6 Signs Your Next Booking Could Be Dealing Drugs/Involved in Illegal Activity


6 Signs Your Next Booking Could Be Dealing Drugs/Involved in Illegal Activity

naively allowed my home to be used as a drug distribution center on several occasions. I started doing some research. I called my local police station and talked to other hosts who have also been taken advantage of in this way. I've learned that the drug community is using things like Airbnb more and more to distribute their drugs. Often times their "customers" are told that your home is the dealers residence. Know the signs. As the host, you have the right to evict guests involved in illegal activity or guests who have broken your house rules in anyway.

6 Signs Your Next Booking Could Be A Drug Dealer

1. The guest is from your local town. They may say they used to live here and are vising friends.
2. Any of your guests prior stays have also been local and recent.
3. These booking are often last minute.
4. You notice several different vehicles and a lot of traffic in and out; people coming and going that all seem to have purpose.
5. Your guest seems nice but is short in face to face conversation.
6. These guests will often have a some form of protective companion. This could be a dog or person

1 Best Answer
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

As soon as you know your guest is breaking your house rules,  you can ask Airbnb to cancel the booking. If you do so, it's likely you won't be paid. @Carole212  (I am presuming here you asked the guest to pay for the additional guests and not to break your rules around night time noise and the guest hasn't done so).


Personally if guests turn up with additional guests on check in, I ask them to pay (if I have the space) if they refuse,  I would call Airbnb straight away rather than let them stay.


If you have tenants rights after 30 days, then you should set your listing not to accept bookings more than say 28 days.


If you feel your property is at risk, they won't pay for the additional people and are breaking your house rules around late night noise, call Airbnb and ask them to cancel, so you can hopefully get your place rebooked.

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28 Replies 28
Level 10
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Thanks for sharing this valuable information, everybody should be aware if those signs.

Level 10
Eugene, OR

Hello Rachel,

I have a nagging fear that this is happening all over the west coast? I'm thinking about delisting because of a very unsettling experience I just had with a VERY shady guest, medical waste, and odors in the home -- you can fill in the gaps what may have transpired. I requested the security deposit (just $200 for an enture home) a few days ago to deal with all that biohazardous waste and ugly odors and have heard not a peep from the guest. Of course I called AirBnb's customer support line to report the illegal acitivities and my experience and they have so far done nothing at all, just sent me an email to say they are looking into it. No security deposit. No word. I should have called the police, but I was caught in a bind as well because I didn't want to alert the police here 1) because they don't do anything anyway down here and I had exactly 2 hours to clean the entire home on my break before needing to be back at work 2) I had new guests checking in that afternoon and the last thign I need are cop cars and cops around as someone checks in and 3) AirBnbs are coming under the microscope here and the community has historically pulled the plug on things like this (uber, as an example) if there is enough public outcry. Weighing all those factors I decided just to ask for my security deposit back and clean up the mess, but now I don'[t even have that. And there are still lingering odors. Hopefully there are no small pieces of paraphernalia that I somehow missed hiding in some dark forgotten corner that a future guest may find -- this keeps me up at night!

What a drag. Giving Airbnb today to respond and then I'm probably delisting since I can't even get my security deposit. It is really sad after years of hosting and success.

Hey Jess,

What an awful experience! Did you find little blue stains anywhere? Were there any of the signs I listed above? I kind of already got the idea that Airbnb wouldn’t be able to do much in these situations and I just see them as an advertiser for my place. My mom is also a host and has learned that you can request a deposit for damages to your place but the person can refuse to pay it. The end. Airbnb does put a note or flag on someone’s account who has been accused of damage. It basically tells other Airbnb employees that this is a bad guest. So if future issues arise with them, Airbnb will be won’t be so lenient on them. But you and I still take on the risk of damage to our place without compensation. Because I understand this I just prepare accordingly. I don’t put expensive things in my place and I don’t accept guests who have poor reviews. And you can bet the next time I notice drug traffic, I won’t hesitate to evict, if it even gets that far.  I was told by the police that as much as they wished they could bust up the drug activity, they just don’t have the man power to respond to every call they get. Which I do understand. I do feel some responsibility as a citizen to help protect my community. I’m very upfront and kind with these people with zero tolerance for it. I think one of the best things we can do is make other hosts aware. Do you think you’d be able recognize the signs next time? 

@Rachel-And-Jeffery0, so call me naive (I live in an area not known for meth), but can you please explain the blue stains? I'm intrigued.

Hi Jess,


Can we chat - I'm going through something similar, but I filed a police report.  Also, if there are odors - you need to be very careful.  If it's meth residue it can be harmful to your health and to your guests.

Level 10
Seattle, WA

On the West Coast, landlords must be very protective of their properties. 

We have a permissive attitude toward law enforcement of illegal drugs and its affects, so most responsibility falls on landlords.

Get security cameras to watch the front of house.

Make your neighbor a "token" cohost. Explain to all guests that your neighbor watchs the property for everone's protection.

After many years of bad experience, I now have a pretty good sense of druggies.

They often are inappropriately nice, yet lack depth. Most telling is their desire stop contact as soon as possible and takeover a house quickly.

Good luck.

@Jess78 Very strong house rules can protect you with scarring this groups of guests away before booking:

Here some of mine HR's that would solve the problem prior booking.


(Feel Free to use)



- We ONLY host guests with airbnb verified ID, Email and Phone-Nr.
- ID has to be verified on guest account (min. 5 days before arrival) copy of ID at check in.

- The booking guest needs to have a fully verified account (ID, Email and Phone-Nr.) and has to register EVERY person staying at our house with full name at day of booking but not later than 5 days upon arrival. Ignoring this rule will result in cancellation. 
- ONLY with full name registered guests are allowed on the property. (short visual ID check at arrival).
- ALL guests have to TRAVEL (from outside NYC) or fly and check-in/arrive TOGETHER.

- We are NOT HOSTING NYC LOCAL'S without explicit written agreement.
- NO LOCAL MEET-UP'S AND STAYING OVER with any persons not previously registered/booked and agreed by host.

- NO Smoking allowed on property
- NO Drugs (included smoking Marijuana / Pot or similar) on property (in/outside)

- Surveillance or recording devices on property - Alarm System on Main-Floor / Front and Backyard Camera
- NO REFUND without prior notice and documentation. Any Issues during a booking period/stay, resulting in any refund request, needs to be addressed in writing before checkout through airbnb message. Description and (if possible) photo of the issue is mandatory.
 Changes or adjustments of listed "House Rules" has to be agreed by host in writing via Airbnb App. It is mutually agreed that any violation of house rules will terminate the rental contract and the host can/will takeover the guest-space. In this case, the guest(s) will get a refund as of Airbnb policy and waives all rights to stay. 



@Jess78 Almost forgot BUT SUPER important,

of cause only possible if you live "on Side":


- Between 12pm and 5pm: Essentials will be checked on daily base and the host will vacuum guest space / remove garbage every 2nd day.


Checking for "essentials" sounds much better than:  "I KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN MY GUEST SPACE" 😉


CC @Rachel And Jeffery @Paul @M. Cristina

Great ideas! Although I e found that most of my irresponsible guests don’t even read the House Rules. But at least you had it in writing so they can’t complain!

It's a good idea to check ID upon check-in.  Airbnb's verification system is weak, and I had an experience where they supposedly verified it before the booking and then afterwards, claimed they never had him verified (but I had a screen shot with it saying so)!

Level 10
Wellington, New Zealand

My wife and I recently had an “almost booking” from someone that, on reflection, we realise was most likely a drug trafficker. 


The signs:

1. They sent an inquiry to ask if they could bypass the Airbnb system and pay us directly, which we immediately declined.

2. They told us they contacted Airbnb and asked if they could “pay it off” for only a 3 night stay in our budget little space (according to them Airbnb said yes).

3. The booking inquiry was very last minute for an international journey (4 weeks away).

4. They had unverified ID and looked about 19-20 years old in their profile picture.

5. They did not provide a full name.

6. Last but not least, although they insisted they required time to pay off the 3 night stay, they seemed to be able to afford a return flight from the US to New Zealand to stay for 3 nights only, before leaving the country again... riiiiiiight.


On the basis of the above, we are fairly sure they intended to hold up and purge their ingested drug parcels in our bathroom over the course of 3 days... 

Wow. That’s is almost laughably bad. Tell them not to quit their day job to go into the conman business. Thanks for sharing! 

Level 2
Chicago, IL


Thanks for such a wonderful infomation. I will surley follow your tips.

It is aceptable to mention in my listing that we do not tolerate any type of illegal activities?