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Nosy Guests trying to break into locked doors

I rent out a room in my home to AirBnb guests, so we share a bathroom. I put child locks on the cabinets that stick to the inside of the frame and to the door with sticky strips. (I rent the house, so these was my least permanent and least damaging option.) The cabinet doors can only be opened with the “key” (a really strong magnet.
The trouble is that people keep trying to break into the cabinets, pulling so hard that the lock mechanism will pop off, peeling the finish off the doors and causing me to replace the lock parts frequently.
My question is what should I do to stop this? I’m to the point of wanting to just tell every guest, “Hey, the cabinets are locked, so please don’t try to break into them.”
Please help with any better ideas!

Actually, I’d do that. Although I’d replace the words ‘break into’ with ‘open’ or something. Said in a friendly fashion, and not implying that they are thieves, should work fine.

But why are guests doing this so often? It’s not normal behaviour. Are they looking for something that you don’t provide? (Extra loo paper, shampoo, towels etc.)

You child locks with ‘sticky strips’ sounds a bit dodgy. Can’t you keep whatever is in there somewhere else?


I have the same issues - and here is why I am attempting to use those for locks…

Padlocks etc means carrying keys, and also looks bad. We store extra supplies that are convenient for us but are not meant for random use by guests.

I suppose the next step is a firmer lock system, but other hosts who let guests run rampant in their homes are a big part of the problem for us - the guests often point to a previous airbnb saying “xxx didn’t mind if we opened their doors, even like these”.

Is there anything valuable in the cabinets? Guests are probably looking for extra rolls of toilet paper or paper towels. Perhaps it would be best lo leave them unlocked and place valuables in a safe deposit box at the bank.

Actually I think it is. Depends on your definition of “normal.” It’s certainly common. I tried to look online for some sort of data or link but there are so many articles about snooping…on your kid, your partner foremost but other kinds as well.

In my rentals I generally do open all the cabinets and closets to see what is available to me. In my Boston rental we found board games, umbrellas, and jackets in a closet. Good to know if there was a rainy day. I don’t try to break into locked doors or force anything open that doesn’t easily open though. I don’t think I’d go pawing through stuff in a shared home though.

Why was that Southwest ad with the woman snooping in a medicine cabinet so effective?

I’m one of the biggest snoopers around. My nickname is Mrs Kravitz :rofl:

But what I meant, sorry if I explained it badly, is that breaking in isn’t normal behaviour. If a host leaves a door unlocked, then it’s open season for snoopers as far as I’m concerned but guests often breaking into cupboards isn’t normal in my experience.


Ah yes. I have a lock on my bypass sliding closet doors but it’s mounted at the bottom and is somewhat inconspicuous. I’ve had multiple guests force in open and in the process scratch the bottom of the door or push it out of it’s channel so I’ve given up locking it most the time.

I think that’s probably the reason why this happens - people just assume the door is going to open because they don’t see an obvious lock. Sometimes they yank too hard, thinking it’s stuck. I wouldn’t necessarily ascribe any bad intent to it.

If you don’t want to put a visible lock on the door, consider tying it shut with a colorful ribbon, or putting a label “Not for guest use, thanks!” or even just “Locked” on it.

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Oh, I don’t. And I considered a sign but if you read here a lot you know I want minimal signage. Keeping it unlocked works I just moved some of the stuff that was being stored in there out. I have plenty of storage room here in my house. Just more steps to get it now which is, of course, a good thing.

I saw a listing where the kitchen cabinets that are off limits are just tied off with bright color ribbon across the knobs. I wondered if it works to keep people out or not. If I come across it again I will post a picture. We don’t have any off limits areas in the house. All our personal stuff is in Rubbermaid bins in the locked garage and the bulk cleaning and guest supplies have their own shelf in there. I keep waiting to be told our detached garage was broken into but so far so good.

@GoldenBritt I agree with Jacquo that the easiest way to deal with this is to actually tell guests that the cabinets are locked when you show them around. As others have said, if the lock isn’t easily visible they will attempt to open it - people are nosy, fact!! I don’t let any guest skip the “house tour” so I can fully explain things like this.

If you’re not able to meet guests every time, I think the only option is to put a little sign on the cabinets as has been suggested.


Yes, do that. Put a sign on the cabinet that says Private, do not try and force open.


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People can be so annoying, no?

I have a locked pantry and every so often I have to tighten the door knob from people playing with it trying to get in the room.

The husband of a friend of mine told me that he and a group of buddies took a locked door off its hinges just because they wanted to know what was inside. I was aghast (and I think my friend was a bit embarrassed that her husband told me that).

I know other people who host guests in their homes and have had people break into locked rooms.

It takes all kinds. Some people have no boundaries which is why I have a whole house rental next door rather than allow them in my home.

We need to swap some guests because I have people tell me “it would be nice if there was ______”. And there was ______. They just didn’t open a cabinet or a door to find it. Guests!

I think you have to move your stuff or put a little note on there that says “private” .

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I would be tempted to write something along the lines of

NOTHING for YOU in HERE! (but there is a camera )


Maybe you can just forego the locks altogether, put a little note that says ‘do not open’ and then wire it to play a scary sound if it gets opened - like one of those halloween decorations. And then sit outside the bathroom and delight in guests screaming when the cabinet scares the crap out of them. Probably not your style, but has the added entertainment value ,)

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