I'm about to host my first guest this evening. It occurs to me only now that many people expect to have a key, but I'm really not comfortable giving a key to guests at all. This is my home and I'm certain giving out keys to people will invalidate my insurance policy, not to mention makes me very uncomfortable.
I work from home so will be here most of the time and can ensure I'm here after a certain time, say 5pm to let guests come back.
So my question is, is it standard and expected to provide keys to guests?
I'd like to hear from people who are letting a room in their own home, not places dedicated to renting.
@Helen350 Coming in late and being quiet is a different thing than telling adult travelers they are on 'curfew' and would be breaking the house rules if they aren't in by that time, so I would never book a place where the host tells me what time I have to be in as if they were a parent. But, what do you do if someone breaks the curfew? Do you kick them out? Do you really think airbnb would stand behind such a rule? I don't. But, if you and your guests are happy with such an arrangement, then that's great.
@Mark116 I live in a rural area, 8 houses surrounded by fields, half a mile from the edge of town & 2 miles from the town centre. I attract outdoorsy people, & people here to work. Mind you, in small town Britain, everything shuts by about 11pm, so guests would gain nothing by being out late. It would upset my elderly neighbours to have too many late night comings & goings, 2 of my 7 neighbours have complained about my visitors, not cos they've done wrong but just because they exist! One has complained to the council, & tried to get me shut down, but the council don't mind! British houses are small, being up late could disturb others & I have a lodger in 3 nights a week who goes to bed at 9pm & gets up at 5am - I don't want guests disturbing my regulars!
Having read many UK listings, it's common place for house rules way stricter than mine; some won't allow showering before 7am or after 10pm or 11pm to protect others.... Thankfully, my guests are mostly considerate - and what party animal would want to share a small private home with a 58 year old woman anyway?!
I host one single occupancy private room in my home, and yes I provide a key. I have a heavy, steel auto-locking door and a keypad. I though about giving them their own code and decided it's easier for guests to give out the code than to give a friend the key (that the guest will need to enter my home) so I opted to give my guests a key fob.
I also state that if lost/misplaced/not handed back at check out, I will charge US$50 for a replacement and the time and effort it will take me to reset the door lock and update my home security system. I also have a doorbell camera (which is disclosed in the listing description).
Henry and I take the safety of ourselves, our home and our guest very seriously and I make this very clear to all guests from the earliest communications. Fyi, the guest bedroom and bathroom only have privacy locks and cannot be locked from the outside.
I had a guest, a really nice guy, tell me when he arrived that it was his first time using Airbnb and he wasn't sure what was expected of him- did I have a curfew? I laughed and said, good grief, no, you're an adult, doesn't matter to me how late you stay out. Just try not to make too much noise coming up the stairs.
My house is kind of an unusual set-up, as guest bedroom, as well as mine, open off the upstairs balcony. Each door has its own key, so guests can come and go without disturbing me. They also have a key to the downstairs, where the kitchen is. And since I don't want a guest having to wake me up should they lose their key, I also have a set hidden outside that I show them.
Whatever you do, don't be so clueless as a very trusting friend of mine was- she had a tag on her keys with the address! She figured if she lost them, someone could just mail them back. Her daughter told her she was more likely to come home to find her place ransacked.
As I'm also rural, like @Helen350 I don't often get the type of guests who are interested in staying out late, bar-hopping, etc., even though this is known as a party town. I get more quiet types who might be out all day at the beach, and come home around dinner time. And I also get the outdoorsy types, who generally aren't big drinkers or late-nighters.
@Helen350 No major steep hills from my place to town, but it's a 20 minute walk, about 2Km. Nice not to get city slicker guests who freak out if they see an ant.
And yeah, we've got the old lady advantage. Although I can still dance and party almost as well as the young uns'- just not until 2AM :-)
Hello @Simon2362 & welcome to ABB CC from across the miles in Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand.
By the sounds of it you are home most of the time so will be there for your guests.
Maybe have several different places where you can place a key in the garden/ outdoor shed etc for your guests should you not be there when they return.
When talking to guests who you know may be returning when you are out, explain with the word " 'If" I'm not here there will be a key in xyz place please bring it inside when you arrive home & leave it on the table or wherever".
It covers your own circumstances without letting on to a guest that you may or may not be home & your routine.
Change the place where it's kept with each guest to help protect your property & personal belongings.
Your home is your castle & are treating your guests like family treat each other & their friends with an open door policy with a traditional knock on door to greet a person in your community, not just a money making venture.
I have a private room also in my home & have a general open chit chat to get a feel of guests, more so overnight/ couple of days stay, what their plans are to get an idea of what time they are coming & going.
Some are straight forward about their plans & say they don't & won't need a key.
Perhaps they have concerns about losing keys!
I advise where the key will be should I not be home & to bring the key inside & where to leave it.
If they are coming home later at night & should I be already in bed they know how they can get inside.
If you are in an area where it's safe & you are at home & know your guests are coming home later for whatever reason, before you go to bed you could always tell them you will leave a key under your front door mat, or pot plant, or leave the door slightly ajar and ask them to bring it in & obviously close the door when they get in.
Alternatively if it's a guest who perhaps is concerned about getting about safely and home safely there's nothing wrong with suggesting the guest send you a text when they are due home & to open the door when they arrive as one would their own family members.
Personal Safety is more important than some of those in the ABB community than some may realise particularly where people are traveling alone.
Longer term guests also know they are not to remove the keys off the property & so far I've had only one take it off premises.
Some things are common courtesy & respect.
When one has had property stolen or been a victim of crime one tends to naturally be more cautious about home security & one's personal property & safety in general.
Meanwhile, how about wording your listing in a manner to attract guests who share the same values as yourself if you haven't already?
One of my key points in my listing is Personal Safety- have a look.
There's plenty of options you can exercise.
It's unfortunate the days of having no locks on the door & leaving the door wide open when one goes out are well gone in society.
All the best
I host a room in my home and I provide a key to their room and self check-in keyless access to the home. I read a couple of posts and now understand why I've had inquiries regarding entering the home anytime they wanted. I thought that was a strange question because I always thought if you paid for the room, you are not subjected to a curfew.
@Simon2362, I am in a similar situation to you - my listing is a room in my home and I also work from home so I am here most of the time. Most of my guests are 1-nighters, so, if it is feasible, I don't give them a key, especially if they are arriving late and leaving early (which is often the case). I don't lock my front door until I go to bed (which is normally pretty late) so it's open for people to get in when they come back in the evening. I do give a key to people staying 2 or more nights or if I'm going to be out.
However, I don't really like giving out my key, especially now that there are so many more scams than there used to be. People can and have lost it or accidentally taken it with them, and there is always the concern that they could get a copy cut and let themselves in at a later date. Therefore, recently, I have been looking at getting a keyless lock with a keypad for which I can change the code in between guests. The one I'm looking at can also be done remotely if I am away. If you're concerned about the key, I would recommend looking into this.
Hi @Simon2362 - I can't find your profile/listing any more....... I hope you haven't given up already? It IS ok to withhold keys, if you're more comfortable with this... (I'm like @Kath9 , I don't give keys to one-nighters if I'm staying in, & lock up when they are back, but do issue to 2 nights+.) Ultimately, Your house, your rules!
I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd be happy at yours without a key, just so long as that's clear before they book. Especially Brits, who are still aware of our old culture re landlords manning front doors! In the summer you'd probably do a roaring trade in Europeans driving here, or Brits heading to Europe. Plus visitors to London who want to be a bit out... Looking at local airbnb profiles round you will give you an idea of what sort of folk travel to your area. Give it a go, & I hope it works out!