TLDR: Please give advice; guests are not technically breaking any explicit house rules, but they are inconsiderate and disturbing our life, and were not clear/honest about their plans when they booked.
My partner and I recently listed our guest bedroom in our flat as a private room. I myself have been a guest in private rooms shared by hosts, and I've generally had a very positive experience, as I myself am a considerate person, and always respect my role as a guest (and not owner) of a home. We are currently on our third guest and have realised this is not the case for everyone, and we should have detailed our house rules more precisely. Our first two guests were great, kind and considerate people who we really enjoyed hosting. However, these current guests have been very tiring and we are counting down the days till they leave (and considering whether we can ask them to leave early).
Firstly, they asked for a discount. As first time hosts, we didn't know what kind of precedent this would place, so we knocked down the price by 30 pounds. The guests, a couple, told us they would be "out and about" during their 7 night stay, so I didn't bother to inquire about their use of the flat, as we thought they would be busy outside of the house. They arrived on Friday. While during the weekend we were mostly out, we quickly realised they made themselves right at home, buying groceries and cooking very elaborate and smelly meals throughout the weekend. We had listed our kitchen and dishware as an amenity, thinking guests could use the kitchen to warm something up or have a uncomplicate breakfast, as we offer guests cereal and coffees/teas. But we typically ask our guests how they will be using the flat and kitchen before booking, and have rejected guests who told us they were planning on cooking during their stay. We wouldn't have accepted these guests if we knew they would be cooking. They didn't bother to ask or coordinate with us their use of our kitchen. They also messaged us to warn us they were bringing 2-3 guests over for dinner Saturday night -they weren't asking they were telling us. We had to notify them our policy states no events or parties, which seemed to leave them disappointed, as they didn't think this counted as a "event or party".
Additionally, my partner and I both work, and usually go to bed early on weeknights to wake up early around 6:30/7am. Sunday night our guests came home at 5 am, which disturbed our sleep, as the bathroom shares a wall with our bedroom. Come Monday night, when my partner and I got home around 7pm, we had to wait until 9pm for them clear out of our kitchen after cooking another elaborate meal, and even using our Tupperware (we weren't aware Tupperware was included in the use of dishware in our amenities). I was working on our dining room table, and they came out with their food, with a look like I should leave my own table so they can eat (we also have a table in the kitchen they didn't bother to use). Then they decided to go into our kitchen at 1 am to prepare drinks for themselves (they had a bottle of champagne and desert chilling in the fridge), while the girlfriend decided to take her shower at 1:30 am. Both my partner and I woke up in disbelief they were doing this at this hour, leaving us sleepless for the entire night.
We are a bit at a loss for what to do, as we have another 3 nights with this couple. I've been nice enough to give them things they ask for -the girlfriend wanted nail polish remover and I gave it to her. They even offered us some of their food when they were occupying our kitchen (we didn't take it), but it very much felt like they were in our space and we had to work our lives around them. This was a very strange feeling, given my own behaviour as a airbnb guest in a private room, and our experience with our 2 previous guests.
Any tips on what to do? I want my guests to have a good experience but we are struggling to make it through this week without going a bit crazy. I feel trapped by these guests and how inconsiderate they are but worry they will leave a bad review if we say anything to them.
@Mahsa10, Sorry to hear you're having an awful time. It happens to all of us at some point, although luckily not all that often.
Asking for a discount was the first red flag. This is nearly always a bad sign unless they have a very good reason for doing so. I now nearly always decline guests who ask for a discount. It never leads to anything good.
Second, the cooking: it is a bit confusing on your listing whether cooking is allowed or not. You have it crossed out under your amenities but then state that guests can use the kitchen. So, I think you need to clarify this both for yourself and on your listing. From my own personal experience, I discontinued access to the stove/oven after having guests continually use my kitchen space to cook, to the point where I was frequently going to bed without dinner myself, not to mention the burnt pots, the burnt kitchen counters, the grease spatters, the plugged drains, the rubbish I had to deal with, etc. Now I only allow guests to store food in the fridge and use the kettle, toaster and microwave. Trust me, it's waaaaay better, so perhaps consider making the stove/oven out of bounds, otherwise you will end up feeling resentful. You may need to reiterate your house rules in your welcome message. I also have a guest manual with touristy info and house information on the first page, explaining what facilities guests can and cannot use. I would also consider carefully what areas of the house you want your guests in. For example, if you want your dining room table so you can work, then make it off limits to guests. In my case, I realised that I hated having guests in my lounge (which is also my office) so it is now off limits.
Third, inviting guests over without asking you is a massive breach of consideration and good manners. It sounds as if they actually have no consideration anyway with the late night snacks, showers, coming in at all hours, etc. Most guests aren't like this - I think you've just been unlucky this time.
So, what to do in this case? If you can stand it for another 3 nights, I would take some deep breaths and see it through if you don't want a drama on your hands. You are a new host so a negative review wouldn't be great at this stage. However, perhaps explain to them that their behaviour is disturbing your sleep, etc. and ask them to respectfully keep it down otherwise you may need to ask them to cancel their booking.
Finally, please review them honestly. Hosts really need to know about these kinds of guests. And if they do leave a bad review for you, you can leave a public response to it (as long as you have reviewed them too). By the way, your listing looks lovely!
Thanks a lot for these tips, Kath! I just delisted the amenities now (but they were available for this current booking). I will make sure the description and house rules apply. I have guests booked in until end of October without these updates, so I am hoping to checkin with them to make sure we are on the same page. But going forward, I will reconsider all the shared spaces. Many thanks,
You're very welcome @Mahsa10 (by the way, you can use the @ symbol to tag people so they're notified of responses). This forum is truly a life saver. I myself have received so much support from other hosts, many of whom now feel like friends. One of these days, I'm going to a round the world trip just so I can go stay with them all! Chin up - most of your guests will be great. Just learn to set your boundaries - something I'm still learning after nearly 3 years (as some other hosts can attest to!).
@Kath9 thanks! Indeed, this is very helpful. We honestly were so exciting about being part of this community after our first two guests, but after two sleepless nights with these guests, things are seeming a bit hellish. Hopefully this perspective goes away with some other experiences.
Hi @Mahsa10 ,
Sorry about your experience. I just read your listing, you have a very nice, super cute appartment.
I think that the way you present it - as a "home away from home", and especially "share a spacious kitchen" would give me the impression that the kitchen was free to use, even when "kitchen" isn't listed on the amenities (its easier to see what is listed, than what is *not* listed), would give me the perception that I could use the kitchen and that it was a place where I could make myself at home (though I personally would never invite guests, come home at 5am or take the liberties your guests have taken).
Also the name of your listing is "flat", even though it is categorized as "private room in apartment", so it sets the wrong expectations from the get go. I would expect to rent a flat when the listing says "flat". I don't think you need "flat" in the description at all.
If I were you I would be clearer in the description under "the space" and "guest access". Something like "a spacious and bright kitchen is available for making breakfast", while not mentioning dinner, and be clearer about guest behaviour in the house manual (plus I would ask all guests arriving to confirm that they have read the house manual).
I think we've all had these kind of experiences - guests who've taken too many liberties, and learned how to write descriptions that in most cases help us stay away from those guests (but not always). The important big, like what @Kath9 says above, is to look for the signs for difficult guests (like asking for discounts...) and follow your gut feeling. Most guests by far are nice, considerate and polite - is my experience...
thanks @Solveig0, indeed as I'm new to this I didn't realise your pointers actually make a lot of sense. I've changed them now. I wish I posted for this feedback before I accepted guests! Our first guests were so lovely, we thought the intellectual/artsy description had attracted us the type of people we would actually enjoy to hangout with. But I definitely have learned my lesson about the guests seeking discounts.
I am sorry you are having such a difficult experience.
I think as you said the guests aren't actually breaking your house rules as you need to be clearer about any restrictions you want to have as to when guests can use amenities and how they can be used. For example.
1. Guests need to eat food in the kitchen only
2. Please respect our quiet time between 11 p.m. - 7.00 and don't use kitchen facilities or shower during these times.
3. If you would like to use our kitchen to cook during your stay please can you cook your evening meals so that you have finished and cleared up by 7pm
These are just some ideas that you can use to help you manage living in a shared space.
There are some things you will just need to live with such as guest use of the bathroom in the night/early hours but you can restrict showers to normal day time use i.e. before 10 or 11 p.m.
thanks @Helen3 @Solveig0 @Kath9 . I contacted AirBnB before I realised there's an entire forum to discuss this. They suggested they can cancel the booking for the remaining 3 nights. I don't mind refunding the 3 nights (I noticed the guests are now eating my food, which is definitely not an amenity), I just don't want a bad review or to avoid awkwardness. I would like to have a good nights sleep. Will they be allowed to give us a bad review?
If you cancel them, for sure they will give a bad review. If you don’t cancel them, they might give a bad review, but you don’t know. If you can stand them for the remainder of the time, then that’s probably what I would do, but please follow your gut feeling. And if any time you need help or help to clarify your listing, there’s always people happy to help here in the forum.
Sorry you are having an unpleasnt time.
All hosts learn through these bad expeiences.
First things first - Don't worry about a good or bad review. They will leave you a bad review,. Users (discount-deekers, cook big dinners in kithchen, make noise ot night....) are never considerate, so they won't be considerate in their reviews.
7 days is a long time. Negogiate an early termination with them. I like to use "You can stay tonight for free, if you leave tomorrw " Explain that you are new hosts and are sorry that you are sltill ;earning that 7 days is impossibly too long for you.. Allow the guests to "save face". Do nor complain or nag. Just ask them to leave.
Then, say NO kitchen usage in your listing. You will then be free to offer it to the light users.
Change you maximum stay to 3 days. Be easy on yourself, you're still learning.
@Mahsa10 Sorry you have disrespectful guests. It can be a steep and rocky learning curve to ensure you avoid as many as you can. I have edited and added to my description and rules multiple times and include rules covering common sense, common courtesy, which I had thought common place - not so. I agree with @Kath9 discount = red flag. Interestingly, the only guests I have ever had who emphasized a few times that they would "just be just sleeping here and would be out and about all day" and asked for a discount because of that, were the only guests who stayed here all day and night, A/C blasting, multiple showers, invited friends over, helped themselves to my food, swiped around 200 teabags and left with over two weeks worth of bathroom products —they cost me more than they paid for their stay.
In time you acquire what amounts to a sixth sense about guests. Good luck. In my experience good guests far outnumber bad ones.
p.s. If they do write a bad review you can always respond. There are many posts of this forum that give advice about how best to do that to your benefit.
@Mahsa10 I always look up to hosts like you who share a room in the house. I would never be able to do it!!
It sounds like you need to be very clear in your house rules about what guests have access to and what they don't. Also post your house rules in the bedroom they rent to remind guests what they are.
Sounds like you may need to tighten up some of your rules to make it very clear about your expectations of guests.
Unfortunately some people will take advantage of everything they think are available to them.