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Request to view room prior to booking

Some guy and his wife want to view my room for a 2 week stay. They are in Miami now, they’ve just bought an apartment and need time here prior to the closing of their place. They want to come to my home to view it. Is this normal? I don’t want to as it indicates to me they are likely to be extremely picky. Also, I will be traveling for 4 days of their stay and that alone makes me feel uncomfortable.

Just wondering if this has happened to other hosts?

If you already have a lot of reviews on your listing, say NO.

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NO, NO and NO

if you give them your address before they book it is too dangerous, you don’t have their credit card and you are not protected by airbnb insurance…

how would they know where you live anyway, address is hidden until booking …

be smart :smile:

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Great points! I declined them but referred them to another host who is a friend. I just gave them your advice. Thanks!

I had someone who wanted to see the place for 1 night! The thing is, you have to go around the system somehow–how else to get your address to them?–and that violates the TOS.

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I forgot about the TOS, Reeny! That makes it a great excuse to not do it. Thanks!

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No, no no no and NO!!! It’s rude, wastes your time, inconveniences your current guests as well as you and violates the TOS. They should be able to tell enough from your description and reviews without having to go see your place. Besides, Air will block any attempt to communicate personal details such as your address. If you don’t want to tell him the above, just say you won’t be allowed to give addresses.

Also… it’s a red flag for an inexperienced guest. Just say NO.

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This is exactly why I love reading advice from you fellow hosts! I never thought about the safety issue of letting guests preview your home before booking. I used to do this and have found that it is a waste of time, especially when the listing has loads of photos and reviews. I politely decline the preview stating that we don’t want to disturb our guests and if they want to preview the space, we have plenty of photos and reviews. Often times they will book anyways. Luckily, none of them ended up being picky, I suppose they are just detail-oriented people who want to know what they’re getting into.

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I’ve just had a local resident request to preview. Here is how our conversation went…

Guest: I’m interested in renting the room. I’ve been living in a great […] apartment for the past 10 years, but need to find a temporary space while the landlord tries to get rid of a rat infestation. Not super fun.

I work for an educational social venture and am a very respectful house guest; I’ve house sat, done Air B&B, and couchsurfed many times, so totally understand the importance of taking care of people’s places and things as I would my own. I like to think I’m very easy to get along with, considerate and, most importantly, always wash my dishes instead of leaving a mess in the sink :slight_smile: I work 9-6:30 M-F.

I’d be interested in renting the room for about a month. I’m flexible on the start date, but sometime around Sept 24 would be good. Since it’s for an extended time, does it make sense to meet? I’m happy to stop by and look at the place tomorrow or Thurs night. Let me know.

Me: Thank you for sending such a wonderful introduction with your inquiry. Based on your previous reviews I am happy to pre-approve your request to book. Please be sure to review the house rules and let me know if you have any questions. Please note that I do have a strict cancellation policy. If you need to move in sooner I do currently have nights available before the 24th. Once you have booked the room we can talk about an appropriate time to meet.

Guest: Is there any chance I could swing by tonight or tomorrow night to look at the room before booking? I know you have a strict cancellation policy so just want to make sure all is ok before booking - including the commute to/from work :slight_smile:

Now, here is my question to this Host Forum, how should I repy? Following is what I came up with, please send your comments!

Guest: I have hosted many happy guests who have commented in their reviews about cleanliness, accuracy of the pictures, and the location. Information is available in the Getting Around section of the Description, which should enable you to calculate your commute or see the transportation options that are available. Unfortunately your request to preview the house before booking violates the Airbnb TOS. Viewing the house before your arrival was a courtesy offer predicated on a booked reservation. Please feel free to view the pictures, read the description and reviews by other guests.

How should I sign off???

Thanks in advance for your feedback. :slight_smile:

Your proposed reply sounds very reasonable. Your potential guests point of view also sounds reasonable. One option would be to suggest that he book for a short time. If he likes it, he can book for longer. Airbnb could not have a problem with that. However, do you have the space available for such an extended period of time? If not, surely this is all moot.

Yes. Thank you for your question @faheem. The room is available for the month, in fact, I prefer long-term guests and have my settings configured so as to filter out 1, 2 or 3 night guests. It’s just not worth it otherwise.

I like your suggestion. One thing that has to be considered is the occupancy tax. For short term rentals, Airbnb collects the tax. If he then changes to long-term (31-nights), I don’t think that the taxes would be refunded or credited to the amount of the guest’s rental. I called Airbnb, but will have to wait to hear back from their “Tax” department to see if they have an answer.

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I think it is reasonable to want to see a room before a month-long rental, but I think it is a bad idea for locals to use the AirBnB platform as an alternative way to find month-to-month lodging. I understand using AirBnB if coming to town for a month for work, but locals have other housing resources such as friends and Craigslist sublets (lots of people go out of town for a month and want someone to stay in their room or apartment). This potential guest is probably fine, but professional squatters do use AirBnB to find somewhere to mooch because Air is much less strict than most landlords in terms of credit and background checks.

If I needed a month-long rental while my home was being worked on, I personally would not use AirBnB because of their fees. (Well, I’d stay with my parents because they wouldn’t charge me, but a lot of folks don’t have parents in town!)

My thoughts aside, you have every right to say no to the visit. How bad do you need the booking? When does someone get tenants rights in your city? After 30 days?

Not sure if you are in the US. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be cautious about renting to anyone on Airbnb over one month. Doing so WILL confer long term tenant status on your guest, giving them all the rights of a tenant. If she decides to squat and not leave or overstay, you will have to go through the courts to get her out as she will be entitled to due process. I would have her sign an additional lease to rent, and I would collect a deposit equal to her months rent. Just her admitting that she’s between places is a big red flag. Why does it take a month to get rid of rats? Something is fishy here.

I feel like you need more references too. This is not an Air guest as much as it is a longer term tenant. Be really careful. Just having the stay broken up into separate stays for each month will NOT protect you.

Look her up on your local judiciary site to see if she has been sued for unlawful detainer. Call previous landlords. Check employment references.

I think your responses are great but I don’t like how she presses on you to see the place. Even if you wanted to, Air won’t let you communicate addresses.

I wouldn’t take this person. Please see the squatter threads here on this forum if you have any doubt how badly this can turn out.

I have been an air host for seven years. I would never ever take a long term tenant on Air. That is a completely different transaction and can easily backfire on you and have you wishing you never took their reservation…, so please be careful.

[steps off soapbox]

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I’ve read the horror stories about local guest and they scared me off when I first started doing Airbnb. However, ALL of my local guests have been great. One was a local host that was renting her whole house while she stayed with me for about 10 days. I had a contractor who was going through a trial separation from his wife and stayed for 2 weeks. And another couple who had a child at home. They traded off sleeping at my house for two months - one parent stayed with me, while the other stayed at home. But then I screen and ask questions. I check their reviews and references. The contractor, for example, provided just enough information in his inquiry that I was able to find him on Yelp! I sort of do my own background check. I have also declined requests from local guests. “I need a place to stay while my boyfriend visits”. Ahhh, then get a hotel room! It would be one thing, if I had a separate unit for rent - I only have guest rooms and shared spaces. That’s just over-the-line for me - guess I’m “old school”.

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Good point about a month being a long time to get rid of a rat infestation. The obvious thing is to check with the landlord, but that could be tricky for several reasons.

@konacoconutz, her location is listed on her profile as Oakland CA.

@katnhat , certainly it’s a very good idea to be careful. What sort of process do you have for checking out your month long stays?

Ah, I see you answered the question. :slight_smile:

Why would it be tricky to check with the landlord?

Past success does not guarantee that your luck will continue. I get it if you don’t want to take our advice about 30-plus stays. However I won’t be offering any sympathy if it does happen to you … :frowning:

Hmm.

a) Your potential guest might be insulted that you are checking up on him.

b) You’ll presumably have to get that information via the Airbnb messaging system, which is set up to block contact information Though in practice they’re not that good at it.

But it’s certainly doable if you want to try that. And I’m definitely totally in favor of checking up on people if possible. Particularly for longer stays. Do you run a credit check?

Thank you @konacoconutz, I am aware that they become tenants at 30 days. I have actually tried to find long term tenants/roommates and had the WORST luck. I was so grateful when they agreed to move out! Since then, I have found that I prefer Airbnb. There are at least 2 things that make it better than moving in a roommate - profiles and reviews! Usually from strangers, to start, help to filter out some of the potentially hazardous roomies. Tenant references are provided by the tenant, so there is an expectation that the person on the other end of the phone would have nice things to say. Either way, I am going to have to deal with a “tenant”. One guy stayed with me for about 6 months over a 12-month period. He was from Canada, but going to medical school in the US. He always stayed for at least a month and then transferred to a different teaching school for study. In the beginning he didn’t have much in the way of reviews, but we exchanged some rather lengthy and frank messages and I agree to extend him an approval. I am very glad that I did. I agree that it is very important to be cautious and I would never recommend Airbnb as a passive way to rent.

In this life, there ARE NO guarantees! There isn’t anything to guarantee that someone won’t slip and fall on your property, either. [quote=“konacoconutz, post:17, topic:3091”]
However I won’t be offering any sympathy if it does happen to you
[/quote] What a thing to say!

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