I was thinking about renting a house or an apartment to host a birthday party, but I am having a hard time finding a host willing to accept one that is also within my budget. I am willing to clean up or pay someone to clean up if the house becomes a mess and I do not plan to make it a necessarily a "project X" party.
It’s been interesting to read all the comments here about house parties in Airbnb spaces. I need to pipe in.
We are in the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost everything is closed. We are all frustrated with not having our usual social outlets. That does NOT make it OK to host a party in someone else’s home without express permission. Period. You’ll live without a party. Everyone else is managing. Host a Zoom party. No, it’s not the same, but you won’t be spreading germs around either. It’s a difficult time. Taking advantage of someone else is not the solution.
The potential guests posting here keep asking things like “What’s wrong with us having a party if we absolutely promise to leave it as clean as we found it?” OK, here is your answer – and it’s a long answer. Besides the fact that we don’t know you and we have no reason to believe that you will actually leave it that clean – that is – by far—not the only issue. The real issues are different --
Here's a true story: The last guests we had in our 3 bedroom Airbnb here in Brooklyn, NY used the apartment to host an unauthorized street party, outside on the sidewalk across the street, involving about 30 people, going all night long. They left the apartment very clean because they were barely inside. Were we happy? No way – it was a nightmare.
Hosting parties like that threatens our ability to make a living! You didn’t think of that, right? You see, we could be shut down by Airbnb because they don’t permit that. We could be shut down by the police because, here in NYC, it is illegal to have a street party without getting permits (which are very difficult to get, BTW). We could be shut down by our neighborhood Block Association which works so hard to create, keep, and preserve, a quiet family oriented residential block. And this – obviously – threatens our daily relationships with our neighbors on the block. No one wants that. (In NYC there is literally no such thing as a whole house available very far from anyone else. It’s NYC. We’re all living right next to other people. And we have to live next to those same people after you leave and deal with the consequences.)
There are many security cameras on the block. If the official guests thought they were being slick, they weren’t. Everyone saw people coming and going from the loud party in and out of our house. As far as inside parties go, we live here too and so it is really obvious when guests of guests are coming in.
Our neighborhood has many elderly people and very young children who need to go to sleep early. Whether a party is outside or inside, it definitely disturbs all the neighbors (in our house in other apartments, and all the nearby houses on the block, many apartments) – unless you can find a bnb property deep in the country with lots of vacant land around it. Good luck.
These guests (with the street party) gave THEIR guests access to come into the apartment to use the facilities. Isn’t that nice? Uh, no because a) there was no permission from the host to use all that water & supplies and to have all that traffic, b) the guests of the guests (if not the original guests themselves) failed to remove their shoes or even to step in a manner which is mindful of the OTHER people in the house – i.e., they made horrible noise traipsing up and down the wooden stairs in hard shoes ALL NIGHT long, keeping everyone in the house awake all night, c) the guests were unable (or indifferent) to control keeping the door to our home locked as each person entered and exited. We were kept awake all night due to our security system sending constant alerts that the front door was unlocked. This threatened our own personal security. (Leaving the door unlocked in NYC? Really?) When I contacted the guest who booked about it, he was annoyed that I was “bothering” him and asked me not to text him anymore. Really?
This guest (just like every one of our guests) “promised” that he had read and agreed to all the house rules before booking – more than once. Just like some of you want to “promise” to leave the space clean. Well, these guests violated almost every house rule. Even though they were barely inside the space, they lit up something to smoke inside several times – although they knew that smoking is strictly prohibited in this space.
Yes – we had a couple of very nice guests who had very small and very quiet parties – with permission in advance. The majority of local guests are here for other (not permitted) kinds of parties – vast majority, truly 95%. All sound so nice up front and then they switch up. Sadly, it’s not “just a few ruining it for everyone else.” It’s more like a general lack of awareness of the effect that a party has on the hosts and the neighbors by a surprisingly large number of people.
You see, as many other hosts pointed out here, you cannot control the behavior of every one of your friends and your friends’ friends. All of our party guests (and there have been many lately, especially since COVID, much to our dismay) – they all say “Oh, it wasn’t me smoking. It was my friend. I told them not to.” And the most absurd yet most frequent reply:” I didn’t know.” Sure. Well, sorry but that does not work for any host. The person who books is responsible. How many people can you control? I bet you don’t want to act like a babysitter to your friends. Guess what – we HATE being put in that role too!
When someone smokes in a non-smoking space, the problem is bigger than you think. The smell gets into the curtains, into the paint on the walls, into the upholstered furniture, into the ceiling, everything. It is almost impossible to get the smell out. If you smoke, you don’t notice it. But people who don’t smoke (which is most people BTW) notice it immediately and they hate it. When non-smokers come into a space (after you leave, and after we cleaned as much as is possible) – a place which is advertised as smoke-free, they will immediately smell it. And when they write about that in our public reviews, it kills our business. Did you think about that? You should.
Anyone who is home-sharing is not wealthy. If we were, we wouldn’t have to home share. (Duh) Many of us are disabled or elderly or retired and this is our ONLY way to survive financially. You are risking our livelihood. That is very bad. How would you feel if someone threatened your existence? Some snotty remarks I read here about hosts being “selfish” for not agreeing to host parties are blatantly unfair. It’s our house. We worked hard for decades to get our house. It is our right to choose what we allow and what we don’t in our home. You would say the same about your home.
Now, let’s re-visit this “leaving it clean” issue. All of our party guests (and all these parties were unapproved) seem to think that if they carry out all the party trash, they’ve been good. Uh, here in NYC, as well as most places theses days, there are recycling laws. We, as hosts, stand to be fined by the City if our trash is not sorted correctly. The sorting rules for recycling are clearly spelled out in our house rules online, verified with the guest before booking, printed inside the welcome brochure which the guests get upon arrival with their WIFI code, also printed and taped inside the apartment AND printed and laminated and taped right by the trash bins outside. Yet, every single one of these unauthorized party hosts left their huge (really huge) amount of trash totally unsorted. We don’t want to get a fine from the City. (Also, we happen to care about the environment.) So, then we have to put on rubber gloves and go through your garbage to sort it. Disgusting. In EVERY case, there were wet food scraps mixed right in with the recyclable items. Disgusting. And in every case (although this blows my mind) there were lots of bottles and to-go cups which STILL have liquid inside – just thrown right in with everything else. Who does that? What kind of mindlessness would make someone do that? (The bags get crazy heavy and they leak!) Yet, this has happened over and over, literally every time some guests entertain other guests at our property. (The only place, in my experience, where I’ve ever seen that accepted, to dump liquid in the trash, is in a fast food restaurant, where there is no drain, and you dump everything in one place.) So, how disrespectful is that? Treating our home as a fast food restaurant? Really? Like no one heard of a drain in a sink? What do these people do at home? Obviously, they have someone else cleaning up after them, like a parent I suppose? We do not appreciate being put in that role.
So, like I said, the guests who believe they are leaving the space clean are leaving huge, really huge, amounts of improperly organized (and dripping, leaking) garbage for us to deal with. Sometimes, they actually put it on the sidewalk in front of our neighbors’ houses – obviously very bad – I guess they think they are being slick by not putting all the garbage at our house – as if we wouldn’t know? As if our neighbors wouldn’t complain to us? GMAB. Look, if we book a reservation for 4 people and then we have to deal with garbage from 30 people, or even 12, or even 10, how is that fair to us?
I agree with what other hosts have written, that if you can’t do it at your home, you can be sure you can’t do it in our home either. The purpose of a bnb is to host travelers – and sometimes (in our small studio bnb) to host someone who needs a bit of quiet privacy. A bnb is not a party space.
Further to the topic of your not being able to control the behavior of each and every friend and friend of friend who attends your party – When there is a party, there is usually intoxication. All you need is one intoxicated person to cause a problem – to forget (or not care about) the rules, to accidentally break something, to leave doors unlocked, to light up and smoke inside – especially when their name isn’t on the reservation. If the intoxication is alcohol, voices ALWAYS get loud when people are drunk. It’s a fact. So, then no one else in the house can sleep.
The answer is no.
If you can’t find something acceptable outside of Airbnb, then don’t do it. We all want things we can’t have at a particular point in our lives. That’s life, part of being human. Make a different plan. Airbnb is simply not the place to look. Sorry. It’s just not our job.
Exactly what I tell all inquiries! No Parties!, and I TELL them exactly what you said (almost). It is in my listing description and in the welcome letter and house rules in the guest book. There have still been parties. I have tried to make them understand in the house rules that if they have one anyway I will request money from the resolution center and refuse further guesting privilege's, which are supposed to go to all hosts. It hasn't worked. What are we supposed to do?