Seeking some assistance on wording a negative review

Hi folks,

Happy New Year to you!

I’m seeking some assistance wording up
a negative review. Am asking you here because I am still emotionally invested but do not want to over respond or under respond and make the review useful for future hosts. He hasn’t followed my house rules.

The guest had booked three people (his parents and himself) after Xmas and over the New Year period.
However my tenants told me that his brother and girlfriend also came to stay for at least some of the time. Certainly some extra linen and an extra duvet was pulled out.

The bathroom drain was taped up with masking tape. When we unpeeled the tape the bathroom drain cover was missing. Upon investigation the bathroom drain cover was stuffed down the drain. I’m not sure what had happened for them to be messing with the bathroom drain.
There haven’t been drain issues with the next guests.

The seat leather on a vintage captain office chair is damaged. This heavy chair was moved from the office/bedroom into the lounge room and not put back and subsequently the floorboards were scratched in a small area in the lounge room. The tv was moved and not put back. (I ask guests to move back furniture on exiting).

The recycling bin was mixed with general rubbish and there were maggots in it.
Four bags of rubbish were left outside the door and not put in the bin.

There were mugs left in the bathroom. Wet towels were dumped in the bathroom and not in the laundry sink as I ask them too.

The guest hasn’t communicated anything to me to date but I see he has just left a review.

I was thinking of giving him a 3. I wouldn’t host him again and wouldn’t recommend.

How about:

Didn’t follow House rules: Some examples: two unregistered guests; moved furniture/didn’t return to original place; didn’t separate trash from recycling (maggots in recycling). Caused damage: leather chair; bathroom drain; scratched floors. Do not recommend.

I’d rate 2 stars.


I’m not sure what you mean by a “drain cover”- you mean a rubber stopper? And mugs left in the bathroom are a total non-issue.

However, these were quite disrespectful guests.

“Had extra unregistered guests, moved furniture resulting in floor damage, damaged leather chair, did not dispose of garbage properly (maggots found crawling in kitchen garbage, mixed and food garbage thrown in recycling bin), did not follow minimal check-out instructions. Cannot recommend.”


By the drain cover (I’m in Australia) the aluminium cover (ours has holes it) over the waste drain in the bathroom where excess shower water drains out.

Thanks for your suggestions. Mine would have been far too wordy with unnecessary issues.

Guest is pretty terrible, but please do not say anything in your review about house rules unless 1. specific ones were broken and 2. you mention the rules and what they did. For example, if you do not have a rule about moving furniture and returning it, then you will be called out. Ditto recycling.

The other issues can be described, but you will have your reply removed if your referenced house rules were nonexistent.


Thanks for that advice Rolf, i may have confused some of my (comprehensive) check in list with my house rules.
I will revisit my house rules and see what I can include (if any) and just reference the problems otherwise. I do not like writing negative reviews but also do not want this one to disappear for the benefit of other hosts.
Time to edit my house rules!

Not sure if other people are experiencing it but have been generally lucky lately with guests printing out and leaving behind my check in list so they know what to do, awesome! Not these ones though.

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If you find that some of the violations did not violate your house rules (like moving the furniture) note that some of this conduct violate Airbnb ‘ground rules.’

See Ground rules for guests - Airbnb Help Center

For example:


Also look at Airbnb standards for being a considerate guest:

I’m confused- what is a “check -in list”?
Don’t you mean a check-out list?

If you ask guests to put wet towels in the laundry sink, take the garbage out to the bins, make sure recycling is separated, etc. those are check-out instructions.

Check-out instructions should be mentioned in your listing. There is a lot of buzz right now about guests complaining about being given a long list of chores to do before checking out, which were not previously mentioned. They only find out when they are in residence that the host has left a list saying guests are expected to strip the beds and start a load of wash, take garbage out to the dumpster or outside bins, sweep, etc, etc.

Perhaps you are clear in your listing about your check-out instructions. I think hosts should be- it isn’t fair to spring a list of check-out chores on guests after they book or arrive.

Check-out instructions are not the same as house rules. House Rules, IMO, should be about the important stuff- no smoking, no moving furniture, no unregistered guests, and so on. A lengthy list of house rules can be a real turn-off and make the host look like a micro-managing control freak.

I’m not suggesting you are, the things you mentioned- tossing wet towels in the laundry sink, not leaving food garbage bags open to attract maggots and rodents, seem perfectly reasonable. (Separating recycling properly is a reasonable ask, but not one you can always trust guests to bother to do).


Hi Muddy,

These are my house rules and check in details that also include check out instructions. Perhaps it is too long? Lately I send it a week or two before the guest arrives. If you have any suggestions for making the instructions better for guests to understand I will be very grateful.

Usually the check in is 3pm but the last guest had asked for 10.30am and I hadn’t fixed it.

Your rules sound reasonable and not onerous to me. Not sure why “Self-check-in with keypad” would be under House Rules, though.

Personally, I wouldn’t be so wordy with the instructions (I think what you are calling a check-in list is what most hosts refer to as the house manual. Not sure why you have guests print it out, though- most hosts just leave a manual in the listing)

I would tend to be a bit less wordy. For instance, instead of the two paragraphs regarding check-out procedures, I would write:

Before checking out:
*Put used towels in laundry sink
*Load dishwasher
*Return any moved furniture to original
*Leave key and lockbox on table in
second bedroom
*Close front door

As a guest I would just find it easier to scan down a simple bullet point list.


Why don’t you have your check out list printed out for guests. Mine is stuck the fridge . @Sharmaine_Palmer

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“Guest did not follow house rules; had overnight guests, rubbish outside doors filled with maggots. In addition, damaged leather furniture and wood flooring as well as bathroom drain. I cannot recommend this guest.”


I think the focus should be on making yourself whole, warning other hosts, and not getting a booking from these folks again.

How about contacting the guest first for reimbursement?

“Dear guest, we are sending a charge of $xx through the Airbnb Resolution Center for your 2 extra visitors and repair of the damaged leather chair. Our house rules as stated in the listing do not allow for additional visitors in order not to add work for our cleaners or disturb our long term tenants.”

If they pay promptly, this may change your review of them. You can still say they were messy and/or you wouldn’t host them again.

I’m lenient on dishes; trash, as long as it’s in a trash can and not on the floor; and whether the used towels land in the hamper or on the floor. Some of my guests are rushing to catch an early flight. Recycling rules vary and while obvious to you it’s another thing for the traveler to wrap their mind around in a new place.

What are the guests supposed to wrap the garbage in? Is that clear and the material available? The drain thing was also not destructive – were they trying to take a bath and you have not provided a plug? If you are going to allow moving furniture, there will be scratches occasionally; that’s just wear and tear.

Would you have been OK with the chair damage if it had been returned to its proper place? I think not. Focus on the major stuff.

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Explain this please? No matter if they ‘pay promptly’ or not, they still caused damage. Why would your review become less honest?

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I agree that the review should be honest. But if the guests pay the damages, ideally without rancor the Host could add a sentence: “When the costs for the damage and unauthorized visitors was raised the guest promptly paid without rancor.”

That statement would be important to me.

On the damage to the chair, accidents happen, though much better if the guest had brought it to the attention of the Host proactively.

On the unauthorized guests I think the Host needs to make a judgment on whether the guest made an honest mistake (e.g., they were unfamiliar with the system) or tried to get away with it.

I am in that situation now, where I have no reason to believe that the guests were super naive and tried to sneak in a guest. Even if they pay when confronted, I’m not sure how I will evaluate them. I will say that they had an unauthorized guest and paid promptly when this was brought to their attention (if they do) but on the stars I’m not sure how many stars to give them based on what I think is a very serious infraction, whether ultimately paid for or not. To me it’s at least - 2 stars.

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That the guest caused damage doesn’t change, but I would mention in a review if the guest was forthcoming with payment. This can change the entire scenario for future hosts as far as accepting a guest. A person who causes damage and doesn’t balk at paying for it says something positive about a guest, that they take responsibility. Anyone is perfectly capable of causing some damage to something, either by accident or through momentary inattention or carelessness, It’s how a person deals with causing damage to someone else’s home or belongings that matters.

And while hosts understandably get upset to discover damages which the guest hasn’t bothered to mention and offer to pay for, it’s also possible that a guest simply doesn’t notice that they caused some damage. Many people just aren’t all that observant, someone in the group may have caused the damage and the booking guest wasn’t aware of it, and of course we are quick to notice damages in our own places that we know inside out, while it might not be evident to a stranger. Unless they are the kind of guests who do a walk-through when they arrive and photograph or report anything that was already damaged when they checked in, they probably aren’t going to pay attention to the fact that there’s a small dent in the fridge door so would have no idea if it was like that when they arrived, or it happened during their stay.

If a guest caused a bit of damage, and when I spoke to them about it, their response was to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry- I never noticed- my 3 year old must have gotten ahold of a pen and scribbled on that. Please let me know how much it costs to get whatever special cleaning is required done and I will definitely pay for it.” And if they did pay for it, I wouldn’t be inclined to mention the damage at all in a review. (If they were total house wreckers who caused a lot of damage, I would def mention that, though, even if they agreed to pay. The guests the OP here had did enough things wrong that even if they agree to pay for the damages, I would still mention it.)

Sorry not a great approach as you know increasingly guests who damage your listing leave revenge reviews if you ask them to pay for damage before reviews are exchanged.


That’s an idea! My only problem with that is that I already have those instructions in the hard copy house manual. I also pop a card next to their fruit reminding of when to check out (used to have many problems with people really over staying before I took that measure). It’s sort of how many times do you tell people of the ways to respect your place before it becomes too much. I suppose I could remove the exit instructions out of the house manual and put a note on the fridge. Thanks.

Have now written the two star review with the kind help from people here. Almost never do I write bad reviews so did not feel good about it but would have felt worse for not doing it. He has all five star reviews, another host in the same city said he treated their place like his own! Go figure?!