Guests Sneaking in Extra Guests and Dog- How to Get Reimbursed?

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Nikki4
Level 6
SF, CA

Guests Sneaking in Extra Guests and Dog- How to Get Reimbursed?

Hello!

 

Writing to see if we can get Airbnb to give hosts more support when guests break house rules.

 

We have repeatedly dealt with the same annoying issue- guests will book our property for a small group, and then bring in extra guests, which they refuse to pay for.  We have large homes and operate on a per-guest pricing model, to encourage more couples and small groups who don't pay as much.  Larger groups pay more to cover the extra cleaning, wear and tear, laundry, garbage (we have several rural properties that rely on expensive private trash collection services ),  propane use (again, rural property), and to discourage party groups.

 

It seems Airbnb's policy is to let guests bring as many as they like.  If the guest refuses to pay for the extra people and dogs, Airbnb won't do anything about it.

 

None of my houses allow dogs.  We have strict house rules that include a steep penalty for unapproved pets.  Even when I have video evidence the guests bringing a dog in and out of the house all weekend, and my cleaners tell me the house smells like a dog, and there is dog hair literally all over the house, if the guest decides they don't want to pay the dog fee, they don't have to.  Effectively, Airbnb is just encouraging guests to bring whatever they like.  10 extra guests and a dog?  Fine!   Airbnb won't collect the extra fees or penalize the guest in any way.  We as owners are just stuck with a low payout and dog hair (and often dog poop!) cleanup.  There is literally zero guest accountability on this issue.

 

Super frustrating, and having dealt with this about 10x already in 2023 (I manage 18 properties), I'm getting sick of it. 

 

Anyone else dealing with this issue?

 

Nikki

 

 

1 Best Answer
Cheri354
Level 10
Helena-West Helena, AR

@Nikki4 If you are trying to manage 18 homes, I'd say you need to come up with a firm, no-nonsense response to this. You must develop a way to greet guests personally or have a camera at the entrance to count guests/animals as they enter. Then immediately respond. Let them know you are aware of the extra guests/pets and show them where in the contract they are breaking the rules as they are escorted off the property (with no refund). Document everything, turning the same info in to Air BnB; staying ahead of the game.

With no one 'patrolling' the property, guests can easily take advantage. When you hire out many parts of the hosting and expect a passive income, this will come as a surprise. Sorry it's happening to you ! I hope you create a firm plan for the future.

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12 Replies 12
Cheri354
Level 10
Helena-West Helena, AR

@Nikki4 If you are trying to manage 18 homes, I'd say you need to come up with a firm, no-nonsense response to this. You must develop a way to greet guests personally or have a camera at the entrance to count guests/animals as they enter. Then immediately respond. Let them know you are aware of the extra guests/pets and show them where in the contract they are breaking the rules as they are escorted off the property (with no refund). Document everything, turning the same info in to Air BnB; staying ahead of the game.

With no one 'patrolling' the property, guests can easily take advantage. When you hire out many parts of the hosting and expect a passive income, this will come as a surprise. Sorry it's happening to you ! I hope you create a firm plan for the future.

Kia272
Level 10
Takoma Park, MD

@Nikki4  When guests break your house rules, you ask them to leave. It's as simple as that. 

Rules aren't rules if you accept money to have them broken. 

I had this happen last weekend. Guest broke house rules, Airbnb got involved & asked him to leave but he refused. He is still there.

 

Also he lied to me on the first night before he broke the house rules, he said he couldn't work the heating so went to a hotel. Thinking I was being a good host I refunded him for the first nights stay immediately & sent a heating engineer at 7am. The guest refused the engineer access then wrote to me saying he had managed to work the heating and not gone to a hotel. It is there in writing but he is refusing to return the refund & Airbnb will not make him. 

 

He also lied to airbnb telling them he had not even checked in on the first night. I have sent them multiple sources of evidence that he did check in including his message saying he had done so. I've even sent the smart meter gas record showing that the heating was turned on at 4pm after he checked in & was switched on high for the first 24 hours.

 

It's unbelievable really. Usually customer service have been supportive but in this instance they've been horrendous. 

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

In terms of the heating and refund I am sorry you have had this awful experience but you should never ever refund a guest for anything until you have checked the situation in person/had your tradespeople check.

 

The guest can only still be there if you have not gone to the listing and evicted him. Airbnb has done their job by cancelling the booking. Now as the business owner you need to do yours 🙂 @Claire2223  Why haven't you gone over there/changed the locks???

 

I am not sure what else you are expecting CS to do in this situation the only one who can get the squatter to leave is you.

HI Helen, 

You make it sound so easy to evict an abusive young man as a 54 year old disabled female. I work 4hrs away from the listing & it's not that easy to disappear for 24hrs or spend 8 of those hours driving. My cleaners & cohosts are also a very small lady & her 18yr old daughter, I can hardly ask them to go & when setting up the airbnb I did not think to charge extra so that I could employ private security guards as & when needed.

I called the police & they said to call back if he was violent or abusive when I got there.

I was merely pointing out it's not always 'as simple as that' to get a guest to leave as @Kia272  has said. 

Now that I'm settled in work 4hrs away I'll sell the place as it's no good being so far away. Have had a run of bad luck with guests causing damage the last few months too and although airbnb customer service are very supportive & the insurance has been good I will be glad to give up being a host now.

Claire

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hi @Nikki4 


on booking do you ask guests to confirm numbers booked and that they understand it's a no pet booking.

 

what do you do when you see guests bringing in those not on the booking 

 

if the guest refuses to pay for extra visitors not on the booking why are you letting them stay? You or your cohost need to be prepared to enforce your house rules around no extra guests/pets by going to properties to evict those not on the booking,

I hope you are leaving honest reviews to warn your fellow hosts about these guests.

 

as someone running a larger scale Airbnb management company you need to have systems in place to make sure only booked guests stay. 

Nikki4
Level 6
SF, CA

Yes, we do ask them to confirm guest totals and to make sure they agree to house rules.   And yes, I always leave a very bad review in these cases.

 

Nicholas439
Level 4
Clearwater, FL

Hi Nikki,  understand your frustration but I have to say this has not been my experience in similar situations.  While it doesn't occur often, I have had guests bring extra people or pets - mostly when I bill them for the extra (we have additional costs per person for the same reasons you state) the guest almost always pays.  On the rare occurrences they haven't - I've sent the info to Airbnb support and they paid out within 24 hours.  I have external security cameras on my properties and sending digital images showing additional guests or pets arriving AND staying takes away in guest argument before it starts. Are you using image evidence in your requests for reimbursement?

Nikki4
Level 6
SF, CA

Hi and thanks for your response! @Nicholas439  Glad to hear that Airbnb CS has paid out for the extra guests.  I do have cameras and always submit the photos of the extra guests/dogs etc.  Airbnb CS always tells me their policy is to mediate between guest and host in that situation, but if the guest refuses to pay or ignores the messages, there is nothing Airbnb can do.  I always leave a bad review for the guests, but there is little more that can be done it seems.

 

Several people have recommended having the reservation cancelled if I see extra guests or dogs on the camera, but 1) often times the guest will ignore the cancellation or pretend they didn't get the notice and 2) get angry and cause additional damage or problems, so that is not a route I want to go.

 

Nicholas439
Level 4
Clearwater, FL

Hi @Nikki4 , I agree that upsetting guests or cancelling is not the route.  I do know that you don't always get the result IMMEDIATELY from Airbnb that you want but I can add some suggestions to increase your chances for successful outcomes.  I checked your listings and also see you are a Superhost (Well done!!)  so you have a direct line to Superhost support.  If I initially don't get the desired result from Superhost support I have found some success in getting the issue elevated to a supervisor and getting it reviewed.  On occasion, I have had claims denied due to specific Airbnb policy. Using that experience as a learning moment I have then updated my listing to specifically address that issue.  On your listings you say no pets and you have pricing increases after 6 guests but no specific rules outlawing extra guests or pets. I would suggest adding in violation clauses that specifically state what the penalty is for the violation. For example:  If evidence of pets discovered then there will be an additional cleaning charge of not less than $250 up to the full cost of hair remediation, air duct cleaning and carpet shampooing. 

Another example would be:  If additional guests stay at the property but are not listed in the booking an cleaning fee to cover the additional laundry and other cleaning will be charged of not less than $50 per guest per night.  

If these types of clauses are in your listing it is part of the contractual arrangement between you and the guest and Airbnb is REQUIRED to enforce and also REQUIRED to reimburse you directly if the guest does not.  Best to assign COSTS rather fines as you are providing a certain level of accommodation - such as "Pet Free"  hence justified in charging additional fees for violations.  

It's not true that Airbnb won't cover non-paying guests as I have this occur.  

Anyway,  hope that helps.  

Nikki4
Level 6
SF, CA

I do have clear fees written in the house rules.  However, Airbnb CS tells me they only pay out for damages.  Not house rules/extra guests.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

As I said in my earlier reply there is lots more you can do @Nikki4  you have a fairly large scale management company and need to put in a place systems that mean this is not happening regularly.

 

It's certainly unusual for it to happen so often.

 

I've never had issues collecting for extra guests/asking them to leave.

 

Going there in person makes all the difference.