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Paranoid Guests and other Red Flags

hosting

#1

So I rent out the extra bedroom in my place and I’ve been doing this for about 3 years. For some of you, that may not sound like a long time, but it’s been long enough that I can get a pretty good idea if a living situation is going to work out or not. One of the red flags I’ve noticed for someone I don’t want to live with, is just straight paranoia. “You’re a stranger” or “Why do you want to friend me on social media?” or accepting my phone number, but not giving me theirs (This is after we’ve met. I only do extended stay, and I meet everyone beforehand). Has anyone else experienced these signs of paranoia with incoming guests and referenced this behavior to being a potentially poor living situation? Alot of the women that room with me are close to my age and have never lived with strangers before. One out of 5 in my experience have this sense of paranoia, while the other 4/5 are pretty chill.

So my question is, has anyone else experienced this as being a red flag? Do you let it subside or just not engage with them?
Also, what are some other red flags you look for in potential guests?


#2

What do you mean, “living situation?” Are these guests staying longer than a month?

When you book a guest, the phone number is right there on the reservation. So I’m not sure I’m following you.


#3

So before they book it, I meet them up for coffee or lunch. This way we can get to know each other’s personalities to see if we would be a good fit. Yes, longer than a month.


#4

Well… not really sure what to tell you.
If you read here a lot you know our stance on long term bookings. This is not really a good platform for that and is a road full of land mines. I just wouldn’t do it.

It’s a quasi violation of the TOS to exchange information (I.e., meeting for coffee first) before booking. Not sure how you are doing that without getting flagged.

It seems to me you are trying to blend a short term platform function with a long term guest. Not sure it really works. A guest over 30 days converts to a long term tenant who gains all the rights of a long term tenant including due process, meaning you will have to follow normal eviction procedures should they decide to overstay and not pay. There’s numerous threads here dealing with that. Air pays you by the month, so it’s super easy for the guest to stop paying and just stay. A forum member right here had that nightmare happen and it took months to get the squatter out. Not to mention thousands in legal fees. NIGHT.MARE!!! Take my word for it! The guest even filed TROs on the host in an attempt to ban her from her own home so the guest could take possession of the whole house and keep the homeowner out. Yes that is really what happened.

If I were renting to someone long term, I would do the traditional things, i.e., expect them to sign a lease, check their credit, call their employer, take a deposit payable to you. If someone doesn’t even want to give their phone number, that’s a problem.

Either take short stays or take roommates the traditional way. That’s my advice.


#5

Thank you, though that really wasn’t the question. But I’ll defend my position why I do rent out my room like this anyway. I’ve been doing month to month since the beginning. It’s fared really well for me. I had a girl a couple months ago who didn’t want to leave and airbnb took care of it for me. I prefer to do it this way because I’m tax exempt, I don’t have to clean as often with extended stay, and I get to know the people that move in with me. I also feel that the longer they live with me, the more respect they have for me and my belongings. I’ve been occupied more days out of the year doing this than vacant. There is a huge market for what I’m doing where I am. Anyway, I’m not going to stop doing it this way. I love it and I’ve made so many friends on this platform.


#6

Fine, good luck. I don’t really get your question, but I’m about done responding to this particular thread anyway.


#7

I assume that you are a man. If my assumption is correct; I would find your behavior disconcerting. Why do you want to friend them on social media? That is unusual for a landlord to require. Asking them to meet you for coffee or lunch sounds like a date. If I was asked for my phone number, to friend a landlord/roommate on social media and to give my phone number separate from the Airbnb reservation; I would think that at best the host was lonely and would take up too much of my time; at worst I would think that he was a control freak who believed that he had the right to know anything he wanted about me.


#8

I assume that you are a baby boomer that can’t grasp the concept that someone may actually want to meet up before living together for months at a time. I am a woman and not a baby boomer.


#9

I am not a baby boomer and agree with Ellen. You are doing an unusual hybrid landord-STR, business-friend thing that many of us who are professional STR hosts cannot relate to. If you are finding red flags in 1-in-5 of the interactions you have with prospective tenants, it sounds like they may be uncomfortable with how you’re doing business.


#10

The purpose of my post was to inquire with other more seasoned airbnb hosts about what they avoid in potential guests. This has veered way off topic very quick. I highly doubt that the red flags I’m finding in my prospective tenants has anything to do with being uncomfortable with the way I do my business. I can’t help but to believe that if that were true, they would not have contacted me in the first place. Every guest that contacts me on the platform is looking for something for 30 days at a time, as that is what my minimum requirement is set at.


#11

I think you simply have different boundaries than some of your prospective guests.

My husband and I have 2 rooms with private baths in our home that we rent out. We do STR in the downstairs suite and tend to do long term rentals in the upstairs suite, so we too have had people in the house for months at a time.

To some degree, you are trying to force a “friendship” out of what should, at the outset at least, simply be a roommate situation. Roommates, as long as they are polite, cordial and respectful of each other, don’t necessarily need to be “friends”. It’s very possible that friendships will develop organically, but you need to give that time. Don’t try to force it right away, and try to be more comfortable if some people simply want to be roommates.


#12

Hi Chloe. I wouldn’t live with someone I don’t like. I only have to meet someone briefly to know if I’m going to like them or not. If I add someone on social media and I can see the company they keep, the things they do for fun, I’m going to have a better idea if I’m going to be happy living with them or not. Having to defend my position as to why I do LTR and why I add people on social media before I live with them was not the purpose of my post. I have found that some people who are inexperience with sharing a living space through this platform, tend to be a bit needier and paranoid than someone who has been doing it for a long time. I would like to know if other people have noticed this and what their experience has been.


#13

In your case, I would watch out for people who don’t have a good reason for needing a short-term rental.

Internship. House under renovations. Temporary job assignment. Grandparent(s) in town to help with new baby. In between closings for old and new house purchase (verify!!) Those all seem like a legit reason for someone to need a rental that’s longer than a typical Airbnb but shorter than a formal lease.

If the prospective guest gives vague reasons like “In between apartments,” “just got out of a bad relationship” etc etc, that could be a red flag. These kind of people are more likely to become squatters, or even if they don’t, they may be more likely to bring negativity with them.


#14

You’ve certainly being hosting longer than I have.

I too share my house for shorter and longer term lets.

However, I don’t go against Airbnb’s terms and conditions, which state hosts and guests shouldn’t exchange contact details or meet up before booking. Why don’t you use other more appropriate platforms, take up references and have a contract. You can then meet them in advance and find out about their work life and social habits to see if there is a good fit.

I understand your need to vet long term renters before accepting a booking, but I too don’t think Airbnb is the appropriate platform for you to do so.

I don’t think it is paranoia for a guest not to want to share their personal social media with you. It isn’t an appropriate request on your part. As others have pointed out when they book you will have their phone number so a little confused by you saying they don’t get you their number. To be honest I am surprised you haven’t had more guests being uncomfortable with this and flagging you with Airbnb.

In answer to your question I don’t see it as a red flag because I wouldn’t ask for personal social media contacts in the first place. I think it’s inappropriate and intrusive.


#15

The OP is asking for advice that goes against the TOS of Airbnb. Meeting them for coffee and then getting their Facebook page or other social media and phone numbers BEFORE booking is NOT an approved or appropriate way to vet guests on this platform. If you want to keep renting long term, so be it. But you are violating the TOS every time you meet them for coffee and try to get their FB page. I don’t blame them for feeling skittish with your “vetting.”


#16

Your question was whether we’ve experienced red flags like this but I’m afraid none of us conduct business the way you do so we can’t really answer the question, sorry.


#17

How are you tax exempt, where do you live?


#18

I completely don’t get the logic in this sentence.
And, how are you getting their contact info before they book? That is, if it’s through Airbnb.


#19

Some of you may recall that this host likes a very cold home and posted about her problem with a previous roommate that she found using Airbnb.

It’s clearly a situation that warrants meeting her next guest/roomie first.


#20

But it’s incompatible to do this using Airbnb if she intends on following the Terms of Service. How does she get around exchanging contact info? “Meet me at that place with stars that costs bucks.” :grinning:

I agree… as someone who has had plenty of roommates in the past, i agree… you need to meet a roommate first before committing.

If she needs to meet roommates first,(which I do not dispute, is necessary and wise) then honestly, she should be using Craigslist or similar to find roommates.

That’s my two cents.


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