Problem guests moving cameras, extra people

Hi everyone,

This is only my second booking on Airbnb and I’m having some trouble handling this situation…I have a whole home listing with self check in. It has a maximum of 8 guests with an extra fee after 6. This booking is for 6 guests for 3 nights. They said they will be going to a music festival and wanted to spend some time in the mountains (where my Airbnb is) too.

Two cars initially pulled into the driveway and 5 people were seen. I have external security cameras facing the cars that they pushed upwards so the view was obstructed…a few seconds later they pushed them back, but still pointed upwards so it couldn’t really capture anything. I messaged the booker and told her it was unacceptable to tamper with the cameras and to put them back how they were. She apologized and said she didn’t know someone did that and put them back.

About an hour after a third car pulled up and now there are 7 people there. My maximum is 8 with an extra fee after 6. It’s not the extra fee, it’s the fact that they have been dishonest and totally violated my rule about unauthorized guests on the property. It’s making me worried that they will ignore my other house rules.

At what point do I message them about the extra person? Do I wait and see if additional people come out of the house since I wasn’t able to see everyone that went in? Should I open up a ticket with Airbnb?

Yes, the last. I would ask them to leave.

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Definitely need to pop over there and see what is going on, perhaps put the camera somewhere less obvious/accessible.

These guests have already been dishonest with you by moving your security camera to obscure your view of who is arriving at your place. Why would they do that (not something you do by accident) unless they didn’t want you to see what was going on at your property.

The booker is being disingenuous with you. Whether they were outside when the camera was moved themselves or not, they will know how many people are arriving to stay and therefore why this would have been done.

I would contact the main guest again about the extra guest there in violation of your house rules and your concerns about what other rules might be broken and see what reassurances they make. Confirm that you will be sending over an amendment for the extra guests, which they need to accept for their whole party to be able to stay. Alternatively if you now feel uncomfortable with the group you could ask Airbnb to cancel the whole booking.

If you are a remote host do you have a local manager that can go over ?

This probably wouldn’t happen here as I have a small room and I am on site but I’m glad I got the tamper proof cameras. Here someone would have to put tape over the protective dome.

Anyway, as others have said, there is zero reason to tamper with the cameras. I would call Airbnb and take advantage of their penalty free cancellation policy.

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I called airbnb last night after they checked in and told them about the extra guest and moving the camera. The rep told me to see if the guest was actually staying overnight or dropping someone off(unlikely considering it was midnight, they had been there two hours already, and we are in a small mountain community), so we waited. I had to catch a flight out of state this morning before anyone exited the house and only had the chance to look at the cameras this evening. Only looking at the daytime footage from today, I have seen nine people exiting our cabin. This is way more than their booking and more than our maximum for the listing. I feel totally stuck. We are within our rights to evict them but since my father is the only one in the area(and he’s still an hour away) no one feels comfortable having him try to monitor nine people spread across a three story home to make sure they don’t break anything. I have messaged airbnb the footage showing nine people but am still waiting on a response. Their booking is still for tonight and tomorrow night.

Personally, I would have called Airbnb back, not just messaged them and asked them to cancel the booking straight away, for clear violation of your house rules.

Do you not have a local manager to help you co-host if you are not nearby/are not available? I agree it’s not fair to ask your father to look after this situation.

As an emergency measure could you ask two or three (strong, burly) friends to go up there to oversee the guests checkout and ensure there is no damage?

If you aren’t ready to cancel the booking, find if the Airbnb rep can actually submit the alteration request to include 9 guests. 7th & 8th guest at usual extra guest rate THEN request a high rate for the 9th guest with the explaination that this exceeds maximum occupancy. If the additional fees are not approved/paid within 24 hours, it will result in an eviction due to rule violation.

I recognize this feels like a personal betrayal by someone you trusted with your home. I suspect you are in participating in Airbnb for many reasons including the revenue. GET YOUR MONEY! Plan to leave a review they brought extra guests and violated rules.

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Did you hear back from Air?

I’ve been doing this much, much longer, but I would have told Airbnb immediately and said they are in violation of the rental agreement and out they go. No ifs ands or buts.

I am also in an area where there are summer music festivals and I make no bones about the rules ahead of time: NO guests on the property that are not on the rental agreement without prior authorization from me.

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I did hear back from air and they supported either me evicting them or charging them extra. I opted to request the additional guest fees to which they agreed to without any argument.

My father went up there after they left and the place was spotless. Nothing was damaged or missing. They didn’t even eat any of the snacks or water we had out. We got really lucky with how this played out. This will 100% be a learning experience about having more specific house rules and better screening.

Now I have the difficult task of writing a review that captures their horrible decisions about messing with the camera and bringing extra guests but also the great shape they left the house in.

Thanks for all your feedback everyone.

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@Screaminmimi511you were so lucky!! I would have booted them for touching the camera. I would say:

X left my place spotless, but did bring at least # more guests that agreed upon and moved my security camera. They agreed to pay an extra guest fee when confronted, but I prefer guests be upfront before they book and before they arrive - not after. Even though they left the place in good order I would not host again.

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Beautifully put. Balanced, clear, and professional.

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Pulitzer Prize of reviews has just been awarded!

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A suggestion - maybe you should mention in your listing that you have security cameras outside over the parking area. I think this would alert those that are looking to have a party or exceed the guest limit to look elsewhere. I have a camera that is clearly visible for “guest check in and house keeping purposes”.

Airbnb requires that cameras be disclosed.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/887/what-are-airbnb-s-rules-about-electronic-surveillance-devices-in-listings

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Wow that’s a good review. Thanks so much!