Running a Rental Business

Top 8 Issues and Solutions for Vacation Rental Hosts

September 07, 2021

Our guide for vacation rental hosts answers hosts' most common issues with guests. Make managing a vacation rental easier by preparing for problems ahead of time.

Let’s face it, managing a vacation rental isn’t a walk in the park. Loud guests, damaged property, and miscommunication are all very common problems that occur. If you’re thinking about starting a short-term rental business or already hosting, there’s a chance you will encounter a situation with your guests. In any case, it’s best to prepare for any problem before it happens.

First off, there is no one correct answer for every issue that might occur with guests. However, it is crucial to communicate with them and relay any information or policies before checking in. In addition, many problems can be avoided entirely by communicating all rules upon arrival.

Here are the top 8 issues from Airbnb hosts, and our best solutions for each topic

1. Parties/unregistered guests

If a guest brings multiple unregistered guests into the vacation rental, there are a few ways to resolve the situation. First, the host can turn them away upon check-in if too many people try to check-in. Second, if the guests show up after check-in and exceed the maximum capacity, you can consider the following.

  1. 1-2 people: charge them a small fee (as stated in your property guidelines)
  2. If it’s 3 or more, contact the platform’s customer support to cancel their reservation and ask them to leave the property

Either way, it is best to approach the situation with composure and give them the benefit of the doubt. Guests are more likely to respond better if you don’t directly accuse them of violating your policies.

If you manage a short-term rental remotely, noise monitoring technologies like NoiseAware offer plug-in devices that monitor your rental safely. Starting at $199 for a condo and $299 for a single-family home unit, these devices alert a host when the noise in a rental reaches a certain level. Then, the host can message the guest to lower their volume. Implementing monitoring technology like NoiseAware allows you to oversee your rental more efficiently, preventing noise complaints.

Along with guests bringing unregistered people, guest-lead parties have created many problems for hosts and neighbors. Airbnb issued an ongoing global party ban of all gatherings larger than 16 across all countries that Airbnb operates in to combat this. They created this to discourage the spread of COVID-19 and encourage guests to behave appropriately in a rental. Additionally, Airbnb reserves the right to take legal action if guests do not comply with the global party ban. If guests break this rule knowingly, hosts should contact the police to clear the gathering.

2. Shortage of amenities

There may be an instance when a cleaner forgets to stock the toiletries or if the unit runs out of coffee. Even more, there might be a maintenance issue such as a water fixture breaking or the WiFi or TV not working correctly. As a host, it’s your responsibility to fix and replenish things as soon as possible. If you respond to a guest’s requests late, or the issue isn’t taken care of promptly, you risk receiving a bad review and complaint from the guest.

It should be stated in your property guidelines to promptly communicate any issue that arises during a guest’s stay for both parties involved. Furthermore, it is encouraged to inspect a short-term before guest check-in to eliminate any shortage of necessary Airbnb amenities. Anything you can do to prepare beforehand will make for a more seamless hosting experience.

TurnoverBnB allows vacation rental hosts and cleaners to communicate seamlessly on the app. With the option to attach photos and videos, cleaners can notify the host of amenity shortages, eliminating any deficiencies.

3. Damaged/Missing Items

Unfortunately, accidents happen, and property can get broken, damaged, or stolen while managing a vacation rental property. We suggest documenting the worth of your belongings and getting insurance to cover your property. Then, in the event something is damaged or missing, you will have evidence of its existence. 

For stolen items:

If you suspect a guest stole an item, first, you should contact the guest if they packed it by accident. Then, go to the Resolution Center to request the monies from your security deposit for reimbursement.  If the stolen items are worth filing an insurance claim, call the police and file a police report. To receive reimbursement from Airbnb, you must provide proof of the things before the guest’s reservation.

For damaged/broken items:

See Airbnb’s Resolution Center Security Deposit Tutorial:

  • Go to Resolution Center and click Request money
  • Select a guest to Request money from and click Next
  • If guest has multiple reservations, select a reservation and click Next
  • Under Select a reason, choose Damage or missing items then click Next
  • Complete the Let’s get you some help session and click Next
  • Click Start now
  • Complete the Request reimbursement session and click Submit

4. Leftover Food/Drinks

If you have a kitchen space in your rental property, chances are guests will leave something behind. Although discretion is ultimately up to you and your cleaners, we recommend that you throw away all opened and used food and beverages.

If leftover items are unopened, you may choose to leave them presented nicely in a cabinet labeled for guests to take. However, perishables, fruits, vegetables, or other opened ingredients should be donated or thrown away before the next check-in. 

5. Check-in/Check-out Policies

Vacation rentals don’t usually have the extra means or storage to drop off bags before checking in. Furthermore, it would be unfair for a cleaner to do their job while working around extra baggage. Therefore, it is best to include a “no early check-in” rule in your property policies for these reasons. However, if the guests have no other option, you can consider charging a small fee for a rushed clean and early check-in if it is within your means. The same goes for a late check-out: charge a fee if they are not out by the allotted time.

Make managing a vacation rental less stressful by reinforcing your check-in and check-out policies with the guest before entering the property. The more you state your rules, the more likely they will abide by them.

6. Pets, service dogs/emotional support dogs

If your vacation rental property is not explicitly labeled as “pet-friendly” and stated in your policies, guests should not bring animals to the unit. However, people may sneak them in, which can cause concern for future guests or cleaners with allergies. Upon confirming a guest’s reservation, you should mention the “no-pet rule” once accepting the reservation, so they are aware.

If pets significantly disrupt the unit, you can impose an immediate departure and monetary fine if guests break the rule. To learn how to make your vacation rental pet-friendly, see our guide to making your property animal-ready.

7. Compensating your guest

There might be a major disruption that requires evacuation occurs during a guest’s stay. In this event, you need to contact the vacation rental platform to determine if their emergency policies cover the incident. If it is a minor concern and is not an emergency, the platform will refund the guests or offer credit, depending on the situation. If you feel like the problem occurred outside of your or their responsibility and want to compensate them more, you can consider giving them credit to stay at your rental in the future. Hosts do this to welcome guests for a more positive experience.

8. Filming in your rental

Airbnb has had filming incidents happen and concluded that “listings should never be used for commercial purposes without a host’s permission.” If you are uncomfortable with guests filming on your property without your permission, ask them to leave. If you allow filming, be sure to complete the necessary paperwork and fees accordingly. However, you still reserve the right to evict them if they break any of the policies.

To recap, we’ve gone over the following:

  • Clearly state your rules when accepting the reservation, and again upon check-in
  • Communicate promptly with guests if an issue arises
  • Approach extreme situations calmly
  • Prepare necessary equipment/paperwork for filming or other accommodations

As a host, you should expect an occasional incident with a guest. However, anticipating various situations and knowing how to handle them can save you time and energy. 

Whether you’re a beginner or expert at managing a vacation rental, these are all tips that you can utilize to create a seamless hosting experience. For the latest tips and news in the vacation rental industry, see our blog for more information.

Kayla Bisquera Avatar

By Kayla Bisquera