Note on my door from a stranger asking for a room

We found a note on our door addressed to my first name and asking if they could have a room for about two weeks. The stranger left his name and phone number. I called and asked how he got my name and address, and he said it was from Airbnb. I said the site doesn’t give out addresses until a person books. Through a lengthy process between him and his wife, since English was definitely not their first language, I found out they had Google Mapped my house based on the general area from the listing and from my pictures of the house. That was pretty scary! I said as much on the phone.

The long and short of it is that they had a room with another Airbnb host that was too small for them and their child, and they were hoping to come in and see our available room. They apologized more than once for scaring me. I might have considered renting to them, but they mentioned they also had a dog. We don’t allow pets here because of our cats, so I declined.

I thought about taking the pictures of our house off of our listing, but it’s a big selling point, so I decided not to. Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

I haven’t had exactly your situation. The day before the scheduled arrival of a father and son the wife/mother came unannounced to “inspect”. She didn’t give me advance warning of her arrival; she just knocked on the door. She wanted to check what I offer for breakfast very specifically and check out the house in general.

How did you handle the situation?

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I have heard of this happening to others, through posts on the Airbnb host community groups. This is a big reason why many of us recommend that hosts not put on their listing, any photos of the front of their home, or anything else which makes it identifiable. It’s just too easy that way not only for unwanted guests to show up at the front door, but also for would-be criminals to case your house. I think it’s not a good idea to post identifying info that can allow people to find your house, together with photos of the inside of the house, and what items are there, together with a calendar that may show dates you’re not at home! Doing this is just a burglar’s delight.

As well, there are would be guests who are surprisingly invasive. I know a host in the Los Angeles area who has never posted photos of the front of her home on her listing. In spite of not having done that, she one day came home, and found a would be guest in her backyard – the person had somehow identified her home from photos and/or reviews (things guests said in reviews) and then had just walked by and let herself into the fenced in backyard to “look around.” This was very creepy for this host!!

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I was so shocked by this woman banging on my door that I didn’t have the presence of mind to send her away. She barged in past me. I showed her everything she wanted to see. I didn’t see her again. Her husband and son were good guests.

Wow. The only thing I wanted to say was wow. I needed 20 characters. :wink:

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I’ve found benefits to including a picture of the exterior of my house in my listing. We had a guest whose son lives across the street. He recognized the picture and told her that she should stay with us. She was a wonderful guest. Also, including a picture of the exterior helps guests to correctly identify the listing. However, I also include pictures of my large dogs in my listing. I’m pretty sure that this would discourage would be burglars.


I had this happen in almost the exact same way. Potential guests drove right to my house asking to see it before booking. I happened to be on the other side of the island when I got their message. “We’re here, can we come in?”

I told them no, they could not go in and slightly panicked that I was two hours away. I called Airbnb and asked them to widen the map range so my location was made much more vague. This has caused a few problems in that now the map is TOO vague and guests are complaining about accuracy of location. I’ve tried to explain in my listing where I am generally but for the same reasons as you, I don’t want them to know exactly the pinpointed location is.

I was unnerved by this guest showing up unannounced asking to be let in when they had not even booked yet.

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Can you drag the map pin into the ocean or onto the beach so there’s no precise location? I know the illegal AirBNB building on my corner spread their pin locations around by just a few houses in each direction to make it less obvious that all the units in their building are on AIR.

Possibly, but I don’t think it would hold. Would rather not have my location broadcast for the world to see. We are a small rural community, and although there are several ABBs already pinned, I don’t want to be another one!

Also guests would probably complain if my pin were on the lava flows or in the ocean… LOL!

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“While the apt was clean, charming, well-equipped, and had a stunning ocean view, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that the unit was situated at the very lip of the ocean’s edge and was located on land, rather than being in the Pacific Ocean, as advertised. Sadly, we cannot recommend.”


HAHAHA!! Yes, though I suppose given the ridiculous nature of some complaints, this could really happen!


yup!!! All possible!

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We show, as the main image, an outside view of the rental. However this is from the water and not from the road. It shows that the rental is waterfront which is a great attraction for many guests but it’s hard to recognise from the road without detective work.

But if a potential guest burrows down through several pages of reviews they will find ‘we loved our stay at [apartment number] [house name]’ so therefore I’ve had potential guests turn up to ‘see the place first’. I’m OK with showing them the location, even though they can see it perfectly well from Google Maps, but always say (whether it’s true or not) that I can’t show them the apartment because there are guests in there.


There was a thread where we were discussing the pros and cons of showing the front of a house. One con is for the reason you described, One host, @Chole was saying that she thought it would be difficult to do. After 10 minutes of online sleuthing I said you either live on x street or y street and being as both were short streets it wouldn’t have taken me more than another 10 minutes to locate her home. Luckily the front of my home is nothing special so I don’t have this dilemma.

I posted a link to your place on a Fodors forum where someone was looking for an affordable waterfront unit in FLL. She ended up booking at a hotel but wanted to book your place for a longer stay in the Spring and asked me for your address. I said she could drive around the general area to check it out and others were trying to guess your location…

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We try to put our pictures so guests can’t tell our exact house by the exterior photos.

I even made small ‘airbnb’ signs to help guests find my cabin. Never had someone at my door who wasn’t a booked guest, but I’m in the middle of nowhere :wink:

That’s interesting. I didn’t know this was possible. I always thought the map range was the same for everybody.

This was a long long time ago, and in response to a guest having so much information (mainly the map) that they were able to pinpoint my location. I’m sure Air also does not want people contacting each other directly either, but it was an obvious security concern.