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My first funny-guest experience


I had a young Russian couple staying two weeks at my place. Right from the beginning they seemed kind and uncomplicated. Communication was no problem, because I speak some Russian and their English was fair enough. All in all, they liked the place very much and had no extra requests besides what had already been provided for them. Since I live elsewhere I told them they can call me any time should they have any problems and would need some help or advice.
As a rule I check-in my guests personally, but ask them to check-out on their own by locking the front door and dropping the keys in the mailbox. So-far no other guests have had any problems in this respect.
Yesterday, my Russians were to check out and a night before they send me an SMS asking what do they do with the key. My reply was straightforward: Please lock the door and drop the keys into the mailbox.
Today I went to check the place and prepare it for my next guests, and what do I find? The key was in the mailbox all right, but when I unlocked the door, I could not get in because the safety chain was in place from inside, so the door could be only open for about 10 cm. My first thought was that my guests were still inside and locked themselves in with the safety chain in order not to be disturbed. But then, how could they possibly lock the door and drop the key in the mailbox in front of the door outside??? Trying to unstuck the safety chain through the 10 cm crack from outside turned out to be futile, because the whole point of a safety chain is in that it can only be removed when the door is closed… I was just about to call a serviceman to cut the chain when my husband suggested that we first check the terrace, in case they left the apartment from there. Now, the apartment is on the ground floor, but the terrace is about 1m above the ground and has more than 1 m of solid-wall fence around it, so who could be so stupid as to take the trouble to climb over this fence and jump 1 m down (and that with a luggage too) if they can walk comfortably through the front door??? But YES, this is exactly what they did. They locked the door, put the safety chain in place and “escaped” over the terrace fence, leaving the sliding terrace door half open so any passers by could get in if they pleased… Luckily my husband is skilled in mountain climbing so he got onto the terrace wall and into the apartment in no time, released the safety chain and opened the door. And now surprise, surprise: the apartment was nice and clean, no dirty dishes, no garbage or any other mess, beds made and towels in the laundry box. Obviously my guests are very nice and considerate people, so why would they play this trick with the door lock? Sure they did not do it on purpose to make my life difficult. I really wanted to find out their reason for doing this nonsense, so I sent them an SMS to their mobile, politely asking them for explanation, but obviously their phone is no longer active after they left the country, so the mystery remains unexplained. It would be a whole lot easier for me to write a review of these guests if I knew WHY they did what they did. As I have already said, they were kind and friendly, they left the apartment neat and clean, so I do not want to nail them down with a devastating report, but on the other hand I cannot just ignore what happened. Leaving the terrace door open ajar for anyone to enter is a bit reckless, isn’t it.
I would greatly appreciate any hint how to write this review.


Message them on Airbnb and ask why. Don’t write the review until you hear back from them unless the 2 weeks is almost up.


What utter weirdos! Imagine you were a lone host with mobility issues. What else might they do? Briefly describe what they did and leave it stark. Thumbs down.


Why would you write a devastating review of them?

Surely they were quite concerned about your laissez faire attitude regarding the safety of your apartment and figured anybody can just fish the keys from the mailbox and walk in.
So they went the extra length with the safety lock and out the back; cut them some slack for good intentions which turned out not quite as expected.


I read the original post a couple of hours ago and couldn’t decide whether this was a joke or not. It was this part:

So any passers by could have got in, but it needed a skilled-in-mountain-climbing husband to get into the apartment.

If the post is genuine, then I’m really sorry but I had an instant mental image of a fully-equipped mountain climber in full regalia complete with crampons and all that malarkey scaling a one metre wall. Sorry but it made me chuckle :slight_smile:

But if it’s true, it seems a lot of fuss about nothing. They were good guests and their assumed unusual departure method isn’t likely to affect other hosts.


I am leaning towards the idea that they were trying to leave your place in as safe of a condition that they could and this, admittedly quirky way, was what they came up with. If so, it is sweet that they cared to try to help and I would give them a good review. If not, then they certainly were an interesting story for you, and still would get a good review.

Not sure how your mailbox set up works (lockable or not?) but maybe a key lock box would help ease the mind of security conscious future guests? I would be uncomfortable leaving keys bc I would worry that I could be held responsible for damage if someone came in after I left. I wouldn’t want to leave the keys unsecured.


@Caelleai, I am with you. I think they took the instructions to lock the front door as literal - when they went in for the night, locking = lock and chain. You asked them to lock when they leave, so they did so with lock and chain. Not understanding that you only chain when you are IN the unit. As to why they left the other door open? They knew you couldn’t get in the front door - they wanted to make sure you knew you could get in the back way. I would just consider this a total misunderstanding of locking the front door.

If you mention any of the door locks in your review, you might be telling other guests (or anyone in your neighborhood) about the existence of the back door that could be accidentally left unlocked.


I think its cultural, they didn’t understand …I would still write a good review…i’m sure they were also very confused by it all )…and probably telling all their friends how strange it was and u made them climb the fence out )


Classic arrogance from guests who think they know better in someone elses property with instructions to the contrary.


Just to make it clear: Boone can fish the keys or anything out of the mailbox - it is made of strong metal and protected with a lock. You can throw things in, but you can only take them out if you unlock the mailbox door. The slot on the top is designed so as to prevent any such attempt all my guests so far had no problem with that.


Adorable! I would like to know how they did it!

Yes, it’s. PITA. Personally I would look at intent. They sound lovely. And if you were there, ikt would not have happened. I would chalk it up to experience. But there’s plenty of chalk on my blackboard!


Thanks for your suggestion. I indeed followed your advice and contacted my guests via AirBnB chat. I described the situation and asked them what exactly happened at their check-out. They responded within an hour and were truly surprised and concerned when they read my report. They claimed they followed my instructions to the letter, checked-out real early (at 6 a.m.), locked the door and threw the keys into the mailbox. No way would they lock the door with the safety chain from inside and leave over the terrace fence. And of course, I had no reason not to believe them. The only explanation therefore was that someone broke in through the terrace door after they left, and locked the door with the chain not to be disturbed by an unexpected return of the occupants… Luckily there were no valuables in the apartment so nothing got stolen - apparently they were after money or jewelry and as they found none, they left as they came - over the terrace wall… After a thorough check, we indeed found traces of forced entry on the terrace sliding door but fortunately the damage was not severe and the door could still be properly closed from inside.
Epilogue: I wrote a nice review for my guests (and they did likewise). And the very next day I bought a window&door monitor and a safety key box through the Internet, which should arrive any day now.


Thanks for coming back with the follow up information. I’m so glad you contacted them and found out what happened. So often we think the guests have done something off and all we need to do is actually ask them. So many hosts seem to live in fear of their guests. It almost sounds like someone has their eye on your rental. Maybe some security cams outside the doors would be a good investment.


Yes, you are right. I have already ordered a security camera and a window/door alert device (wireless, WiFi), which are expected to arrive any day now. I also ordered a key-store safe box where my guest can get and leave the keys - certainly safer than the ordinary mailbox.

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