Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Lakeland, FL
Level 2
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Hello! My classmates and I are enrolled in a doctoral program, and we are in town for a lab and study weekend. No parties, celebrations, fun time, etc. We were charged over $250 in fees for the rental, and almost $200 were in cleaning fees. The night before leaving, the host sends me a list of chores to do.... even though she initially charged the big cleaning fee. We are up late studying and have class the morning of check out, so we will be out of the apartment around 7:45 am even though checkout is not until 10:00 am. Is is not appropriate to ask us to do all the chores when there is a large cleaning fee, and it is not our responsibility to have the place in order for the next PAYING guests. Can the host charge me after the fact if we don't clean it? If we do find the time to clean it, can I request my $180 cleaning fee be reimbursed? Any insight would be appreciated! Thank you! 

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29 Replies

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Palmetto, FL
Level 2

I am also a part of this group and i can also add that the house rules only state to keep the kitchen clean and to take out trash (which we have done). We are just a little surprised by this message and dont want to be charged any additional add ons after paying a heafty cleaning fee. 

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

Level 1

I agree and would like some answers as well. We’ve already been charged for a hefty cleaning fee and I don’t see any reason for us to be tidying up the Airbnb to THIS extent, and on the night before we have to leave with what was already included in our booking fee! We’ve only come to the Airbnb to eat our short dinners, study and sleep every night. The place has been kept very clean as it is and receiving that message doesn’t really match up with the original deal. Is there any possibility for negotiations, or will we be charged more for not complying with the owners late night text messages?

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Katie1148 @Sonali16 @Anahi47 

 

I don’t think the host is likely to try to charge extra because you didn’t strip the beds .

 

 I doubt that Airbnb would allow it even if they did try.

 

 I think the host is merely trying to politely suggest that guests not leave a mess behind such as wet towels all over the floors and furniture, greasy dishes left on the table, burned pots on the stove, etc.

 

Basically most of us would like to see things left in a state that would not cause our own mothers to slap us if we did it at her house.

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Katie1148  @Anahi47 

 

The host has asked you politely to basically tidy up after yourselves. I don't know how many of you there are, but even if it's only you two, what you have been asked to do would take a total of about 20 minutes, max. If there are more of you, it could be done in 5 or 10 minutes unless it isn't true that you haven't made a mess.

 

Did you really think it would be okay to leave a pile of dirty dishes? **

 

I do think if a host expects guests to strip beds, and start a load of wash, they should make that known in their house rules in the listing, rather than springing it on you last minute. So you could explain to her that you'll do your best, but might not have time to strip the beds and start the washing machine, but otherwise, you really need to be aware that the rest is pretty standard and basic for what Airbnb hosts expect guests to do before check-out.

 

** about what the cleaning fee covers and have no idea of the standards that have to be met, especially during Covid.

 

It doesn't matter if you were only there for the weekend and didn't make a big mess, the cleaner still has to clean and sterilize the bathroom and the kitchen, vacuum and wash the floors, dust, clean mirrors, dry the sheets and towels, remake the beds, fold the towels, put all the clean dishes back in the cupboards, clean the fridge, restock the toilet paper and soap, need I go on? It's hours of work.

 

It takes 2 minutes to strip a bed and another 3 minutes to start the washing machine. 3 minutes, if tyhat, to gather up the dirty towels. 4 minutes to gather up the trash and put it where requested. And it is never okay to leave dirty dishes. **

And next time you book an Airbnb, if you don't want to pay what you consider a hefty cleaning fee, **, then choose a listing that doesn't have one.

 

**[Personal remarks removed in line with - Community Center Guidelines]

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Katie1148 @Sarah977 @Sonali16 @Anahi47 

 

Personally I would prefer that people NOT leave with the clothes washer and dishwasher running.

 

In order to fully comply with COVID protocols we really have to do it ourselves, and there’s also a danger of machine malfunction resulting in a huge mess.

 

But if that’s what the host requested I would do it.

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Brian2036  My son in law travels a lot on business and told me he resents paying a cleaning fee and then having it sprung on him after he arrives that he is expected to strip the bed, start a load of wash, and hump the garbage down the alley to the dumpster. He feels that level of expectation should be mentioned in the listing, and I  agree.

 

But of course he does it if it is asked of him, and would never assume it was okay to leave dirty dishes, garbage strewn around, or wet towels on the floor.

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Lakeland, FL
Level 2

@Sarah977  We don’t believe anyone ever thinks it’s appropriate to leave dirty dishes, garbage strewn around, or wet towels on the floor. We just agree with your son and thought that the cleaning fee was a little excessive. But we aren’t maids so we didn’t know any better about what a cleaning fee typically is! 

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Katie1148  Fair enough and sorry if I sounded harsh. I've just read so many posts by guests over the years who think that if they wash the dishes and wipe down the counters and sweep the floors, they've done all the host's cleaning for them. Or feel it's okay to just walk away and leave a mess behind them.

 

To give you an idea, it takes me an hour and a half to clean and prepare my single guest bedroom and their private bathroom, no matter how clean and tidy the last guest left it. A two or three bedroom place would take me several hours. And hosts are now expected to do a lot of sterilizing for Covid precautions. 

 

Most cleaning fees go directly to the cleaner, hosts aren't profiting off them, but as I said, if you feel a cleaning fee on a listing is exhorbitant, then pass on that listing and look for one that's more reasonable.

 

And there's nothing wrong with sending a host private feedback after your stay saying that as a guest, you feel that if a host has expectations of guests doing more than cleaning up their personal mess, like stripping beds and starting a wash, they should make that clear in their listing info, not spring it on guests the day before check-out, when they have already made plans that may not leave time for all that.

 

The thing about cleaning fees is that they are a one time fee for the booking. So if you have a short booking, it may seem extreme, but if you stay for a week or two, it averages out to a small amount per day. And hosts can never know how guests will leave a place- some guests can create a disaster zone in one night, others can stay for 10 days and leave it immaculate. So the host has to just average out how much to charge for cleaning. 

 

 

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Nova Scotia, Canada
Level 2

There are several online forums for hosts and one of the number one issues that arises is how much cleaners charge. The average price in Canada (where we are) to clean a modest 2 bedroom house is $150-200. And that is assuming that there aren't dirty dishes and piles of laundry to round up. I don't think most people understand this. For anyone who hires domestic cleaners for weekly or biweekly cleaning, imagine that cost times 2 or 3, as the cleaners are basically expected to prepare the home as if it were being staged for resale -- spotless and perfect -- every drawer, cupboard, linens... etc. The cleaning fee is charged only once/stay, as most hosts do not provide the daily cleaning that hotels do.

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

@Katie1148    I track my expenses for my Airbnb quite carefully, to make sure it is priced correctly.   I do all my own cleaning. The other day, I thought I would estimate how much I should be paying myself for it. 

 

I have a 600 sq ft open-plan space, that sleeps 4. 

 

At checkout, I ask guests to bag up trash and leave the bag at the front door, wash up dishes, and drop towels in the basket provided.   Some do strip beds, but I don't ask for that. 

 

It takes me about 5 hours to strip beds, load the washer, clean the bathroom, load the dryer (sometimes more than one load), take the trash to the bins, remake the beds, replace the towels, put liner bags in all the bins, check that the dishes are clean and put them away,  clean all kitchen surfaces including inside the microwave and refrigerator, after removing all food left behind, polish up stainless steel surfaces, wipe down all wood surfaces, wipe down the TV, computer, remote,  dust, especially in corners, sweep the floor, vacuum rugs, replenish supplies and mop the floor. 

 

I have a garden space, so I also spend about an hour outside, sweeping the deck and the pathway,  trimming any foliage that might be in the way,  and making sure the front entrance looks clean and inviting. 

 

That's a total of about 6 hours, at the local minimum wage of $15.   $90.  Assuming the guests haven't left a mess behind. Most cleaning services charge quite a bit more than that, which is why I clean myself. 

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Hot Springs, AR
Level 2

But this mindset is what turns guests off. I am a tidy person and I clean up after myself, but paying a $180 cleaning fee implies I am paying so it can be clean for the next guest just as their $180 paid ensured it was clean when I arrived. 

There is a level of responsibility missing in your answer. If it takes you 5 hours to strip the sheets, clean them, and do the dishes, I would suggest having multiple sets of sheets, only provide a minimum number of dishes, and swap both of those out with clean items you have prewashed. Why would you want to drive to your property and spend 5 hours when you can just show up with fresh sheets, 3-4 new plates/drink ware and be done with the 5 hours of work in 10 minutes?

Yes, you have to clean the items later, but there are things YOU can do as a host that provide value to a guest after spending $180 on cleaning. 


Too many hosts want to pass all the costs and labor on to the guest. That might have been okay when you could stay at an Airbnb for $30 a night, but prices are above and beyond traditional B&Bs and even current hotel rates.

 

Turning your home into an investment involves costs, monetarily and through labor. The guest did not assume these risks/commitments. They paid you.

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

@Parker50  What mindset would that be exactly ?    

 

I charge a minimal cleaning fee - I do not pass my hours of labor onto my guests,  and it's pretty absurd to imagine that one can be "done with the 5 hours of work in 10 minutes".    I use the example of a paid service to get the message across that folks who have to hire cleaners don't get off cheap, and if one is running a business, there is no reason why one should not include those costs in one's daily rates. 

 

I don't drive anywhere since the space is at my home. 

 

5 hours of work is the time it takes to turn over the space.  I don't include the duration of the wash & dry cycle in the 5 hours.  5 hours is the actual time it takes to strip and make the beds (no matter where the laundry occurs and which sheets are used), thoroughly clean the bathroom (guests really like a clean bathroom, in case you weren't aware), thoroughly clean the kitchen (including cleaning out the refrigerator and the microwave) , put away dishes (whether there is a huge repeat supply or not) ,  wash down all surfaces (Covid Protocol), sweep, mop and disinfect floors, and replace the supplies used.     Oh - and also sweep the deck, the pathway and trim the shrubs. 

 

If you're not happy with hosts "passing on the costs", which, by the way, hotels do all the time, they just have the benefit of cheap labor and utilities, choose a place with a lower cleaning fee.     

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Parker50 "Turning your home into an investment involves costs, monetarily and through labor."

 

Exactly. A host bases their pricing on a combination of factors- what other comparable places rent for in the area, how many guests it accommodates, and the expenses involved in running the business. 

 

Hosts price with the intention to get bookings, so they aren't going to come up with some unreasonable rate. It's a business- bills have to paid, cleaners have to be paid, regular maintenance has to be performed, towels and sheets have to replaced on a regular basis, soap, toilet paper, shampoo, coffee, tea, and whatever else the host provides have to be purchased. Hosts also spend considerable labor time answering guest messages, sending them all the check-in information, etc.

 

After all that is deducted, there has to be enough profit left over for it to be a worthwhile endeavor. 

 

Cleaning fees are commensurate with how long it takes to clean a place and what the going rate for cleaning is.

 

How you can possibly think that if the host simply picks up the used bedding and towels and leaves clean ones cuts down on the cleaning time for each booking, is bamboozling. If it takes 5 hours to clean a place between bookings, it doesn't matter if that happens on Tuesday or Saturday. 

 

If you think tidying up after yourself, washing your dirty dishes and not leaving garbage strewn around constitutes cleaning the place for the next guest, you've obviously never cleaned a house to the standards required for the hospitality industry.

 

And if you think that hotels aren't charging guests for cleaning, just because you don't see it as a separate line item, you are deluded. I can assure you the hotel owner doesn't pay the cleaners out of his own pocket.

 

All businesses pass the costs and cost of labor on to the consumer. What world do you live in where that doesn't happen?

 

BTW, it's rather curious that you feel qualified to weigh in on this, when you have not one review on your profile as a guest, nor a host.

Re: Charged an extreme cleaning fee, and then I was given a list of cleaning chores before checkout??

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Katie1148 

starting a washing machine and dishwasher is a very common request on Airbnb.

Why?

Bc the cycles lasts 2-3 hours. Now, if the cleaner is paid for 1 or 2 hours and then leaves she cannot load and unload the machines, put dishes in the cupboards and sheets into the wardrobe... there is no time. But if the guest loads the machines before the cleaner arrives then the cycle will be over before the cleaner has to leave.

 

Regarding cleaning fees - it would be much better if this fee is called "a turnover fee" or "longer stay discount" or something similar. Bc every turnover is time, money and energy consuming and it is so much easier having 1 turnover than 20 of them every month. High cleaning fees are often used to discourage short stays, or at least to make them profitable.

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