UPDATE: January 2018
I did a podcast episode all about Airbnb House Rules and Boundaries including a downloadable pdf with questions for you to think about creating your own rules.
You can either listen to the episode here:
The house rules for your Airbnb are just as important as your description. People need a bit of direction and information about your home and what you allow. I have modified my house rules over the years from the experiences I have had with the different guests who have stayed at my place.
The following are actual “house rules” that I found on a few listings:
- “We expect guests to treat the home with respect”
- “Stupidity cures itself…”
- “Please treat this home as if it was your own”
Other hosts write down everything. From “clean after you use the sink in the bathroom” to “don’t take a shower after 10pm.” A long laundry list of rules can be overwhelming to read and some items are best communicated in person during your tour.
For example, in my shared space, I provide robes. I don’t mention it in my listing and there isn’t a house rule of “Please don’t walk around in your undies, robe provided.” Instead, I mention the robes during the tour of the house.
As a guest, I would wonder, can I bring a friend over? Can the person spend the night? Is it ok to smoke inside? Can I have a party? Can I Bring my dog?
Questions to Make You Think:
Below are some questions to help you start thinking about what you allow in your Airbnb:
- Will you allow people to smoke in your home?
- Will you allow pets?
- Do you want shoes off?
- Will you allow your guests to use the kitchen?
- Will you allow your guests to use the washer and dryer? If you allow it, are you charging them extra for it?
- Do you have any quiet hours?
- Do you have shower/water usage limits due to the drought (California)?
- Do you allow overnight guests of your guests?
- Do you allow food in your bedrooms?
Before you sit down to write your house rules, think of the type of guest your home attracts.
My neighborhood of Park Slope is a family-friendly one with way too many strollers. My guests tend to be grandparents (which I love), families with young children (which I’m not crazy about), professionals and first-time visitors to NY. I don’t get the under 25 party-type crowd. Those guests stay in the hip neighborhoods of Williamsburg or upcoming Bushwick.
My Simple House Rules:
Because of my style of guests, I have my simple rules below:
- Remove your shoes.
This is for only one of my listings and only because of a renovation of floors that I did a couple of years back. I wish they would remove their luggage as well, but that is a bit too much to ask. I bought a small bench for people to be able to sit and put back their shoes. I also provide slippers for their use. Think of easy ways for your guests to follow your rules.
- No pets – sorry, Fido has to stay home.
Sometimes, people ask me if they can bring their pets. I’m allergic to most dogs and cats and say no. Some hosts are ok with dogs but need previous approval – photos, dog size, etc. If you want to accept pets, you could charge an additional premium.
- No parties, no outside visitors, no overnight guests without previous approval from your host.
I had a guest who picked up a stranger and brought him home. Big no, no! But I do allow families and friends to stop by and sometimes I even allow them to spend the night. I request that guests tell me if anyone is spending the night. I like to know who I’m waking next to or bumping into on my way to the bathroom.
- Do not engage in illegal activities anywhere on the property.
This applies to both drugs and internet activity.
- If you break or damage something, please let me know and arrange for its replacement or repair.
Guests let me know if they break a glass, etc. Sometimes they go out of their way to replace it or pay for it. If it’s a small item, I let it go. But a guest tore one of my good, thick towels. I have no idea how – he wrote me a note about it, but didn’t offer to pay for it. I didn’t charge him extra for it, but I wasn’t happy about it.
- Do not leave any food out that will attract uninvited pests. Our home is pest-free and we intend to keep it that way with your help.
This one is a no-brainer.
- No smoking – also don't discard your cigarettes in the house trash cans. They get stinky. I added the “don’t discard cigarettes” because people would smoke and throw the butts in the trash can. The house smelled just as bad as if someone had been smoking in it. How do you feel about smoking? Do you allow your guests to smoke in front of your house or in the backyard?
- Recycle – I get a fine from the city if we don't recycle properly.
This is my biggest battle. No matter how many times I show it, write it, have signage on the trash bins, I still always wind up having to go through guests’ trash. People will recycle according to what is accepted where they live. And it isn’t the same in every country. I give them a pass if they at least try.
- Return all keys.
Yes, people lose their keys or take them home with them. It happens. Some hosts charge for unreturned keys – I don’t. If I had a special lock which cost me a lot of money, I would charge.
- Remove your shoes.
Those are my latest house rules, they might change over time. But I don’t let one situation ruin it for everyone else. For example, if you allow kitchen access and everyone has left your kitchen tidy and clean, you might get a guest who doesn’t leave the kitchen as clean. Because of this one experience, you may decide to not allow kitchen access. It was one bad apple among many good ones. Instead of not allowing kitchen access, you could change your rule to say:
- Kitchen for reheating only, making tea or coffee.
- Clean the kitchen after you use it.
- Or adjust it to something that makes you happy.
If there is something which is super important, mention it in your communication with the guests. The other importance of House Rules is for you to know when to break them, which I have done. Remember to also include your house rules in your home’s guidebook.
What? You don’t have a house manual? Come on over and listen to my House Manual podcast all about how a house manual gives you freedom. Until then, please share your rules, how they have changed through your experiences, and anything that surprised you to have to declare as a rule.
Until next time. Happy Hosting!
PS: Are you part of my Facebook Group? No, well come on over. We talk about house rules, toilet paper and stain sheets way too much.