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When it comes to setting House Rules, you’ll want to strike a balance between protecting your home and ensuring a great stay for guests by setting clear expectations. That’s why Airbnb’s House Rules tool allows hosts to select from a list of standard rules, as well as write their own, and requires guests to acknowledge and agree to the House Rules before booking.

 

“Rules are just another way you can really see a host’s true personality shine through,” Superhost Kelly, of Austin, Texas, U.S.A. said. “I would never rent from a host who had no rules. And if guests are able to see from a list of rules that they wouldn’t enjoy that host or that property, then that is a good thing to learn.”

 

Almost nine out of 10 hosts have selected from Airbnb’s basic rules, which touch on issues such as smoking, parties, pets, and kids*. However, hosts who write custom House Rules book more stays than hosts who don’t, according to Airbnb’s internal research. This may be because those hosts set clear expectations, and their guests have a better idea of what kind of stay they’re in store for.

 

By writing clear rules in your listing, guests can view them before they book, during their stay, and even after checking out. House rules are also sent directly to them once a reservation is confirmed, so you don’t have to rewrite or resend emails to every guest. Setting rules can help you save time and help prevent miscommunication.

 

Here’s how to set up and make the most of Airbnb’s House Rules feature. Plus, hosts share some of their best rules and tips:

 

How to create House Rules

 

On the web:

  1. Go to your listing(s) on Airbnb.com
  2. On the listing you want to add House Rules to, click “Manage listing”
  3. Click “Booking settings” at the top of the page
  4. Next to “House Rules,” click “Edit”
  5. Select your expectations and write rules for guests, and then click “Save”

 

On the app:

  1. Go to your listing(s) on the Airbnb mobile app
  2. Click on the listing you want to add House Rules to
  3. Under “Guest resources,” click “House rules”
  4. Select your expectations and write rules for guests, and then click “Save”

 

5 House Rules tips from hosts

 

  1. Keep it simple

“You don’t want to add so many rules that guests think they’re at mom’s house,” said Superhosts Wendy & Frank, of Stonington, Connecticut. Some hosts offered up suggestions**:

House Rules should NOT read like legal mumbo jumbo; otherwise, nobody will read it or potential guests will go to another listing that’s less complicated:

  • Parties not allowed.
  • You may not exceed the number of people specified at the time of booking.
  • The internet may not be used for illegal activity.

 —J Renato, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Don’t add things you can’t enforce, like extra security deposits or charges for something broken.*** I don’t put courtesy requests or pointers, like where to leave towels and what to do with laundry, into my House Rules. I communicate those in person when guiding guests through the apartment or leave friendly note. While the ones that really matter to me absolutely belong in the House Rules.

  • Our place is meant for either a couple or for a single adult.
  • No children.
  • The couch in the living room is not to be used as an extra bed.

—Annette, Prescott, Arizona, U.S.A.

 

  1. Talk about local customs and climate

When writing your House Rules, take the opportunity to teach guests about your cultural norms and the local area. “Many times guests come from cultures and customs that are very different from ours, and want to spend a few days relaxing without too many obligations,” Superhosts Andrea & Ricardo, of Buenos Aires, Argentina, said. More hosts offered up their rules:

  • We ask that you be prudently silent and discreet, especially at night or during the siesta.—Beatriz Elena, Medellin, Colombia
  • No shoes inside. This is very common in Thailand.—Nutth, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Do not leave the lights on and the windows open at sunset, or the house will be filled with bugs, mosquitoes, and moths.—Monica, Santa Maria de Palautordera, Spain
  • No eating/drinking of any food/drinks, other than water in the Airbnb room. Please do not keep any food in the bedroom. No one is a fan of bugs.—Momi, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A.

 

  1. Point out safety concerns

Much like customs and cultural norms, it’s wise to assume guests come from other areas of the world with different laws and safety issues. These hosts address this in their House Rules:

  • Please close and lock all windows and doors when you leave the suite.—Dave & Deb, Edmonton, Canada
  • No candles. None. Instead, we provide flameless, battery-operated candles for you to use.—Heather, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.
  • No business involving the public or unauthorized guests is permitted. External security cameras are in use.—Jayesh, Urangan, Australia
  • Illegal downloads are forbidden. If you’re found guilty, government fines can run about 1,700 euros per movie.—Branka & Silvia, Zagreb, Croatia

 

  1. Use some humor

When in doubt, lighten things up to show your personality and encourage guests to read your House Rules. These hosts share some tips:

  • I expect guests to behave like grown ups:
    • Don’t burn down the house.
    • Don’t kick my dog.
    • Eat drippy food at the table.... It's a nice table.
    • There are several waste baskets around the house: the toilet is not one of them.

—Amy, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

 

  • I have incorporated a question in the middle of my House Rules in all UPPER CASE. If the guest answers, it demonstrates to me that they have taken the time to read the House Rules:
    • WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSICIAN? There is no right or wrong answer.

—Eloise, Winslow, Arizona, U.S.A.

 

  1. Be yourself

Some hosts have a long list of House Rules and others have hardly any rules at all; either way, they still come away with five-star reviews. Hosts recommend reflecting your hosting style — whether it be relaxed, flexible, formal, strict — in your rules to help guests determine if it’s the right fit:

  • Live and let live! Most guests are on vacation and don’t want to be lectured. I make soup, and lay out bread, cheese, and croissants. They feel as if they are welcomed.—Aija, Welcome, Hicksville, New York
  • My listing is very clear on what I need from our potential guests who share our space:
    • All of the House Rules below MUST be read all the way through to the end. It will not be in your best interest to skim thru my rules. Therefore, please do not do so.
    • This is OUR home. We want our wonderful guests who stay with us to respect that this our home and we are raising our child in this home.
    • No raising of voices, arguing, or vulgar language.
    • No drugs in/out of our home.
    • Any violations and you will be asked to leave.

—Momi, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A.

 

Superhost Momi includes 12 more detailed House Rules after this, and she’s received more than 100 five-star reviews. Guest Steven, of Pullman, Washington, U.S.A., wrote: “I must say after reading [Momi’s] House Rules, I was a bit nervous. I soon realized that this would not be an ordinary stay. And to my delight I was correct.”

 

Once you’ve published your House Rules, confirmed guests will automatically receive them and can access them at any time. Creating House Rules once will help set guest expectations and set the stage for many five-star stays.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

*House Rules include limits on smoking, areas beyond the listing space that are off-limits, permission to have visitors, and more. To add information about how to use appliances and amenities in your home, see our House Manual tips.

**Host tips have been edited for length and clarity.

***If a guest violates a house rule, the host and guest are encouraged to communicate and resolve the issue. Creating House Rules helps Airbnb CX mediate a disagreement; however, Airbnb CX cannot enforce House Rules. If a host asks a guest to leave because of a House Rules violation, the guest will be refunded for the nights not spent and Airbnb CX can help facilitate that. If a guest refuses to leave, then the case will be escalated and be handled on a case-by-case basis.

165 Replies

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 2

GREAT ARTICLE  THANK YOU! I need to reword and delete some of my House Rules.  I feel like I come across sounding  like a nag. Lol!

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

Level 2

Too funny!  I must sound like a nag also.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Augusta, GA
Level 2

Good read

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Sedona, AZ
Level 2

While most Airbnb guests are respectful of house rules, some guests simply want to make trouble or don't even read the house rules. Guests showing up with heavy fragrance, talking loudly on the phone until 2 a.m., using oils and damaging sheets irreparably ~ these are the guests which I grit my teeth and still do not reprimand, primarily because they will be vindictive and leave a bad review! Childish irresponsible behavior is the domain of immature guests who do what they want on vacation. In somebody else's house. Without reprimand. It's a flawed system in this way because ultimately the host 'pays'.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Wimberley, TX
Level 2

We have been hosting about 6 months and have had to ask guests to leave twice.  Once with a couple who brought a toddler when we have a “No Children” house rule.  The rule is because the property is Not childproof and has several potential hazards with a staircase.  We were given a bad review by the guest.  I believe this should be deleted by Air BNB.

The second time a guest left even though our rules and photos say upstairs accommodations but the guest obviously didn’t read them. They were smoking marijuana on our property.  Again we were given a bad review And penalized.  Why is this acceptable?

Numerous times we have people show up with more guests than are booked to try and avoid additional guest charges.  Also, no information is provided on guests traveling together.  We have  people show up when only the booking guest has been verified - very dangerous and a security issue for hosts.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Carmel Valley, CA
Level 2

I do agree with many of the comments here. If guests know they can ignore the rules, with impunity, then there is simply no incentive for them to follow them. Some rules, like "No smoking", are established for well founded health-based reasons, not for personality differences.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Athenry, Ireland
Level 2

Hey -AirBnB! What gives? All the above feedback re impact of rule-breaking on hosts vs guests, once again, makes sense! Can you please explain your logic on this? Haven’t had any trouble yet ourselves here, thankfully, and all our guests have been great, but...! 

Looking forward to a meaningful response on this also, please? Thank you for all your good work on our behalf. 

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Tacoma, WA
Level 3

Airbnb is cheating hosts and condoning poor behavior. If a guest is a smoker, they will be turned away as soon as we smell it (seconds). If a guest brings a pet, the pet will not enter our home. Plain and simple. We expect to be compensated for their lack of respect for our home, needs, and expectations. This is not a personality conflict. It is a clear breech of contract. 

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
United States
Level 3

Good article. Agreeing with all other hosts who say if a guest breaks the agreement (definitely) the host shouldn’t be the one who pays.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Scottsdale, AZ
Level 2

I have house rules on the listing.  The same rules are in printed form in my suite.  We just had guests check out that my wife said were a little sketchy from day 1!  She was absolutely right!  They smoked pot and possibly other illegal drugs in my suite.  I found a pipe and the room reaked of pot.  That room has NEVER been smoked in til now!  Case is still pending with Airbnb support.  Hotels charge your credit card directly for breaking their “house rules”!  Guest refunds for such things?  REDICULOUS!!!

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Mill Valley, CA
Level 5

I have found Airbnb to be supportive and fair of my claims for damages through the resultion center when I have photos of the damage and receipts.  Mostly about stained luxury linens.  The guests paid.  I had one guest who dyed her hair and left stains on the new marble bath countertop but tried to remove them with a safety pin scratching which caused deeper damage.  I was beside myself with incomprhension at the idiocy and sneaky dishonesty.  They were apologietic and signed a paper agreeing to pay for restitution before they left and they gave me $500 cash, but unbelieveably they left me a bad (defensive) review!  I think they assumed I would give them a bad one which I didn't but should have as I thought they learned a big lesson.  I wrote them private comments. That brought my stars down and I lost my superhost rating which I'd had for three years since I began hosting.  There will always be one guest from hell it seems  but with more sane people it will go back up.  Airbnb did say that if the guest did not pay for the repair of the damaged marble they would look into payment of it's replacement in their insurance policy.  I hope the new ratings overview helps this kind of situation. 

They also said that after a guest gets 3 bad reviews they drop them from future bookings.  So I need to be much more honest about guests from hell.  We all do, please everyone let's support each other in this.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

Level 2

I’ve had one “guest from hell”, she had a good review. Please do be honest, for the sake of the next host. This is good tool, we must use. Thanks

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Lolo, MT
Level 2

Instant bookings seem to turn into instant nightmares, and the host pays in a plethora of ways. Then, when you have a neighbor harass your next well behaved guest and the neighbor makes an unsubstantiated complaint to air bnb, air bnb jumps on the harassment bandwagon with the neighbor. Supporting disrespectful, dishonest guests with refunds and unsupported frivolous neighbor complaints is hardly a positive business relationship. Other platforms are out there, and in this case used.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

Level 2

I agree, I turned off my instant booking, tho it is tempting. One bad experience is sufficient. I have to say all other guests have been jewels! As a 66 year old on a fixed income, I love the occasional company, so pleasant and respectful.

Re: Make the most of House Rules: host tips & how-to’s

in
Grahamstown, South Africa
Level 2

I am wondering whether Airbnb are reading all the comments.....? It is shocking. Protecting the guest and making money out of thr host. RIDICILOUS

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