Guest won't check out, What are my rights?

Level 1
Redfern, Australia

Guest won't check out, What are my rights?

I have a guest who hasn't checked out and I can't get in touch with them.

I had a bad feeling about this guest all along and went against our rule of only allowing those with reviews to book. She sold me such a story about her son and daughter in law's twins arriving early and she seemed in great need to find somewhere to stay.


Anyway, I just went up to clean for our next guest who is due to arrive in a few hours, only to find she hasn't left yet. I've tried calling, emailing etc but no response. What are my rights here? Can I move her stuff out and change the locks? How long do I have to give her before I do that?



31 Replies 31
Level 10
Daylesford, Australia

There is a policy for overstaying, with escalated rates. But since you have a guest arriving, you will have to move her on. Is there a lot of stuff? Contact Airbnb as a matter of urgency, if it was me I would just clean for the next guest and pack up her stuff but you will need the keys back! All very sticky. See what Air can do for you.

Level 3
Lucas Valley-Marinwood, CA

Airbnb has hands off policy on this matter.  You are out of luck.  Call the police as they are trespassing your property.


If they have stayed over 30 days, in California, they have tenancy rights.  Then you are more than in legal, emotional and financial jeopardy.


situations like these brings what Ted Bundy, a serial killer said in mind, people get killed because they are polite. 


stop accepting guests that seemed odd to you.  Follow your intuition. There are many wonderful guests out there.  Leave your listings open for those good guests and don’t worry about the bad guests.  And make sure to review your guests honestly.  By being polite or worse, being dishonest, you are not doing any favors to other hosts.


also I just asked Airbnb if I can read guests’ reviews of hosts.  We shall see what they say.  

because you can learn a lot  by what guests say in their reviews.


>>also I just asked Airbnb if I can read guests’ reviews of hosts.  We shall see what they say


Did you get any response?

Level 3
Santa Barbara, CA

Pack her stuff up and lock up in your car.  When she comes back to the house, get keys back before giving her stuff back.

Although there could be a situation where she is unreachable due to an emergency. 

Keep a cool head.

Agree with @Cj and @Paul229 - pack up her stuff and put it somewhere lockable like a car (brilliant idea, Paul). With new babies having arrived in the family, I would give her the benefit of the doubt here. Those sort of events are distracting for a lot of people. In a situation like this, I wouldn't assume the worst is what I'm saying...just pack up her stuff, let her know where it is (make it available at your convenience, btw) and move on. Give her a review that reflects the difficulty she's caused you. 

Call a lawyer. Laws are different in different countries. This is a vivil matter in thr USA.This is an example of a squatter.
Her hard luck story was a red flag. Some websites such as Homeaway allow you to sign a lease so in the event of such as yours you can legaly. have the guest removed.

Alert airbnb. Then call police. They are trespassing. Get advice on touching their stuff before doing so.
Level 10
Moriches, NY

once she stays 30days she becomes a legal tenant and you will need to evict her.

throw her out NOW.

stop being so nice.


Everyone is a bit harsh.

1. Call the guest and see where she is. Did she leave any clues as to where the daughter was with twins? Maybe try there?

2. Call Airbnb and ask them what you should do.

3. If time is running out and you need to prepare the flat then pack her things, but I would video it on your phone so you can record what is there and what is packed.

4. Keep calm and try and solve this with sense, not emotion. I would cover my butt and make sure my next guest was taken care of for sure but dont jump to conclusions as this woman may not be so odd and may have a genuine excuse.

5. Safty for you is the most important.


I wish you luck and let me know what happens.


I would pack her things in to clean plastic boxes and just put them somewhere safe, then you can prepare for the next guest.  

Message her through the Airbnb message service so that Airbnb has a record of everything.  Just remind her of her check out time, mention new guests are coming - so sorry you can't extend her stay, say that all her things are carefully packed in clean storage containers and that when she returns the key she can collect them. Say also that you hope everything is ok and that nothing serious has delayed her.  Just be nice in the message, perhaps something bad has happened, but of course she might just be trying to get a freebie.

Very difficult situation, but you need to accomodate your next guest. 

Good luck!!

Harsh? Did you not see that he already tried calling & emaiing her? Im sure he had a check out time just like the rest of us. What Ive noticed from reading these forums is that hosts who give guests the benefit of the doubt get SCREWED.

Hosts do tend to get the short end of the stick with these situations. It happens time and time again.

Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Not harsh at all @Cj7 


This woman has stayed well beyond when she has meant to check out. Without regard to the impact this would have on the host and other guests who might be due to stay at the property. Why should the host have to chase down the guest, who has refused to respond to her calls and emails?


What genuine excuse would you suggest there could be for overstaying (for far more than a few hours) without notifying the host?


Sarah - your guest will be fined by BnB for overstaying.


I would do as others suggest. Call BnB for advice and ensure she incurs the extra charge for overstaying and for your time in having to pay and store her stuff and change the locks.  Pack up her things. Change the locks. Get your property ready for your new guest.


Please tell us what happens

The premature birth of twin babies sounds like a probable cause, in which case I agree with @Cj7--some of these reactions seem a bit harsh. Just packing up her stuff, perhaps with a short video sweep around the room first, seems like the best idea.


As someone who's had a sick relative recently, and received calls telling me to get to the hospital pronto, I know that taking care of family emergencies, for most people, comes first. I think we need to cut the woman some slack until the reason for her behaviour becomes clear.