Undeclared children

Well it finally happened. After much back and forth including dropping from 3 nights down to one night the guest finally booked. In our description of our Airbnb property we make it very clear that infants are ok and children over 12 are ok but the property is not suitable for children in general. There are safety considerations and too many decorating elements that are cherished by us yet we don’t want to go through the hassle of removing them. Our decorating is always complimented by our guests.
When the new guests arrived by Taxi from the airport they had 2 children with them. Ages were 4 and 6 exactly the ages we worry about. We printed out a contract regarding damages, which we rarely do.
We really couldn’t send them packing as we are in a rural area with no other lodging nearby and this is in spite of the fact they admitted they didn’t read our description.
Comments welcome.

Not much to do now other than wait for them to leave and keep your fingers crossed that nothing is damaged in the interim!

I sympathize with feeling caught between a rock and a hard place - you could have stopped them at the door and refused entry based on the house rule violation. That feels harsh when guests don’t have another option.

While not helpful in this situation, there are a couple tweaks to your listing/messages that might help in the future.

First is to help ensure kids are included in guest count - some people are way too used to “kids under X age are free”. I use this house rule:

The reserving person must be part of the group and the total guest count needs to be accurate (kids count, too!). Unregistered guests aren’t allowed on the property. To verify your identity we may ask to see an ID.

And because so many people don’t read (as was the case with your guests) I’ve started asking for 3 things at booking: confirmation they’ve read the house rules, their expected ETA and “A first & last name for everyone in your group (and ages, if under 21)”. If the stay is months away I have them confirm the group again a few days prior to arrival.

This does a few things for me: 1, it helps me personalize my welcome note and remember names 2, since it requires an actual response the kids usually come up and 3, it nearly eliminates the chance of innocent mistake. If they show up with extra people that means they’ve misrepresented themselves at least 3x…I won’t feel (so) bad turning them away at the door.

Hosting is such a great exercise in figuring out how to respond to situations. Hopefully the little ones staying with you now will leave your place in good shape and you can implement a plan to avoid this situation in the future.


Actually yes, you could have sent them packing. I know that it’s only human nature to be considerate and worry about guests who are left abandoned in a rural area but where was their consideration for you when they booked without letting you know about their children?

Where were their parenting responsibilities (and their decent human behaviour) when they risked being thrown out of accommodation by an angry host? It’s you who is being caring about their children, not them. If you hadn’t been so gracious, their children could be sleeping under a hedge or something. They were highly irresponsible. (And if it was me, I’d tell them so but that’s just me).

Because it’s just one night, and you let them in, you’re screwed. But I’d be in there at five minutes to check out time while they are still there checking for damages. The chances are that the kids won’t have done much during a one night stay. If I were you I’d leave a message in the Airbnb system right away saying that you have let them stay out of the goodness of your heart and consideration for their poor children but that you feel betrayed and upset. (Do the ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ thing but be firm).

In future, although I’m sure you’ve had a great lesson here, don’t be so soft-hearted. I know it’s hard. But you’re the host, you’re in charge and your rules are there for a reason. It’s not easy I know, especially with tired little children’s faces looking up at you but hosts have to be firm.

These people will just keep doing this to other unsuspecting hosts if it’s not nipped in the bud. Then some kind-hearted and generous hosts could have something really nasty on their conscience for ever more. Please do your part in making sure that doesn’t happen.


I just had this happen over new years and I was out of the country so I could not kick them out, booked for 6 showed up with 3 adults and 6 kids. I withheld the deposit (direct booking) and he is disputing the charge with Amex. they left a huge mess, stole two flashlights and a jute Trader Joes bag and and an extension cord. I am going to stop allowing self check in and meet or have someone meet the guests coming in from here forward and I will not allow a group to check in if they misrepresent guest count.


We had the same issue until we put in our main description, not just under the House Rules or Booking Section, ** SORRY BUT NO PETS OR CHILDREN UNDER 12 ALLOWED EXCEPT FOR INFANTS UNDER THE AGE OF 1 ***. Putting in bold and in your main description catches their attention. We have no issues of unwanted children since we have done this. Good Luck!

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This happens to us quite often too. We tell them to pay for for their children or we tell them to leave. We’ve had one group of people choose to leave and another paid and was allowed to stay. You have to enforce your boundaries with guests or they will walk all over you.


I do the same but also include a $50 unauthorized Guest fee in addition. So when they show up with two unpaid and undeclared children they pay the $20/additional person fees plus the $50/unauthorized person fess so it costs them $140 extra where if they had been honest up front they would have not been accepted as Guests and would have gone where they would have been welcome. And for me my rates are between $36-$60 base with $20/additional over 1.

Do you have a single charge for the whole party regardless of size or 2+extras? If you have a base rate for 2 and then charge for extras, people are obliged to put in the correct number of guests and their age range, (except apparently for an infinite number of under 2s that can be fitted into any property for free! Which we all love).

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I have a single charge for the first guest and occupying the house. Each additional guest incurs a $20/ night charge to help offset extra laundry, utilities and wear and tear. (Oh and now my very minimal breakfast of a hot drink and instant oatmeal, as has popped up in the area as an offering at many other budget places.)

Does Airbnb actually back you up if they try to refuse to pay the extra fee?

So far I haven’t had to take it to Airbnb because they pay but then they complain in the review. “Charging our newborn as an adult is a bit excessive, but that is the house rules.” And lower stars for value and for overall. Annoying but I do get the money.

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And babies come with smelly disposable nappies…