People forcing a one night stay for free

I am so upset about this. This is the second time happening and it bothers me a lot.
this is the situation: a lady booked my house from April 20-23.
I have clearly stated that the check-in time is 3 pm and check out 11 am. so I was expecting her on april 20 after 3 pm. After booking she asks me if she can check in early, so I said yes, we can talk about it. Usually, if I can, I am flexible with check in and check out time, if people need more time. So, on April 19 in the afternoon I sent her a message detailing how to get into the house etc, saying that the house will be ready for her the next day after 3 PM. She flipped on me. She was on her way to the airport saying that she was going to be at my house a bit after midnight and that I have consented to allow her to check in early! And that being a bit after midnight it was technically April 20!

Her reasoning was that if she arrived at my house on April 20, a few minutes after midnight she could stay for free and called this “early check in”. I explained to her that this is taking advantage of the host - me - and that I wasn’t going to give her a free night like that. I said the house is locked and she wouldn’t be able to get in until the next day at 3 pm, per my check -in policy. I said that I am flexible with letting people check in a few hours earlier or later, but not a whole night. She either spent the night in the airport or God knows what she did, but left me a bad review.

Now, the second guest wanted to do this and since this was a brand new guest asking for approval, I said I’d approve if she actually books and pays the extra night.

I explained to her that if she goes to a hotel in the middle of the night and tries to sleep for free until the morning they won;t let her just because it’s the same day.

I am so frustrated with these people and the amount of time I spent explaining to them how this works. Are they really that stupid or just try to take advantage of me? Anybody else experienced this?


Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate how stupid people are. But they may also be trying to take advantage. I have hosted over 400 guests over the last 4 years and I can honestly say this has never happened to me. One guest asked about checking in a 2 am and what night they had to book but they paid for it correctly and it was just an honest question. I had another fellow try to get me to let him arrive within the next couple of hours by 9 am, pay $20 to sleep awhile and then shower. He wanted to pay cash and also became argumentative about how unreasonable I was. I reported him and cut off contact.

I’m not sure why you’ve had this bad luck twice in the same month. Are you new? I suspect there are professional scammers who look for new hosts to take advantage of. Maybe your price is too low?

I’ve never had that happen. They are DEFINITELY not stupid and are taking advantage of you. Next time someone asks to check in early, I would clarify what time. Personally, I wouldn’t give them more than an hour, two at the most on certain circumstances with good reasons why they need to.

When possible we Do let people check in early, but specify an “after” time – “after 1PM”. The guest coming next week will arrive in town at 10 AM and “would like to check-in as soon as possible”. I will probably let him check in after 1 PM, but haven’t decided yet…

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No, it’s never happened to me either. You really need to stop people taking advantage of you. When someone asks for an early check in say 'as you know our check out time is 11 am but if the previous guests check out before that time for an earlier flight, I will be able to get access for you from about 1 - 2 pm. I’ll message you here during the morning of the 20th to let you know."

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Oooo boy, that is ridiculous! I wonder what the Hilton would say if she asked for a 12 midnight early check in. :rofl::rofl::rofl: LUDICROUS!!!

In the future, I would just not allow it. Early check in means 1 hour, not 13!!! What planet are these people on?

But I am thinking since it keeps happening just say a blanket NO to all early check in requests. I do. No one has ever complained and I never ever ever get requests for it, or for late check out.

Also, not sure how important this is to you but the host guarantee only covers them for when they are officially on their reservation so if something happens before or after those hours you may not be covered.

You can also tell your guests, sorry, your insurance does not allow guests to be on the property at any time outside the specified and agreed upon reservation times.


ROFL never had someone try that and it would be a VERY short conversation if they did.

I have 5pm as my check in, somebody wanted to come early today no problem all was good and I am here, still turned up at 5pm…

What a bizarre person thinking that would work somehow. When people ask for an early check in or late checkout and there is no guest booking conflict I say something like “Yes you can have a late checkout up until 1pm, or perhaps a bit later if you arrange a time”. That way there is still a specific time to checkout. I’ve had people stay till 3pm because of flights and it didn’t bother me, any excuse to put off cleaning :slight_smile: I think it is Bookings where the guest has to specifically request an early check in and the host has to say whether they can accommodate, what time, and if there is an extra charge and how much.

Or you could check in to a hotel at 1am with a “friend” then leave a couple of hours later before check in time and claim you never stayed there so don’t have to pay. I can see now why some hotels charge by the hour. :japanese_goblin:

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Yes, honestly, I was shocked. It would have never crossed my mind, not in a million years that someone could ask with a straight face for an “early” check in meaning a free night. I mean who does that? Are they really stupid or try to take advantage?

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Har! This is easy. I have had the “Can I check in early” question a few times. THis is how it goes:

Q: Can I check in early?

A: NO!

Don’t leave the door open. It seems your last communication was “we can talk about it” and then your next communication with her, the day before, assumes she is checking in at the regular time 3 pm, despite you were supposed to “talk about it.” If you were open to early check in you should have tackled the issue immediately and tacked it down.


I was just trying to be nice but I guess from now on I won’t accommodate early check in anymore.

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This incident was a blue moon outlier, so don’t take it to heart. Keep doing what you were doing but
@Karen gives solid gold advice, don’t leave vague or ambiguous tentative agreements in the wind - it’s in the chancers handbook to whip out as exhibit A and trip you up.

Ever since my guests from last year - ‘we will arrive in the afternoon’ - ( 8 pm eventually - ok technically afternoon though) - ‘afternoon’ and ‘early’ should join your list of totally non-acceptable inexplicit woolly words that require further full forensic disclosure.


The first request we got after putting our listing up was a group wanting to arrive at midnight that same night (messaged at 7 pm), but they booked for the next night. I think they were planning some kind of scam.

This would be a good use of the special offer trick that was suggested on another thread dealing with declines. Just message back and say early check in is available for xx dollars. Make it significant enough to be worthwhile. Send the special offer if it’s pre-booking or use request money button for post request and tell her that once she accepts the charges the reservation is all set. Don’t send check in information until extra charge is paid.


K9karmaKasa, your idea is brilliant. Thank you.

Thanks! Not my idea though. I wish I could remember whose idea it was. @Chris?

Something similar happened to us… Someone asked to check in at 2am. I was convinced they were actually asking for a late check in. But one night earlier all of a sudden they were knocking on the door, scaring the hell out of my hubby.
They did accept paying for an extra night, so it could have been just stupidity.

We are in general flexible about check in / check out. But if it’s still night (=dark) or night again, guests should definitely pay for that night.

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If it happens again tell the person that there is a guest still sleeping and she has not paid for that night. Geez, that is a really stupid or as the Irish here say “cute”. I have not had that happen yet thank God!