The key disappeared

I had a guest the other day who were leaving when I was at the office. He offered to lock and leave the key in my locked mailbox which is on the ground floor where all residents have their mailboxes. This is inside the house.
When he had left he texted me and said he had left the apt and put the key in the mail box. When I came home, there were no key in the mail box so I texted him and asked if he had forgotten. He responded that he surely had put the key in the box.
He was a very proper person, upper class, and trust worthy. If he says he left the key, I do trust him. But the key is gone and now I need to change lock. I know I can claim money from him, but I dont feel right about it, I wasnt at home, I agreed to let him leave the key in the mail box. But perhaps Airbnb has an insurance that covers this, what do you think?
I have raised it with them, waiting for feedback now.

Can anyone access the mailbox?

Except me, the mailman.

But anyone can of course stick their fingers or a tool into it thru the opening.

Ask the other residents. Maybe he put it another mailbox.


I looked into the other boxes directly (two hours after they left) but I didnt see it. I dont want to ask around as that will then inform everyone that the key belongs to my apartment.

Tell a tiny mis-truth…your friend left a key to her apartment so you can check on her cat


One other solution is to just change the lock anyway. Any of your past guests could make a key and if a neighbor got the key with bad intent they could make a copy and then give you your key back. Here in the US a new lock can easily be installed cheaply and the cost deducted from taxes making it even more affordable.

I’m guessing that you are not in that situation. Nevertheless this is what we call “the cost of doing business.”


The kwikset smart key lets you re-key a lock yourself-no locksmith needed. Whenever a key goes missing you re-key it without actually changing the lock.

Available: deadbolts, traditional doorknobs, locks with keypads.


Those are exactly what I use.

However in Europe and in apartment buildings there are often different locks and even regulations requiring the building maintenance to change the lock at a high price.


I shouldn’t be at all surprised if in a week or so you get a message from embarassed guest saying “So sorry, could have sworn I posted it, just found it in my other pants/jacket pocket. Shall I send it back?” Sometimes you absolutely know you have definitely done something and … you haven’t.

However, this will be no help to you as you will have changed the lock by then …:roll_eyes:


I recently locked the padlock on my front gate to keep people off the new sealer I’d put on the saltillo. I went with a friend to do an errand. When we returned I could not find the key anywhere for that lock. I described it to the friend and she helped me look. I checked the 4-5 places where I put a key multiple times. I was kind of panicky because I had an airbnb guest coming later that night. After searching for an hour and thinking about options I decided I was going to have to cut the lock off but in weighing whether to buy or rent a bolt cutter I remembered one of my dog clients works for a rental company. I called him to see if they have bolt cutters and he said, I don’t know but I have some in my truck. And he was scheduled to bring his dog that day! The sheer luck!

So I gave him $20 off his dog’s visit and the lock was off before the Air guest arrived. All is right in the world again. The very next day I was due to take my friend to the airport. I got in her truck and she said “I’m embarrassed to say this but I have your missing padlock key.” She reached into her junk tray and pulled out a keychain with my house key and padlock key on it. It was there in her truck while we were searching the whole time. She said she was thinking she knew exactly what it would look like as I was describing it but just couldn’t place where she had seen it. LOL.

I had given it to her one of the times she came to watch my dogs while I was out of town.

I don’t know if this “very proper person, upper class, and trust worthy” man was also older, but I’ve seen a high correlation between “older” and more "cognitive gear slippages. "


Perhaps he placed the key in the wrong mailbox. Depending on the lock, you may be able to change it yourself. My husband watched a You Tube video and changed the lock himself. He simply took out the cylinder and replaced it with the new one.

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Why do any hosts think that dropping keys in the mail box is a good idea? You need only do a search of this forum for “key mail box” to see all of the problems that can come up.

Can you take a photo of the mail box area and send it to the guest and ask them exactly where they put the key?


Why are hosts or co-hosts not around when someone is checking out? We haven’t used keys for years but when we did, I’d ask guests to give the keys directly to me when they left. It’s a great opportunity to give the guests a lasting impression of a place when you say goodbye as warmly as they were greeted when they arrived.

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Because I’d be sitting around all morning waiting for them to check out. Or getting up in the pre dawn hours. With all my one night stays if I greeted everyone on arrival and departure I’d be home 18 hours a day for $50. Nope.

And in the OP’s case she said she was away at work. For many hosts Airbnb is a second or third job.


It is for me too. But it is easier for me, certainly, because I do the cleaning myself. So I’m going to be going into the rental anyway as soon as the guest has left to start the cleaning, make sure that the electricity-guzzling AC isn’t set to a stupidly cold temperature, open the windows to air the place, make sure there are no food crumbs or other ant attractors in the kitchen and check that the guests have taken all their belongings so I can text them before they are too far away.

If I was using a cleaner, I’d want him or her to be there when the guests leave so that he/she can start at once so the guests could leave the key with them. I have a 5 hour turnover window but like to get it started straight away.

Admittedly, if a guest is leaving a 5 am, they can leave the key and leave me in bed :slight_smile:

Ideally I do that too. If I’m here I certainly do. But I only have a 5 hour window in which no check in or check outs are allowed. Once someone books they can come and go as they please and I can’t arrange my schedule around greeting them. And a good number of the people who say they will be here at a certain time aren’t. I’m guessing that most hosts can’t be around for check out all the time.


It certainly takes strict scheduling. I only greet arriving guests if they get here during my check in window which is two to three hours. So I’m lucky in that I can schedule work at home for those hours.

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