Shared kitchen/bathroom with host not present

I am a co-host who is consulting with a couple who want to put a unit in their four-plex on Airbnb. This unit has 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a living space and a kitchen. They are considering listing the bedrooms separately, with shared use of the living space, kitchen, and bathroom. My instinct is that this would be hard because people have very different standards for kitchen and bathroom cleanliness. But this type of arrangement is not uncommon in hostiles and other types of shared accommodation. The owners live in one of the other units but don’t want to be responsible for daily cleaning of the kitchen and bathroom. Has anyone here done this? What are the pros and cons? How do you set up house rules to head off bad behavior? Thanks for any adivce - I appreciate this forum and the extensive experience you all bring to the table!

as an experienced co-host surely you know the pros and cons.? @Janicesoderberg

I wouldn’t do this, or co-host for owners wanting to do this. why would you when the host would get much more for a whole listing.

Unless they are going to invest in a cleaner for me it would be too risky .

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That sounds like a really bad idea to me. The host expecting that unrelated guests are going to be responsible for maintaining the bathroom and kitchen cleanliness themselves with no issues, is totally naive. Those kind of living arrangements can work, but someone has to clean the bathroom and kitchen daily, whether it’s a hired cleaner or the host.

Even most hostels I know of don’t do this. My friend has a small hostel and although guests are expected to clean up after themselves, she has a cleaner who keeps all common areas clean on a daily basis.

A host who rents out several rooms in his home said he nips into the shared bathroom several times a day, making sure it is clean, wiping the counter, rinsing the toothpaste out of the sink, and swiping the toilet seat with bleach or lysol wipes. Not only is this host you are working with clueless in his idea, it can be a health hazard to leave it up to the guests to clean bacteria-laden areas like bathrooms and kitchens.

As helsi points out, why would they want this rental model anyway? Why not advertise it as a 2 bedroom unit for 1 set of guests? Does he think he’s going to be able to make a bunch more money or something? Because it seems like the opposite would be true- guests who would be happy to share a place with a stranger and be responsible for keeping common areas clean are not going to be the type to want to pay much for accommodation.

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I am experienced, yes, but only with private unshared spaces, and I figured there might be angles I am not aware of, that is why I am asking here.

The owners are not motivated solely by profit. They have lots of experience living in communal settings and they value connecting with others, especially the young single people who come through our area for tech jobs. They have visions of a “community space” and others in the four-flex being part of that. Perhaps Airbnb is not the best platform for what they are envisioning.

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@Rolf isn’t that what you do?

I’m going to be staying in a highly rated Airbnb that does that partially does that. We each have a private bathroom but there’s a shared butler’s pantry that’s been turned into a kitchenette. The host lives in the home but doesn’t share space with the 3 rooms he rents out.

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Yes! I have a 2 fam home with one side my living quarters, and the 100 year old other side STR’d with 3 bedrooms. One room has a small private full bathroom (up a flight of stairs thru the kitchen!) that sleeps 2 max, and two other bedrooms share a second bathroom - one room 1 guest max, the other 2 max, so that the shared bath does not get overrun. They are up a flight of stairs.

A common living room and game area, a Yoga studio, and a kitchen (no stove use, only a microwave) complete the setup. My guests are mostly here on business or for events - hardly any doing vacays - and the max stay is capped at 6 days.

It is easy to do a listing like this, but I found that sep. smartlocks on the bedrooms were a must. Also, I come thru daily and make sure the common areas are clean and the bathrooms are spotless, since my guests want more of a hotel experience.

The income is very good but the workload for the host can be more. I too host many young folks doing tech (most guests are under 40) and while they might choose not to interact with the other guests, when asked they seem to prefer less isolation, and more communal feel. I think you will have a great setup if you are sensitive to the guest needs.

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I rented rooms with shared bathrooms prior to COVID but closed them when the pandemic hit. I did do the bathroom cleaning. Each room had a fridge, microwave, coffee maker and TV. There was not a shared kitchen. I never had a problem with cleanliness in the common living area, but I lived there too which probably helped.

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There’s no reason that can’t be a workable scenario on Airbnb. Lots of people like to stay where there is a sense of community. That’s the reason many single travelers book private room homeshare listings- it isn’t just because they are less expensive than self-contained spaces- they like the security of not being alone in an unfamiliar area, and having someone local, in the form of the host, to relate to and give them local tips and information.

The only part of this that isn’t workable is not having someone who is paid, or the host, to keep the bathroom and kitchen clean. If the living room gets messy, it’s not such a big deal, but some people are quite dirty and messy in the bathroom and kitchen, and that’s not going to be okay with the clean guests. Roommate contention over things like that don’t exactly contribute to a “community” feel.
Or rent one of the rooms to someone full time at a reduced rate in exchange for the cleaning chore.

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They need to invest in a cleaning lady who comes daily. Period. And then swaps out linens and cleans rooms for changeovers.

Then house rules for each unit - provided in welcome message, in the listing, and in a notebook in each room.

I’ve often thought of renting out my second bedroom so there would be 2 beds/1 bath but I’d be home. And even with the 1 bedroom shared rental with me, I also nip into the bathroom after guests are out for the day and do a quick swipe of the bathtub, floors, and sinks. They come home to a tidy bathroom and I’m not dealing with surprises.

It could work, needs a cleaning lady to come in daily for at least 2 hours to clean everything. Including the bedrooms (we sweep/mop/vacuum daily) so there aren’t any food or mess or stain surprises.