Los Angeles, CA Level 3
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:
On the app:
5 House Rules tips from hosts
“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:
—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.
—Annette, Prescott, Arizona, U.S.A.
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:
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:
When in doubt, lighten things up to show your personality and encourage guests to read your House Rules. These hosts share some tips:
—Amy, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
—Eloise, Winslow, Arizona, U.S.A.
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:
—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.
beware of BUK books for 1 shows up with 2 extra belligerent, nasty, very dirty my other guest had to call police....that was saturday june 15/19 was promised call from AIRBNB sunday june 16/19 nothing,,was promised call om monday june 17/19 guess what STILL WAITING they gave the guest half their fee ( i agreed just to get rid of him under duress) I THINK IM ENTITLED TO THE FULL AMOUNT, CONSIDERING WE HAD TO CALL POLICE
The house rules examples and tips are very helpful. We have been lucky to have wonderful guests on the property--until today when there are people coming and going. I'm stressed! I am editing my house rules as they pertain to guests inviting guests. Thank you, fellow hosts!
Helpful post. I think we should not refund those guests who had failed to adhere to any House Rules otherwise it serves no purpose for hosts to put up the list of House Rules. Just last month I experienced a guest who had failed to swicth off all the fans, air conditioners and lights before checking out, and another guest failed to lock the main door and safe box while checking out. I did ask for refund for the latter case. We need to show to the guests that the platform and the hosts take things seriously. Thanks.
Yes I can see I need to do some tweeking after reading this article. As a person that dislikes manuals of rules and signs and notices everywhere in accommodation places, as the years go by being a Host the world is a changing place and what was is no longer. Sadly I feel the need to spell it out to my guests in writing is now necessary. Thank you for an informative article.
Great suggestions here that would be awesome if Airbnb stood by us in enforcing them.
I have a strict no smoking/no pets policy fir health reasons...which doesn’t matter. It’s my home, my policy. It’s mentioned in the listing & house rules before booking, and posted in 3 places in the unit and all mention a minimum $109 fine plus cleaning time, materials, and any list rental time.
I just had a set of guests leave after having smoked anyway. The inside reeks, and they didn’t even have the grace to dispose of the evidence (cigarettes and weed).
the curtains, the extra sets of bedding in the closet, Towels, carpets, curtains, all stink and I’m booked solid with only 3 hours to turn over, so I’m having to spend extra time to deodorize what I can, remove the tainted cloth items, deodorize and clean carpets and upholstery, get the curtains dry cleaned, and purchase new linens, towels to reset and essential oils to mask/ remove the odors to meet my next bookings, many if which have sensitivities...none of which would be needed otherwise.
The person who booked is a seasoned guest with good reviews. That booking person is responsible for the behavior of thier guests.
Problem: Im a 5star Super host who’s worked hard and hosted all kinds, colors, and persuasions of folks with excellent results.
Go read the community threads about what happens when you address a valid compliant politely and professionally with the guest, even with evidence.
As @Susan0 noted above (who had her place damaged and had evidence to back it up)
the guests can trash you in the reviews and ruin your business, and Airbnb sides with them calling it a “personality dispute.”
So....I find it interesting to see this topic here as I have to choose between eating the cost of this booking and more...or losing all I’ve worked for here when I get trashed for standing up for myself.
I now ask the reserver guest that ALL the grown ups read the listing and I print more specfic localized rules to put in each bedroom. It's no help if just one adult has read them.
It's tricky to write rules for some abberation I never imagined, like dying ones hair and leaving indelible stains on the marble counter top, but I now say, "Hair dying is not allowed. I can give you the names of lovely local hair stylists."
It's a bit like raising kids. You never know!
i had a guy tried to book said could he has a few friends over? i said yes my back yard is for small gatherings......turned out he was invited 20 friends lol i said no way and declined all 22 can pitch in for a hotel room lol
Oh so very true! Last nite my 2 guests with reservations arrived, with 2 additional guests, at midnight. Told me they didn’t have a place to stay, could they stay? Being the softie I am I let all 4 in, and went to bed, did I mention 2 had sleeping bags, did I mention I have a two guest limit?
ln the morning I called Airbnb to ask how I could be compensated for the additional 2 guests. The initial response was I don’t have a fee posted for additional guests. So I must go into my post to add an additional guest fee! With a 2 guest limit!
Thank you for reference to, “1984”, now it’s making sense to me, ha-ha.
We've just been "gaslighted" in writing by the very entity that has financial control over our business as long as we're listed here.
verb, gerund or present participle: gaslighting
To manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders interested in gaining power and control over a particular person or population.
In the novel 1984, the author George Orwell called it "doublespeak." Currently in the US and elsewhere, it's called "politics as usual" when leadership makes a statement, elaborates upon it, then denies it.
The result is something called "cognitive dissonance," aka a mismatch in realities. Some people see it right away and call it out. Those who do not like confrontation try to make peace/ignore it and hope they were hearing things incorrectly (which is most people)...which is the point.
This whole article was allegedly about creating thoughtful, accurate, appropriate "house rules" as hosts to mange our businesses.
Then, we are told that even when we do, they will not be enforced by the very entity that has recommended them and has financial control over the situation.
Bait and switch...carrot just out of reach...
Airbnb published a narrative (above) in thier own newsletter for hosts, in which they made an assertion, contradicted themselves and retracted thier support, disrespected all hosts, and thought we'd be OK with it.
Classic example of gaslighting.
Wow....so why even have house rules at all? Not to mention a "tutorial" on why house rules are important when they actually mean nothing at all. How insulting to us hosts! Like reallly! (Its important to make the rules - even though we dont require any guests to follow them and we will give them all thier money back when they dont......) So why make them at all.....?
Break them and you shall not be accountable for anything. Hmmmmm! Not sure paying Air BnB thier fees and they in turn refunding guests after breaking house rules is not really the business I want to be in. If they do not change this rule, I will go to VBRO and cancel my Air BnB website. Totally unaceptable oversight by the Air BnB team.
I agree with Alex and Vaughan I had very awkward guests who completly disrespected the house rules from the time they arrived. With this they had been drinking down at the local Sports bar and had a few to many to drink, this i first did not mind. As i was talking to them i relised they were smoking and putting the cigurete butts out in a drinking glass. I made a comment about the smoking as being a non smoking enviroment as per the house rules. In further conversation with them they started to complain about every thing including not recieving the Itinerary. They also commented that they will be leaving a poor report. This all happened within ten minutes upon there arrival.
After reading comments from hosts I was concerned so reached out to Airbnb. Below is the converstation. I still need to check into the guarantee they mention.
It is not fair that a guest gets refunded when they get kicked out for breaking the rules. When they smoke inside even though the house rule states NO SMOKING, it is very dificult to remove the bad smell. Everything gets impregnated, the curtains, the sofa, the mattres, and we the hosts have to spend extra money to get rid of the cigarrette smell so the new guests don't cancel on us because they requested a non smoking place and they come to find one where the previous guests have smoked in. This should be reviewed by AIRBNB and changed to provide a more fair solution for the hosts.