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Seeking Advice on Guests Use/Abuse of Utitlities


#1

Hi, fellow Airbnb hosts

I have recently started to host, letting our home during periods when we are not there.

In two of the last three cases, the heating has been left on full when the guests have left the flat.
In one case, one of the gas rings on the cooker was left in flame!

I recognise that there are other things I could/should have done better here, but was curious as to your thoughts on this, and how you handled it.

Thanks!

Ken.


#2

Hi Ken,

This might be not as awkward as it seems - my guests don’t shut down the heating as well, and that’s probably because it’s all turned on on arrival. And the burning gas… we’re all human, aren’t we?

As I understand it, you’re not present when your guests leave. It might be a good idea to add these items to your welcoming text, or put a little friendly please-don’t-forget note in the guestbook.

Happy hosting,

Martin


#3

Hi Ken,
You probably would want to get a programmable thermostat. I did that and it works great. The one I have I can regulate from my computer. 3M, Nest, Honeywell all a have different versions. Mine was $99.00 but well worth it.

I also put a note above the thermostat about making sure the heat is down when they leave for the day above the thermostat in BIG, BOLD, BLACK PRINT on an index size card. I find the book is easily forgotten and I tell them. Being able to regulate the thermostat from the comfort of my home or office is the best thing though.

As for the gas that is a worry but they now have “fireman in a can” that is nestled in your rangehood should a fire erupt on the stove that will put a fire out.
http://www.stovetopfirestop.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Venthood-Factsheet.pdf

Hope this helps
Deborah


#4

Hi Deborah

That’s a good solution - thanks for taking the time to reply. We’ll definitely look into that.

I think you’re right about the book being easily forgotten - just annoying, as I’ve stayed in other properties and been mindful of the rules.

Thanks again for taking time out to answer

Ken.


#5

Hi Martin

Thanks for your reply. We of course have flagged this in our welcome text and info pack, with little success.

Totally agree that we’re only human - which is why I would not like my house to burn down!

Ken.


#6

A lot of the advice here is solid! What I do is I have a House Info & Rules sheet that I invite guests to read through (it also has pertinent information that they want, like Wifi and parking and such, so they want to read it) and writing about conserving energy is in there.

Also, the writing in my listing in general is based in a foundation of reverence for my apartment (mentioning how much you love your place, how intentionally you craft it for them, etc.). I find that this encourages others to respect it, too. Guests will only respect your place as much as you do, and as much as you show them what that means to you.

Hope this is helpful. :slight_smile:

http://TheAbundantHost.com


#7

Hi there

Thanks for taking the time out to reply!

I think the House Rules thing is a good idea. We have a sheet with information about recycling, conserving energy etc, and also emphasis is placed on the fact that it’s our living space. And I guess, as has been mentioned, there is always room for human error. But your (and other) advice will help us to prevent this from happening again!

Thanks

Ken.


#8

I have just run into this as well (heat left on despite house rules, and reminders beneath the thermostat and by the door). Predictably I have had it happen most often with elderly/older visitors who are fairly sedentary and spend more time indoors with the heat on than going out (I’ve had two sets of these who’ve rented for 1-3 months and broken consumption records each time).

Not sure where you are but I think the problem here in Canada is that North Americans are not used to turning the heat down when they go out. I have now posted a new and very obvious sign by the exit, with a graphic showing increasing $$ symbols opposite increasing temperatures and the invitation to help me keep my costs (and rental rates) down.

If I have more problems (our electricity rates have just jumped) I will add to the rules a note to the effect that if required I may be coming in to turn the heat down for them when they’re out.


#9

Many hosts are neurotic about turning the heat down or the air conditioner up when a guest leaves, but I wonder if that is necessary at all. When a guest returns, additional energy will be required to heat the place to an optimal temperature, negating any savings by turning the utility down on exiting. That and having a guest irritated while waiting for the place to warm back up, is it worth the frustration?


#10

It does not matter how many notes you put up or house rules you write. The only way to make sure that all is fine is to check as soon as the guests are out. We had that all, heat up, light on, water running, etc-it is your responsibility to check and if you are away get somebody to set in for you.


#11

I agree with Fendi. When it’s not their own home, people just won’t care. Even when we were home one night and were explicit about the temp so that the upper floor where the guest rooms are didn’t over heat, on the first night, they crank the heat up as hot as it went, and then we heard the ceiling fans in the bedrooms all going. I have also had guests take showers for over an hour. Once a couple came home at 1am and woke up the entire house with an hour and twenty minute long shower (I was wondering if they were waiting for the water to give out). The next morning when other guests were showering I thought, well, it should be ok, because it was probably both of them. Not so lucky. That morning the other one had a shower just as long. I just couldn’t believe that people could be so inconsiderate firstly by waking people up at that time of the night after being out, and in the morning not caring if there was enough hot water for everyone else. It goes again with what I have mentioned that many people are expecting our homes to be hotels, even though they clearly are not - they don’t care. They paid to be here, and they will treat it like it. Others leave all the lights on, ac cranked, and don’t seem to care. I wonder if they do that at home. I also wonder if people are don’t pick up wet floor mats and things like that though… I do a lot of wondering these days!


#12

They pay and do not care. My biggest issue is with window AC on and windows wide open- Yes, your nightly rate covers cooling whole great outdoor!!!


#13

Oh yes, we get those. What about the guests that crank up the house heat beyond sauna levels, and then open all the windows? In some ways it is better for those that are nowhere to see what goes on in their airbnb, and just factors in the huge utility bills.


#14

I was probably cruel to a guest from a hot country (India) who complained of being cold – I said, “Dude, you are not in India anymore! Go put more clothes on!” It was quite funny when he came upstairs wearing several layers of clothes like a bum. (He was walking around in khaki shorts, flip flops, and a T Shirt during the Seattle cold season prior to that). Keep in mind he was only paying $29/night. And I always wear my coat on in the house, too, since it is so drafty and poorly insulated. So I guess I don’t feel that guilty about it.


#15

My guests requested I keep the apt at 68 degrees and I was pretty taken aback. I keep my own home at 76 degrees which I know is on the warmer side but I thought 72 would be comfortable for the apt. I was really surprised to hear they were too warm. Figuring in the cost of utilities, I’m realizing my summer rate is WAY to freakin low.


#16

Yes, and you have to wonder, do they keep their own homes so cool, and if they can afford that, why are they saving bucks to stay in your incredibly well priced apartment? (not that I’m sure that it isn’t also because it’s nice :grinning:). People just want to have the comforts of a hotel, and not to have to consider what it means to be a good guest - ie. Think about how their requests and behavior impacts upon their hardworking and kind host.


#17

I have a talk with the guests about water use because we are on rain catchment systems out here. Because we don’t have heaters at all, that is never an issue! But my guests do leave fans on and sometimes lights. Don’t worry about it too much. The water use is my main concern. Most keep their showers under 10 minutes but I do get the occasional guest taking a 20 minute or longer shower. After I have specifically talked to them and I have several signs and it is in my house rules. The water pump goes on with every use, so guests taking showers after midnight clearly bother me…I don’t want to get too restrictive on what time of night the last shower can be but pretty surprised some don’t use common courtesy.

Suggest though that you greet them and congenially review the house rules emphatically so that they KNOW what your expectations are.

And CS heck yah, that is way too cheap!!! Raise your rates!!!


#18

After enduring almost 2 weeks of a full house of 4 rooms being booked I decided yes it was indeed time to raise rates, as someday I would like to sleep in one of my real beds again. I have a repeat customer who comes into town to work and I was delighted to see he was willing to pay $50 for a room I used to book for $35. It’s peak travel time because Seattle is enjoying creepily warm summer weather. I feel funny about my listing prices…every day it is a battle between greed and integrity. I tried the hardest for my first guests who got the best of everything for the cheapest rates, the free rides around town and from the airport. The guests paying double now are getting the least privacy and the least attention. I suppose this will soon be reflected in my loss of superhost status.


#19

I daresay (and I hope I don’t offend you, CS,) but your rates are still dirt cheap! I would gladly trade super host status for a fair price and less running around for guests. I think you could raise them way up, stop getting them at the airport and still get plenty of bookings. Hotels in Seattle are pricey!


#20

I don’t know if they are dirt cheap, my rooms are in an old house and all my furniture is second hand. I see people renting out worse places for more but as usual its always a battle between integrity and greed during “surge” peak travel times.


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