New Host with first bad experience with guest - need advice on review

I’m a very rookie host after COVID put a stop to my first year of hosting. Now back on track I booked a family moving from another State (now a red flag for the future) in the month of December. I bent over backwards to make it work for them and even put up some xmas decorations so they’d have a decent holiday (they had teenagers - another red flag in the future). I also allowed the wife and daughter to stay the night before they were booked to arrive when they flew into the area a day early (another thing I’m unlikely to do again).
So I was in shock when I arrived to find a place I wasn’t even sure they had left. There were toys, luggage, a tv, delivered packages and a ton of food left in the fridge and pantry. When I tried to contact the guest regarding the items the phone number no longer worked so I started working through AirBnB support. Below is my most succinct write up for the review I intend to post at the last minute on day 14 but I would appreciate input/advice.

After a lot of effort to help this guest book our place as they were making a transition from another State during December, and even decorating some for the holiday to make the transition easier for a family with teenagers, the guests did not honor the house rules:

  1. Dog approved but not the chinchillas, guinea pigs and hamsters they told my neighbor they were raising to sell. The critters were allowed to run through the house leaving all kinds of evidence of their presence and causing twice as much clean up work as normal.
  2. Didn’t clean up pet waste in the yard as required.
  3. Didn’t follow close-up instructions: the key lock box was not locked, the trash was left full inside and in the outside trash can, and the settings for A/C and water heater weren’t followed.

There is a lot more I could say, and the review will allow me to rate the cleanliness of the guest (OMG - they were so not). I don’t think all the stuff they left is relevant in the review even thought it cost me a lot of time to have to get rid of all of it.
I appreciate having found this forum as reading a lot over the past few days is really helping me learn from this one bad experience and what to change in my listing setup. And in retrospect - the first reason to not rent to them should have been that they were moving…lesson learned there! Thanks in advance for any advice on making my review the best it can be for other hosts.

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It seems like they intented to return. Have they contacted you in regards to making arrangements to pick up the toys and luggage?

AirBnb was finally able to reach them - they told me what they left was to donate or trash - so they have no intention of coming back, they just left me with stuff they didn’t want or couldn’t take for some reason…very bizarre - especially the food. I wonder if they think that makes up for the mess they left me. Who knows.

Any beer left? If so, I’ll have it :wink:

No red flag there, a lot of folk do similar and while I’m sure there is the odd issue, I’d hazard a guess that most stays like this go off without a hitch.

In my opinion, you simply got bad guests. It happens. Clean up and move on to the next one.

Is the TV any good?



Thanks. Don’t know about the TV - gave it away.
I’m still hoping for feedback on the review I intend to post.

So appreciate finding this forum!!!

For what it’s worth, we have a surprising number of guests who stay with us because they’re moving here from another state and are looking for housing, etc. Usually they are pretty good guests and I assume they want to leave a good impression to their future neighbors. Obvioiusly the people you hosted don’t care about that at all though. :roll_eyes:

I can’t believe they just left what they didn’t want…how inconsiderate of them! I’ve even started asking guests to please dispose of ALL personal items before checking out ESPECIALLY food-related items. Why should any host or cleaner have to touch food that may have touched a stranger’s mouth, especially while in a pandemic? I tell guests I’m happy to come down and grab any trash as it accumulates and I leave a costco-sized box of trash bags under the sink. I wouldn’t ding a guest in a review for a few items left behind but I certainly would if it seemed intentional/they just didn’t bother at all.

As for the chinchillas/hamsters/guinea pigs…I have no words.

You always hope that guests will treat your space with the same care they treat their own home. With people like that, their home probably looks a lot worse. Hopefully they move to a different neighborhood! :rofl:

I don’t see that you have any choice but to leave an honest review. In my opinion, what you drafted is kind, considering the wanton mess they left!
This completely defies and destroys the trust that airbnb is built on. Begs the question whether they planned on deserting their account after this? They certainly have no future…

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Welcome to the forum. Fair warning: people will immediately come along to tell you what you should have done differently, how you should have known better and quite possibly the topic will veer completely off track.

I advise short and concise but also specific. Let fellow hosts know that they left tons behind, didn’t clean up and had undisclosed animals. Don’t try to include something good about them to balance the bad.

“I would not host this family again because they left the place looking like a garbage dump and had multiple undisclosed animals that that they were breeding to sell. The phone number they gave me on arrival was disconnected after departure. 1 star for cleanliness and would not recommend to any host.”

@KenH is our favored professional review writer.


That’s terrible. I’m sorry this happened to you, it’s very unfair.

No reason not to mention all the stuff left behind. " Guests left a truckload of stuff they no longer wanted, expecting me to give it away or take it all to the dump."

I’ve dealt with that before from long-term renters. “Oh, you can have that” they say about a ton of crap they don’t want to deal with and that you certainly don’t want.


I feel for you. I don’t know how long your guests stayed, but it seems like it was a few weeks. Outside of Airbnb I’ve done a few “medium term rentals” from 1 to 9 months and all of them were tenants that were between permanent homes. They all brought a lot of stuff with them. They all treated my property the way they treat their own, which isn’t as good as I treat it. None cleaned to a standard that was even close to how they received it. And all of them have knowingly left things behind including pieces of furniture, stacks of dishes, piles of clothing, bedding, luggage, and cabinets/drawers full of toiletries. I know that they leave things behind because they just don’t want to throw usable items away and they actually think they’re doing me a favor by leaving them with me. I just donate or trash it all.

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Great advice from everyone. I’ll just address your review intro. I wouldn’t start off with how you helped the guest, the effort you went to, the decorating, etc. I feel for you of course, we all do I think, but the review is about the guests, not the host.
Go with @KKC’s review, or whatever @KenH comes up with.
I agree, too, with those who say just the fact that they were moving was not a red flag. Lots of clean and considerate people move and need a temporary place to stay, especially now that none of us should be staying with family.
Ugh, though, that cleanup must have been awful.


Agreed. I get lots of people coming who are moving or looking to move or finalizing a home purchase in the neighborhood. You got bad guests. You seem to want credit for decorating for the holidays, but that was your choice, not part of your offerings as a host. You didn’t require a cleaning person to check in weekly for linen changes, trash checks, etc. or do that job yourself. I’d never leave a guest staying more than 5 days to their own devices. I always say “I’m changing out your sheets and towels and tidying up on Day 5.” I don’t make it a question. That way, I have a handle on how the guest is doing with following house rules.

You’ve learned a valuable lesson. Always greet guests in person, check in weekly, and move on.

Good luck!


CANNOT RECOMMEND Guest! Violated House Rules on pets and pet waste cleanup inside and out, causing me twice the amount of clean up. Did not follow check out procedures for waste disposal, temperature settings, and locking up. In addition they left behind a huge amount of personal property (luggage, toys, a TV, abandoned packages and food) which, when AirBnb was finally able to contact them, they said was for me to donate or trash. Do not let this Guest treat your place like the city dump.


Ugh, guests who rationalize that leaving their half-eaten dregs of food so they don’t have to bother disposing of them are somehow “gifting” you something!!
Agree with gist of your review but make it much more concise, per KKC suggestion. (Vent here, however, as much as you want! You have a sympathetic audience.):

“Would not host this family again due to their leaving the property full of refuse and unsecured, and violations of house rules. Neighbors reported that the guests were using the property to raise numerous rodents they planned to sell. Among other filth left behind, quantities of animal excrement throughout.”


Thank you for the great advice!!!

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What a word, “rodents”, conjures up all sort of scenarios!





Some good advice above. :slight_smile:

The best way to approach reviews is to be concise and impersonal, and remember that you’re writing them for other hosts. I’d limit the review to saying that the place was left in an appalling condition and that you’d never host them again. I’d also not mention anything that ‘the neighbour told me’. It’s better just to speak about your own experience, not reported speech.

Don’t feel that you have to write everything that was bad about the guests and there’s also no need to mention Christmas decorations. Particularly don’t mention that you’d let them have a free night!

It’s important to remember too that some reviews say more about the host than they do about the guest. And I doubt these people will be wanting to use Airbnb again anyway so it’s not worth spending any time on the review.

Also just for the record, don’t be put off by the fact that they were moving from out-of-state. I usually have half a dozen guests every year that are moving to the area and I’ve never had a problem. (In fact, I’ve several contacts with real estate agents who recommend me to their clients. :wink: )

Also, I’ve had plenty of teenage guests and they’ve been mostly wonderful.


I agree with John F. Incoming guests might think they’re still rodents inside and out. I wouldn’t say rodents. Just mention messy pets.

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I hope you donated the stuff they left behind. Tax deductions would have been possible.

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