How to review a stupid guest..

Level 4
Vass, NC

How to review a stupid guest..

I had a guest and his dog (the guest is aso a host in another country) that in general were good guests but for one hugely stupid thing.  He contacted me about a plumbing problem (the previous guest left the night before and indicated in their review the shower being on the fritz and used the bath instead...even though they never once told me or used the second shower since they were renting the whole house).  Turns out that shower head ended up with blockage that didnt allow much water pressure.  Replaced that as soon as I got the negative review and well before this stupid guest checked in.  He contacted me saying the shower wouldnt shut off and was making a loud noise.  I asked him if he had turned off both the hot and cold water.  He said he did.  I got there as soon as I could (had to leave work and was there within 30 minutes) and all I needed to do was turn the hot water off.  He had turned the cold water to the right and off but thought that the hot water knob needed to go to the left to turn off (why I dont know).  When I told him he didnt believe me so I had to actually show and teach him.  SO in the end the hot water ran on full blast for 2 hours just because he didnt turn it off!  That and it cost me time and gas to deal with it.  I am expecting he will probably also be stupid about the review, even though it was his issue.  WHen I asked him about the loud noise he had metnioned he said it was the noise of the water hitting the shower...duh!


So how should I review him?  Here is my initial draft but I would like feedback before I go final.  I am not very experienced and many of you are very much so.


"Roni and his beautiful and well behaved dog were great guests and I recommend them to any host. Very good communication as his arrival time was delayed by his vehicle being slowed by towing a load he was not used to.  However, I was surprised that he contacted me about a plumbing problem when I arrived to learn that the hot water had been running for 2 hours because I had to teach him in person that you must turn both hot and cold water knobs to the right to turn them off."


Thank you in advance!

36 Replies 36
Level 10
Warwick, Australia

Hi, All BnB hosts,

I was concerned recently when a guest complained to me he couldn't sleep because of music at a neighbour's party. We had not been disturbed despite being on site. I replied that our letter of introduction included the number to call the local city ranger if there was noise in the neighbourhood and he would deal with the problem. English was not our guest's first language so my husband said to knock on our door and we would call the ranger.

Two nights later on a significant national holiday, the neighbours, and many others in the area, had a party after the city fireworks, which our guests had attended. We went to sleep with no problem but in the morning we found our guest, instead of following our instructions had visited the neighbours and asked him to turn down the music. Luckily they turned down the music and our guest was extremely pleased with himself. Because of his nationality and limited English, our guest did not understand he could have met with aggression destroying the truce between us and our more recently arrived neighbours.

Fortunately, it was all OK but it frightened me that international guests can ignore local advice.

Wow, yes please please let us know if something like this happens! I do not want to rent to someone who can't figure things out and then to not even believe you when you told him how to turn off the shower? Someone else can be nice and understanding when a numbskull comes to stay. There are not many of them but sometimes they come along and you wish you were warned!



Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Normally I approach these kind of issues based on the guest's attitude. If they do something silly and damage something but tell me straight away, I appreciate that and don't want to punish them for it.


So, last night, my current guest did something weird to the downstairs bathroom door. I don't really understand what she did, but the door won't open at all now. Guests do not have access to this bathroom. I don't advertise it, nor do I show it to them when I give them the tour. However, she had realised it was there because I was using it and decided to sneak in when I was out because she didn't want to go up the stairs to use the other bathrooms (there are two others).


When I asked her about it, she straight away admitted that she snuck in while I was out and that she had broken the door, but has no idea how she broke it. She is a very sweet girl and I appreciated that she was 100% honest about this so I wasn't angry. What should I do now though? I can't figure out how to fix it so will probably need to get a builder to sort it out. I don't want to force it anymore because it is a beautiful Victorian door that matches the others in the house and would be a nightmare to replace.


When I mentioned it again a couple of times today, i.e. told her I still can't get it open, she just changed the subject... My guest is at the beginning of a one month stay. I don't want to create any bad feeling. On the other hand, should I be the one who has to spend time and money on fixing guest breakages, especially in areas that are not supposed to be for guests?!

Level 6
Hawaii, United States

You need to call a locksmith and a reputable handyman and let her know she will need to pay for the repair. The sooner you do this the better. She broke your rules, she didn't immediately fess up, and she hasn't offered to recompense you!


You can be tactful, but you must be firm about it.



Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Thanks @Heather32 and @Alexandre205. That bathroom needs quite a lot of renovation, which is why I don't even show it to guests, but it was useable and I peronally used it frequently.


My builder is on holiday, but back on the 4th when he is supposed to come round to do some other work (I'm waiting for a quote from him anyway for finishing the bathroom renovation). I will get him to look at the door and see if there's a simple solution. In the meantime, I will tell the guest that is what I'm going to do and that if it's going to cost money to fix, I'm afraid she will need to pay for that.

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hi @Huma0


I would just have a friendly chat with her and confirm that the bathroom downstairs isn't available for guests (that's why you don't mention it in your listing or show it to guests during the house tour). That you are going to get a builder in to fix the lock and will let her know about the costs involved to replace the key lock which she broke.


With locked rooms in my home I had the builder have the key locks on both side of the door so I can lock them from the outside or inside. I would suggest you do this for this bathroom too.

Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Hi @Helen3 thank you. Yes, I did already explain to her why that bathroom was not available to guests when I realised what had happened. I will need now to tell her there might be a cost involved but that I need the builder to look at it first. I don't want to call in someone random. I'd rather wait for my trusted builder to get back from his holiday. There are too many cowboys builders here!


Just to clarify, she hasn't broken a lock. She's done something strange to the actual door. This door had been re-fitted to open outwards as the bathroom is very small and it would have been bashing the toilet otherwise. I think she must have tried to force it to open the wrong way, as now the door is stuck on the other side of the frame and completely out of line with it, by a lot. It won't move in either direction more than a couple of inches and not enough to get in and out. The hinges look completely fine though, so I can't figure out how to fix it, hence the need to call in a professional.


It's also something very difficult to show in a photo and I know you should document any damages this way, but a photo won't show what the problem is, only a closed door!

Level 10
London, United Kingdom

Update on this. I never charged the guest because, luckily, the builder did not charge me to fix the door. He was doing a complete renovation on two bathrooms, costing several thousands of pounds, so never asked for extra to sort out the door.


Since then, I have had another guest break my very expensive front door lock (over £400 to replace including labour). Accidents do happen, but this time I did expect the guest to pay as the damage was caused by him ingoring my instructions and being very brutal with the door! He absolutely did not want to pay anything, but luckily Airbnb sided with me in the resolution centre. I have no idea if they took any money from his deposit or paid with the Host Guarantee insurance, as that information was not provided.


I'm still happy to let small damages pass. The other day a guest left black marks on new Egyptian linen sheets, which won't wash out, but she told me straight away and offered to pay. Most guests just keep quite about these things and hope you won't notice. Plus, this guest had already bought me flowers and a bag of (expensive) coffee to replace the small amount she used. I'm willing to put the sheets down to wear and tear for a considerate and honest guest.

Level 9
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

No, of course, she broke your door, so it's up to her to pay for the damage.

It's not enough to be sweet and to admit, she should propose to pay, you shouldn't even have to ask.

I gave a guy a pretty bad review for leaving without telling me, leaving the window open on a cold night and being completely rude in general. I was so sorry I did that. It just made me look bad. The people reading the review are going to judge me. I recommend the highest diplomacy and will use that in the future myself.

Level 3
Phoenix, AZ

I had 'stupid' tenant as well. I had a tenant that did not READ the written direction to obtain the house key. I told them, on the phone, no one else has had this problem. I was dumbfounded. THEN, once again did not follow directions (but blamed this one on another family member who may not have read the directions) got the key stuck in the wrong door. We have an issue with one door and its fittings. We tell them they "won't have a key to that outter door, and that is NOT locked".  SOMEONE stuck it in it anyway-I am guessing the adult who blamed it on the teen. The tenant felt bad, perhaps rereading the direction, & that I had to leave my family at a resst to go buy a new key, and come to meet them with a replacement. Tenant did take it upon themselves to get the key out, but taking it to a store to get graphite in it. Also, got a text (brand NEW TV-one month old) does you TV work?? yes, just wait a moment for it turn on. sheessh!

I did let them know I was out to dinner. My cell phone was on 3% charge, and I was driving, I tried to stay in contact.

I was pleasant, and he was pleasant at the meet up for the new key. I really don't want to mention it on a review. I just want to give a review of good communication, arrived and left when they said they would, and leave a 4 star for clean up. I don't charge a cleaning fee.  I will might tell my tenant to slow down. I think it is a male thing, all the women followed the written directions. In my experience, men don't like being given more than 2 steps. 


What you could do it mention it to airbnb?


My error, to find out after they checked out is I left a replacement package of TP at home, there was one roll in the rental, and they used it all in two days?! --so maybe we are even??

We had a recent guest for two months in our cottage. We (against policy and better judgement) allowed her two shelties. Lovely woman, very friendly, but when she left I was stunned to see she had not cleaned for two months, including the dog's leavings. We did offer to have cleaning every two weeks(at no cost to her, of course). She insisted she liked to do her own cleaning. Turns out, that means: liked to not do her own.


It took me two hours just to pick up all the poo. We will not allow dogs again. Because she did not do any maintenence cleaning, the dogs hair was imbedded into the linens and furniture, requiring me to pull each one out after vacuuming and brushing. The place was clearly not cleaned, ever for two months.  This required a LOT of catch up cleaning, by me and a cleaner. I was a bit stunned as she was a clean-looking individual.


I decided to take the high road and did not mention any of this, and in fact gave a five star rating. We have yet to receive a reciprocal review. The two week deadline for reviewing seems unrealistic to me, as guest are traveling and it seems like it would be a low priority to do it quickly. By the time most people are ready to leave a review, they cannot. Just my opinion.

Level 2
Budapest, Hungary

I would have given 1* and a thumbs down 

Level 7
Wheat Ridge, CO

Five star review? Wow.

Level 4
Vass, NC

Thanx everyone for your responses. Yes I shouldn't have said the guest was stupid, just what he did. Sorry it was a slip with my frustration. So I left out all negative mention and then received the worst ever review where he made no mention of it but complained about the lack of extra furniture that had been clearly indicated in the listing and his welcome letter, as well as the first review.  He complained about an old toilet seat and  walls that he said needed painting.  Also complained about there no trails to enjoy the beautiful nature and "watch out from an accidental trespassing" whatever that means.  (Any ideas, because I sure don't?). Then went on to complain about charging $70 w pet fee (it was only $50 w pet fee because it was the day before and I raise the price $5 for booking the day before and it is listed as $30 with a $15 pet fee) and saying that he could have stayed in a Super 8 for that and would have had wifi (which is also clearly indicated in the listing that I don't have) and a kitchen chair (there is a padded corner bench for using the cafe table (which actually was more than had been listed in the ad because he booked before I had even moved that in and had a chance to put it in the listing. Then (although he had claimed it was clean earlier in the review said he would hopefully have cleaner walls in a Super 8 too! He most certainly would not have had a half acre of fenced beautiful nature for his dog to run around loose in at a Super 8. Then his private feedback was sorry it was so harsh but I should paint the walls and get more stuff in the house if I'm going to charge $70/night for him and his dog.
Oh I also never mentioned that he asked to stay for 12 hours starting at 9am and then ended up staying 23.5 hours starting at noon! And then I had to remind him that his reservation was only for 24 hours. Maybe I should have kicked him out at 9 since that was when he originally wanted to arrive...anyways, I'm just so frustrated with people that are so nice and sweet to your face and then turn around and inform you in their review that they had issues! Any suggestions for dealing with and preventing that?

Thanx again for any further assistance.

Level 6
Hawaii, United States



This sucks big time!

I have rec'd a couple of whopper reviews on VRBO over the last few years as well.

My advice is to write a response, wait 24 hours review it and post.

You need to remember you are not addressing the guest, but future renters.

Keep it factual and suncinct. Address it point by point, use 3rd person phrasing-

"I am sorry the guest felt he was unable to enjoy the large property we provided for him and his pet, but I'm glad I were at least able to provide what a Motel 6 could not."

"This is an extension of my home, and I am updating the property as I am able, I'm also happy that I was able to extend his reservation by 23 hours for him at no charge."

If you keep it above his level your future guests will see what happened.

Hope this helps.



Level 1
Brattleboro, VT

So Kelly, after reading all the replies, what are you going to do? Would you mind saying?


I don't have much to add to the conversation. I think others have made all the points. Mostly I agree with Heather.


Best wishes.

Level 6
Hawaii, United States

I just had a very similiar problem. I had 2 young ladies staying in my unit tell me they could not get any hot water for a shower the night they checked in. I was not in a position to drop what I was doing at the time and sent out a maint. person knowing it would cost me a $35 fee.


He called me back laughing because they were turning the knob the wrong way. He also had to teach them how to turn on the shower.


I've been doing this awhile (not just Airbnb), and the reason he was beligerent is that he was embarrassed. He knows it was an idiot mistake. I would stongly advise against sending any public feedback that will embarrass him further. It serves no purpose, even to letting other owners know. This is a mistake he won't make again.


You can and should though, tell him in private feedback that you're glad you were able to get the problem fixed, and you appreciate how propmptly he called to let you know there was a problem. I'm sure you have had moments before. We all have.


Level 10
Watsonville, CA

Yes, guests who report the problem promptly and seek help from the host instead of making 'stupid' attempts to fix it themselves are to be praised, not punished.  Says a host who had one guest that didn't know how to flush an RV toilet and perhaps thought we wouldn't notice if they covered up the s*** with a whole roll of TP.  And another guest who tried to light the pilot light for the oven but when they failed to do so, didn't know they should turn the gas to the unlit pilot back off.

Level 10
New Orleans, LA

If a guest annoys or inconveniences me in a stupid way, I always mention something in the review. This is important as a courtesy to the next host who will get them.

BUT, I usually keep it quite general, as writing long details makes you (me) look petty and doesn't really get the point across.

For example, I had a guest who spent much of her visit sitting on the back patio drinking and smoking pot. One of my neighbors was kind of loud that day (during daytime hours) and the guest got annoyed with the neighbor (I guess for disturbing her quiet "stoned time") and yelled at the neighbor and threatened to beat her up. In my review, I gave the guest a thumbs-down and said she caused trouble with my neighbor and should probably stay at a hotel next time, but I left out the specifics. It was enough to satisfy me that I would warn future hosts about her.

But I've also had other guests who caused damage out of ignorance, for example by not sleeping between the sheets but instead on top of the blanket with the bedspread over them. Then the guest had a nose bleed and the $60 bedspread was ruined. In this case I chose to message the guest privately and not leave a review at all, and instead add to my House Guide that guests MUST sleep between the sheets for hygiene purposes. Most guests laugh at this clause, but I explain that all these things come from experiences with previous guests.

In your case, maybe labeling the handles or including a diagram in your House Guide will prevent this from happening again. The guy shouldn't have left the water running for 2 hours, that was really the only bad thing here. So maybe in your review, you could say that the guest was wasteful with water, and only add the detail that he left the hot water running for 2 hours. This gives some of the sense of his idiocy without coming right out and saying so, and will warn future guests that this dude might not be as respectful/intelligent as they'd like.



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