How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

Level 3
Brookline, MA

How to remove a problematic guest before end of reservation ?

Hi all 

First time posting.  I'm a super host and have been hosting for over 12 years - long before Airbnb - I typically host 1-3 month stays.

For various & necessary  reasons, my listing is pretty strict and I have  a lot of rules. These are all posted clearly on my listing and I do not utilize instabook (We are not for everybody- but have a great rapport with the  vast majority of our guests who choose our home after reading the listing carefully). 

I recently had a guest start to be beligerent and unaware of the particulars  of my listing - after he reserved a 21 day reservation- ( I do believe it is the guests' responsibility to read the listing).  I told him I thought it may be best for both of us if he made other reservations - at which point he called me from oversees and proved himself even more beligerent and entitled. I hung up and called Airbnb - it was still days away from his arrival date - I said I would  like to cancel the  reservation -   Airbnb stated I would be penalized if  I canceled - I had to wait until  his arrival  and if he broke the rules (that he was clearly not hearing or agreeing to), then I could ask him to leave without penalty.  Not a very comfortable situation and I was disappointed with Airbnb's response.

I won't go into the drama, but he has broken quite a few  of the rules - starting with trying to arrive hours before check in time and  his room being ready,  having additional guests in our home, and  trespassing on neighbors' property, which  I review carefully with each guest multiple times - he just does not  "agree" with it.  I have communicated with him via Airbnb platform to create  a "paper trail" of some of these issues. He is so awful my other guest - who had an open ended reservation - (not through Airbnb) decided to leave.  He has another  week  left in his reservation.  He is already questioning his check out time & procedure and looking   for all kinds of exceptions (which is his MO). I believe he has already broken enough rules to warrent canceling his reservation ( I have not listed all of his  transgressions here ).


I did not ask him to leave  last week as

#1  -  it is really uncomfortable and I have never had to do this in 12 years - I spoke with him a few times and tried to give him multiple  chances - I strive to make it work with all my guests. 

#2   - my  partner  happened to be out of town and I was not sure it was wise to inititiate without more back up - 

#3  - once I tell him he needs to leave - I feel it needs to happen right away  - as he is ikely to be quite mad - he does not respond to requests, explanations or communication - he seems quite "off".

#4  - I am also concerned that if he makes a big fuss and either he or I call the police - it will be problematic going forward as my town   is already trying to ban AIrbnb - there are a lot of social media conversations already (that don't include me). If it makes it in to the police blotter - it could have long term repercussions for my ongoing business ......


I am so annoyed that this one person could dismantle everything I have worked for over a 12 year period......  including the Airbnb "penalties" and review that may also be a consequence...


On the day he is due to check out - I have to go out of town - he is continually asking for exceptions and stating he has other needs. I clearly gave him 2 options for checking out by 10 AM - both offers include our assisiting him (which we often do) but they have clear boundaries. His response is  "I will see" ,  " I have to think about it"  - he refuses to understand there are no other options. He must check out by 10 AM on the  day his reservation ends. I can't go out of town with this guy refusing to leave - and I can't  be delayed by his actions that morning. It is the final straw for me. I want him to leave this weekend.


This situation has never come up for me.....   

I could use some advice....    I feel once I tell him he has to leave,. he should leave very soon, as he  may become more problematic. 

But it also seems harsh not to give him some time to find a place to go - have any of you expeienced   this before ?

I was thinking perhaps this weekend - as it would interfere less with his work schedule (all my guests come here for work, not leisure).

What help  can  I expect to receive from Airbnb ?

Any general advice for moving forward ? 

I want to do the least amount of harm for all involved - but I have to get in front of this before  he creates even more problems....


Thank so much for reading - I look forward to hearing any experiences and/or suggestions. 






25 Replies 25
Level 10
Princeton, NJ

I wonder how receptive he would be to a little bluffing.


If he is from overseas and wants to ever have the opportunity to come to the US again for work or schooling,  any kind of police record would be a bad thing. Much worse than an embarrassing scene would be for you.


Perhaps just the threat of calling the police would be enough.


Do you know anyone at Dana Farber ?


Again, the thought of you calling his supervisor or who ever sponsored his visa and research....? Could that idea be enough to get him in line RE the check out time?

Based on what you said, I’m guessing he’s from Asia or the Middle East?  In some of those cultures, “who you know” is very important. Press those buttons a little and see what happens.


I’d say he’s going to leave you a bad review no matter what you do anyway.  (And you can leave him a bad review too!)

Level 10




I agree with what You've said.  Concerning the review: We had a similar case here in Germany. In this case the host told his guest flat out, that if the guest leaves a bad review or a bad rating, the host would send a complaint-letter to his employer about his bad behaviour.  I know this is not in line with airbnb policies and I am not suggesting it, but it happened in my country.


Let's see how this case evolves.




Level 10
Jersey City, NJ


@Maureen176  I'm not sure why you are negotiating with this person?  If he has so far refused to acknowledge the check out time and if this is documented in the airbnb message system, along with the rules he has already broken, why don't you call airbnb and tell them you are extremely uncomfortable with this guest and you want him out this weekend?  Tell them he has refused to acknowledge the check out time and that you don't wish to call the police to get him out.  Tell them you will happily refund his last 1 or 2 nights.  Get them to cancel it or get them to get the guest to cancel.

Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Mark116 thanks for your response 

I am not really negotiating with him - I was asking for specific advice on  best ways of removing him - 

His defiance of checkout time is only verbal  at this point - on the platform he said he will check out on time - he is  now on to me re creating a paper trail with Airbnb -

I did call CS before he even arrived - said I was extremely uncomfortbale  with the reservation - they said I would be penalized if I canceled - I did not want my listing buried .... but I  now wish I had canceled anyway.... I was very surprised by their lack of support at the time ....

There are a few other complications in getting someone to leave -  He is in my primary residence - I have other people in my home - I have neighbors - I did not want it to blow up uneccessarily - I have to get my key from him and be sure he does not  do damage on his way out - I live in a historic district ....

But you are right - I do need  to just get hm out now - I was asking for others experiences so I was ready to deal with whatever came up - And I did get some good advice - thanks 

Level 10
Jersey City, NJ

@Maureen176 Well, I think you are negotiating with him, otherwise why are you repeatedly engaging with him on check out time, rather than just reminding him, check out is 10am, and cleaners will be arriving at 10:05.


If no one is going to be there at 10am to facilitate his check out, then yes, you should call airbnb and get THEM to cancel, not cancel yourself.  You should not cancel yourself because you frankly don't even know for sure he won't leave by 10am, so why take the hit for potentially no reason?  He's leaving on Sunday anyway, 2 days. 


You can always threaten to call police which as he's a professional, he will surely not want that to happen and will leave.  Your better bet may be to postpone your own trip to ensure you can be on site to facilitate his leaving.

Level 3
Brookline, MA

I live in the house he is staying in - he has approached me on 3 occasions to discuss it - I just make it clear - check out  is 10 AM - and he has to leave by then - I am not repeatedly engaging with him - he is repeatedly trying to  engage with me about it,  which is part of the problem - but these are very quick conversations at this point - and I repeat the message - "check out is at 10 " in a message on Airbnb platform -

I don't understand how you are so sure that I am negotiatig with him....

He is scheduled to leave a week from today - not Sunday

I can't change my plans on that day - I plan to be here until 10 - and leave after him -  but I can't be delayed by any of his potential  tactics of not leaving on time .... and I will have guests  in my home that morning- not interested in a scene - 

Police are not really a good option - 

Check out is ususally a  non event  - 


I know I asked for suggestions -but kind  of missing the mark here - no pun intended - 

 I think we are good here Mark - 

Have a great day 


Level 10
La Quinta, CA

@Maureen176   If you have managed to be in this business for 12 years without this type of guest, then you must have very good luck. 😄   Anyway, you did not manage this situation to your benefit perhaps because you value being a Super Host.  I have been a Super Host and will be again, but a single problematic guest caused me to lose the status.  I have not experienced any business reduction due to the change in status.  Personally, I must admit I liked the designation, but I would NEVER risk a bad guest to keep SH.  You know way more than most of Air BNB about what is a good match for your listing.  Trust that.

So now you have to deal with this ugly situation.  See it as another learning experience and move on.  Please keep us advised as we are all hoping the best for you.

Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Linda108 Thank you Linda - I think I did buckle at the thought of losing Superhost status.  Lesson Learned. The reason I have had so few problems in 12 years  is I have very strict rules - which weeds a lot of people out - and I say no to plenty of people -  I am  usually very particular. You are correct, we know what is best for our lisitngs.  I have been at this long before Airbnb - it has extended my reach - but it has also presented problems particular to Airbnb,. I'm  sorry you also had a problematic guest - I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Hi, @Maureen176 

I had to cancel a stay my first and only time 3 days ago.

Being in Brooklyn, NY I have very strict and
VERY CLEAR house rules and also its stated what happens if rules gets violated. 
I called CS and asked to cancel the stey.
I pointed out the violations, and copied the relevant rules in my CS follow-up-email to Case Manager.
I found CS very helpful. The guest was also banned to leave a review.
Here my point:
Dealing with house rules and CS should not be a gray area...
You should not wiggle around.
If you need to cancel, make a decision, call CS to cancel,
and THAN AFTER you tell guest to leave. 
Prove your case based on your house rules (send pictures...) to CS.
As more detailed your rules, as easier to get help.
My guest booked for 1 night only for him.
His check in time was 12-2pm.
He came with a "local" drinking buddy
at 10:30pm,
was loud and already intoxicated at check in.
30 Min. later he was out!!!
- NO check in allowed under influence of illegal substances and/or alcohol.
- Quiet-Time: Monday to Friday: 10PM to 6AM 
- NO Drugs (included smoking Marijuana / Pot or similar) on property (in/outside)
- Respect my Tenant, come/leave quiet. No loud noise during Quiet-Time. Thank you!!!
- Be aware of all "House Rules" as part of the contract.
- ONLY with full name registered guests are allowed on the property (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 MEETUPS, VISITORS AND/OR OVERNIGHT GUESTS that are not previously registered/booked and agreed by host in writing (breaking this rule will be handled as trespassing).
- 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 this house rules will terminate the rental contract.
I was looking over your "house rules" and NO, I don't agree with you:
"...pretty strict and I have  a lot of rules..."
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Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Giedre-and-Andre0  Thank you - this is very helpful..... that sounds awful - glad you had a quick resolution....

It is  very helpful to hear this  input  from you ....... 

To be clear - I did say - after reservation and before he arrived - that I was concerned we were not a good fit and perhaps we should cancel - he insisted he would be a good  guest and I relented. He is a research doctor here to do a 21 day stint at Dana Farber - 90% of my guests are doctors - I do not accept any vacation guests.   English is his second language  and sometimes there are early,  awkward moments of communication, for this reason, and because they are medical professionals,  I give them the benefit of the doubt. I always ask details about why they are coming - I USUALLY ask "have you read my listing thoroughly and are you sure you can agree to our house rules " - or something to that effect.  He inquired late at night - I responded - and he said he needed to go to sleep - which truncated our conversation (and in hindsight,  was the first sign of his belligerence ). I ended up approvig him after questioning him about his work - but I did not mention the house rules. After I pre approved him - I realized he did not read them thoroughly  and that is when I said I don't  think this is going to work....  VERY GOOD REMINDER FOR ME TO ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE HOUSE RULES BEFORE PRE APPROVAL - although it is their resoonsibility to read them in the listing.  I have not been threatening to cancel his reservation since his arrival. But I have been communicating with him about his transgressions  on the Airbnb platform - knowing it could come to that..... I am proceeding carefully because I have not had to do it before, and I want to do it right. I think my situation is in a different category than your scenerio of  a guest showing  up early  and drunk ...

I do not have photos of his transgressions but I have conversations   about it..... I do not state in my house rules - what the consequences will be if they are  not followed - that is a good suggestion and  I will add it. As I said, I have not had a need. I am not sure  you have seen my list of house rules  if you do not think it is strict.    I allow  no  additional  guests ever.  No lit material on the premises, inside or out, at any time , to name a few........ The description of my home and the fact that most of my guests are doctors here on residency is sort of a preselection process in itself. AIrbnb is not actually my first platform - so I have extensive lists on my other platforms -  I think they are all on my Airbnb listing as well. But  I will double check - it is under "more details" in the main body of my listing.   Thanks again for all your thoughts and sharing your experience - some good take aways for me.  Best.

Level 10


Hi @Maureen176 ,


I'm afraid You've srewed it up.


You're on booking inquiry, not on IB. So a guest sends in an inquiry and You accept.


After You've accepted You find out, that Your guest starts to be“ beligerent and unaware of the particulars of my listing“. How did that happen? Did You make him aware of the importace of Your houserules after You've confirmed his booking and not before?


After this, Your guest calls You from overseas, You ran into an argument with him and You hung up on him.


Days before check in You call airbnb, ask them to cancel the reservation but they refuse.


Now You were in this uncomfortable situation:


  1. To cancel the booking from Your side and loose Superhost, the advantage being though, this guest cannot leave a review

  2. Execute the reservation hoping everything will turn out ok and the guest will write a nice review and leave You a 5* rating.


What made You believe that this guest will be nicer on site than he was on the telephone?


What You now have is, this guest will leave You a terrible review, Your most recent review wasn't very good already, and he will rate You 1*. And as a consequence of this You may also loose Your Superhost as You might not make it over the 4,8* requirement anymore.


Plus You have a horrible time getting this person check out in time, on a day You are big time occupied.


I am sorry, but You did not handle this well.


Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Ute0 you have 5 reviews as a host - but you have created nearly 2.400, conversations in the community.  

Level 10




That's right. I have 5 reviews and created 2400 posts.


I've been hosting for more than 15 years through all kinds of distibution channels: HomeAway, some local german rental sites, google adwords - You name it. I have the best performing vacation rental out of 700 in my area, guests hosted so far: 4000 (my house sleeps 10). A year ago I decided to start doing business through airbnb, but soon I reevaluated this idea.




Well, read the stories here on these forums and read Your own story. Here on airbnb I have to call up a 22 year old Customer Service Rep to beg her or him to cancel a booking. That's not the way I do business. I decide if a booking gets cancelled and I don't need anybodies advise on that.



Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Ute0that makes your long and rather snarky response to me all the more puzzling - Why are you still so active on these boards if you have left Airbnb ?

I also do most of my hosting through  other platforms .... I am aware of the contrasts......

Good luck to you 

Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Ute42 - Well, thanks for your frankness..... 

I think you have quite a few misunderstandings  of  the situation.....


* I do not allow  instabook because I filter my guests, I only let professionals coming   for work stay with me. I do not ever accept vacationers ... that invites a whole set of issues that are not a good fit for my property or neighborhood  ( I do like vacation, however).  I also specialize in longer stays - 1-3 months - so I cannot   allow for 3 day stints. I live in Boston  - I would get a  ton of   bad matches if I allowed  instabook. I basicaly rent to MDs & PHDs as I am close to a major medical area...... 


* Yes I approved him after a too brief conversation due to late night/ time differences - and my lapse - However, it is still the guest's responsibility to read the listing and by making the reservation - they are agreeing to  the content of the listing and the stated house rules. 


* I never said I argued with him and I did NOT hang up ON  him. I can see my language could be misunderstod the way I wrote  it - I meant upon hanging up I called AIrbnb straight away - I would not hang  up on  someone -  and  if the situation were so bad to neccessitate that - I would have canceled right away - this was more subtle. 


* All of this hapened in quick succession - his request, my approval  his call, my call to Airbnb - all happened in somethig like 24 hours or less.  I did not wait around and then decide to cancel a  few days before his are putting  your own spin on this...... 


* What made me believe he MAY be different  in person than he was in writing  or on the phone is

- he is a research PHD - sometimes they are socially awkward

-  English  is his second language sometimes that causes misunderstandings at first 

- He is from a very different part  of the word - cultural differences exist - sometimes there is a learning curve for people  coming  to the States for the first time. 

- His problematic behavior  was  at first subtle,  not blatant - I could not be sure  of his intentions -  Typically,  if people  have read my  listing carefully,  they arrive -   we talk in person - we come to  a good understanding.  

Even if there are cultural differences,  when each of us has good  intentions  we make it work  on both ends.  I have a very high success rate with this kind of guest.  

Unfortunately, his behavior did become more blatant upon arrival .....  but not so outrageous as to send him packing the moment  he arrived - AIrbnb advised he had to actually break the rules before I  could   cancel - and he could not break the rules until  he moved in - then - unfortunately, my  husband was out of town - for most of the first 2 weeks - and I was really unsure about the possibility  of this guy getting  hostile when no one else was around. ...


* Now, I am prompted to cancel or shorten his stay as he has made clear he is not going to cooperate wth my checkout policy - causing further problems......  he has broken a lot of rules - and yes, I do not   think he should be allowed to leave a review - 


* Yes,  you are correct my last guest was also not great - I think my worst review ever - I broke with my usual rules and allowed a different kind of guest - she was working - but in a different  industry - she was a SMOKER despite my very  clear rule that not only can you not smoke here- you can't   be a smoker - there is no place any where near my property that is appropriate for smoking. She broke a fundmental  rule - so each night -  very late  - she was creeping down the stairs of our very quiet house in our very quiet neighborhood to go have a smoke and  not get noticed  (ha) - in addition to getting late night food dleiveries every night - we are a very high end, residential, quiet neighborhood - she said  in her review she felt like she was sneaking around because  she WAS sneaking around - she was only staying a week - so I let it pass - and I did not OUT her as a smoker and rule breaker in my review of her - I wasn't  sure  what to do there - but I try not to be a jerk - I just  privately   told  her she should respect people's house rules and you can't hide smoking.......... 

- Why did I break with my usual formula and let this women stay with me for a week ? Because Airbnb has flooded the market with a gazillion listings (many not appropriate  - with no real person on site - or even in state)  and supply is WAY UP - thanks AIrbnb - but that is a different conversation - 

- Lesson learned - I am not lowering my standards any more 


I guess I am feeilng pretty cranky with my current guest, the last short one, and Aribnb's lack of support   thus far - we will see how it goes tomorrow  when I call them. 

It may be my current crankiness but your response did not seem to be along the lines of productive advice on how to proceed - starting with "You screwed up" and ending with "You did not handle this well".   Thanks for all that wisdom UTE,  you are  a real peach 🙂 .

@Maureen176  @Ute42  Generally agree, not well handled...

But i'm not sure if you can be penalized if you / Airbnb needs to cancel after check in,

because of violation of house rules.

Also you can cancel an inquiry before arrival IF they are plan to break the house rules

(and you can prove it)

(dump) Example:
You accepted an inquiry (no smoking listing)

And than later on, they would tell you that there would be no way they would NOT SMOKE inside.


If a guest is in violation of house rules, you can cancel.

In any case you should be able to prove your case, CALL CS

and let the casemanager cancel your guest.

Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Giedre-and-Andre0  thanks for your input.  

Level 10
New York, NY

@Maureen176 I just want to say that I'm so angry at this rude, arrogant, entitled, narcissistic, toxic person on your behalf I could just - well, I don't want to say what I could just do.  I just want to say you have a lot of sympathy from me and I'm sure from others.


In your first bullet point and in the first line of @Emiel1's answer lie the problem and the solution.  I think you can do this and I know you'll feel better once you get this blood-sucker out of your life.

Level 3
Brookline, MA

@Ann72  Thank you - you nailed it - 

I am usually good at sniffing  these  types out - I say no to plenty of inquries - but this one slipped through - 


Level 10
New York, NY

@Maureen176 Thank you - good luck and let us know how it goes.

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