Theft and how to handle it

This morning i had a young couple checking out after their 1 night stay. Im renting out a private room in my house.

Their way out is through a small hallway. There is a table in this hallway where my husband left his (new) hat when he came home last night. This afternoon, when he wanted to leave the house, the hat was gone.

The couple checked out early so we were still sleeping when they left.

For me it’s hard to imagine someone would steel a 25 dollar hat but i can’t think of an other option besides that these guests took it with them. It’s cold and maybe they just needed one? (I must say it’s a wanted brand hat and many people wear it in the city at this moment).

I know we should store things that we don’t want to get stolen in a locked closet or something, but our house would be unliveble if we would have to hide things we daily use like jackets and shoes.

Now i’m in doubt how to handle this. I feel almost ashamed to ask if they took the hat since it is so unlikely to steel such a stupid thing as a hat. And off course, if they took it they will never admit it.

On the other side i don’t want to do as if it didnt happened. I lowered my price for this night to attract more bookings and there is not much left of this money since i have to buy a new hat.

I have no cameras in the house so i can’t prove anything. I’m also scared of them giving me a bad review if i would ask them about the hat.

The guests had no reviews yet.

What should i do?

PS This theft comes close after our discovery of a missing expensive sunglasses which was in our private (but easy to access) section of the house (our living room). Costs. are adding up this way. So maybe that’s why i don’t want to let them get away with it so easy.

I would TELL them that they must have mistakenly took the hat, tell them that you were up for a cup of coffee just before they left and it was on the table and after they left it was gone. Ask them would they prefer to return it or pay $35 through Air?

Then I would stop lowering prices.



Stop doing this so these costs don’t hurt so much.

If you are sure they took it then confront them. If they deny then so be it. Don’t be held hostage to the bad review. You also get to review them. Were they afraid of the bad review? Seems not. Please state clearly in the review that the hat was missing after they checked out.

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It seems that you might have to redo your sums. When you’re calculating your annual costs in order to determine your price-per-night, you’ll need to add items like wear & tear, repairs etc. etc, plus what stores call ‘shrinkage’ (theft and disappearances). These things will happen and you’ve got to allow for them in your calculations.

Well i lowered my price since i received 0 bookings after 1 horrible review i got from guests about a minor problem which i solved within 1 hour after their check in but which they made huge. It’s a long story but they pretended as if i was renting out a unheated room in the middle of the winter. And Air didnt want to remove it. If i (as a guest) would read that review i wouldnt book the room either so i was not surprised to not receive new bookings anymore.

But that’s the impact 1 review can have (despite having 200+ reviews mostly 4 or 5 stars).

You see, I’ve found the opposite to be true so remember that you opinion is just that - the opinion of one host (so is mine) :slight_smile:

But do bear in mind that there’s no point in hosting if you’re not going to make money. I’m one of the first to say that it’s great fun, very satisfying and it’s lovely to meet all those different people all the time but it’s still a job and it has to be worth the time and trouble.

STOP THAT! Would you worry if they stole the Picasso from your living room??? It’s only a matter of scale. Bugger the Review!

Confront the Guests as @RiverRock suggests. Tell them you know it was there before and after they left and ask them if they would rather pay $35 or $40 through Airbnb, or return the hat before X date.

Raise your rates! You did NOT get 0 bookings just because of one “horrible” review in among 200 good reviews. That’s malarkey!

Don’t buy your hubby a new hat. He left it out, not you. His loss.

When you share a home with strangers you must be jut that little bit more careful of leaving things out. Not that everyone’s a thief; but there’s no sense in putting temptation in front of people – whether it’s a plate of brownies or a hat.


It’s been my experience that people do not knowingly steal other peoples clothing. The odds, for example, that that shirt or shoe that’s left out will fit you, your lifestyle, etc., is so small that, even though my $200 plus shoes have a value to me, unless you wear the exact same shoe size and have the exact same taste, and are OK with wearing something used, it will remain unstolen.

I would simply ask if they inadvertently taken the hat along. And then consider installing a security camera for future. I installed a WiFi outdoor camera for under $50 from Amazon. Works great… very clear video. Wish you the best, hopefully they will own up to it and still give you a good rating!

I would be absolutely sure before making the accusation that they stole it…did he leave it in the car or at a friends, library, roof of the car, hanging in the shed? I have been so sure that I left an item somewhere and immediately would grow suspect that someone had stolen it, only to find I had absentmindedly left it somewhere else.

  1. I would gently ask them if they saw the hat in the hallway before I accused them of theft.
  2. Make certain to retrace your husbands steps to ensure it wasn’t he who misplaced it.
    If you are satisfied that they took it then make a claim to ABB.

Our cameras were super inexpensive also, although originally not for guests it was to see what the stealthy dogs were up to in the kitchen when I went to work: the self cleaning oven had been turn on twice! We finally busted the chihuahua!


Just a reminder: All cameras have to be disclosed, inside or out. Everyone should be especially careful of cameras indoors where there are Airbnb guests. A number of hosts here think outdoor cameras are creepy, even more of us think indoor ones are.

Yes I agree creepy, I do not have cameras in my home, nor do I monitor my guests…I moved them to the back lane as the gate was randomly agar and garbage cans and such were going missing, it appeared that someone was just rooting around looking for something…but no humans, just bears and raccoons, I had no idea that bears would carry the entire can away & raccoons were such garden thieves.


Perhaps your husband left it elsewhere. I would not ask the guests, just in case they’re innocent. I once thought a guest had stolen a teddy bear. Thankfully, I didn’t say anything. Weeks later, I found the teddy bear in a closet.


This is exactly why i decided to let it go for now. Although he is very sure he left it on the table, i didnt see him putting it there beause i slept already when he got home. So although off course i trust him, i’m not 100% sure that the hat was there.

I have thought about cameras but i’m afraid i won’t feel comfortable in my own house anymore. And i can imagine it will discourage potential guests from booking the room once it’s written in the listing that they will be monitored inside of the privacy of our house.


I would not put a camera indoors. But outdoors, aimed across the entrance, actually makes guests feel more secure… we haven’t had one person that even questioned it.

Since we have guests going in and out of our home, it gives us great comfort to know what’s happening. And if the unthinkable occurs and a robbery takes place, there will be proof whether it was a guest or someone else.

However, this is in Arizona. In other areas or countries the response may be different.


I thought I’d share the note a host left me when they’d had an umbrella go missing after my one-night stay. I think this sort of “soft” inquiry would let you know if the guests unintentionally picked up the hat. (I could see picking it up on my final “did we get everything” walkthrough, thinking it was my SO’s. If it’s a popular style it’s likely the guest had a similar one.)

Hi Allison :slight_smile:
(Some chit-chat about my stay)

So Burt is looking for his black umbrella, and he wanted me to ask you if you accidentally took it with you? Sorry to ask - he’s just been going crazy losing things lately!!
Thanks in advance for understanding :slight_smile:

IMO you either have enough evidence to go in hard and make a Resolution Center claim for the lost item, or you use this soft approach which assumes there was a misunderstanding and relies on the honesty of your guest to clear things up. Unfortunately, if you have no evidence and don’t believe the guests to be honest, it’s best to chalk it up as a learning experience.


I have just sent them a message to ask if they mistakenly took it with them. My husband again insists that he left it there and he is usually very keen on his stuff (especially since it was an anniversary gift and the hat was part of a whole set).

But again, we don’t have any proof.

I just don’t like this feeling that apparantly we can not leave daily accessories like these unattended. We don’t have extra space to store jackets, shoes and stuff like that somewhere else. How are other hosts doing this? Is everybody hiding their coats, shoes, etc?

Besides that i just found several condom wraps in our laundry basket (all through our laundry, ugh!) which have to be theirs since they were our only guests this week. I don’t know why but it just pisses me off. There is a waste basket in their room which they were aware of because they used it for their other trash. And it is obvious that the laundry basket is meant for laundry since it was full of laundry, stands next to 2 other large laundry baskets (why would i place 3 large waste bins in very small hallway which is clearly meant for doing laundry?), and it is surrounded by hanging clean laundry, folded clean laundry etc. Why putting your trash outside your room especially this kind of “intimate” trash? We live in a very small 2 bedroom appartment so it’s not that they could have this feeling of staying a large villa full of rooms, hallways and several places to put trash or something.

Especially after the dissapearance of the hat it just gives me the feeling that they just didnt care at all.

Please review accordingly. Wait until near the end of the 14 day review period and make sure you’ve checked everything twice. I don’t want to host these people.

Hat problem solved! It was…wrapped up between the laundry with the condom wraps! Just took the laundry out of the laundry mahine and there it was. No idea how it ended up there. And off course after i messaged them asking them about the hat. Terrible mistake! Have to send them an apology i guess.

How did the hat get in the basket?