Should guests pay for something they broke?

We’re new to Airbnb and have our second guests staying with us for 6 weeks. On day 2 they broke a lamp. Should I charge them for it?

yes, they should.

For me it depends … if it wasn’t expensive and they immediately own up and are really embarrassed and offer to pay for it I might not bother. If they ignore it or don’t offer to pay I certainly would charge them - probably double the cost!

But I think the standard rule must be that guest pays for any damage.

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I agree with @Malagachica but as noted, it depends. If a guest was staying with me and their total stay was $500 and they broke a cheapo Ikea lamp AND if the guests were lovely in every other way then I wouldn’t ask them to pay.

It would also depend on whether the damage was accidental or deliberate. If it was accidental and they were apologetic I would probably let it go.

Like said before, if it is cheap and they broke it accidentally, no problem, that is a risk of renting out your house.

If it is a €500 lamp (wich I never would trust my guests with), they have to pay, their own liability insurance should cover it anyway.

Absolutely charge them for it! I’ve had so many “little things” broken, numerous wine glasses, a solar light in the garden, a candy dish, plates.
The guests have always let me know (this is when I was renting my whole house) via leaving a note, and an offer “to pay” letting me know to contact them.
I let those things slide until suddenly it struck me how very rude it was, as I would never as an ABB guest assume it was just OK to not be overly proactive, contact my host within their normal awake hours and ask them how much cash they would like me to leave!
I now only rent out the spare bedroom and bathroom. The last guests that broke something did so out of poor judgement, and they did approach me when they saw me the next day, and the look of shock on their faces when I said “ten dollars” revealed that these particular (and previous guests) actually felt it within their rights to just break my things!
I charge 50-60% less than the most horrible hotel for miles around. Those particular guests were paying $42 per night for their room!
So yes, charge them, either in person or through the Resolution Center, and do not question yourself one moment longer!


Absolutely positively. You are running a business. If they chipped a plate or cracked a cheap glass I wouldn’t care, but a lamp? Charge them!

Hope you have the security deposit in place. That ensures you appear much more serious about damage security and are not relying on Air to make good on it. Claim now, you only have 48 hours.

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How did they break it? What portion is broken?

The base is primarily the broken part but the whole thing is broken until that part gets fixed, if it can be fixed.

Thank you all! That was my inclination too. Just wanted to hear from other bnb hosts to make sure I was on track. I agree too on the little things…But big things that get ruined should definitely be on them. Should I just say, “Thanks for letting me know. I’ll need to have you pay for the replacement or cost of repair so I’ll let you know how much that will be.” ?

I don’t ask guests to pay for glasses. Those are collateral damage. But other things, like vintage plates, yes.

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To me this all depends on how they managed to break the lamp, and how they are treating other things. And their attitude about it. I have a lamp next to one of the beds on a nightstand. The set up of the room, just makes where there is really no where to install lights into the wall, etc. I could see someone reaching for their phone in the middle of the night and possibly knocking it over. Actually I am surprised it is still in tact after all this time.I don’t really know without knowing more to the story.

I am more inclined to charge for unsalveageable towels/linens due to wiping off makeup - as I consider that deliberate damage. Someone purposefully put their cake face on the towels and used them in that manner. No accident.

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No… don’t send correspondence other than to thank them for letting you know and you’ll send it to resolution for processing. You’ll need to upload receipts for replacement so do that now and have it ready. Also take photos of the lamp.

@charmingchester, I think you are in your right to ask money for replacement. Do you set a deposit? In my case I do. I always say it in advance, though. The rules of the house state that guest are responsible to leave everything in the same condition they found it, I really mean everything by it. I also remind it when they check in. In my one year of homesharing I had two “accidents”, the first one was the wc broken by a girl that arrived drunk, we agree to pay half half because the repair work was unexpectedly expensive, and it was me who called the company. The second one was a heater broken and hidden, it took me a couple of days after the check out to discover. The guest said she did not broke it, but she had awful review from a previous host (it showed up in her profile after I acepted her request) who complained she was using electrical appliance in the wrong manner and without asking. So airbnb took my part. Both cases were long stays, one month each. I dont know how I would act in different circunstances. Very helpful to read different views of hosts, thanks for sharing.

Hey! Nice name!
this post must be 20 characters…

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Thank you! One of the admins changed it for me. Most grateful.


I follow your philosophy also.

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Thanks everyone. So, interesting…After hearing from them what happened (the initial report was via text) it sounds like a hairline fracture in the base of the lamp grew increasingly larger, weakening the lamp. I think it grew more and more unsteady with our previous renters and then worsened to the point of a simple turning on of the switch made it fall over on him. B/c I knew about the initial fracture I said we’d take care of it. But I did mention that any other large things that break or get ruined I would need to charge them for, just so they knew. :slight_smile: But I appreciate the feedback!
As a sight aside, we are new to Airbnb and this forum in particular so it’s been so interesting to read this different postings. Let me just say I’m really glad our apartment is over our garage and it has it’s own kitchen and our guests are never in our house unless we’ve invited them to join us in particular! I enjoy having them with us but I would hate having them in my kitchen! Haha!


Just want to mention that during the late 1980’s, I used to rent a ‘cabin’ in Maine for a week each summer. This was just a guest house on the owner’s property. Upon check-in, there was an inventory list I needed to sign that listed every single thing in the cabin, every piece of silverware, every plate, every towel, pillowcase, welcome mat, every appliance, etc. I was provided a copy of the inventory. And at check out, (the owner was not always there upon check out), but the owner made it clear upon check in, that after we checked out, the list would be reviewed and not only did every single thing need to be present and accounted for, it had to be clean, in it’s original place, and in perfect working condition or we would be charged for it.
I don’t see how ABB should be any different.
At my prices, replacing even $6 items takes a huge cut of the money I’m making.


That’s very New England! :wink:

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