Missing keys - suggestions please!

I’ve been hosting for over 5 years and have never had this problem before.

My last guest checked out while I was away. I usually ask guests to lock the front door after them and put the keys through the letterbox (i.e. mail slot) at the botton of the front door.

The guest says that she locked up and put the keys through the slot. However, the keys are nowhere to be found.

That can only mean that
a. She’s lying
b. Someone fished the keys out and stole them

Only the people living on this floor of my apartment block have access to this floor - plus the postman.

I’ve changed the locks now.
However, if one of my neighbours did fish out the keys off the floor - how can I prevent this from happening again?

I hope I’ve explained this in way that makes sense!

Thank you!

I recommend a digital lock for your apartment door—no keys involved.


As @RebeccaF suggested, the two (easiest) ways to be sure about guests leaving keys are; a secure digital lock (so no keys), or, a camera facing the front door to see if the guest truly sent the keys through the slot, and to monitor if there is any “fishing” of keys happening.

Since you cannot definitively prove she didn’t take them with her, you’ll just need to prevent this kind of situation from happening in the future!


Use a proper lock, a lock box or, ideally, a co-host. You really can’t expect guests to do exactly what you want if you don’t set up a system, right?


Might be worth it to confirm with guest exactly what “slot” they put the keys in. Maybe if you’re lucky one of your neighbors got them by accident and you can get them back. We’ve had tales here before of guests dropping keys in the wrong slot or mailbox.


What do you mean by a “proper lock”?

A lock box makes sense.

I have a flatmate, but neither of us were around when the guest left.

None of our other guests (over 150 at this apartment) have had a problem putting keys through the letterbox. It was our system and has worked fine until now.

Thank you. That is a useful suggestion.

Thank you - useful suggestions.

I mean a ‘guest-proof lock’.

There is literally no other slot she could have put it in. And I have messaged with her and she insists (and I have no reason to doubt) that she put the keys through the slot.

Her review was 5 stars and very flattering.

I think it was either one of the neighbours (maybe they were after a fob which is expensive and a pain to acquire, rather than the keys to my flat). Or else she absent-mindedly put the keys in her bag as she was rushing to the airport and didn’t like to admit it.

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What is a “guest-proof” lock?

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When you’re in the hospitality business, you need to 'guest-proof ’ your rental.

Imagine every scenario where guests will not be able to act as you would wish them to. Guests will lose keys.

Provide a system that guests will be able to use easily.

I have been hosting on Airbnb for 5 years and have been a superhost since I was first eligible.

Every other guest has been able to manage my system (locking the door and putting the keys through the slot).

I do not believe the guest made a mistake and misunderstood the sytem. I think a neighbour may have fished the keys out from the slot.

I was asking how I could prevent this - is there some sort of “letterbox restrictor” that I could use?

Is it all about you? Sorry I didn’t realize.

How about concrete suggestions rather than airy-fairy generic ones like “guest-proof your home”?

I am after practical concrete suggestions, and I suspect other hosts are too.

Humans ::100:

Gosh… just how many “concrete” answers were you expecting to a very simple problem of lost keys? It happens. People make mistakes. Maybe she was running late for her flight or something like that. For you to come here for advice and then critize the good advice is wrong!



Sorry, couldn’t resist.



Please read the thread properly. I wasn’t criticizing the guest. I was criticizing jaquo’s response.
I don’t understand the point of jaquo’s answer . And who are you MtnGal to decide what is right or wrong? Especially based on a half-reading of the thread?

To sum up:
Keys disappeared. Guest says she posted them. This means that one of my neighbours actually got some sort of implement and fished out my keys from off the doormat inside my house.
I merely asked if people had suggestions to stop that happening again.

Perhaps, but the MUCH more likely explanation is that guest lied or is mistaken. Think about it: unless your neighbor actually observed the guest dropping the keys through the mail slot, why would they think there were keys on the other side of the door that could be retrieved? Also, most people would not want to be observed/caught in the act of fishing out said keys (nor would they happen to have a device that would allow them to do so on their person).

Occam’s Razor - when presented with competing hypotheses that make the same predictions, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.


Hi Mar - they have gps key trackers you can add to the fob. They are small. They are fairly inexpensive and usually come in multi packs. Amazon has them or google key tracker gps. At least you will have an idea of where the keys are and since this rarely happens it may be a good investment. I would let the guests know you have the tracker on it as back up if they miss place them. Cheers