Neighbor Harassing Guests

Neighbor Harassing Guests

Good day everyone!


We have a situation where we are legally renting out our home through AirBNB and have a neighbor who is not happy about the situation. On many occasions she has voiced her concerns to our guests as they are either in the driveway or on a walk. The neighbor has even gone as far as to tell our guests to take the trash up, not park in the street, etc. Thus far we have been able to smooth things over for the most part with the guests and prevent any negative reviews. We have been back and forth with the neighbor on several situations and have decided to cut off communication with them to avoid further conflict as they are quite tenacious and borderline harassing.


We are curious if anyone has had a similar situations of neighbors repetitively bothering guests or sharing their opinions of the Airbnb/STR situation and their level of dislike.


We have contemplated seeking legal advice and potentially a cease and desist or even a civil defamation suit, however, we are not sure if this situation would be considered defamation in the eyes of the law, and also don't want to poke the hornets nest more than necessary.

32 Replies 32

@Alex-and-Christy0   Congratulations on earning excellent praise from all your guests despite the incidents with your neighbor. You're in an awkward predicament there, but I can tell from your public response to one slightly critical review that you have a knack for being gracious and professional in the face of adversity. Keep that up, and you should still have many satisfied guests to come.


Unfortunately, I don't think you'd have a good legal case against your neighbor - she is well within her rights to express her opinions to your guests as long as she's not directly trespassing on your property to do so. In order to have a case for defamation, the defendant's speech would generally have to be a) published, b) demonstrably false, and c) responsible for tangible, quantifiable damage. This issue doesn't appear to meet those standards. Harassment would also be a shaky argument, if you aren't the party being directly targeted.


Rather than hiring a lawyer, you might consider consulting a third-party mediator to help you approach a resolution with this neighbor. She sounds like a busybody with nothing better to do, but she might believe she has genuine concerns that aren't being heard. The best case scenario would be one in which you can agree to enforce guest behaviors that keep the peace in your community. But even if that's a pipe dream, it's still in your best interest not to escalate the conflict.


For now, a known issue like this seems to merit leaving Instant Book turned off, and informing guests when they send a request that a meddlesome but harmless neighbor is an annoyance they might encounter in the driveway. A small portion of people who are especially sensitive to conflict might choose to withdraw their requests, which would help protect you from lower ratings.  Those who choose to move forward with the booking will appreciate being forewarned.


For what it's worth, your situation here isn't unusual; there's a contingent in just about every city that objects to having an Airbnb in their midst and feels that, among other things, it disrupts the residential character of their neighborhoods. Some of their arguments have merit - it truly is a pain when you find yourself next door to a home that the host has lost control over. But it's actually kind of lucky if you're just dealing with one opponent and you know who she is. At least you know who you need to negotiate with.

Level 10
Arkansas, United States



As @Anonymous  pointed out, defamation is difficult to establish and you would have an even harder time proving damages.


 You don’t have standing to make a harassment complaint because it wasn’t done to you.


I’m afraid that the “obnoxious neighbor” issue is quite common and likely to get worse. HOAs all over the country are attempting to ban STRs.


 The HOA for the condo we own in Panama has already passed a rule against rentals for less than 30 days and there’s some pressure to raise that to six months.


If you can think of any diplomatic solution that would pacify your neighbors you should try that first.


Possibly a little gift from time to time to thank them for “keeping an eye on your vacation home” in your absence? 

Maybe a polite suggestion that they call you rather than accosting your guests?


 I really can’t blame them for not wanting an STR next door but it doesn’t give them the right to harass anyone.  I wouldn’t like it either, but then I don’t want neighbors anywhere near me, which is why I own 160 acres of land.


They chose to live in an area with close neighbors, and they have to accept the consequences.

Level 10
West Palm Beach, FL

Hi y’all. Where are you located?  It matters, a bit, relative to laws and ordinances. Here in Palm Beach County, where I’m the official Airbnb Community Leader for the Palm Beaches (and the rest of the county, until there are more of us), we’ve had the odd cranky neighbor, including a few protest signs.  

I agree with most of the above comments, but a couple of variations:

1. Signage. They can post anything on their property. Some communities do not allow for ANY kind of signage on property. If you’re in one of those, you can call the police, or the city, and have her cited/fined.
2. Harassment - If she snipes at your guests from her yard, not much that you can do. If she approaches them on the street, and/or impedes their path, you can probably get a restraining order or a cease-and-desist. As a duly licensed Airbnb, that pays for taxes, licenses, permits, etc., if she makes a huge nuisance, and it gets to much larger extremes, that are impacting your reviews, you can also sue her civilly. I would think that restraint-of-trade or defamation usually come about from people with big mouths who don’t know when to stop. Just the threat of it, properly noticed, from a lawyer, sending a letter, is usually enough to give them a moment of pause.

Brian Ross

@Alex-and-Christy0 thanks for posting your issue- it was of some comfort as I encounter the same problem now.
We are a very new Airbnb in Long Island NY with neighbors that are actively pursuing me on my property to tell me they are not happy about it. In the same breath, they admit they have not seen any guests apart from one who walked his dog in our tiny cul de sac neighborhood and received a vocal respondser from the neighbors. The guests I have invited have been courteous, responsible people that have respected the property, rules and generally have respected the neighborhood with the only offense being that they are guests and ones that walked a dog.
I'm hoping to find more support on this issue, which is weighing rather heavily on my psyche for a property we intend to personally use on a seasonal basis. How do we cope with neighborhood concerns? 

We are facing the same, if not worse situation. We are in San Diego county.


There’s a homeless squatter here in this beautiful valley, full of large acreages. We are on 10 acres with our home, the guest house and unfortunately a couple of rustic cabins. This squatter has taken over one of the cabins and it’s been 18 months of the courts allowing him to stay!!

His beef was originally with the Landowner who leased the ranch to us.  As soon as we moved in he started harassing us. He walks on our property videoing non stop in our faces.


Once after he scared my teenage daughter by following her home and videoing 2 feet from her face,  I squirted him with my hose to shoo him away …and the police threatened to arrest me! Spraying water is a crime in California !


  But lately he’s been in our guest’s faces - which is very unsettling and scary for them. He then leaves papers with derogatory comments on their car windows saying we are dangerous. And the final straw is he takes photos of their license plates, goes to DMV to get names and addresses, then sends them scary letters after they have left!! DMV sends out notices to each person notifying them that he tried to get personal information- THAT SCARES THEM!!
He even dared to do this to heads of the local theatre company after they used our house for Boston actors. The entire company was panicked and outraged and there’s NOTHING we can do about it.


He has even visited an ex-wife in LA trying to dig up dirt on a neighbor!! He yells out: “We’re going to put you in jail Michael for a long time!”  “I know where your kids and grandkids live…”. “I’m going to take you down! You’re a piece of sh-t and an f’ing looser!” “ I love Satan!!”


This is by far a threatening stance against innocent people who simply live peacefully in this valley.  He has numerous law suits going on against everyone. Neighbors are going nuts. We are so frustrated. 

We have been denied restraining orders since he’s not violent. He has been granted access to the entire 10 acres since his home is on the property and he’s entitled to all of it.  He causes our dogs to bark but if we let them out he tells the judge we tried to kill him.  He admitted to the judge that he goes through our garbage looking for incriminating evidence. Which isn’t against the law. 

Our friends are afraid to visit us. The AirBnB guests last weekend left at 2:45AM because they were afraid.  This weekend he’s taking everyone the house isn’t up to code so they are freaked out for 5 days. He lied to get a response. 

Whats amazing is the police won’t do anything because it’s a civil case, and the courts let him stay. I don’t know why.  His brother is an attorney so they can do this forever. He’s hurting so many people. He’s wasting court resources. The clerk says he spends all day at the courthouse. It’s a game for him. Think of the good he could do if he used all this time to fight for something worthwhile. But then he’d have to actually pay rent. 

We now live in a nation where the victims are screwed by the system and the nut jobs get a free ride. God Bless America. 




Oh no. So sorry this is happening to you. It sounds horrendous. Unfortunately, I can't give you any advice as I have no clue about your local laws, but I am astounded that you are the one who was threatened with arrest for defending your teenage daughter while this man harassed her. Surely harassment of a minor is not legal?!! 


Perhaps @Brian1613 has some ideas?



There IS something that you can do about him and/or your situation. The Landowner (LO) is the only one who can press for eviction. I would assume that the LO is aware that you leased the property for use as a short-term rental (STR). It’s clear that you have lots of documentation that this squatter is impacting your business. 

You can get a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, in California.

The “Credible threat of violence” standard means intentionally saying something or acting in a way that would make a reasonable person afraid for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family. A “credible threat of violence” includes following or stalking someone, making harassing calls, or sending harassing messages, by phone, mail, or e-mail, over a period of time (even if it is a short time).

You can also get a lawyer to pressure the LO to work harder to evict the squatter, and remove the conditions (Shacks) that enable the squatter to occupy the property being leased to you. The LO has other remedies, as well, including fencing off the shacks and or creating an entrance/egress that separates it from the property that you are leasing. If the LO does not remediate, then they likely have civil liability for the impact that the condition in which their property is kept and the squatter that it has invited to destroy your business. At least the pressure, from an attorney, on the LO may aid both you and the LO in getting rid of this lunatic. 

Brian Ross

An amazing story really about the lunacy in which a society can be led into when it is not sure of itself.


Good luck.

Level 2
Morro Bay, CA

We were just informed by a departing guest that our adjacent neighbor asked a few questions as they were loading the card to return home. The neighbor wanted to know how many stayed the night and if they were Airbnb guests. Apparently there were a few more people enjoying post-graduation the night before on our patio for a BBQ and maybe the neighbor assumed they all crammed into the house and stayed over. The guests said they respected the time they spent outside (noise) and all the kids left the property at a decent hour. The house is not occupied most of the time, and guests are limited to four adults (city regulations), four night maximum (our preference). They are asked not to have parties or invite others, which they ignored apparently. I will change the setting so that instant booking is off, as suggested above by Andrew0 of Germany, so that I can give the gentle reminders of our unique situation with the city and the community. Thank you!

Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Everybody hates having Airbnb properties as a neighbour.

@Max2382 Sorry but you are just wrong. Our neighbours, on both sides, are very supportive of our Airbnb and certainly do not hate it. Please don't try to speak for the whole world when all you have is your personal experience to call on.

Only a ** would like living next door to a hotel when they could have neighbours


**[Content removed inline with the Community Center Guidelines- Please be respectful in your discussions with other members]


Level 10
Hawaii, United States

I have somewhat the opposite problem! My neighbor loves to chat up my guests from her lanai, which over looks my guest patio. She's even invited one set  over for Christmas dinner (kind of showing me up because I didn't offer comparable hospitality!) and has even kept in touch with a few of them with emails and postcards. If possible I like to say goodbye to my guests, thanking them for staying, but suddenly there's my neighbor jumping in saying goodbye too! I have even had reviews which mention her as part of what they liked about my place. It's a little annoying but after reading these accounts, there are definitely worse neighbors out there.