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Party prevention?

I have been renting out a waterfront basement suite since last July - mostly a positive experience with few problems. I live upstairs, usually rent to couples of small families and they know I am around.
I am considering renting out the whole house when I go away in August. It is a big jump but I think it would be worth it, if all goes well.
Have heard some horror stories about parties, and people trashing Airbnb properties - obviously I want to avoid that. Any suggestions? Can I put clear rules about expulsion in the house rules, and can those be enforced? I will have a co-host who lives about a block away taking over when I am away…

You’re braver than me if you’re willing to have short term guests when you’re not around. I know that some hosts do it really successfully but I’d be too worried to do it.

If you’re an experienced host, or if you’ve been reading here a lot, then you pretty well know that clear rules aren’t going to be read by many guests and that enforcing those rules is a complete pain.

As far I’m concerned, a co host is the only way to go. But it has to be a good and experienced co host who isn’t afraid of actively protecting you and your property. Just ‘someone to keep an eye on things’ won’t do.

By the way, I wouldn’t pay much attention to horror stories. Quite often when you read them you’ll be able to see that in many cases, it was the way that the host had things set up that was a problem as well as inconsiderate guests.

I hope others here can help you more. :slight_smile:

I guess you’ve already heard many times to have lots of outdoor cameras, disclosed of course to prevent extra “guests”.

I don’t have cameras (I live across the street), but I have very clearly in my rules max two people, no guests or visitors at any time.

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Thanks Jaquo - I am a bit worried. My co-host is a realtor and lawyer who lives down the block and I think she would do what was needed. The house is very open to the beach, so any neighbour on the beach can see what is going on…I think some of the houses that have problems are secluded properties.
I know that rules are often not read - I am considering turning off the instant booking feature, and I do plan to reinforce that one particular rule when I initially contact guests. “So glad you are staying, and just need to remind you of the No Party policy, consequences etc. etc.”
Any other thoughts very welcome…

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Yes - I have thought about installing cameras. That might be a good solution…thanks Jackie

Does she have Airbnb experience? As you know it’s not like any other business and specific experience would be best - unless she is prepared to plough her way through all the Airbnb TOS and help pages. Another important attribute is whether she can ‘read’ people well.

When she does the house tour, she’ll be able to tell if guests are planning to get up to no good and she’ll be able to warn them properly. Also, be sure that she’ll be able to cope with any emergencies that crop up - will she be available at all reasonable times?

You’re a lot more likely to have problems such as a plumbing overflow or the internet going out or something domestic than wild parties.

You say that your neighbours can see what’s going on - can you recruit one (or more) of them to alert your co host should there be any problems? For an Airbnb host, your neighbours can be invaluable.

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@blair, also worth thinking about:

If you rent out your own living space, you’ll have personal items to secure. A lot of guests open closets, cabinets, and drawers. Definitely all jewelry, medication, liquor, valued artwork, mementos, etc., as well as anything fragile, would need to be removed or locked up.

And I’m not sure what to say about your own food—both pantry items and refrigerated/frozen things. Probably should be gone.

You’d also need to leave room for the guests’ clothing and other personal items.

I’m not trying to discourage you, but I honestly would never rent out any of our house if we weren’t here. For one thing, our neighbors know we house-share through Airbnb, and they trust us to always be here.

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Clear and lock down all personal items. Outdoor cameras. Clear and detailed contract signed and initialed and returned with legal photo id. Rules precisely stated with fees for disregarding clauses.

Good points. She does rent out a suite herself in another area - not sure if she uses Airbnb but she has short term rental experience. She has an office located a few blocks away, and I believe that her staff will help if there is an emergency that she can’t handle.
I am on good terms with neighbours on each side - and would definitely want to reassure them that this is an experiment, and I don’t want to set up any situations that would disrupt their enjoyment of their own properties. I think both would alert the co-host if something was wrong.
Thanks again, jaquo

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Hi Rebecca - thanks for the input. I would plan to have a few closets and cupboards locked off, including the big walk-in closet in the master BR. There will be sufficient storage for guests’ stuff but agreed that it would be a bit of effort to clear out my stuff.
Really think this is an experiment - and I have it priced pretty high since there really isn’t much available that is comparable. So, maybe nobody will book the whole place and I can just unblock the little suite and rent that instead.

thanks georgygirl…great suggestions!

I would also have your co-host meet guest in person. @blair

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Thats a good idea to turn off IB. I do a whole house rental with pool - last year was my first time doing a summer time rental. My first slew of requests to book came from people with zero profile or reviews so having IB off saved me some aggravation and I still got booked out.
For party prevention, with advice from members here I was able to ask questions during the booking process about the dynamics of the group. Was able to decline a group of 30 year old celebrating a birthday party etc. Got mostly families so that was a bonus.
I go camping a few miles away while the house is booked out. I meet the guests and give them a 10 minute tour. Sometimes longer if they have adorable children !!

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Thanks Mary - all great advice! I typically don’t meet the guests unless I happen to be on my deck when they are on the deck below. Also, I am mostly doing this because I will be away for a few weeks and it seems a good time to try renting the whole house. I can ask my co-host to meet the guests, although that does complicate things…she is busy, and has not been doing this so far.

@blair Here is some perspective about the difficulty of preventing a party even when you are there (lots of lessons learned!). My setup is like yours, my rental is in the lower level of our primary residence. We can handle up to 20. The guest (in her 40s) booked “our annual birthday sleepover” for “my 6 sisters” and a couple of girlfriends. Twice as many eventually showed up, and several extra stayed over. some brought their children and then went home and left the kids for a sleepover! The guest was profuse in her apologies but even after being told to limit visitors the next day, the visits continued. she told me that she really didn’t know how to get rid of them! They checked out on time and they cleaned the place up pretty well and there was no damage, but I allowed this to happen right under my nose and had no plan in place, no idea what to do other than message the guest. 20+ well-dressed ladies, a 90 year old grandma, all carrying casseroles and cakes and gifts. They parked in precise rows & did not make too much noise outside, although there was a lot of coming and going until 2 AM. Loud music (which I did not hear but which woke my husband up), unregistered guests, & blatant deception all happened while I was here. There was no damage and the only thing bad that happened was really a little extra work for me and the fact that my rules (no large parties, quiet hours, unregistered guests) were violated and I didn’t do anything about it. However if I had not been here I think we would have had a different story. My take away from this is when people plan to have birthday parties be a lot more thorough in vetting the people and the story. The odd thing is she could have just booked it for the 20 people or at least registered them. If she had been honest I would probably have been willing to work with her.

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@momovich, does your short-term rental insurance allow you to have 20 (or more) guests in your Airbnb space?

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Hi I bought the Minut when it was offered on discount from airbnb. It tracks the noise levels and does not record conversations. You can set it to notify you via the app when a certain level of noise is reached. Its proved very useful for my apartment. It can also sense movement so you know when guests are in or not.

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@RebeccaF that is a very good question. I will make sure to double check that feature. I am currently not accepting any more reservations, and my current reservations are on the lower end. I have just learned that my current insurance policy (Farmer’s) falls FAR short of providing the coverage that I require. I stupidly depended on other people to vet the language. Apparently, Proper Insurance is the sole Coverholder for Lloyd’s of London’s short-term rental policies. This means they are the only company that can offer a short-term rental policy that names Lloyd’s of London, which Farmer’s does. I am scrambling to make things right even as I type this note. It will cost double what I’m paying, now, but that will include the main house, and will be commercial level insurance, which will ultimately give me the coverage that I need in spades.

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Wow. What a great idea! Had no idea such a device existed. Would be great for tracking noisy guests.

Also, I sometimes wonder if the guests are in the suite if I don’t hear them. I will check into this. Cameras are also on the list.

Thanks…

@blair Just an update about this situation (I know, you didn’t ask): I’m still reeling from this, actually, and going back over it I realized that this guest didn’t book for a birthday party, initially, at all! The word “party” would have triggered my spidey sense. She booked for “a sleepover with games, etc.”. When I texted her, later, she acted so surprised that so many people were arriving, but I realize, now, that she was playing me. People lie! Who knew! Secondly, I found STERNO CANS next to huge foil trays of food waste in bags of trash (I was trying to sort out the recyclables so everything would fit). No open flame is allowed in my property! I just about tossed my cookies. This changes this from “no damage was done” to “this could have had serious consequences”. Again, what if we hadn’t been home? What if, what if, what if? Lord, let me learn this lesson well. And let me get my insurance snafu fixed.

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