Hi everyone, I am new to this community. I have 2 places for rent, a small house and an apartment near Stockholm, Sweden. Usually everything works well but today I had guests checking out from the house leaving not only rubbish and a big pile of dirty dishes -including a pot with burnt rice-but also a burning candle! I wrote to the guests in the morning that they could check out later (11.00 is standard) if they wished and that I would come around in the afternoon. I also asked them to turn off the heat when they left which they didn´t, all radiators and the air heat pumps were on full blast which had almost killed the flowers in the windows. Of course they had not watered the flowers which is part of my houserules when staying more than 2 nights. I do charge a cleaning fee so I guess I can´t complain about dirty dishes and the rubbish but what about the burning candle? It was just lucky that I happened to came around right after the had left, in fact I knocked on the door because I saw the candle through the window and thought they were still there! Other than that the house was ok and they did not disturb anyone. What to I write in the review?
@Ylva311 yes, leaving a burning candle is very bad. That is far worse than leaving a place in a condition that requires extra cleaning, or failing to water plants. (FWIW, I have difficulty even getting cleaners to water plants reliably and would never expect guests to do it.)
@Ylva311 Yes, the candle left burning was definitely a fire hazard that could have burned your place down and should be called out in a review. Try not to think of reviews as either good or bad, think of them as honest, instead. There are usually some positive things you can say about guests while also mentioning the negatives. For instance, with these guests, you said that aside from not respecting the instructions, like leaving the heat on and neglecting to water the plants, they were otherwise okay and didn't cause any disturbance. So speak to the positive as well as the negative- this also helps for your review to look fair. ("Guests were quiet and didn't cause any disturbance, but failed to follow simple instructions and check-out procedures and left quite a mess behind them. There was also a lit candle found burning after their departure, a serious fire hazard" )
I am also a big gardener and plant person, so I totally understand that you want to have some house plants, and if it's never been an issue over 150 guests, I wouldn't necessarily get rid of them. But if it happens again, I might consider replacing flowering plants indoors with some cacti or succulents that can survive a lack of water until you can get in to water if the guests haven't.
Also, I would not leave candles for guest use at all. If you really must (for instance, if the electricity is subject to go out occasionally), the safest way to use candles is to push them down into a container filled with sand- if they burn all the way down, they will just go out, rather than catch anything on fire.
Ylva, get rid of the candle, it is statistically proven in my major city of 1.3 million people more house fires result from candles left burning than any other single cause. Second to candles comes lit cigarettes left unattended.
Although you have not brought up any smoking issues, be pro-active! Get yourself a cigarette smoke detector which you can install yourself. It's battery operated, just screw it to the ceiling.
put a sign in your listing that says, cigarette smoke will trigger the alarm and alert you via an app on your phone, and you will find nobody will want to actually put it to the test!
Remove any candles you may have in your listing and that will improve your safety and smoke free environment considerably.
I have a cottage key transmitter which triggers a circuit at the front gate when the guest leaves the cottage.
Once triggered if no movement is detected in the cottage for 8 minutes it trips the heating/cooling circuit and power is turned off and re-activates when the guest returns back through the front gate again.
Lastly, you will find it is hard enough to get guests to adhere to their side of the deal, let alone help you with yours. I also have flowers and plants around my cottage listing but I have never expected a guest to maintain them for me.....and from memory I don't think, in over 400 stays, any guest actually has watered or looked after them.
Ylva, you are going to get the odd breakage but, work out all the ways a guest can abuse what you offer and take the required steps to minimise the risk.
Maia, you are actually not correct there. The only 'monitoring' equipment that is regulated and must be disclosed in the listing description is video surveillance equipment where identifiable vision of the guest is being compiled or monitored, either by video footage or by still imagery!
It is entirely permissible to remotely monitor air conditioning temperatures! In some areas, water and power usage, and usage of supplied condiments.
If you list your space as 'Non Smoking' you have the right to monitor that this house rule is being adhered too, as long as you are not doing so with undisclosed video surveillance equipment!
I have it in writing that Airbnb
You're right about the smoke detectors. I was thinking about the "decibel and device monitors". Although I'm not sure what Airbnb means by device monitors.
From Airbnb website:
"What's considered a security camera or a recording device: Any mechanism that can be used to capture or transmit audio, video, or still images is considered a surveillance device. This includes, but is not limited to, things like Wi-Fi cameras (for example, Nest Cam or Dropcam), nanny cameras, web cameras in computer monitors, baby monitors, mounted or installed surveillance systems, decibel and device monitors, and smart phones with video and/or audio recording capabilities."
Thank you so much! I have now removed candles and candle holders. Very sad, in Sweden we like to have candles especially in the dark winter nights! But it feels too risky now. Concerning smoking inside the house it has only happened once with a special group of people, I will not accept that kind of booking again. Watering the flowers/plants will stay as a house rule "(saying "guests ar kindly asked to water the plants when staying more than 2 nights") as this is the only way to keep a lawn, herb beds, and flowerbeds in the summer. This is an USP, people love the private garden to the cottage! And I think guests prefer to do it rather than having me there to do it:)
@Ylva311 Maybe you could put some battery-operated LED candles in there instead? I have some of those and while they aren't the same as a real candle flame, they're a decent and safe alternative to give that quiet, cozy mood.