So I have been a host to more than a handful of guests... Most of them wonderful... one was a bad apple.
I must say that the extra money has made it possible for my family to have nice vacations for "free". I say free because I did not have to touch our annual budget to go on vacation. It's easy to overlook that there's always a possibility that there might one or two bad apples out there that might end up in my home. The income I was making made that easy.
But one day, I was sitting in my kitchen watching the morning news. I was horrified to hear that an Airbnb host was murdered and another whose child was molested by a guest. I must say that these made me re-evaluate my willingness to open my dooors again.
My site is still up. I have had only one inquiry since then and I politley declined. [the person did not have a profile picture which was a strict requirement for me]
I will really miss the income but I cannot reconcile the possiblity that it could happen to me and my family since I am sharing my home and not just a property.
@Florence-And-Michael0, your post has really got me thinking. I noticed that there have been 72 people ahead of me who viewed it and didn't reply - I imagine many of them are also thinking about what you said. My place is a bit different from yours, in that my guests have a separate space but they could easily enter my unit by just turning a bathroom-type lock on the door which separates the two spaces.
My feeling is that these events are extremely rare - they definitely get a lot of publicity when they do happen, which makes it feel like hosting is possibly a dangerous thing to do. But in my view, risks are everywhere, and there are ways you can mitigate the risks to your family - accept only guests who have lots of good reviews, make sure to discuss in detail with them the purpose of their visit, and if you get any bad vibes when they arrive, immediately call Airbnb to have them relocated. Have locks on your bedroom doors which you can use if you feel unsafe, while the police arrive. Get a dog, if you can! Dogs know about these things. You could also restrict your listing to only single females, for example.
This may not be enough for you - I don't have kids to worry about, and I do have two big dogs in my side of the unit. But as @David126 says, hosting isn't for everyone. I looked at your profile and it seems you have really been a great Airbnb guest as well as a host, and it would be a shame to deprive your family of those opportunities, if that is what it would mean if you had to stop hosting... but only you can make the decision. Why not "snooze" your listing for a while and think about it. In my neck of the woods it's so slow right now, it's almost snoozing itself....! Good luck in whatever you choose. Susie
@Florence-And-Michael0, I listen to podcasts while I am cleaning my listing, and just lately it has been a true crime one out of Australia. Yikes! Makes a person not want to go to the beach, walk down the road, stand in their front yard, accept a job offer, take a taxi, get into bed...
Absolutely do stay in your comfort zone, as the others have said, but I know I had to remind myself that things can happen anywhere. Keep yourself as safe as possible with backup plans, etc., without doing yourself out of the things you are enjoying, such as those vacations. (If you listen to that podcast, you won't want to take a vacation either, though...)
@Susie5, I like your wording: "It's almost snoozing itself." 🙂
@Florence-And-Michael0, nothing is ever safe in this world, but I guess that cozy rooms with teddy bears, frugal rooms near a hospital, all in a home with two karate black belt hosts are not the first target for people up to no good.
That would be rather me, single elder lady with a shared room on Instant Book, only a fragile glass door between a single guest and me 😉
I would say your listing is well made to filter guests by the way it appears and you can apply strict rules, whom you accept and what your mnimum requirements are to feel safe.
In my experience, guests who are polite and forthcoming with useful information are always fine. Uncommunicative or on the contrary writing half a page of unmotivated praise on the place or host they have not seen yet, or on themselves are to handle with care.
I ask myself, what I would do, if I won the lottery tomorrow and don’t “need” Hosting money any more. Buy a hotel maybe 😉
@Florence-And-Michael0 I really think Your personal safety and peace of mind have no price tag.
I mean seriously are you going to sleep with a butcher knife? If hosting is that uncomfortable for you, you really should reconsider. Maybe look for another space to list, so there’s some separation.
I wont sleep with a butcher knife or entertain the thought of my child being molested because mommy wanted to earn $89. Our dog wouldn’t allow for sleep over guest outside of family anyway. I’m in awe every time I see someone share their space like that when they have minor children in the house. You as an adult have a choice, the child is simply along for the ride.
Im not overly paranoid but you have to have an awareness of your security. Why place yourself in that situation? Better yet, why place your child. How devastated must that family feel now that the child was violated? How do you pick up the pieces? The betrayal?
@Rene-and-Zac0, I do not think it is helpful to associate so much guit with a vague possibility of harm. Nobody hosts for another 89$, you host for a regular income or for an occasional higher income, when you rent out your home during holidays. It’s usually a consequential sum, which contributes to a chosen lifestyle. Maybe it covers the luxury part of a lifestyle, but in most cases, if it’s on site, it’s necessary money to pay the bills or even keep the house.
To keep the children safe is certainly the priority of parents and being responsible, you have to consider possibilities and do your best to minimise the danger. Like not letting guests and kids alone before you know the guests very well and watch body language of your guests.
Personally, I would not sleep with a butcher knife in my bed, as it will certainly slice my bedding, probably cut my hands when I search for a tissue or the phone and may come handy to an attacker, if ever there should be one coming into my room. Realistically, if you are in bed with a sharp knife and a big guy wants to rape you, who do you think would end up dead?
if you apply due caution, need the money and hosting seems a reasonable choice, and then something happens, I would not call the decision of the parents a betrayal. It’s a crime committed against all of them and there is no way to ban all possibilities of crimes to your family.
@Helga0 My point about the children is that they have no choice in the matter of leasing the apartments. So when you make the choice and make no mistake, it is a choice, to let a complete stranger into the intimate places of your life and expose your children to it, you are forcing the issue on your children. You can read body language all you want but can your child? Life is about choices. I choose not to have my children exposed to potential harm because the repercussions are so great, I could never live with myself if my “choice” harmed my family. There is no amount of vetting or identification checks or any amount of rental fee that you can give me to agree to be violated. Sorry, never going to agree to that, ever. I agree with you about one thing, knives could tear the sheets but this is America, Honey, we don’t carry knives.
‘You know it’s hard out here for a Host’
@Rene-and-Zac0, I grew up in a big house, where rooms were rented all Summer, making the family crowd together in a few rooms or sleep in the hay loft over the stable. Some guests had “their” room all along the year, dropping in for weekends or a few days now and then. It ment diplomatic negotiations of the highest order, if two people wanted to have the same room the same weekend. Guests would be at the breakfast table every day, choose meals with us most days - that’s how I still cook for a crowd, when I don’t pay attention. We had a few permanent tenants too, for long years. And yes, it may be risky to rent to a young man, when the daughter may come home for holidays - that’s how I came into this world 😉
Looking back, I would say it was a perfect way of growing up, having a big “family” of people not related by blood and having also people in the house, who were just paying customers. It teaches a lot about social interaction and coping with strange situations.
Yesterday I was on the phone with my mother, when she got a package delivered. A Christmas present from a guest, who came to the family home the first time, when he was six years old. He is in his seventies now.
You are right, there are dangers, but I have the impression you see to much of the risk and way too little of the great good it may do to children to meet different people in a situation, that you can better control than elsewhere. Generally, the guest-host approach is friendly, a relation of trust and respect. Where else do you get that for your kids so easily?
@Florence-And-Michael0 your profile appears to be exactly the kind that should be on ABB as both a guest & a host. I think we are all wise to be careful & to borrow this phrase (that I've stolen from Belize Fred & applied as my ABB mantra) " Nothing has to be". Just bc I have a place available doesn't mean that only old Jo who finds it can or should come (for any old price). Vet guests, reject some, be prepared at all times to say 'no'. Oh, and lock up what guests aren't supposed to have access to!
Having abb guests is in some ways just like having a toddler: "I'm glad you're here & I'm prepared to be nice to you, but I'm still the boss, regardless of what kind of fit you may decide to throw."
@Florence-And-Michael0, it can be a frightening world out there.
It is Human Nature to decide how likely something is by thinking about how often you see it.
This causes people who follow the news a lot to vastly over-estimate how likely it is for things to happen that are often in the news.
(Fun fact: This is why the Lottery Commision makes a big deal of showcasing winners. It makes you think winning the lottery is WAY more likely than it really is. Note they don't show you the millions of non-winners.)
If there were a newspaper that recounted the story of every AirBnB host that had a guest stay *without* getting murdered or molested, it would be huge. Gigantic. Millions upon millions of pages of hosts and guests getting along just fine. It would be very boring reading, but it would help your brain understand better the actual odds of something horrible happening.
You are the only one who can decide if hosting is for you.
But please remember that your odds are probably far, far greater of getting injured in an auto accident than getting hurt while hosting. In 2016, in the USA alone there were 37,461 people killed in auto accidents. Those were just the fatalities. How many more were injured? That is over 100 people killed every single day.
Do you continue to ride in or drive a car?
Live the life you want to live. It might include AirBnB hosting, it might not.
Be cautious. Don't take unnecessary risks.
But please, do keep things in perspective.
The likelihood of you being murdered is close to zero (and specifically by an AirBnB guest). If that is your concern I don't know how you go on holiidays - look up statistics for people murdered in hotels, etc...it won;t put your mind at rest but it may mean you never go on another holiday again.
I am being a bit tounge in cheek, but the reality is most people are murdered by someone they know and not by a stranger