How Do You Make Sure Airbnb Guests Read Your House Rules?

Level 2
Washington, DC

How Do You Make Sure Airbnb Guests Read Your House Rules?

Hey everyone,


I hope you’re all doing well!  What strategies have you found effective in getting guests to pay attention to your rules? Do you include them in your listing description, send them in a message, or maybe even have them posted somewhere in the rental? What has worked better for you? 

19 Replies 19

Hi @Suzette81 

This has always been a problem for Hosts, as we all know most guests only look at your Title and photos when making a booking decision; rarely do they look at the House Rules buried at the bottom of the listing under "Things to Know" in guest view.


Some Hosts ask that guests acknowledge they have read and agree to House Rules before accepting a booking, or ask a question that is only answerable if they have read the House Rules. We decided not to go that route. We include a brief note in our message after booking and in the Check-in message if it is a Rule that is often broken, like having extra guests not on the reservation. Something like:


"Please note that only registered guests may be on property. No unregistered guests or unapproved visitiors."


If the listing allows pets, we send our pet policy rules along with the message after booking. We also print out our rules and keep in a nice frame on the wall. 


Ultimately, you are going to have guests that still won't pay attention to any of that. Your best protection as a Host is to be sure you have all your House Rules listed under Addl Rules in the listing including any fines you may wish to impose. If they are not listed under Addl Rules on the Listing, you won't be able to get a resolution center fine covered by Airbnb (most guests won't own up to sneaking in extra guests or bringing in a pet even if your Listing in No Pets. This is true even if you have video/photo proof they did just that). 


If it is a guest is new to Airbnb (no trips or reviews), you may have to be a bit more upfront about House Rules and how the Airbnb Review System works (very different from Hotel or Restaurant Review Ratings).

I like the idea of being more upfront with guests that have no trips/reviews. Thank you @Joan2709 , I really appreciate the detailed advice!

Community Manager
Community Manager
Port Moody, Canada

Hello @Suzette81 😊


There are many great suggestions from our Hosts in this thread ✌️. If you find any of their answers particularly useful, please don't hesitate to mark it as the best answer. You can do this by clicking the button below the comment as shown in the following image:




This will help future Hosts with similar questions easily find this conversation.


All the best.



Please follow the Community Guidelines // Por favor consulta las Normas de la comunidad

Joan good evening in your experience how to handle a guest that brings a pet without permission left the property a mess with a lot of dog hair everywhere including bed  and also a bad review because i wanted to charge for an extra cleaning, second time airbnbr firts one 3 years prior and also lie saying that it was not a pet it was a “dog companion “. Airbnb believed without proofs and also did not wanted to charge her because in the new rules I mist accepted his dog in my property. I am comoletely frustrated with Airbnb that is covering more to guests than very long time hosts.




Unfortunately, if a guest claims their dog is a service animal there is not much you can do. They don't even have to inform you they are bringing a dog. You can't ask for any proof either from the guest. You can require the service animal not be left alone at the listing, be on a leash at all times in public spaces on your property, etc. Be very careful about your interactions with someone with a "service animal." Never refer to the animal as a "pet". 


Service Animals & ESAs


That said, it's never good to let on to a guest that you wish to charge additional cleaning due to their "service animal"  before they post their review. You can start your claim for cleaning, but don't file it until you see they have posted their review. You do have to file the claim within 14 days. Once you see they have posted their review, you can post your short, honest and factual review about the damages (do not use the word "pet" in your review). Then finish your claim for additional cleaning fees within the 14 days. 



Per the help article above, you are not required to accept Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) except in New York or California (at this time). I would add that to your Addl House Rules if you don't want to accept ESAs as a Host. Y


Service Animals

You cannot refuse to Host a guest with a Service Animal with some exceptions. You can only get an exception by contacting Airbnb and they usually only provide exceptions for health reasons (severe allergies) especially if you have a home share listing, or safety issues (you have aggressive pets on the property). If they provide an exception, be sure you disclose that in your addl house rules and keep a copy of their written exception regarding service animals. 

Level 10
Takoma Park, MD

@Suzette81 It's a big problem. Guests don't read. It's really frustrating, so here's what I did. 


For a while, I took Instant Book off and required guests to request to book. My listing asked them to include certain information when requesting to book, which included acknowledging review of all property details and house rules. The majority of them failed to do this. However, when I got their request to book, I could then reply with a nice message asking them to confirm review of all house rules and property details. If they failed to confirm then, I would not accept the booking. 

I wrote something like this after the first message: 


Dear X, thanks so much for your booking request. I do ask in the listing that guests confirm review of all property details and house rules when requesting to book. I do this because I want you to have a good stay, and to make sure the property is a good fit for your needs. I'll wait to hear back from you. Thanks! 


If they respond as requested, I then have it in writing. If they don't, I won't accept the booking. 


I've now turned Instant Book back on, but I do the same thing. If they were able to IB and don't include that in their message, I  message them and ask them to confirm. If they don't, and I'm getting a bad vibe, I can ask AirBnB to cancel penalty free, due to them not confirming and not responding. 


I firmly believe that the time to nip this in the bud is before the booking is confirmed, or right after they've booked. Then it's out of the way and hopefully smooth sailing. 


Good luck, whatever you decide to do. 





This is great @Kia272 .  I need to do something like this.  Guests not reading anything is the biggest challenge I have as a host.  All the other problems lead back to guests not reading.  


@Karen114  I feel your pain. Unfortunately, there's no cure for stupidity, laziness, or  entitlement. Many others would rather waste your time than theirs, hence the expectation that you'll provide them with info you've already provided, that they were too lazy to pay attention to. 

I've gotten salty to the point that I'll just decline if they can't manage the very simple task of reading the listing, and including the two or three bits of information I've asked for. There's usually someone smarter and more considerate that will come along. Hang in there. 

@Kia272  I have resorted to the same. Yesterday a guest asked me where the nearest grocery store was. This is offered ad nauseum in guest guide as well as welcome emails.  I did not respond 😳.  They messaged again later saying they found it.  Obviously if it was a more pressing question I would have responded. 

Also it's shocking to me how many guest don't use Google.  If I was anywhere and wanted to find something I would just Google it. 


@Karen114 Wait until you get dinged on your communication rating 🤣


Totally not funny, but that's AirBnB World. 

I agree that the time to make sure we are all on the same page is before check-in time. Thank you for sharing!

Hi @Suzette81 Agree with all commentary below.


For my 'simpler/smaller' listings ie max 4 people, I just have them in the airbnb app. 


For my 'complex' listing (max 12 people), I actually separately email something like this 'Top 8 questions that come up' (which is disguised for 'house rules' in addition to whats on the airbnb App. I do this because I ask them to circulate around their guests (given only 1 person is booking but 12 are staying) which also includes directions to property. I say something like 'so that you have a great experience, please read this before you depart your home for this holiday' as there's a little more to it than a metro stay (its a rural farm).


Then I do have a 'a sign on the back of the front door, saying, Stop, before you Exit have you...then i list a few essential things like locking up, turning off heaters etc'.  with a big thankyou and smiley face at the end! My cleaner gets upset that I don't have more rules in the house but she doesn't receive the guest complaints when I had too many!


Whatever you do, it's in the all tone of the communications. Keep it friendly, don't make it sound like a rule, make it sound like you are helping them have a good time! 


I learnt this the hard way, initially my rules and house signage must have been a bit negative and had a few guests comment on it sounded like they were been told off.


And then finally, when all else fails and house rules aren't fully adhered to (like i ask them to empty dishwasher, or at least don't leave it on as we had a electrical fault once and burnt pump out as it went running for 24 hrs until cleaner got there), I just take a deep breath and think, well we are in the hospitality business so you have to have some flexibility here. This is not your home you are renting out, you take the money for some risk and inconvenience.


Hope this helps,





Level 10
McHenry, IL

Hi there @Suzette81,

I have what is most important to me within my AirBnB listing under House Rules. I agree with @Joan2709 that most people do not read the house rules as they are quite buried in the listing (as is the Guide Book) that most of my guest honestly did not know they even existed. 

I have a silver glitter binder boldly labeled HOUSE RULES- PLEASE READ smack in front of the T.V. First page in huge font says THANK YOU BOOKING & FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS.  as they don't often see one when traveling. With in that binder I have a repeat of what is in my listing plus my further house rules, then tabbed off sections with copies of possibly needed instruction manuals for TV, coffee maker, bluetooth printer, etc., and check out instructions. I have had many guest write to me privately how they really enjoyed having it as a reference and do indeed read it. I live in a 120 year old farm house with the rental apartment added in 1956 so opening windows, keeping the place cool in summer, etc. has its quirks. 

PLUS highly appreciated I have a binder with Bettye's Guide book printed off. Sorta off the subject but my guest LOVE IT!!!  They openly admit they didn't see it in the listing though really appreciate having all the great places to see and do while staying and have had guest come back to do things they didn't even know existed.

With that in mind my guests comment that they have read them and appreciate the time I took in organizing it in a way for quick reference.  Traveling via AirBnB I found several of my stays had one and I thought it was brilliant my self so I carried it on when I started out. 

I have had nothing but the best of guests, if broken rules they were very minor of nature (not taking their shoes off after entering) and I never had to file a claim.

To note I have never had very few guests reach out to me with a question on how to do with what. :-). If I met and spoke directly to my guests it been less than 5% of my bookings. I don't want to be hounded when I travel and I just follow what is important to me and carry on.

The best of luck in your new venture.


Hi @Suzette81 ~


I'd ask you to qualify your question...what rules aren't the guest following?


Whatever 1-2 rules are your priority, place it in multiple locations on the listing description.  Takes at least 3 mentions for a person to remember a fact, fyi... 


After 9 years of hosting, we have a new philosophy on rules, and we write them for own protection/liability purposes only.. so if we decide to pursue damages with the guest~ it is plainly written on our site they are liable for x, y and z.


You can't control what people will do, about 93% of guests are amazing, and 7% break every rule..