First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2
908 Views

I've been having guests that do not stay for longer than a few days. Today, I had one person booked for 2 months.  Kitchen exists in the 2nd floor, and washer/dryer exists in the 3rd floor (Same floor as my bedroom). Currently, Airbnb guests only have access to the first floor which is the bedroom and bathroom. 

 

Now the guest is asking me about laundry and if they have access to the kitchen to cook even though it was listed not available. 

 

It seemed reasonable to not allow this for short term stays, but should I allow them to come upstairs to do their laundry and cook since they're staying for 2 months?

9 Replies

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Quan98 This is the kind of thing I'd strongly recommend you sort out before you accept a reservation, in future. Even though you don't list it as an amenity, 2 months is a long time for someone to have to eat out every day if they don't have access to a kitchen. I'd say that whether you do or not is up to you at this point, because the kitchen and laundry weren't listed as amenities, but not having them is probably going to pose a significant challenge for your guest.

 

If you do decide to offer them, I would be sure that you very clearly lay out your expectations for their use. For the kitchen, you could set out rules like no frying in oil, must wash dishes immediately after each meal, what times they can use the space, and what supplies and kitchen tools they have access to. With laundry, perhaps set hours they can use the machine and maximum number of loads per week. Whatever your rules are, be very clear about them, and if you're not comfortable with it at all, let them know ASAP so they can decide how to proceed. Your listing is very clear that it's just a room and a bathroom, so anything extra you offer would definitely be kind, I think.

 

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Richmond, VA
Level 2

Thanks @Alexandra316 —this is a wonderful advice. I'm going to offer it to them and set out the rules like you mentioned. 

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Quan98  It's pretty common that guests don't check the Amenities tab on listings carefully, so you'll find that long-term guests tend to presume that a residential home will offer cooking facilities unless you explicitly state otherwise. 

 

I agree with @Alexandra316 's excellent advice, and I'll also add that social distancing may be a consideration for you when sharing the kitchen. If your guest is worried about Corona exposure, an agreement about allotting special times for guest-only access may help them feel safer. Try and think about ways you can set aside some useful items and dedicate some storage space just for the guest; it does double duty of showing care for their needs while also communicating boundaries.

 

As for laundry - if you'd prefer to keep the 3rd floor to yourself, it's OK to offer to wash the guest's laundry for them (though some may be squeamish about the underwear factor). 

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Quan98  If you are willing to let them use the laundry facilities, also put limits on that, whatever you think is reasonable, maybe one or two loads a week. Otherwise you could find that the guest is firing up the washer and dryer to wash one pair of jeans, a pair of socks and a tee shirt on a daily basis. If you live near a laundromat, there's also nothing wrong with not allowing laundry use, letting them know where the laundromat is. After all, this wasn't a listed amenity when the guest booked, so they have no right to expect it or complain.

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
South Korea
Level 10

@Quan98 

I host a lot of long-term guests and specify in my listing description and house rules that I allow 1 load of laundry per week (from 8am~8pm) for guest personal clothing for guests staying longer than 1 week. I don't have a dryer - in Korea it is common to line-dry laundry. I do ask and strongly recommend that guests TRY to do laundry on a sunny day between 11am~3pm, if possible. I also mention that if the guest has a few items that need to be washed during the week, we are happy to add them to our (=hosts) load. I am in the habit of using laundry bags for underwear, socks and delicates and have plenty for guests, so they can chose to put their own items in the laundry bags which are tossed in for washing. This way Henry and I don't have to directly *handle* any of their underwear or clothing. 

For the kitchen, I give guests 1 shelf each in the fridge and freezer, and a shelf in the kitchen to store other food items. I state that I allow "light cooking for SIMPLE MEALS" - prep and cook time under 1 hr, such as eggs, soup, noodles, pasta, a salad, sandwich, simple stir fry. NO deep frying, NO seafood, NO baking. 

 

Agree with others that laundry and kitchen use is something you should sort out with the guest before the guest books or at least before the guest checks in, especially since you will be sharing living space. 

 

Since you normally don't allow laundry, IF you want to allow it, I see nothing wrong with limiting access to certain days of the week and the time and setting a limit of 1~2 loads per week. (for instance, only during weekends, 1 load only between 10am~6pm) For the kitchen you could think about specifying times the guest is allowed to cook (also to make sure meal/cook times don't overlap and inconvenience you).

 

Please feel free to check out my listing and house rules - my description and house rules are a bit tailored to longer-staying guests so it might help to give you an idea of the things you will have to discuss with the guest in advance, and the type of house rules you may need to have in place to manage expectations and not feel like your guest has taken over your home. 

 

Hope this helps~ good luck! 

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
South Korea
Level 10

@Quan98 

A few more things came to mind and wanted to add......if you normally do not allow kitchen/laundry usage..... you might be under-priced to provide these amenities.

While I don't think you'd be able to charge more for kitchen use at this point, you could charge a certain amount for each load of laundry the guest does (and provide the detergent) - check how much one load of laundry (wash+dry+detergent)  at the local laundromat charges and mention to the guest you don't normally allow guests to do laundry but as an exception since the booking is for 2 months, you'd allow them to use laundry on-site (on certain days) at the same cost as going to the local laundromat. (and you can provide the detergent and a dryer sheet so the guest doesn't have to worry about buying just 2 months worth)

 

Another thing to consider is bedding/sheet changes and towels. - If you check my listing description, you can see that Henry and I prefer to handle laundry for sheets, bedding and towels ourselves. And we have priced ourselves appropriately for this. Some hosts give the guest 2 sets that can be rotated and expect the guests to handle laundry and sheet changes on their own. It's all a matter of what you prefer, but expectations need to be clearly defined and spelled out before the stay. 

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

@Quan98 

Quan, it is always a dilemma when guests ask for 'extras' that were not included in the listing description because, one thing leads to another! You want to be a great understanding host, but each time you give in to a guest request they subconsciously regard that as a win and will feel more comfortable asking for additional things......"Would it be ok if I have a friend or two over? " One request leads to the next!

 

From my point of view, I would give some ground here if this were my long term guest but, I would be very specific about what I offered. As far as the laundry is concerned I would say...."As I service the bed linens and towels every 4 days I would be quite happy to put any personal washing you might have through with those things for you if that helps you out. Unfortunately I have had to cover repair costs in the past when guests haven't understood how to use my appliances so, I reluctantly like to keep control of the laundry myself, I hope you don't mind, I will help out however any way I can"!

 

The Kitchen is a bit different! Cooking requires the use of a kitchen, not just one bit of it or another, and a cooked meal requires eating while it is hot, not once the kitchen is cleaned up! Your guest may be a neat freak and respect your kitchen, your things, and keep it neat and clean.....but guests like that are in the minority. Shared kitchens are one of the major sources of friction in home hosting, and you can suddenly find your guest is hopping into your things in the fridge and the pantry and quickly costing you a substantial amount of money, quite apart from the mess that is left behind, and the damaged utensils.

 

From the look of your listing photos the room you offer is lovely but does have limited space and you would not want any form of cooking taking place in that space, or on that lovely pale carpet so that option is out!

You don't show any photos of your cooking area and that is understandable Quan but, if you allow the use of the kitchen you will have to set some strict rules! Your own personal foodstuffs are not to be used and the kitchen area must be kept in a neat tidy condition or you will have to request a cleaning fee, as it is not something you have allowed for in your listing amount. It would be preferable to set up a small cupboard somewhere in a common area with a cheap microwave toaster and kettle on top for guest use for those times you might have longer term guests, and have a cutlery tray and a couple of plates and mugs in the cupboard dedicated to the guest use?

 

Whatever you do Quan, be very firm and specific in what the guest can do and use. Most of them are great but, the ones that make requests are the ones that you sooner or later regret hosting! 

Good luck!

 

Cheers.......Rob   

 

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Robin4  I think it was reasonable for the guest to ask about kitchen and laundry access on the day of booking, even though it would have been preferable to cover this in the initial inquiry. This opens up the opportunity for the host and guests to discuss their needs and expectations well before the stay begins, as is especially necessary when planning to co-habitate for 2 months. 

 

A lot of hosts have recently found themselves in the position of awkwardly switching to long-term bookings despite having a setup that isn't optimized for the different needs of a longer stay (just as the Airbnb platform itself is a poor fit for long-term stays). It's often the case - particularly where reviews and ratings are concerned - that offering a subpar version of an amenity is ultimately worse than not offering it at all. A separate guest kitchenette could be a possible solution, but in addition to a cooking implement I think it would need to have at least a mini-fridge, adequate ventilation, somewhere to wash dishes, and access to seated dining area, in order to be worthwhile. If you tell a guest they can microwave their burrito in the living room but have to eat it on the sofa, store their perishables at room temperature, and wash their plate in the bathroom, you can't expect a 5-star review.

 

Hosts who want to do long stays but aren't willing and able to offer a kitchen can still be a fit for some guests - especially if they're in the middle of somewhere like NYC or Taipei with a real variety of great food options in walking distance and not just a few suburban chain restaurants - but it's important to cover this topic before accepting the booking. Even more so, if you happen to be in a location where restaurants are still limited to take-away/delivery only.

Re: First longterm guest. Should I let them use washer/dryer and kitchen?

in
Denver, CO
Level 7

@Quan98 We learned the hard way to stick to our original listing rules and guidelines. As others have mentioned here- guests asking for extras can become a slippery slope. We recently had guests who were staying for a week in our guest suite -which features a fridge/water jug/coffee maker/cups/paper plates. A few days before arrival the guest advised they hadn't realized we didn't have a hot plate or microwave and could they please bring one to use. We ended up agreeing to accommodate with the stipulation that a hot plate only be used on our patio so as to properly ventilate any smells and splatters. Well, shame on us for going back on our listing- our guest proceeded to cook hamburgers on multiple occasions and ended up splattering grease across our new (2 years old) flagstone patio. The grease is now permanently fixed into this stone. Our guests did try to scrub it out without avail. I would have given up the $600 for the week to not have a forever stained patio. Lesson learned. You might think you're giving an inch but in reality it could end up being more than you bargained for. Sticking to your guns as a host, saying 'No' when necessary and suggesting another listing may be better suited are wise choices. Good luck-

Join the conversation