Neighbours are a key part of where we live and rent, whether you live in close proximity with them in an apartment block or in a detached house with someone across the road. They can become friends that help us out if we’ve run out of something or need to pick up a package, but relations with neighbours can be strained if we are not careful, particularly when renting your home to guests.
How do you keep good relations with your neighbours? Do you give your guests some guidance to make sure they are respectful?
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@Lizzie Fortunately for us, our nearest neighbor is about half a mile of snowy road from our guests and Cottage. However I do let them know that if they decide to get out their car to see the neighbors animals, to never touch the electric cattle fencing.
@Lizzie I'd say the best advice is to carefully screen guests so that you can do your best to avoid bad guests all together. I have a co-worker who lives in a beautiful home by a river, and the people across the river were constantly renting out their place to groups of partiers. No screening and no care leads to misery for the neighbours.
Second would be laying out rules around behaviour (no parties, no noise after 11 pm, limits on the number of guests, where to park, etc) and enforce them. Send a reminder to guests before they arrive, don't just trust they'll remember: they may have booked months ahead and forgotten everything by the time they actually arrive.
After that, I'd say take proper precautions to ensure guests are properly monitored, especially if you're not on site. That could include tools like video cameras (outside of course, and properly disclosed) or other tools like Party Squasher. It could also be low tech stuff, like giving the neighbour your number and letting them know to call you if there is a problem or having a friend do a drive-by to check on the place.
Following the laws around vacation rentals in your area would also be a big one.
I do feel like luck plays a big role, though. We have neighbours who are younger, and they keep their house decent, but they're not really too concerned about what we're doing. It just takes a neighbour who's overly picky and will complain constantly to ruin your Airbnb business. We abide by the law and follow all the rules, but that doesn't nescessarily protect you as a host if you have a neighbour who's determined to make your life difficult.
@Lizzie As I host in my own home and am very strict about visitors, no late night noise etc. I don’t have a problem with party types.
What can can be a problem is that despite very specific instructions guests often go and ring/knock on my neighbour’s door instead of mine, which I can imagine is annoying, so if I have a good idea of their arrival time, I often wait by the window so I can waive at them before they do that.
I don’t have off street parking, but my neighbours do and something that drives them crazy is random people parking in their drive (especially when it blocks their car from getting in or out). Unfortunately I have a real problem getting guests to comprehend why it is not okay for them to get the taxi to park there while they unload countless suitcases.
They think my neighbours must be unreasonable and why does it matter if they are just parking there briefly and so choose to ignore me even when I am quite insistent about it. They don’t understand that I host hundreds of guests every year, not just them!!
A couple of months ago, I opened the door to find one of my new guests throwing up in the neighbour’s driveway. I tried desperately to get him and his girlfriend (who looked like she was about to throw up too at any minute) to vacate the next door property and come over to mine but they didn’t seem to understand me. Poor things arrived with food poisoning.
@Lizzie Thanks for this good topic. I agree with @Alexandra316 . Luck plays a big role more on getting the right guest(s) for your space while your neighbors like you, they're friendly & accepting of your ABB gig.
I'm new to our neighborhood and live on a dead-end street with 4 really friendly neighbors. Fortunately, they all love the renovation work I did on my house and made a big impact on our little dead-end street. Before starting to host on ABB I had to get their input & find out if they were fine with me doing ABB. Thankfully, they were all in favor of it, supportive and excited for me. So that was a big plus. Now as for the bonus, I've been getting good guests that appreciates our historic neighborhood, observed our House Rules and used the space respectfully....so far so good. I recently intall 2 home security cameras around the property. I love it since I know who's walking into my fenced property each time. As @Alexandra316 said, I'm doing this as proper precautions to ensure guests are properly monitored when needed.
I have a translated version of our "Community Rules for Residents" that all guests are asked to read and accept (along with our house rules) if they want to stay with us - we haven't had any problems yet. We only host 1 guest at a time and it's max 4~5 guests per year so I think it's different for us, compared to most other hosts.
Plus, we are on-site hosts and are picky about who we accept into our home as a guest. We are not shy about communicating our expectations to potential guests, so I think that definitely helps :-)
A lot of our neighbors probably don't even know we host. (Our complex consists of 272 units, 3 separate buildings.) A few have seemed to assume we do "homestays" - we haven't felt the need to correct them saying "we are ABB hosts".
For me, the best way to be a good neighbor is to remind everyone about private property rights.
My house, your house, everybody wins.
Neighbors often get confused and stressed, cuz they worry about controlling me and my business - my Airbnb, my guests' legal parking of cars on the public street... things that do not really affect them.
When neighbors complain about parking, I politely explain that I instruct my guest to park in the 3 parking spots in front of my house. I mention that here will be times that guests may legally park in front of their house - Just as THEIR guests are welcome to park in front of MY house.
My rights = Your rights.
I am fortunate to have smart neighbors. When they see that I don't kowtow to their control issues, they stop being bothered. Most have teenagers - so they understand the need for flexibility.
They also know that one day, their teenagers will leave. I am providing them guidance for revenue opportunity for that empty bedroom....
Luckily for us, as with @Reuben, we have no close neighbors in our area, but nonetheless, we still have an issue which could impact the entire region in our arid area - fire!
I stress very strongly multiple times and in multiple places and ways how important it is to refrain from all smoking, outside fires, fireworks, etc because of the high chance of wildfires in the area.
Despite giving explicit instructions to guests, there's a type who seemingly don't grasp why they shouldn't park in my neighbours' numbered parking spaces, and not in mine (which is right outside my door). Likewise, I illustrate where my house is in the Close I live in, yet see them meandering round looking at other door numbers.
While there are no bylaws/rules preventing Airbnb in my estate, I do wish guests would be more wised-up is at doesn't show Airbnb in the best light.
@Lizzie As others here have mentioned, being able to carefully screen (notice I did not say 'discriminate') potential guests is the number one strategy for ensuring that I (and my temporary, short-term rental guests) are 'good actors' in regard to our neighbors.
Which is why I am most unhappy with the decreasing ability to screen effectively since these more controversial changes were made to the platform. It's not the lack of a profile photo so much, but everything else. Even the customized question area which a host could use to good effect as part of the Instant Book process has been removed, reportedly (is this so?). And cancelling on a guest after accepting a booking due to what a host might find out while trying to screen properly after just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, and will no doubt penalize the host one way or the other.
So, as a home-sharing host, I'm simply not comfortable keeping my listing active until hosts have the ability to screen (versus discriminate) again.