What do you think are reasonable checkout instructions?

Community Manager
Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

What do you think are reasonable checkout instructions?



Hi everyone, 


From the moment a booking is made, clear communication is key to a smooth and pleasant stay for both you and your guests. Checkout instructions are no exception to this.


Each Host will have different requirements, based on the property listed, the amenities offered, their hosting routine, house rules, or whether they charge a cleaning fee or not. You need to decide what checkout time, lockup instructions, and how much as well as what to clean is required of your guests. It can be quite challenging to find the right balance of enough to suit your needs, while not excessive so guests can fulfill your asks easily at the end of their stay.


What do you think are reasonable checkout instructions?


We’d love to hear what your ask guests to do upon checkout, whether you’ve had to adjust that over your time hosting and any tips you have that might be handy for other Hosts!




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71 Replies 71
Level 2
Belfast, United Kingdom

We asks guests to:

put rubbish into outside bin

put dishes in dishwasher & switch on

place used towels in the bath

Ensure doors and windows are locked and place key in lockbox and scramble the code


These are mainly in place so that if the cleaner can’t get to the house immediately, then there isn’t an issue with smells, damage or security. 

We charge £100 cleaning fee for a large 4 bed house. £50 of this is to have linens and towels professionally laundered, and the rest covers 3 hours of my cleaner’s time, although it usually takes at least 4 hours for her to do. 

We have only ever had one guest object to our checkout instructions. 

Level 4
Winston-Salem, NC

Mine is pretty simple.


Please put used towels in the tub & not leave on wood floors.

Please put dishes in the dishwasher & run it on the way out. 

Please take garbage to the bin that is right next to where they park.

That's it.  The last 2 coincide with being in heavily wooded area in Appalachia & sometimes the cleaner can't get there right away.  Country = critters. 

Level 4
California, United States

Interesting question and I am sure there are lots of answers depending on the home and the type of stay a guest would be searching for. I have a stacked duplex at the beach in Ventura, California with loads of amenities. The homes are deep cleaned after every guest departs and the homes are fully stocked with everything a guest could want. There are kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies left in the property in case someone needs them for whatever reason. They  have soaps, paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, body wash,  hair products, loads of towels, extra blankets, pillows. The cleaning fees are high and the guests do not mind paying them because the amenities and the place is spotless (even under the furniture). It takes six to ten hours to thoroughly clean each home. Windows are professionally washed every 2 weeks and more often if necessary (often after each guest leaves). Carpets and couches are cleaned every couple of months and more often if necessary.  I paint twice per year and more often if necessary.  The IT person services the entertainment system as needed. The guests have full access to Netflix, Apple, HULU at no charge and can sign in to their own accounts for Disney, Paramount, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Spotify, and whatever else they want. The cleaning fees help pay for all of the costs of upkeep and maintenance and are not a profit center for me. The fees keep everything tip top and the guests seem to appreciate it.  The guests are asked when they check out to put the used towels in the tub, remove the trash and text me when they are on their way. If possible I do accommodate early arrival requests and late check out requests. The homes are all about making the Guests Experience fabulously memorable for them. 

Level 10
Huskisson, Australia

@Markus489 welcome to this topic, when I read your suggestion of being refunded for cleaning it reminded me of staying in Youth Hostels about 20 years ago and you had to do a job before you leave. You would inform the warden that you had done the job allocated and get it checked if accepted that it was good enoughor complete you got your YHA passport back so you could stay at another YHA accommodation for another night. 

This might work for you with people staying but for me I dont think this will work as I would find it a bit more time consuming as I am my own task master and have my own routine.

Hello from Romania, my name is Markus, I am a professional host for all most 2 years.
- I personally ask each guest to throw their trash outside at the dumpster, and I also ask them to check twice when leaving the apartment so that they don't forget personal things.
- I personally ask for a cleaning fee for each reservation, but I am thinking of returning it to the guest if he is willing to do certain tasks in the cleaning process, if he completes as many of them as possible, he can receive the entire amount back. Naturally, it will be optional, for him and only if it pleases him.
- What do you think about these thoughts?
Level 10
Balearic Islands, Spain

I'm a big fan of simplicity. Most guests are too. 


I don't charge a cleaning fee. I don't demand that they clean up. I don't ask them to strip the beds or place towels in some specific place. I don't have a long list of rules and regulations, other than no smoking in the house, and a few other normal things. I don't have signs all over the house telling them what to do. 


But I do screen guests before they book, I meet them personally when they arrive, which puts a face on the place and establishes a personal relationship. I also treat them like adults, with respect, which generally fosters a like-response, and a sense of responsibility. We're now friends, after all. And really, the only thing I ask of them is to enjoy their stay. 


Nothing is perfect, but in general, it works. 

Level 10
Huskisson, Australia

@Elaine701 you are from the same heart or thought process I am like you; no cleaning fee, no tasks to do before leaving, no signs around, I meet guests when they arrive. As @Robin4 and @Helen427 they do a check when they leave to make sure things are turned off and nothing is leftbehind.

@Sybe and @Jenny this topic of checkout list has open a can of worms. May be it should have been a research question of do yo leave a checkout list of jobs to do before the guests leave with a yes or no.

Followed with do you live on site or live away. Another question do yo clean your own property or hire a cleaner.

Level 10
Auckland, New Zealand


Check out instructions as a live in Host usually entail ensuring a Guest has all their belongings, - I've had the occasional person leave wallets, phones and chargers behind so tend to ensure they have them before they leave the property.


A hearty Breakfast and catch up before they travel on their way is usually always undertaken. 🙂



Level 10
London, United Kingdom



I don't ask guests to do anything on check out other than to leave the key and close the front door if I'm not around to say goodbye to them in person. I might mention the guest book, but usually I just leave it to the guests to decide if they want to leave a message. It's right near the door, so they know it's there.


However, I do expect guests to be reasonably clean and tidy during their stay, so there shouldn't be any dirty dishes sitting around in the kitchen anyway. 


I don't expect them to take out trash, or empty the fridge (although  a few do), but then I am a live in host, so every situation is different. I know that other hosts may have good reason to ask guests to do this, i.e. to prevent pests/smells if the host/cleaner can't get to the property straight away.

Level 10
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia



We ask guests to clean up after themselves, but have learned that it's necessary to give them a checklist, because they have their own definition of what that means.


This is an example of what we ask of our apartment guests (the list differs slightly based upon the rental space amenities).


- Throw away all of your rubbish and used garbage bags in the external trash bin, including cooked food, open and unused food and open toiletries. Please leave enough space for the other guests to dispose of their trash, also.

- Pour out beverages and liquids from open containers and the coffee makers/tea kettle, and dispose of bottles and cartons in the trash bin.

- Clean your dirty dishes, and leave them in the dishrack or dishwasher.

- Sweep/pick up or vacuum any dropped food or other items, and wipe/mop up any spills.

- Leave the linen on the bed.

- Place all used bath towels on the bathroom hooks or towel racks, and leave the bathmats on the bathroom floor. Do not leave wet towels in the hamper or the washer.

- Leave the washing machine door ajar or open.

- Turn off: TVs, AC/heater, lights (unless labeled do not turn off), ceiling fans, bathroom vents, stove, range hood, coffee makers, kettle, grinder, frother, washer, dryer, iron, and vacuum.

- Make sure there is no water running in the tub/shower, bathroom sinks, toilet, kitchen sink, refrigerator, laundry sink, and outdoor faucet.

- Make sure that the refrigerator and freezer doors are fully shut.

- Place TV and Roku remotes on the TV stand in living room, and dressers in the bedrooms.

- If removed, replace the covers onto the outdoor furniture.

- Leave the remote garage door opener on the kitchen counter.

- Double check to make sure that you don't leave behind any personal belongs, and that you've signed out of any apps on the TVs and Roku devices.

- Lock the front door, door to the deck, door to the garage, and the garage door.

- Let us know if there were any damages or items lost during your stay.

Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia


Hi Deb, now I understand I only have one listing to look after, where as you have essentially 10, and I live on the property and have access as soon as the guest leaves. But if I was confronted by a list of checkout instructions like yours I would look for somewhere else to stay. I don't want to be up at the crack of dawn in order to satisfy a massive list of hosts checkout requirements and still be able to meet the required check-out time!

I want guests to enjoy their stay, collect their belongings, give Betts (our dog) a last hug goodbye and leave, I expect nothing more of them than that!

I want to clean up, not second guess what they might have cleaned up. If they have left lights on, a/c running or a tap dripping, no problem, within 5 minutes of them leaving I have turned what ever they might have left on.......off! I have put the utensils they might have used through the dishwasher, cleaned and treated any stains they might have subjected my bed linens and bath towels to.

I have a cottage service regime, I don't deduct bits from it on the premise that the guest might have done something or other for me before they left!

Deb , I treat every guest stay as a start from scratch, and by them trying to help me just makes my job more difficult and time consuming!



Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Robin4  this reminds me of that tradie joke:
$50 for me to do the job
$100 for you to watch me

$150 for you to help me

$200 if you already started it by yourself

$250 if you try to tell me what to do.


Level 10
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia



Thanks for your input.  We all move at our own pace, but I think you are exaggerating about needing to get up at the crack of dawn to tidy up after oneself, because it shouldn't be the case unless that guest has been extremely messy during their stay.  In our listings' details, house rules and guest communications, we tell our guests that they are expected to clean up after themselves during their stay.  The checkout list just details what are usually very routine and quick steps, and should be common sense.  Many of the items are actually telling gets not to do something or are a reminder.  We don't have to second guess anything about what the guest has cleaned or even touched, because we clean everything during the turnover.


We actually have six rentals (some have two listings for different configs), but they are in tropical, humid, woodsy locations which are prone to attracting critters and insects when open food and beverages are left out.  We often are onsite during guest stays, but still work jobs and don't always have the ability to pop over as soon as a guest checks out. 


I have shared before on this forum that electricity costs about $0.45-$0.50 USD per kwh and power and water services are often inconsistent on island leading to outages and extended service interruptions.  So, it can be expensive and wasteful of limited resources, and also cause damages, when guests leave appliances running or in an improper state.  Repairs and replacements can be difficult to get and frequently require importation from overseas.


BTW, the checklist I shared was for our long-term guests who usually stay for 90 days, and yes, I absolutely do expect for them to follow the checklist.

Level 3
Honolulu, HI

We ask guests to leave a review on our Airbnb profile. This helps us know what we need to improve on, and it also helps our listing.

Community Manager
Community Manager
Galashiels, United Kingdom

Nice and simple, @Yui-Hei0! It's great that you proactively look for reviews to make sure you're hearing the opinion of your guests!

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Level 10
Huskisson, Australia

@Sybe @Jenny  I do the same as @Robyn4 I don't leave a check out list as i greet my guests when they pick up the key and most knock on the door to say they are leaving and do I want to check. I always say "No" everything will be okay.

I do have a sign in a picture frame in the kitchen which says   "Please enjoy the kitchen and we would appreciate that you leave it as you found it. Please enjoy your stay. Laurelle and Alex".

As previously stated I prefer to strip the beds and wash for a white load and the towels separate.

I find that we live onsite meet the guests and most times see them depart we don't have any issue with cleaning the cottage. 

We also have a rule that the cottage won't be let if we are not here, as money isn't everything. I believe in harmony.

I do find it a bit rich for hosts who charge a cleaning fee and then leave a list of things to do before leaving. This is where negative views are being made in the media about Airbnb and what they charge.   

A cleaning fee is not a "pass" for a guest to be a pig.  Per AirBNB Terms of Service, guests are to leave the home in the same condition it was in when they checked in. 

I ask my guests to rinse off the dishes and leave them in the sink. The rinsing is to prevent ants from coming to dinner.  I also ask guests to bag their trash and put it in the trash can next to the front door. I provide the bag and again, this is to prevent ants and mice from showing up. I expect them to close windows and lock my door.

I don't ask guests to strip the beds. I do not expect a guest to mop floors, vacuum, do laundry, but I DO expect them to clean up after themselves.  If they spill something, wipe it up or vacuum it up. Don't just leave it.

Level 10
London, United Kingdom



I agree with you that guests should not leave the place a tip. I don't understand people who would spill something and not wipe it up.


However, 'leaving the home in the same condition it was in when they checked in' is a totally unrealistic expectation. Unless they are also hosts themselves, guests do not have the slightest clue how much work diligent hosts put into getting a listing ready to that standard. A typical turnover for me is the type of cleaning most people would do only occasionally in their own homes and would probably consider 'spring cleaning' or a 'deep clean'. 

Level 10
Heemskerk, Netherlands

When does Airbnb send us the keychain that’s on the picture of the first post? 😄


Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia


It's not an automatic give away Kirsten, #Airbnblove do have a large range of promotional products some of which I have received over the years for no special reason, just someone in the organisation thought it would be a nice gesture. It could be a birthday, a hosting milestone........

IMG20190415140111 promotions.jpg


I have received a nice wine, biscuits, a carry bag, a Guest comments book, a few pairs of socks, a pair of mugs. For Ade's an my 50th wedding anniversary we received a lovely bunch of flowers and also that Airbnb key chain.

I like to be reminded of my relationship with Airbnb each time I pick up my keys, but I might add, after a couple of years of use it needs a spot of re-enameling!




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