Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Gold Coast, Australia
Level 10
798 Views

After a few challenging experiences with some filthy guests I was advised by Airbnb to add to my House Rules. I was told the rules could then be used as a point of reference if there was a problem, as each guest must accept the rules before being able to book.

I have included in my House Rules that if guests choose to leave my apartment dirty and do not clean up, including eaving rubbish, they will be charged a fee of $80.

A guest recently stayed and left dirty tampons, used condoms etc in the bathroom bin and tea towels covered in blood in the kitchen bin. I contacted Airbnb and was told to make a claim through the resolution centre. I was told this was a very simple case as my house rules are very clear. I lodged the claim and the guest came back offering $40 instead of the $80 in the House Rules, advising that because he was young, $80 was too much.

Net outcome after numerous emails and phone calls toAirbnb was the guest only had to pay the $40 he offered.

I have asked Airbnb maybe 20 times during this process why my house rules do not have to be followed and have had NO answer. They just keep telling me that a case manager has evaluated and they are not auhtorised blah, blah, blah........

 

What have I done wrong here? Why doesn't the guest have to adhere to my house rules and why won't Airbnb support me in enforcing the House Rules?

 

A side note:

The guest (Doni) booked at a discounted rate and I allowed him a late check out at 11am. He messaged saying that he would give a good review if I let him check out after lunch. He said in person when he arrived that he would not be happy if he could not check out after lunch and would give a bad review. Airbnb have advised that this does not represent extortion or a breach of the rules.

Doni gave me a review of 1 star. All my other reviews have been 5 stars.

 

11 Replies

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Como, CO
Level 10

Fines are not enforced and in many Countries are illegal, only a Court can impose a fine.

 

There is the Security Deposit but that has issues and would relate to damage with a direct cost attached to it.

 

House rules, well most people do not read them, but if something goes wrong think of it as insurance to support your poisition if you need them to leave.

David

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Gold Coast, Australia
Level 10

@David126

 

Thanks for the imput here. Airbnb had suggested including the fee (which I did not know was a fine) in the House Rules. I will have to look at making a few changes. 

 

I really just want to understand how to phrase my house rules so they will actually apply. Or is that the issue; Airbnb simply will not enforce them? It has made me wonder if I have a problematic guest I would like to leave will Airbnb support me? It feels like they will not.

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
South Korea
Level 10

Basically, Airbnb is acknowledging that guests are allowed to say "I'll give a bad review if you don't let me ~~~~~~~" Goes to show how much Airbnb values the guests over the hosts. 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Las Vegas, NV
Level 10

No good deed goes unpunished. Reconsider offering people discounts and charge them for late check outs and early check ins. It may feel like nickel and diming a person, but it just assures that you will be compensated for your efforts. This person clearly was an entitled brat and knowing that they would be so petty as to threaten you would leaving a 1 star should have been grounds for a check out at your listed time. At least you wouldnt feel taken advantage of. You can respond to that persons review to explain your side of the story.

 

To the nature of your post...some people honestly dont read the house rules! We are coming up on our international travelers season in Vegas and I'm already getting those guests again one right after another that need hand holding and keep asking me if they can use my stove, oven or washer and dryer. Those items are NOT available. I previously felt bad about taking away these items until one lady knocked me down because there were smells in the house, but she wasn't specific. Another person washed a pair of socks in my washing machine and another lady broke my dryer knob. So even though they may not read the rules I still tell them when they arrive and message them before they arrive to remind them.

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 10

@Brett3

@Jessica-and-Henry0

 

If a guests threatens to leave a bad review in exchange for something or suggests leaving a good review to get their way it is considered extortion by Airbnb. Let me guess - that Doni guest's  comment wasn't made on the message page? And you didn't recap it there as in 'Did I understand you correctly ..?' 

That way you'd always have more on your fire if you have to involve Airbnb. Remember that. The message page can be your paper trail of proof that may be what turns things in your favor if needed with an issue involving Airbnb.

 

We are unfortunately forced to think like lawyers and use the tools we have to the fullest in a very creative way. And if I had had somebody like your guest being asked for a later checkout would have been my point of no return.

So instead of giving way, I'd  have had a couple of apologetic reasons handy on my mental Rollodex ready for not being able to allow it. I do that for all kinds of things that might happen as I've seen from multitudes of issues on this forum and realized I'd have to be prepared to have something ready at all times.

 

Refund and budget guests - usually it's the ones who got a lot who want even more, and for free at that.

 

 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Gold Coast, Australia
Level 10

@Andrea0

 

I can see we all deal with very similar issues but at different levels. 

In this instance Doni had made the comment about reviews and late check out in the message thread. I had actually contacted Airbnb prior to his arrival about this because he was pushing so hard for the late check out. (I was tempted to copy the message thread in the original post but thought I would get in trouble) When I told him I needed time to clean his response was that he would make no mess so the apartment would not need cleaning. He apologised for the mess he left in the message thread. He even apologised in the private comments after the 1 star review. I pointed all of this out to Airbnb but they wanted nothing to do with it, simply quoting the decision was final.

 

I just want someone to tell me how to word the House Rules so they will be enforced if that is even an option. I thought they were clear but have clearly missed something.

 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 10

@Brett3

BTW I love your cool modern retro style apartment!

 

There is one thing you can do if a guest is inappropriate or clearly trying to manipulate you and that is reporting them by flagging their message. There has been a recent change in the report reason options, and the option to manually add one has disappeared.

That only leaves the option to phone them.

It probably won't prevent the situation you now had, but sometimes the helpdesk is surprisingly efficient. 

I checked your and his reviews, and good that you were critical in your's.

I would have been less wordy in my public response and not gone into exact detail and remained more general, but that's me.

But you didn't ask about that...

 

To the question you did ask -

I think your HR are pretty clear, though guests usually don't read, so the points usually pop more by

 

Streamline them by making them less wordy, and use bullet points instead of flow textfor ex.:

 

> Clean up after yourself. Dispose of rubbish on leaving, also the small bins in bathrooms.

Rubbish bins located in the Western.... (stairs beside the pool)

 

> All guests are required to and must be declared for insurance and emergency reasons.

 

> Estimated time of arrival must be communicated in advance for you to be checked in.

...

 

You can always send them a longer explanation to certain points in an extra document.

I'd also think of printing them out and hanging them plastified somewhere in the apartment for easier quick reference.

Plus it sounds as if adding a sketch of how and where to find the rubbish bins might be helpful.

 

 

 

There's never a guarantee, though. All we can do is continually improve and remove vaguaries.

But then after all goes well after a number of guests, there's one that doesn't get it that 1 star isn't good.

 

 

One last comment if you'll allow -

The little profile thumbprint pics have a similar effect to avatars and when I'm communicating  their personality tends to merge psychologically for me with their pic. So when I communicate with somebody who has a dog on their picture, this tends to somehow interfere with my perception of them. When it's a kiddy picture it feels harder for me to see them in my mind as a real grown up.

I'm probably wording this awfully, so don't hold it against me. What I'm trying to say is exchange that picture of your child with one of you looking friendly, professional, and confident. After all You're the host the guests are communicating with 🙂

 

 

 

 
 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 9

Thank you for picking on the hosts photo I'd.  You put it perfectly. I have long wondered why folk wish to be identified as a dog, infant, bunch of flowers , sign post or some such.  Makes a mockery of the verification process anyway, does it not ? 

Why be in the business of hosting and be so unprofessional . it sets a problematic precedence

does it not ? 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Gold Coast, Australia
Level 10

@Graham-And-Michelle0

 

Acknowledging your comment. Are you suggesting that a new photo will result in Airbnb enforcing my house rules? I had not considered that so cheers.

 

P.S. I used Facebook as part of the verification process, and that's my Facebook photo. Me as a young fella. 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Gold Coast, Australia
Level 10

@Andrea9

 

Thanks so much for your input. You have offered some great suggestions which will help me look in the right direction.

The photo is my Facebook shot. It was me as a young fella. Guess I should think about an update.

 

Re: Do the "House Rules" actually mean anything?

in
Austin, TX
Level 10

@Brett3 I agree that we need a better system for enforcing rules. If guests will not follow what they've agreed to then what is a host to do??

When there are clear rules violations, we need proper support from ABB. We need a stringent policy that pays host for entire reservation AND removes the guest & disallows their ability to write a review. Hosts must be able to enforce rules without losing revenue and/or being subject to an unfavorable review. Furthermore, the guest should have an automated review posted "this guest was removed mid-reservation for rules violations "

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