Removing cleaning fee & adding security deposit?

I know a few of you had suggested we remove our cleaning fee when we upped our price due to the install of an in ground pool. We have been so lucky this season with really generous and amazing guests, most of which have left the house so clean you’d never know anyone was in there. We even had this wonderful couple from Germany stay for 10 days and we have never met such nice people!

We are doing a trial run with removing the cleaning fee, but wanted to add something to the house rules about expectations on how the house should be left. As we charge a security deposit, we were thinking that we say something about how if the house is trashed or left unreasonably dirty, we will charge the additional cost to clean it to the security deposit. This way it might give guests who intend on trashing the place a little more incentive to clean up after themselves. Is this even OK to do? Are we allowed as hosts to charge the cost of cleaning to a security deposit if the house is trashed? How do i go about doing this without breaking Airbnb rules?

Why are you removing the cleaning fee? Even if a place is left in nice shape, it needs to be cleaned between guests. If you expect your guests to clean, I believe you will run into huge variances in expectations.

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We’re removing it because most guests leave it clean enough that all we have to do is a light cleaning. Also, every single one of our competitors locally do not charge it so we are trying to keep competitive. We are hoping to encourage guests not to be slobs and to leave the house tidy within the house rules, but not asking guests to “clean” as we have to come in and clean all surfaces and floors anyway.

HI Legends! Nice to see you! Well, my two cents is that it’s not really a cleaning fee. It’s a turnover fee to compensate you for getting the place ready for the next guest.

Also… it’s possible that one reason you have nice guests now is because charging a cleaning has attracted a better caliber of guest.

Also…Keep in mind that just because you have had a run of great Guests now it may not last.

I would keep the fee! If people want to book your place, they will. No matter what the competition is charging. I never look at my competition.


PS. Adding a security deposit with the language you have suggested above is not enforceable and therefore not really a deterrent. It’s really a damage deposit and you won’t be able to collect on it if the guests leave your place messy. Keep the cleaning fee! Don’t mess with your run of good luck!:heart_eyes:



As always you offer excellent advice! While we figured it might not be enforceable we were hoping it would be a deterrent so people don’t trash the place. We did have 2 guests complain about the cleaning fee, both complaints were after they booked and it just got us thinking.

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I think it is annoying that Air call it a cleaning fee as I find some people expect to be “cleaned up after”. Instead, I wish it could be called something like a “single night tariff” as I use it so that it encourages guests to stay longer than one night.


I completely agree. I would prefer it to be a “laundry fee”. A lot of people get upset they are being charged it and I think that they leave the house filthy because they feel entitled to do so as they are paying a cleaning fee. I notice this a lot with our VRBO guests, 90% of them leave the house completely filthy.


Hi @LegendsCreek, I used to NOT have a cleaning fee - it was built into the cost of the rental. But then I realized that Air displayed the prices before cleaning, so mine appeared to be more expensive than some, even though it wasn’t when factoring in the cleaning. So I lowered my rate and added the cleaning fee for display purposes.

Air recently started including the cleaning cost in the overall nightly rate when looking at their location map that shows the rates. I just did a check and sure enough it shows MY rate plus cleaning cost but not the Air booking fee.

If you have just raised your rates you might remove your cleaning fee if others in the area aren’t adding it and therefore making yours less competitive.

I hear what you’re saying… adding it makes people leave the house less tidy than if you aren’t charging, likely because they figure they are paying for it, so why do the work?

But for those that don’t leave it so well but without any tangible damage I really don’t think you could claim it on their deposit.

When people have left our house really well I’ve been known to offer them their next stay with us at a reduced rate (bringing in return clients that I like). Since you are also a destination place you might try this if you continue to charge the cleaning fee.

(Thinking “out of the box”): Maybe let them know that a portion of the cleaning fee will be returned if the house is left nicely??
Or perhaps give/send them a gift from your storefront thanking them for leaving a clean home (and perhaps getting repeat business there).

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In addition to the cleaning fee, we place a small sign on the dresser in the room with these checkout instructions:

 Please remove sheets/pillow cases and place in hamper
NOT white decorative pillows.
 Please place dirty towels in hamper.
 Please empty trash in barrels to the left of the garage.
 Please place dirty dishes in dirty dish bin under the TV.
 Remember to leave the orange key on dresser.
o Replace key in lock box if used.

Without the check list we would have guests making the bed, leaving absurd amounts of trash and towels all over the floor. We basically sanitize the room between guest, and change the sheets and towels and if they ask about the cleaning fee we let them know the cleaning fee is there so that they have a clean room upon arrival. So far we’ve had just one complaint about the fee and the additional checkout list but most people are happy to do it. The only time I reduce the cleaning fee is if we have a long term renter. We’ve had workers who rent M-F 4 to 6 weeks in a row. We still clean in between stays but instead of offering a percentage discount we just knock off the cleaning fee.

I would be unhappy with that list and would likely ignore it. :frowning:


I never thought about charging it and then refunding them after the stay. It sounds like an idea I might want to try, but then I worry that guests will assume the house was clean to their standards and expect the refund, and withhold leaving us a positive review until they get a refund so I am not sure that would work for us but I will think about it a bit. With our pricing, we are $50 more expensive per evening on weekends than competitors but we have a pool, and an entire home that can sleep up to 6, our competitors don’t have any of this so we feel the price increase is justified.

David_Smith, we have a similar list of checkout instructions and all guests must follow it as part of our house rules. If they ignore it, they are breaking our house rules which is a big no-no for us.

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The security deposit is a joke. Air will only charge someone if they agree to it so unless you get guests who admit to damage air won’t give you anything from the deposit. Definitely cover your turnover costs either by adding some money onto your nightly rate or having a cleaning fee.