this might be a good opportunity to look into a digital lock.I have been reading about the ones that let you use your phone for entry, guests can download an app onto their phone then they are granted access for the amount of time that they are staying.

No, it’s not statutory rape. Their relationship is fine. It’s the stolen key i’m worried about.

I’m in the UK and 16 is legal here (& in New Zealand where I’ am from too) - just FYI to add to this. Does it differ between each American state as well?!

Oh yes. Here’s the list. http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/age-of-consent-by-state.html

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oh wow what an eye opener. I had no idea… and the Acceptable Differences Between Ages list?! wow.

Utah 18 & 10years different?! wow. When I was 18 I had no idea where the 28 year olds were hanging out.

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Yes, but how do you know how old she is? These issues have been discussed here. There are variations of opinion about this, but most people lean towards not allowing Airbnb to bring in people who are not part of their registered party - the registered party means the people who are officially staying here. And for those people (in the registered party), imo, always get id.

And if you allow in extra people, ask for their id. And under no circumstances allow an unregistered person to sleep over. That last is, again, just in my opinion.

Disclaimer: I’m a novice here, but I’ve learnt a lot from this forum…

They’re a good idea, though the good quality ones are expensive. I spent some time looking into them. But they have to work with (as in fit without major surgery) your door. That was the show-stopper for me.

Another option is a box that opens with a code that mounts on the outside of your house. Inside the lock box is the house key. I used this one. https://smile.amazon.com/Kidde-AccessPoint-001413-Combination-Permanent/dp/B000GTQU22/ref=sr_1_13?