Do you all give a key?


Do you all give a key?



I'm about to host my first guest this evening. It occurs to me only now that many people expect to have a key, but I'm really not comfortable giving a key to guests at all. This is my home and I'm certain giving out keys to people will invalidate my insurance policy, not to mention makes me very uncomfortable.


I work from home so will be here most of the time and can ensure I'm here after a certain time, say 5pm to let guests come back.


So my question is, is it standard and expected to provide keys to guests?


I'd like to hear from people who are letting a room in their own home, not places dedicated to renting.




1 Best Answer
Level 10
Albany, Australia

@Simon2362, I am in a similar situation to you - my listing is a room in my home and I  also work from home so I am here most of the time. Most of my guests are 1-nighters, so, if it is feasible, I don't give them a key, especially if they are arriving late and leaving early (which is often the case). I don't lock my front door until I go to bed (which is normally pretty late) so it's open for people to get in when they come back in the evening. I do give a key to people staying 2 or more nights or if I'm going to be out.


However, I don't really like giving out my key, especially now that there are so many more scams than there used to be. People can and have lost it or accidentally taken it with them, and there is always the concern that they could get a copy cut and let themselves in at a later date. Therefore, recently, I have been looking at getting a keyless lock with a keypad for which I can change the code in between guests. The one I'm looking at can also be done remotely if I am away. If you're concerned about the key, I would recommend looking into this.

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55 Replies 55
Host Advisory Board Member
Chiang Mai, Thailand

@Simon2362 I host a private room with around 200 reviews and I do give my guest a key. Only 1 time that it was lose.

if you feel uncomfortable, you can add a deposit money or replace your door with digital lock. You plan that to be the one who open the door for a guest all the time may make a guest feel uncomfortable but if it was already in House-rule it may okay.

Thank you @Nutth0 ,


Did you tell your home insurance company about that?


I'm concerned that the key can be copied, the original key does not need to be taken. I'm an audio engineer with a lot of valuable equipment in my home.


In the long run, I could change my lock but I'm only starting AirBNB now.

Level 2
Stockholm, Sweden

Hi @Simon2362 your concern is understandable.  As an experienced host and professional co-host, I suggest that nearly all guests will expect a key to the apartment where they are staying.  No guest wants to have to coordinate their comings and goings with your schedule. Whether they are traveling for work or pleasure, you want the guests to enjoy the experience and concentrate on exploring your city, and enjoying your hospitality.  You dont want them worrying about whether you will be home to let them in.  Airbnb has an excellent guarantee that you can review here:

"Whenever a guest makes a reservation and stays at your place, you’re automatically covered by our Host Guarantee." And "Up to $1 million USD of property damage protection if you ever need it", so you should be fine.
If you are still worried about your insurance policy, call them and ask them if having paid guests once and a while invalidates your insurance policy.

Good luck hosting, 


Thank you Sofia, that is great to know about, I'll have a good read.


I note it says "What's not protected: Damage to shared or common areas of the building that aren’t part of the listing itself.'


I'm not clear what that means, does it mean I need to post pictures and share all areas of my home for them to be covered?


I must say I find it strange that most people seem to expect access at all times. In a dedicated BNB  and also Youth Hostels in the UK it is very standard to check out in the morning and the place is then closed until after 5pm. It's a bed and breakfast, not a hotel.

Level 10
Whitehaven, United Kingdom

Hi @Simon2362 - This expectation is a HUGE difference between guests in the UK & USA/Canada/Australia - maybe the whole rest of the world! I've read many posts here from American hosts, where the view seems to be - you've rented the room, you should have access at all times, because you've paid for it, & under no circumstances should hosts (home owners) enter the room during the period when the guest has checked in. (Airbnb seem to view this as a serious offence, for which hosts can be de-listed.)

I absolutely agree with your observation that in UK  B&Bs & Youth Hostels you are expected to leave in the morning, even as early as 10am & not return till 5pm. That's always been the norm!

But I think most guests would be shocked if I insisted on I go with the flow.  I've had an American guest stay in all day to catch up on internet stuff during a several month tour, I've hosted a British chap who walked in the morning & worked on his PhD thesis in the afternoon, and vice versa, I've hosted a Czech couple who did 2 demanding mountain walks on Good Friday & Easter Saturday, then returned at Midday on Easter Sunday for an afternoon sleep! I also host workers, some of whom are on night shift, so sleep during the day.


Regarding the key, I had the same dilemma as you. But I DO issue keys, in order to be accommodating. (A combination lock would not be good for me cos I let out more than one room & also have regular lodgers, so can't lock them out by regular combination changes!) I've recently added a midnight curfew to my house rules, cos I can't relax when folk are still out & coming back at 2.00am! I would advise: IF you wish to restrict daytime access, or a key -  make it clear in your house rules and state clearly at the TOP of your listing - as guests notoriously don't read very far down!

Good luck!

Thanks for your considered thoughts Helen.


After posting that about BNBs in the UK I did google and find most now do seem to offer a key as you say. Nonetheless, the nationality aspect is an interesting one.


I currently have 'instant booking' switched off, so I will take the first contact opportunity to confirm the situation.

Level 6
California, United States

Actually, a digital lock, like Schlage would be perfect for you.  Ours allows you to set up to 30 unique combinations.  You can disable them at any time, but what's even better, you can set start and end date and time.

Effectively it's like giving each guest their own key, which works only during the time they've booked.

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hello @Simon2362 


Most B&Bs nowadays let you come and go as you please in UK, and some hostels too.  Guests home-sharing your home will expect to do so too. 


If you don't want to provide keys then get an automated key so guests can check in through putting in a code which you can set so it is only valid for the duration of their stay.


If you don't let your guests have access to come and go as they please and are able to have a key or automated lock you will restrict the numbers of people wanting to stay with you. Do you really want to be available 24/7 to let your guests in?


You also need to obtain home insurances to cover short term lets. Standard home insurance will not cover you.

Okay well I think it's not covering my concern because I need to report loss or damage within 14 days of a guest and communicate with the guest to basically accuse them.


I don't consider that helpful because a guest can simply copy the house key and return at any time they like. If I had more than one guest there is no way to know who copied the key.


I think I'll have to call my insurance company and enquire about this.

Level 10
Whitehaven, United Kingdom

@Simon2362 I've thought the same, but just hope for the best! Airbnb is supposed to be built on trust & respect.. So I just TRUST I'm opening the door to a person who won't copy the key for criminal purposes, just as I hope & trust I'm opening the door to a decent human being, not the proverbial axe murderer! 

Level 10
Petersfield, United Kingdom

@Simon2362 @Sofia451 

"Whenever a guest makes a reservation and stays at your place, you’re automatically covered by our Host Guarantee." And "Up to $1 million USD of property damage protection if you ever need it"


DO NOT RELY ON THIS PROTECTION, it is a whole world of pain trying to claim, if you search the forum there are numerous threads about Airbnb not honouring the guarantee.


You need to have your own letting insuarnce to be fully covered

I called my insurer, they have extended the policy for public liability in case a person is injured on my property. However theft is only  covered if there is sign of forced entry. Obviously if the thief has a door key that will not be covered.



Chris thanks for your advice. Who do you use for letting insurance? I'm with Legal and General but they didn't have a policy to cover that.


It seems that an electronic lock is the best solution, but until I decide I want to continue as a host I will need to let people come and go personally. As I work from home that is not actually a big problem from my point of view.

Level 10
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I don't think I'd ever do this without my electronic lock. Early in my hosting days I had my place set up as individual rooms each with their own key locks but I've always had my front door equipped with an electronic one. Do yourself a favor, jump on a prime shipping site and replace your front door lock with an electronic one before guest #2 arrives. 

Level 10
Lincoln, Canada

@Simon2362I also use a smart lock, and I change the door code for every guest. That way, there's no way for them to lose or copy a key. As soon as they're gone, their door code is removed from the lock and they have no way to re-enter the property. 


If that's not an option for you, there are lock manufacturers like Medeco who have keys that can't be copied. They cost a lot more than traditional lock sets, but it would also solve the problem.