Nabbing Sneaky Extra Guests + How to Review?

So I had a new situation this past weekend.

Short(ish) version. I charge $15 pp for more than 2 guests with a 4 person absolute maximum. To discourage more than 4, I have a house rule of no overnight guests who aren’t on the original reservation and if there are more than 4 I will charge $200 per person per night (Yes I know that is extremely high but that is the point. It’s more a penalty than a charge) This is in my house rules which I email to the guests prior to their arrival and in the house manual.

So I have a guest book for 4 ppl on a one night stay. I met 2 ppl at check in and was informed that the other 2 would be coming later. At around 7 p.m I got a text from the original guest asking if 3 friends can visit for the evening before they all went out of the evening. I said yes as long as the 3 extras don’t spend the night. We live next door so we can clearly hear people entering and exiting the building. My hubby heard a group (didn’t check how many) come in at 3’ish. We didn’t hear anyone leave and we didn’t hear anyone arrive in the morning.

Lo and behold at check out time there are 7 people exiting the apartment. The main guest mentioned that the 3 extra people happened to drop by in the morning to pick up their keys (?) which was interesting because one of her friends mentioned that they’d come back at 3 a.m and went to sleep.

To me, it was quite apparent that they’d all spent the night so I dutifully sent a request for $600 through Airbnb with the explanation that having more than 4 overnight guests broke the house rules and incurred the charge. I only send this type of message through airbnb as I don’t want to have a conversation in person and then be accused of trying to defraud or pressure the guest in some way.

The guest declined, re-stating that the extra people had come in the morning which I know isn’t true because we would have heard them. That being said, it’s now our word versus the guest. I’ve proceeded to send a request to the dispute resolution center but I don’t have a lot of hope for resolution as I don’t have physical evidence. Realistically it’s not about the money for me, it’s about the principle. For liability reasons and just general wear and tear we have to be strict about the number of people who stay. I’m also not a fan of dishonesty but that is beside the point I suppose.

So 2 questions for my experienced hosts out there.

  1. Have you ever successfully disputed this type of situation with Airbnb and what evidence did you need to produce to show that there were extra people? I don’t anticipate a win in this situation but I need to know what to do going forward. There is no point having a limit and a penalty if there is no way to enforce it beyond guarding the door all night.

  2. WTH would you say in your review? I mean she technically broke the house rules but I have no physical proof beyond what I saw/heard and she’s denying it. If I mention the fact that she had extra people in my review, and airbnb decides she did nothing wrong, will I get in trouble for making what they consider false statements in my review? I’m stumped.

PS - Before anyone tells me not to rip her to shreds in my review, I will say I have NO intention of doing so. I simply want to give an honest and professional review of her visit so future hosts know what to expect but I’m unsure how to handle this situation because it’s up for debate.

PPS - I’m also on the fence about mentioning that my husband had to speak to one of her guests about drinking beer on the sidewalk in front of the building. We don’t have a house rule about keeping alcohol in the house but since it’s a LAW, we didn’t think we needed it. Thoughts?

Your suggestions on both questions are appreciated.

Well I can’t help you with a review since you say you don’t want a scathing one. Everything your guests did was Bad with a capital B but you sound wish washy about them. Maybe someone else would like to help you write a wish washy review but it won’t be me. :rofl:


About the review…just the facts ma’mam.
Witnessed 7 guests leave; reservation for 4. Guest requested 3 previously unauthorzed guests be allowed to enter for short visit. Heard them arrive at 3:00 am We did not see/hear them exit until the next day. Guests violated house rules (local law) of no alcohol consumption in public. Guest left beer cans littering front yard.


No you won’t get in trouble. Trying to collect money for it is one thing, writing a review about it is another. I would be honest in your review. They broke your house rules and brought extra people in and refused to pay.


If your guests were from another country they might not have known that it’s illegal to drink alcohol on public property. We caution all of our guests from other countries (and Texas and Louisiana) that it’s illegal to drink alcohol on public property in California. Many are surprised about the law and thankful for the warning.


I think two key things to consider. I think your first mistake was letting the three guests onto the property contrary to your house rules. The second is not having CCTV so you can monitor who comes and goes to the property - this would have given you the evidence you need.

Clearly they stayed. Clearly you can’t prove it. Although one of them confirming they slept there to your husband is something.

I think you can mention in your review you believe this is what happened and it was confirmed by one of the guests to your husband.


It is my personal opinion (Although not strictly Webster’s), that the word “scathing” carries emotional connotation. It is also my opinion that emotion doesn’t belong in a professional communication so I strive to be direct, factual, fair and accurate. Hence my inclusion of the guest drinking outside. Since it’s not a “house rule” (yet), I consider whether it would it be fair and accurate to include it as an example of a broken rule. Which is why I sought a second opinion.

As personally satisfying as I would find it to vent my spleen on dishonest guests, mean clients and people who inexplicably choose to respond to genuine queries on a forum with mildly insulting comments that contribute no value to the overall discussion, I believe that doing so leads to unnecessary bad blood between individuals and it’s something I try to avoid.


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Don’t leave any doubt in your review. Just say 7 people came back at 3:00 in the morning and 7 people left the next morning. And then you might even say the guest said, ‘oh no, they didn’t stay - they left and then they came back right before everyone woke up and they left with us!’ That should make it pretty clear to everyone what happened and how the guest tried to lie about it. Don’t write it in a way that makes anyone think this is not a fact. Because we all know it is - so write it that way.

Also, I agree with @Helsi on the camera. You have to get a camera. We’ve had one for ages and it’s inside our apartment. We fully disclose it in our listing and it’s very visible in the main living area of the apartment when people walk in. As long as it is not hidden or concealed in any way and as long as it is in public view and as long as it is in a public area of the apartment it is perfectly legal in most states. And as long as you disclose it in your listing then it is perfectly kosher with Airbnb as well.

It has motion detection and we could show the screenshot, in your case, at 3:00 a.m. of everyone walking in. And then we could show another shot that would show that between 3:00 a.m. and the time they left - no one left, which would prove that they were there all night.

Also, in your house rules where you say “no overnight guests” you might want to get very specific about that. They could always claim ‘they weren’t overnight guest because they didn’t arrive until 3:00 in the morning when the night was half over.’ Or, they could say ‘they came early so they could leave with us - but they didn’t stay overnight.’

So you might want to say - NO GUESTS AFTER 10:00 P.M. Or 8:00 p.m. or whatever time you think is appropriate. Or ‘No Guests Between 8:00 P.M. and 10:00 A.M.’ something like that. just so there can be no fudging over what “overnight” means exactly!


Deceitful guests like this are only able to book when hosts gloss over or don’t review - none of us want to host their next stay, so thank you for leaving an honest review!

You can’t go wrong with a professional review describing just what you saw and experienced. You KNOW what people coming and going in your home sound like. You know they didn’t return in the morning - they stayed the night.
Read up on the TOS regarding reviews to avoid anything that could run afoul - I don’t think you could mention their refusal to pay because that may conflict with the part about not discussing ongoing claims.

If you really care about capping your occupancy, I’d invest in a camera. Airbnb doesn’t trust hosts, at least not to the point of taking your word over a guest, so this is the only option we have for really covering ourselves.

Also, many of us specify “no unregistered guests on the property”. It sounds kinda hard-ass, but it completely avoids just this kind of situation. If they aren’t on the reservation, they shouldn’t be in your place. It also protects you from liability issues - keep in mind unregistered guests are not covered by Airbnb insurance, so if one of the sidewalk beer swillers tumbled down your stairs, you’d have to pick it up on your Homeowner’s insurance.

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Well it’s nice of you to be so understanding and forgiving toward people who were so drunk and disorderly outside of your Home on the public street where you said it was illegal, even though it’s not a house rule of yours.

I would blast them about bad judgment whether there is a house rule or not.

I’m not understanding why you wish to preserve a good relationship with individuals of this nature.

Also, you may not have been hosting long enough to experience that guests don’t hesitate to blast you in reviews for very trivial reasons.

I’m still looking at a horrific and cruel review from a cretin who ripped me to shreds and called me a scam artist because I’m not a hotel and didn’t change his damn sheets every day. Every day I wish I could take his stupid 1100 and throw it in his face and not have accepted his booking.

But if you want to be nice in a review of terrible guest, please go right ahead!
And thank you for the schooling on how to act on a forum! I appreciate it!


Thank you for your input. It’s appreciated.

This is actually exactly what I have in mind going forward. No visits after 8:00 p.m and before 11:00. It’s unfortunate that we have to be so strict but it seems a necessary step. We’re also looking into a motion sensor camera just outside the apartment door in the hallway so hopefully these 2 steps will discourage sneaky peeps.

“And thank you for the schooling on how to act on a forum! I appreciate it!”

(You forgot to add the word, “Not!” at the end.) :smile:


Everyone has their own style of hosting and communicating. I’m still learning which is why I appreciate feedback on this forum, I know many many people who would encourage me to “blast em” and I agree I may be within my rights to do so. But the way I see it, guests have no real obligation to be professional while I, as the operator of a business do.

That being said, I shouldn’t have tried to “school you” on how to respond on a forum.By posting a public inquiry, I accepted that there will be various opinions and I need to be a bit more thick skinned. I felt insulted and I responded defensively, which is LITERALLY what I was saying I don’t want to do. Thanks for the reminder to be respectful, even when I don’t agree.

Will check this before I write. Great tip!

Right. This is a peanut gallery and we have all have opinions.
And my opinion is that it’s not unprofessional to leave a scathing review (there’s that word again) for really really bad guests, such as the ones you had. You owe it to the rest of us so we don’t have to host such losers.

If you are insulted because I think you should have left a scathing review… well. Then I just don’t have other words.

Agree with Kona. You are WAY overthinking this. If I were a prospective host of these a-holes, this is what would give me what I need to know:

“Guest x snuck additional people in for an overnight stay and lied about it. They had a party on the property at late hours and left the area littered with beer cans. I cannot recommend.”



Yep, I’m also a fan of the take-no-prisoners in this case. I say, let 'em have it in the review!

(Of course, that’s my Walter Mitty speaking.)


Say what you need to say to warn future hosts of their bad behavior. Keep to the facts. If you write it the day before you submit it, you will have a chance to look at it with “professional “eyes. They were your guests in your rental, how severely you review them is up to you. However since they may someday want to rent from me😁 make sure the review warns future hosts please.