Strengthening our commitment to community standards

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Hosts around the world have told us how much hosting means to them—personally and financially—and how rewarding great guest experiences can be. On the flip side, a bad experience with a guest can be frustrating and, in rare cases, even disruptive. We know these moments can meaningfully impact you and your time, money, and local community.

 

You’ve also given us feedback that you’d like us to hold the entire community, both hosts and guests, to the same high standards. We agree. That’s why in early 2020, we’ll be rolling out enhanced guest standards that set higher expectations for a trustworthy community. 

 

Establishing stronger guest standards

Our new Guest Standards Policy will clarify what Airbnb expects of guests, with the goal of ensuring that hosts can consistently have more positive experiences. When a guest doesn’t meet one of the standards outlined in the policy, they’ll receive a warning with education around how to be a better guest. We’ll track and weigh infractions (based on their severity), and repeated infractions may lead to suspension or removal of a guest from the platform. 

 

These guest standards build upon existing policies we already have in place to address the more serious trust and safety issues that result in immediate removal from the platform. We’re enhancing our system to better monitor for guests who engage in less serious misconduct, so that we can educate and take appropriate action against those guests. 

 

By setting clear standards, staffing teams to take action, and putting technology in place to track noncompliance, we expect to improve overall guest behavior and increase community trust. 

 

So what are the standards?

The new guest standards address some of the most common concerns expressed by our host community, and support our broader efforts to address parties that are unauthorized or disturb the community. Beginning in early 2020, the new policy will cover these five scenarios:

 

  1. Excessive noise: A disruptive level of noise, like loud music, prolonged shouting, or repeated pounding or stomping. It does not include complaints about minor or short-term disruptions (like a loud phone call) or noise that can’t be avoided (like walking up and down the stairs).
  2. Major cleanliness concerns: Anything that requires excessive cleaning after a guest checks out. This means extensive amounts of trash, debris, or food strewn throughout the property. It does not mean minor messes (like food left in the fridge or bagged trash left next to a trash can) or anything that could be considered part of normal wear and tear or turnover (like unwashed linens or a dirty kitchen).
  3. Unauthorized guests: When more guests stay overnight or visit the space than the host has authorized for that reservation.
  4. Unauthorized parking: When a guest or one of their visitors parks in an area that the host designated as off-limits, or when a guest or their visitors exceeds the number of cars that the host allows to park at the property, as set out in the listing description.
  5. Unauthorized smoking: When a guest or one of their visitors smokes inside the listing and the listing description prohibits smoking (this includes the use of tobacco, marijuana, e-cigarettes, etc.).

 

The new Guest Standards Policy kicks in when it’s been determined that a guest has engaged in one of these behaviors. Hosts may report a violation, and we’ll also accept reports of excessive noise through our Neighbor Reporting tool or from local law enforcement. 

 

What you can do 

We encourage you to clearly outline what you expect of guests in your House Rules, listing description, and messages to your guests. It’s particularly important to specify your rules around parking, extra guests, and smoking so we know if it should be considered “unauthorized” under the policy. When a guest fails to uphold these standards, it’s important to begin by addressing the issue with them directly—this is often the quickest path to resolution. In all cases, be ready to provide evidence that demonstrates a rule has been broken, whether that’s photos of excessive trash left in your space, an emailed complaint from a neighbor, or some other documentation. 

 

What comes next 

The second phase of the rollout will include additional scenarios we know are top of mind for you, like late checkouts, late check-ins, and unauthorized pets. Our goal is to roll out these additional standards later in 2020. Over time, and with your feedback, we expect to cover even more situations that are important to you. 

 

Your top questions, answered

Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time talking to hosts and collecting feedback on this new policy. We’ve addressed a few of the top questions below.

 

 

Why are you rolling out guest standards in phases? 

These new standards represent a significant change for the community (both hosts and guests), and we want to make sure they’re working as intended before we expand them. Rolling out the policy in phases lets us carefully experiment with the standards, education and warning systems, processes, and technology systems we’re using. We aim to gradually expand and refine the policy to address other challenges that are specific to certain groups of hosts as well as different property types. This will be a journey, and we appreciate your input along the way. 

 

What happens if I report an urgent safety incident while it’s occurring?

If you or your property is in danger, you should always contact local authorities first. We already have policies in place to handle severe safety issues, like assault and violent threats. Violators of these policies are, and will continue to be, subject to immediate removal from the platform. We’re also in the process of rolling out an Urgent Support Line that routes hosts directly to agents who are specifically trained to handle these kinds of calls. The goal is to ensure your call is handled quickly and consistently, so you feel supported every time. 

 

How will I be supported when I call in with an issue about a guest in one of these scenarios?

As part of the new policy, hosts can request penalty-free cancellations for the remaining nights in a reservation when a guest has violated these standards and the situation cannot be resolved. And as always, if there is any damage to your property as a result of one of the above scenarios, you can file a claim under our $1,000,000 USD Host Guarantee.   

 

Why aren’t you enforcing all of my House Rules?

Initially, the new Guest Standards Policy will focus on the House Rules that hosts have told us they care about most. We know there are lots of other scenarios that hosts include in their House Rules and listing details. And while these scenarios are important to you, they may not be relevant to all hosts (e.g. rules around whether shoes or certain types of food are allowed in the home). Although these more personal rules aren’t covered by our new Guest Standards Policy, you can help set the right expectations with clear communication—sometimes a respectful reminder can be enough to resolve an issue. 

 

Keep the feedback coming

You've been telling us we need more robust guest standards to make our community stronger. We expect that, over time, these changes will improve guest behavior and your experiences as a host. We’re pleased to take this critical step in our journey to improve safety and reliability for our hosts. There’s still a lot more work to be done, and we appreciate your ongoing input. 

 

The growth of our community, and the trust we’ve built, could not have happened without your partnership. Thank you for all you do, and please let us know if you have any feedback in the comments below. 

Labels (1)
753 Replies

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

It's good to know the team is working on changes. It's about time...

 

I just wonder... how come smoking and parking are a top priority while violent, aggressive behavior, theft, late check-out... are not?

I also wonder if all those changes will be only on paper or Airbnb will put them into practice without well-known and typical catch-22 traps.

 

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Cutten, CA
Level 10

@Branka-and-Silvia0 wrote:

how come smoking and parking are a top priority while violent, aggressive behavior, theft, late check-out... are not?


I've had to call the police to assure a guest would leave and return the key.  The clueless police officer told me I needed to file an eviction (guest was 1/2 way through a 2-week stay) and used his own phone to help the guest call Airbnb.  It took 5 hours to get him out; it was not pretty.

 

Airbnb just refunded his (my) money - even more than he was owed - and dinged me for the 'cancellation'.  I had other Airbnb guests in the home and they were significantly afraid of this guy.  Airbnb's "Trust & Safety" team couldn't find anything in Airbnb policies that would support me forcing him to leave.

 

But, golly, it sure is good to know that guests are going to be told where to park.

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Panama City Beach, FL
Level 5

I had a similar incident, a Bank President booked for 2 and brought all of his teenagers with him and their friend. Then, when my outdoor camera (which is disclosed in my ad) caught him, I called to confront that he agreed and confirmed to 2 guests, he got angry and refused to leave. I called Airbnb begging them to help me get him out and they didn't. They kept promising and just as I thought the guest caused damages.  And it took me weeks and weeks to get the money back from Airbnb while they investigated and looked over my video and photos. But the point is... our local police would do nothing either. Same thing so I sat there all week for 10 days KNOWING they were going to damage my studio as they were moving furniture, had too many people in the unit and nothing I could do. Airbnb offered to move them somewhere else, and they hung up on Airbnb, but I still think they should of kept trying or at least gotten more involved. They made 1 phone call to him that was it

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Waterbury, CT
Level 3

I had the same kind of experience too.1 guest booked and 4 showed up.l knew there were extra guests because of how messed up the house was.All beds had been slept on,an anniversary cake eaten which had been left in a freezer(not for guests) Roku remotes and plugs for 2 TVs stolen, towels stolen and the list is long.Am taking a break next year.

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Level 8

I feel like perhaps we need a host support group.  I have had mostly wonderful guests and have been doing this for a few years but  I havealso had some really upsetting experiences but the thing for me that made it so difficult was that airbnb did not support me at all.  I've had guests who did not check out, I went twice to clean for the next guests who were arriving soon and all the lights were on and all of their belongings were there.  There was wall art on the floor and my curtains had been ripped from the wall.  I did not want to be accused of theft or damage so I just turned off the 2 light switches I could reach from the door and left - anyway, to make a long story short, after being told ''we're snowboarding, K? we can't checkout now" despite being 4 hours late already, I eventually received a total of $25 for the damage.  Basically airbnb did not believe me or value my time or property.  It was jarring and I understand the feeling that we are the only ones with skin in the game. THat's essentially because we are.  We take the risk, we purchase the real estate and pay property and liability taxes.  They provide a platform.  We cannot do this without them but they don't own a spoonful of dirt.  That's all us.  You would think they would act a little more empathetic like we were on the same team.  But I appreciate reading that many of you feel the same way I do.  THanks for all of you.

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
New York, NY
Level 3

I agree Lynda, 

 

We need a community group dedicated to the owners and managers to so we can have support each other through ideas and thoughts and keeping apprise of what is going on in ou markets.   

 

Boy, it was so good when  vrbo, airbnb, and all the others who have been gobbled up into on were just advertising companies and not booking companies more concerned about making money than ensure that the property owners are supported and protected against unscrupulous guest who thinks our properties belong to these conglomerates. 

 

I will be seeking to find companies that, all they do is advertise.  The key to doing things successfully is to sign up with several across markets to be successful.

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
New York, NY
Level 4

I would be interested in what you find. We are in vrbo and Airbnb. Getting damaged paid for from Airbnb is a no go but vrbo gave us the damage deposit no problem. That’s why Airbnb renters don’t care. They know they will not have to give up their damage deposit. The system is designed to give all the power to the renter and non to the owners who spend considerable money in up keep and making our homes a place to enjoy a vacation

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Washington, DC
Level 6

you are so right...if the renters had to put down deposits on their rentals I would guarantee you the damage and complaints would go down significantly...thisis perhaps the one area where Airbnb is totally lacking....

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

Level 5

Totally agree! I made my mate pay the security deposit for a rental apartment when we went skiing once.  By God, I’ve never seen that man clean so thoroughly in his life!!!!! 

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
New York, NY
Level 3

I have been a host since 2011, and the policies used to be more host-centric. I used to have my guests pay a $200 security deposit upfront. For some reason, Airbnb stopped this policy. I wish the company would bring it back. 

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Chad68 

 

I joined the platform in the Summer of 2012, so not that long after you. I was amazed at how low the deposit options were and picked the highest one. I can remember what it was, but it certainly wasn't much, I think around £400. You did not get it upfront.

 

Very soon, I got a call from an Airbnb rep asking me why I chose to set such a high deposit. I explained to him that the deposit was nothing for a fully furnished three bed apartment in a very desirable complex. Any letting agent would ask multiple times that price. He explained that I didn't need to do that as I was covered by Airbnb insurance should anything happen. He told me I was less likely to get bookings. I got them anyway.

 

So, Airbnb has been pretty guest centric on that matter from early on.

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

Level 5

For years I was under the impression that my guests paid $1000 refundable security bond......until I had my first claim and had to “request “ they pay for the damage. Naturally they said... “wasn’t me!” Now I know there isn’t really any bond/security money paid at all. I have considered charging my own bond, direct debit into my account and refundable after checkout.  That’ll get them cleaning up !!   Might lose bookings but I’m not sure I care.  How far will a person walk to return their supermarket trolley to get their $1 back??  Your thoughts please?

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Port St Lucie, FL
Level 3

When it comes to filing a claim w Airbnb you may as well forget it.  They require tons of documentation and repeatedly ask for it 3 or 4 times.  In my case it took 3 months for them to review it and then they denied my claim!  So much for their $1M coverage policy.  WHAT A JOKE!!!

Re: Strengthening our commitment to community standards

in
Sarnia, Canada
Level 5

@Erica209  You are correct about how Airbnb handles filing claims. The very notion that we need a police report when a guest leaves with your cutlery and high end hangers is not ok. The belligerent language they use to bring this to your attention is even more unacceptable. I feel your pain, I've been there with guests who took my things when they left, as well as brought in extra guests without consulting me or paying. I currently have my superhost status taken away, for 1 cancellation in 2 years. I cancelled this reservation because in 3 weeks time this reservation was not fixed by the guest or a continuous flo of Airbnb representatives, who all promised they would fix a large price discrepancy shortage to me but never did fix it. I may very well be the only host with a perfect 5 star rating who had their superhost status taken away when all the fault lay directly in the hands of Airbnb representatives

who dont do what they promise to do

 

 

 

 

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