Hi - We recently had a problematic guest on a 2 month stay. I'm interested in advice on how to handle.
1.) They requested to have their emotional support cat stay pretty forcefully and threatened ADA when we requested additional security deposit for any damage. (We don't normally allow pets and I am familiar with ADA regarding service animals vs emotional support but okay).
2.) They changed their official address to our home and had mail forwarded to our address. Intent was purchasing vehicles including bank documents and government vehicle registration. When we asked them to stop and notified AirBnb host support, they agreed but continued to have Amazon UPS packages delivered. They demanded that the mail items that our house-watcher had picked up be brought to them at the house. (Our mailbox is locked.)
3.) When they checked out, the house was left with cat litter strewn around the floor, cat hair everywhere and embedded all over the couch, and a large plastic yard bag full of perishable food of theirs left at the house. We paid around $35 to have the garbage disposed off and removed from the house. While there was no "damage" that we have yet discovered - the house was left messy far beyond norms on AirBnb (yes, I know there are horror stories way worse.)
4.) After check-out, they are requesting return of a small stuffed animal that they left at the house. We are away for a few weeks so let them know we would return it if we see it. Per, 2. above, they have been very demanding and persistent.
The net result is that we have discontinued hosting entirely at our personal home, as this risk profile just isn't worth the money. I'm curious advice from other hosts on how to handle or to just let this go at this point. They are likely to continue persisting on 4.) above and of course will return their small item -- when we return -- if we find it. I am concerned about their retribution and safety frankly of this guest profile based on their behavior to date.
@Andy48 So sorry you had to suffer through crappy guests. When you compose your review, don't mention the ESA or Airbnb may remove the review. Just say that 'cleanup far in excess of the norm was required'. And of course mention the other issues. Shipping and service fees to return the stuffie should cost them in the range of $50 at least 😉 Send a request for this through the resolution center and don't post the stuffie until funds are received.
Thanks Colleen - So needless to say, a "stop by" visit to get the stuffie is both inappropriate and unsafe, postal mail / UPS shipping is the appropriate path. By "service fees" do you mean our own time to handle the shipping? I'm honestly not planning to leave a review as I don't want more issues with this guest and they may still be in the local area.
@Andy48 Sorry you got a bad guest. But please do leave a review, otherwise other hosts won't be warned and will have to put up with this just like you did.
One non-commital review hosts can leave if they are concerned about retaliation from a local is "Guest stayed 2 months."(or 3 days, whatever the booking length was)
Other hosts reading that will understand you had nothing positive to say, and the guest has nothing in the review to be upset about.
I prefer informative reviews and honesty, but I can understand a host fearing for their safety and not wanting to be specific.
Thanks Sarah - But won't a drop in their numeric score be obvious? One thing I forgot to mention was that their stay was based on two confusingly positive 5.0 reviews left in the past. Not sure what standard they were based on.....
@Andy48 Hosts like me who do not use Instant Book aren't privy to see a guest's star ratings. So all we have to go on is the written review.
And star ratings are totally subjective- you have no idea why a host or guest left a particular rating. On another hosting forum, a host described their guest's behavior, and asked other hosts how they would rate that guest. All the hosts who answered were quite experienced hosts, but the answers ranged from 2*s ("horrible guests, no way I'd want a guest like that") to 5*s ("Sounds pretty average to me, I don't see anything wrong with them").
So that really made me realize how useless star ratings really are.
When I see reviews that only say "Nice guests" or something like that, I cross-reference to see what kind of reviews that host has left for other guests. 99% of the time, I find that host leaves that same review for every guest (the 'host' often turns out to be some big property management company or hosts with tons of listings who don't take the time to leave an informative review). Those reviews, I totally discount, I don't trust that they were "nice guests" and what does "nice" mean, anyway? Nice isn't what I care about. I care if they were respectful, left the place clean, communicated well.
Of course if a guest has pages of great reviews, I don't bother to cross-check, but if they only have one or two, yeah.
We often deal with zero reviews period, so 2 positive reviews of any kind is a lot more data. But as you said, the data has minimal value .
@Andy48 Definitely don't accomodate them stopping by. Honestly, a guest like that, I would not even give them or the stuffie another thought. Into the bin it goes. But, a nice fat service fee to return it should be in an amount that covers the cost of the garbage disposal, if you get my drift. It's not out of line to tack on a fee in addition to shipping charges, for your time and effort to return something to a guest. May as well make this one count, for all the hardship they caused you.
Considering what else could have gone wrong and we are talking about total strangers staying for two months, I would leave a very deadpan review and move on. Then re-consider your decision of having guests that long in your private place.
The sharing-home/rental business is a chancy endeavor anyway you slice it, regardless of which service they use. No one can guarantee good human nature nor should anyone count on it.
Andy I host my home but decided not to ever be on instant book, do not host usually no reviews , and have no interest in saying I would take long term rentals. I have had guests inquire about long term on there own as my property sleeps 10. I make the decisions going back and forth with many e mails with all guest requests until I feel I have the information I need to make a decision. I turn down all requests to book when I hear nothing back thru messaging. Big red flag !!! I do not know if you are on instant book or advertise longer stays but I believe your listing will draw guests to as you which puts you in the drivers seat.