Request Your Input on Problem with Guests That Arrived and entered early

Hello! I am a longtime lurker and I have benefitted from so much wonderful advice on this forum, so thank you in advance for that.
Today I went to my house to clean before people checked in (check in time is 4 PM), and the people were already in my house, hanging out. They scared me when I entered the house because the door was locked and I did not expect to see people inside. When I entered the house, I saw one guy with his feet on my awesome couch (boots), a bunch of people smoking outside the back door, and a dog. No pets are allowed at my place. No smoking inside either. So the rules they have already broken are 1) checked in too early
2) brought a pet (dog)
3) they have 4 extra people (they reserved for 2)
Then I see a gun case. I was about to freak out when I saw that because we are very close to DC and the inauguration is tomorrow. I did not even think to mention “No guns” on my house rules, but these are wild times.
I called the non-emergency police who came by and tried to reason with them about the dog and my house rules. One of the guys said his dog is a service animal and the police told me that there are no ways to prove an animal is a service animal, and you can be sued for violating ADA.
I am not sure what to do. VRBO says they will cancel the reservation if I want and I can also request they pay extra for the dog and extra guests. The police said they will make them leave if I want them to. But I am terrified I will upset them and they will damage my house somehow (baby wipes down the toilet, icky boots on my couch, etc.).
Any thoughts?

They have broken too many rules

If they have made you uncomfortable in the first minutes, there’s not telling what you’ll find after they leave.

Cancel the booking, have them leave or be removed.


Please cancel their reservation. Yes, I know terrorizing people is how they make their way through life but there are bad things that can happen if you don’t cancel as well.

FYI, to prevent this in the future get a smart lock that won’t let guests in until the time you set. Also you MUST have security cameras when you don’t live on the property.

Please update us on what happens.


Like getting national attention on twitter. What if your rental ended up on national news?

How were they able to get inside early?

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The key here is SAFETY - they are ARMED and in the DC Area. Air will cancel them.

Time to get cameras and not provide entry codes until check-in time …


Absolutely cancel. And since you seem to have some responsive police, let them know the booking is being cancelled and ask them to be present, as these people are armed and have already shown their entitlement to ignore your house rules, and you are fearful of them destroying your house in retaliation, or physically harming you.

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Cancel, cancel, cancel. They are completely disrespecting you and your property and may well continue to push boundaries. You are fortunate to have officers willing to enforce their departure.

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Thanks! I am canceling them. UGH. Police will remove them they said.


I absolutely agree about cameras. And, with a smart lock, it should be possible to program the guest’s code to activate only starting at checkin time—and not one minute earlier. That’s how our smart locks work.


To clarify, this is a VRBO booking. This is the kind of :poop: Airbnb wanted to avoid.


VRBO is much easier to deal with for things like this. They understand their role as a booking agent.


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So sorry this happened to you. We use a keyless number pad and change it to the guests phone number (the last 4 digits) when we are through cleaning. NO ONE gets into the house until we are ready. I don’t know how you could have prepared or screened for this event. I’d have the police escort them off my property and stand there and watch. Scary - but you have to protect yourself. Hugs.

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As @RebeccaF said, how did they get in?


So, I’m curious… You cancelled and the police saw to it that they left… Were there any of the reprisals that you worried about?

I too am confused how they got in ahead of time. We don’t give out the code until arrival as we either check them in personally or by phone, at which time we give them the code. That also allows us to see if they are sneaking in more than the authorized amount of guests or pets, etc. They also know they have to call us with a 15-20 min. heads up. We are not the “set it and forget it” absentee renter that just gives out the info for their rental then has no interaction and hopes for the best. That is asking for trouble in my opinion. We also use Ring doorbells so if they do try to sneak in extra guests or pets we know and will call them on it (or at the very least charge them for it after they check out by withholding it from their deposit, which we always collect ahead of time).