We have strict rules (such as no pets, no smoking, no partyhing, limited head count). We recently had renters who used our house for hosting a party and had more people sleep in the house that registered. I claimed the entire security deposit (in this case $300) as penalty for this breach of contract. Airbnb sided with these renters and stated to me that they could only reimburse me for actual damages.
It is very difficult to document actual damages, especially for absentee landlords may not see the condition of the house in-between rentals. How do we quantify damage such as breakage of china here and there, stains in the carpeting, smoke infiltration into fabrics, general excessive wear and tear, urin and smell of pets in the carpeting, etc. etc.? It's IMPOSSIBLE. So there must be a better way for Airbnb to enforce guest rules. I have now added a clear statement in our rules to the effect that Guests are responsible with, at minimum, their entire security deposit if they fail to stick to any one of our rules. Don't know if Airbnb will follow side with me now !?!?
We left a poor review for these renters, but I don't know if that review was actually posted, as they did not review us, and if it was posted, I don't know if these guests would not re-sign up with Airbnb under a different email address and thus circumvent their bad review record.
Once we had a case where renters (albeit in a HomeAway rental situation) brought a pet that soiled the carpeting (with more than just urin!!!). I had the carpeting schampooed and the entire house deep cleaned and withheld their entire security deposit ($600 for that house), and they did not respond or object. That was a one-week rental, and these renters clearly went by the rationale that $600 was less costly for them than the effort and expense they would have had for leaving their dog in a good kennel for that time. With Airbnb's current policy, they would have reimbursed me for the schampooing and be done with it. NOT RIGHT!