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Possible smoking and trash left in room

Hello everyone,

I debated whether this was worth posting about. It’s certainly quite trivial compared to some of the situations people find themselves in, if this forum is any indication. But it does not hurt to discuss things. So, I’m going to ramble on a bit. Feel free to ignore the rest of this post.

I just hosted a young American Midwestern couple (21) who just left. I didn’t have any problems till after they left. Aside from a general lack of communication. But more on that in a bit.

After they left, my cleaner told me that this has left the room very dirty. However, by the time she told me, she had already cleared most of it out. The rubbish included at least one cigarette and a couple of boxes of matches. My rules say no smoking. I’m not sure if there were partially smoked cigarettes - I didn’t go grubbing around in the trash to find out - there was an impressive amount of trash in the room, considering they had only been in the room for 6 days. This included an empty bottle of whisky, a opened and partially eaten jar of peach jam, misc other bottles (I forget what). Apparently the (small) rubbish bin was overflowing, and they had thrown a bunch of additional stuff in the vicinity of the bin. Also, there was a lot of water on the floor - I suppose they spilled it. In my case it was a tiled floor (the whole room is tiled), so it didn’t matter.

However, there didn’t seem to be any actual damage to the room, nor was there any smell of smoke. My people speculated that they opened the window in order to smoke. Though I don’t have any actual proof that they smoked in there. Also, they left an umbrella behind. I don’t know what to do about that - I’m inclined to just ignore it.

I’ve now told my cleaner to let me know immediately if there are problems with the room before cleaning it. That way I could take photos if I want to/need to.

Before this minor cleaning issue, I had noticed one slightly odd thing about this couple - their general disinclination to communicate. This started with the lady’s original request for booking, which read (in its entirety):

My boyfriend and I are travelling around India for a few weeks.

One would think she was having to pay per word. I was tempted to write back and wish them a nice time.

This extended to their actual stay, when, after the initial meet and greet, they scarcely said one word to me. This is quite unusual in a hosting situation. Even the most independent person would have some questions, along of the lines of - where do I find this, how do I do this, is it Ok if I…? One specific instance was when it occurred to me that they had probably run out of toilet paper. They had been here maybe three days at that point. And they indeed had. So I went and put more in there. But the striking thing is that they didn’t mention it themselves at any time.

Anyway, the upshot of these ramblings is - I’m not sure I’m comfortable writing a review for these people. My options are

a) Write a nice review, and don’t mention the mess they left behind. And the possible smoking issue. This sticks in my craw,

b) Don’t write a review at all.

c) Write a review which says that they left trash in the room (which I didn’t actually see), and smoked in there (which I have no proof of). Also, they don’t seem like bad kids, so I don’t particularly want to trash them in the review. I didn’t have any actual problems with them.

I’m inclined to go with (b). And bye-the-bye, I’d just like to say I don’t think I’m being paid enough to have to think about this kind of stuff. Just saying.

Oh, and I think I’ll install a smoke detector and CO detector in the room. They’re a bit of a pain when they go wrong, but they are recommended for safety. And they might discourage people from smoking in there. And maybe I’ll go work on my house rules to make them more explicit about strewing crap around the room. Maybe mention rubbish bins in a pointed way. Also, I currently have that rooms are cleaned weekly. I wonder if I should change that to every 3 days, to forestall this kind of thing.

This came out pretty disjointed. But responses are welcome.

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Faheem,

These bad guests deserve a bad review and you should leave it. What they did was disrespectful and not OK.

I would wait until the last minute and write something along the lines of:

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend XX to other hosts. Communication was poor throughout their stay and they weren’t friendly in general. Upon departure, they left inordinate amounts of trash in the room, including overflowing rubbish bins and even leftover food in jars, not a good fit for summer in India. There was also evidence of smoking as cigarette butts were found by the cleaner. (However, there was not a smoky smell in the room. They probably smoked out the open window, but this is still against the rules.) The guests were young and might deserve a second chance to improve, so if you rent to them, make sure you are clear on the rules.

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It sounds like this couple didn’t do any real damage to your space, but they weren’t ideal guests either. What if you leave a really neutral review like “John and Jane stayed at my listing for 6 days” and just nothing else - and then hit the do not recommend button or leave them 3 stars. They can’t complain that you said something untrue but it might keep them from being able to use Instant Book so it is a warning to other hosts.

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Smoke detectors are required by law here and Airbnb will send you a free one! https://www.airbnb.com/home-safety

Put it in the room!

@faheem - that’s so disappointing! As you say, thankfully no lasting damage, but, how disrespectful.

A few thoughts - they may not have known where to put the trash, and being young and self-absorbed, didn’t think to ask. People on vacation can make a lot of trash in 6 days. Or they were wondering what was wrong with you that you didn’t come clean it out. Or, they could just be rude.

Did they ever leave for touring? I often take a peek in my guest rooms to make sure there isn’t any food sitting out, heaters left on, etc. I also always keep an eye on the trash, especially in the lavatory - if a woman is on her cycle no one wants that stuff sitting around.

I would make it a policy of yours to enter their room to clean out the trash at least every 2-3 days, so you can keep an eye on things.

And as much as India is a difficult place to live, the upside is that you can afford to pay a cleaner. The woman down the street who cleans for a living charges $20 an hour. So, I’m a bit envious. ; )

Since there’s no evidence of smoking beyond there were cigarettes in the trash, I would hesitate to bring it up in a review, but do leave a review.

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When I used to smoke I occasionally put cigarette butts in my pocket then in the trash, just not to throw them on the sidewalk, so maybe they did not smoke in your room if there was no smell. I would not mention it in a review.

I don’t know if they are your first American guests but the three different American couples I had were not communicative at all. I have not mentioned it in their review, I prefer guests to be friendly, but as long as they respected my place i don’t mention it.

In your case, I would say something like “they could have been more respectuous of my room, though no damage was done”.

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Like @Artemis, when I write a review for guests who are less than ideal, I frequently leave the one-sentence thing also “So and So stayed here for x nights”. That’s it, with a thumbs down.
And like @Barthelemy, when I used to smoke, I used to always keep my extinguished cigarette butts in a double-zipped baggie in my purse, because I don’t like to litter. Perhaps they did the same thing…smoked elsewhere but didn’t litter? Although, it sounds like they littered up their room!

I think that’s the important issue, @faheem

Writing reviews takes time and yes, I understand that hosts should write reviews about bad guests but to be honest (and by my standards anyway) I don’t think that your guests were particularly terrible. Although the smoking thing is bad if indeed they did smoke in the room.

I know that other hosts may disagree with me but it takes me as long to clean the apartment after less-than-perfect guests than it does to clean after almost immaculate guests. Well, maybe a few minutes more but not much. (Maybe I need cleaning advice!)

My guest who left this morning was a little similar to yours except it was just one guest for four days (also American but middle aged).

The apartment was tidy after checkout but:

  1. Two overflowing rubbish bins plus a large carrier bag of rubbish left on the floor (guests walk past the outside garbage bins every time they leave the apartment and spare trash bags are supplied)
  2. Things strangely moved around (tray from the top of the fridge to the sofa, toiletries basket on the window-ledge and not on top of the loo tank)
  3. Lots of dishes in the drainer - washed but not dried or put away
  4. Three empty bottles left not in the trash but on the countertop

Also the guest did not communicate with me at all during her stay but was pleasant during ‘meet and greet’. On leaving, there was no goodbye and no message (usually guests drop in to say goodbye or text me to thank me).

To me, that is an average guest not a bad one. There was no damage, no disarray, no noise, no partying, no smoking, no bodily fluids on the bed, no stains and most important, no complaining :slight_smile: So I don’t really think it’s worth writing a review to warn other hosts. (I imagine some people will disagree!) Plus, my hourly rate as a freelancer isn’t really worth the time pondering over what to write as a review. The guest was new to Airbnb and I imagine that it was unfamiliarity with the ‘air etiquette’ that was the reason for the omissions.Were your guests new?

Mind you, with your guests the toilet paper is definitely a weird thing :wink:

One of these things I would forgive and look the other way… but not all of them.

I’ve had smokers stay and even though they smoked up on the street, they left their gross and disgusting butts in my rubbish bins. I would not call that a courteous smoker.

I agree and I’m a smoker (ssh, don’t tell anyone).

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I’ve even offered to let smokers who promise to be courteous smoke outside and never even smelled a whiff of the offensive activity… but to leave their vile habit stinking up my house? Just no.

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If there was no smoke smell in the apt I really doubt that they smoked inside. Cigarette smoke doesnt air out of a space easily & never under 24 hrs, even if they smoked out a window.

I would leave a neutral one line review & let them know in private feedback what the standard expectations are re: garbage.

I much prefer that guests leave butts in the garbage rather than in the street or sidewalk.

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Of course they should be disposed of properly. I didn’t mean that guests should smoke on the street and throw their butts down.

If I do have outdoor smokers here, I go over the strict rules with them. One of those rules is to wrap their butts or put them in a jar and dispose of them away from my property (I.e., not in the trash inside). Those few who have asked to smoke outside have been beyond courteous.

Hello everyone,

I see it’s been a week since I posted this question. Thank you for everyone who has posted their thoughts. My thinking is closest to what @jaquo said. I don’t think it is worth making a big deal about it.

@dcmooney: yes, all the people I’ve had are out of their rooms a lot. So it’s certainly possible to go in and take a look. But I don’t do that to respect their space. My current rules say that for stays longer than a week, there will be a cleaning once every 7 days But it’s certainly possible to schedule cleaning more frequently. Maybe I could do it selectively, if the guests look like they might be messy. Most of them haven’t been an issue.

@konacoconutz I totally get where you are coming from, but I don’t want to slam these people in a review. As jaquo put it

Though I don’t actually know about bodily fluids or stains - my cleaner got there before I did. But anyway, no real damage. And I also completely agree with

And jaquo,

Dunno. I didn’t get the impression that the couple used Airbnb much. The guest has one host review, with an ambiguous 4 word review in French - totally useless. People, if you are going to write reviews, write frigging useful ones, please! And the guest wrote a review for the host which was all of 8 words long, and in the present tense, for some reason. She is definitely a lady who believes that brevity is the soul of… something or the other. And I didn’t really get the impression that they got the Airbnb thing. At least part of the idea is to interact with the family you’re staying with. If you’re not, you’re missing half the point, at least imo. Also, they gave the impression of people with money. I don’t know if that makes a difference.

Oh, and jaquo, would you leave that guest you described a review?

I think I may have been jumping to conclusions about the smoking, As various people have pointed out (@Barthelemy, @brook2adks, @chicagohost), I have no proof they smoked, and not even a strong reason to suspect it.

Bottom line: I still think I’m going to not leave a review. The lady did leave me a review some days ago. I wonder how many words she used.

To summarize, my current thinking is:

For good (and above) guests (for a not very demanding standard of good) leave a nice review. Fortunately, most of my guests fall into that category. I’m don’t expect much, and I’d probably not make the ideal guest myself, anyway.

For mediocre guests who don’t really get it, don’t leave a review. The guests who are the subject of the review fall into that category, I think.

Finally, there are the really bad guests, who one is obligated to write a review for, if only to warn other hosts. We’ve all seen examples discussed here.

I see the mediocre bit has already been extensively covered in http://www.airhostsforum.com/t/for-mediocre-guests-do-you-not-leave-a-review/693/

Oh, and one more reason to avoid leaving them a review - I told them before they left that I would write them a good one. This is before I found out about the room. I think I need to avoid saying things like that before I’ve seen what shape they’ve left the room in.

Up to you of course… but think how you will feel if she turns around and smacks you! And you didn’t get to say your peace. (piece?)

I also don’t think you are obligated to keep your word about leaving a good review before you’ve seen the condition of the room.

You sell yourself short. As a guest, you would never do the things you’ve described to us. Would you??

Leave it lie then.

Let’s hope her review is good. Otherwise you may be kicking yourself!

One other option is to leave a neutral review and tell them in the feedback what bothered you.
At least you would get to read her review now!

As I said, if they are bad enough for our Bad Guest Lounge, then they deserve the bad review. Just MHO. I don’t want these slobs booking my place. So do us a favour and post their profile.

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Hi @konacoconutz,

Well, I wouldn’t be thrilled about it. But I can’t imagine why she would. I asked the couple whether they had any issues, and they said no. And I didn’t litter their home. :slight_smile: But they do seem a bit odd, so who knows…

No. I don’t litter, smoke or drink. I also talk to people. But I probably have other faults…

I don’t care that much. I mostly focus on the guest being comfortable. Once the guest is gone, my job is done. And one can’t stop people from saying bad things about you. (Shrug.)

Yes, that’s an option. But I would feel a bit odd doing it.

I don’t know if they are bad enough for the Bad Guest Lounge. Isn’t that intended for serious blighters? Do I have a second on whether they are bad enough for the BGL? Also, I’m not a member of the BGL. :slight_smile:

Any guest who cannot be recommended to your fellow hosts can be on our wall of shame. :smile:
We have the terrible, the wretched, the unholy and the merely annoying, all posted!

As for the review, I see where you are coming from… but as I have said, sadly you can’t trust guests. Often they will tell you to your face everything is “fine” and when you read the review you will find it was not so fine. They are hesitant to say it in person but have no problem doing it behind the screen of the platform.

Why do you feel odd about being honest? It bothered you enough to post it here so why not just tell her in private feedback? It doesn’t have to be confrontative. You can simply say, “Thanks for staying with me. The room could have been left cleaner and I was concerned you may have smoked through the apartment window, which is not allowed.”

Just trying to understand, not pressure you.

Hi @konacoconutz,

Fair enough.

Oh, I don’t doubt that you are right. You can’t trust people, period.

Hmm. Well, I guess I just don’t want to get into it with a stranger. I’d have to think of what to say, what ratings to give, etc. etc. It’s just a nuisance. With a clearly defined case, it’s easier. If the guest is good (by my not very high standards) I write a good all 5 stars review. If the guest is really bad (which hasn’t happened yet) I would write about how he/she was bad as a clear warning to other hosts. For the shades of gray in between, it’s a lot harder. And, really, they just seem like clueless kids. But I’m not their parents, or their educator. Who knows, maybe they’re just rich and spoiled.

And, bottom line, like @jaquo said, they didn’t really do anything that bad. They just left a bit of a mess in the room (which I didn’t actually see), and weren’t very friendly. No actual damage. Marginal grounds for a bad review.

That’s Ok. I don’t feel pressured. These situations are likely to come up again. So it does no harm to think about it. Thanks for taking the time to talk about it.

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Again… not bad… FAIR. There’s room for grey area reviews. Especially if they have reviewed you already. You say she wasn’t very friendly. I hope it’s not the case that it was because she was disappointed. And this could show up in the review.

Let me ask you, would you recommend them to ME, or other hosts here that you like?
If not,
It could be as simple as this.
Guests weren’t as friendly and communicative as I hope for. Left the room a bit too messy. Unfortunately, cannot recommend.

Or leave a neutral review and tell her in the feedback that you almost left the above as a review. Don’t feel bad about evaluating them fairly. If someone earned a D in your math class, did you feel bad about assigning them that grade?

Don’t mean to be pushy, just chit chatting with you, tossing around things. :smile:

Yes, I did leave a review. I said that she was quiet and respectful of our quiet little community. (Which is true, I was hardly aware that she was here). I wrote that she was pleasant and friendly (which she was during the meet-and-greet). I did not say that she had left the apartment in great condition which I always do when guests genuinely do so.

So what I wrote was true and it is now up to other hosts to evaluate what I meant by reading between the lines.

I think though that just as we talk about guests and their expectations, we as hosts have different expectations too. Some hosts expect their places to be left in great condition and for everyone to abide by the rules, some don’t.

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