16 Replies Latest reply: Jun 10, 2019 2:20 PM by sward6880 RSS

    Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late

    sward6880 Contributor

      Sone advice from you guys please. 


      In summary.   


      1. Five bed home sleeps max 10

      2.  Last minute 2 night reservation from a guest ( Airbnb) who had two exemplary five star reviews.   Instant booking.

      3.  Guest said it was just him staying at the home as he was visiting family. Drove up from South Florida to Orlando

      4. Home has a clearly visible security camera which covers the driveway

      5.  Housekeepers arrived 15 minutes after checkout time.     Guests cars (2) on the driveway

      6.  Housekeeping altered the management company who called the house

      7.  Whoever answered the phone was awoken by the call.

      8.   Whoever answered the phone was told to arise, gather his stuff and leave immediately.  He was not amused apparently......

      9.   I was alerted

      10.  I checked the security camera and over a period of 20 minutes counted 10 people.   There may have been more.   Camera took still photos which are time stamped

      11.  Guests eventually drove away at 11.10.   So over an hour after checkout time

      12.  All bedding and every single towel had been used.   And enough trash to fill two of the outside cans.  But no damage.   Same position as if a large family had stayed there. 


      Clearly the guest will know that I know ......


      So bearing in mind that we have proof that house rules were breached and that the guest was untruthful.   But no damage to the home. 


      Do I :


      a) claim his entire security deposit ($250) and see if he argues and / or

      b) Post a one star review about the guest and warn off other hosts ...  but risk ( given he must know that I know) a vengeful review which may cause us damage and may be hard to have removed

      c) Do nothing as other than causing housekeeping extra work ( cleaning fee is fixed per clean) I have suffered no financial damage to speak of

      e) Do something else ...... ( thoughts please !)


      I suspect ( but cannot prove) a party .....  guest knew what he was doing as kept the front door open as if he closed it, then the entry code would not have worked from 10.01 onwards.

        • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
          linky17 Active Contributor

          Question:  Do you -- or -- do you not disclose the presence of an active security cam, both in your listing and within your rental agreement?

            • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
              sward6880 Contributor

              A question I was expecting. 

              DIsclosed in the information about home security which we provide to guests following a reservation.

              How do you see this as relevant please ? 

              The camera is very obvious ....

                • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                  linky17 Active Contributor

                  Even more than "relevant," (although, IMO, it is), if I had a security camera: I'd make its presence known as a 'preventative' measure.  In your instance, as a caution to an erstwhile single occupant of a 5 bedroom property that s/he will be exposed if they're hosting X # of others, absent pre-disclosure.


                  I'd include the existence of security camera(s) in my rental agreement, and with stated penalties (i.e. extra Guest/housekeeping fee(s), and/or immediate removal from premises for over-occupancy/partying, et cetera), and I'd require that the Guest initial each possible infraction.  I'd do all of this with a full understanding of local, applicable law(s) … to include those that may (or not? in your jurisdiction?) require that you make known these devices to your Guests, as well their actual placement.


                  Can you tell that I'm actively exploring security cams at my property?


                  Sorry that you've been blindsided.  While I have no experience with Airbnb, from what you've shared?  I see no post-facto recourse for you, either.


                  Report back?


                  Edited:  It seems that some Owners also assess 'late departure' fees.  Something to also consider/and state.

                  • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                    vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                    Airbnb requires that any cameras or security devices be listed in your house rules so you should add them to that and your listing text to be fully covered.  If a guest finds a non-disclosed camera Airbnb will refund their entire stay and suspend your listing.  We found that charging an additional guest fee for anyone not listed on the reservation was our best deterrent along with disclosing our security cameras.

                • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                  sward6880  Do you charge for extra guests over a certain number? ABB doesn't charge the DD. You will have to submit a claim in the Resolution Center and the guest can then agree to pay or not. If the guest doesn't pay,  you can escalate it to ABB for payment. They probably will not approve payment unless you have a fee for extra guests.


                  Be honest in your review. The guest will not see your review until after he has submitted his review. You could wait to see if the guest posts a review then post yours at the last minute, possibly the guest will miss the window to post a review.


                  Edited: If your camera is not disclosed in your listing, ABB will refund the guest if they complain. You may want to let this one go.

                    • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                      sward6880 Contributor

                      Thanks Margaret  

                      We do make an additional (small) nightly charge for each guest in excess of 6.    But the amount is not such as to be worth the hassle on this occasion

                      I was also thinking of a last minute review  - our time zone ( EST minus 6 hours) may be helpful in this regard. 

                      I checked the Airbnb listing  - the camera did not get a mention ( it does now).  

                        • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                          bonesxxx Active Contributor

                          I don't think the information about ABB not holding the DD is correct.


                          I had a situation last summer (also from a last minute ABB guest) who said she was coming alone for a family reunion and that MAYBE her sister would join her for all or part of the stay but that's all.


                          When my housekeeper showed up on Sunday, there were 8 people there.  Apparently they decided my home was better than the reunion location so they moved the event to my house!


                          In any case, I sent the renter a note saying "I am sorry your family took advantage of you but that does not mean you get to take advantage of me," I left her a 1 star review, AND I claimed 100% of her security deposit ($200).


                          I got no response from her, the money was immediately transferred to me and never heard a peep back from her.

                      • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                        hickmanhideaway Contributor

                        We have a security camera and have it stated twice on our listing on VRBO, before a reservation arrives. Then we state it again in the informational email we send a week before their arrival.


                        Warning about holding a deposit due to too many people. We had the same situation last year. 2 booked our 4 bedroom cabin, called several times with questions. Then called to ask for a late check out, which we agreed to, stating that we could do since there were just 2 people there. We live 2 hours away, but do our own cleaning. Got to the cabin at the late check out time and there were 5 pick up trucks loaded with coolers and sleeping bags and 15 people carrying things out. We confronted guest by phone and they said there were just 3, well, maybe 5 who stayed and the others just stopped by. No damage to the property. Talked to VRBO and they said they would not let the guest give us a bad review if we withheld security deposit. WRONG. We got a 2 star review which was referenced by several potential guests. Just let it go and check your camera periodically during a guest stay.

                        • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                          treeguy Contributor

                          If you have a late check-out fee listed, I would charge that against the DD, otherwise I would just let it go and give them a less than stellar review at the last minute.  If they manage to leave a less than five star review I would elaborate in your response ( if ABB allows a response) the circumstances of their stay.

                            • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                              sward6880 Contributor

                              Sound advice thanks from you and others as well  - much appreciated

                              On balance I think we will let it go from a $$ perspective ( we were unharmed financially) but will post a last minute review of the guest

                                • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                                  wildiris Senior Contributor

                                  I think you have chosen the correct course.  If you have a provision in your rental agreement that there is a guest fee if occupancy is more than a set number, I think you could legally charge this guest for the extra guest fee.  Check the law of your state.  Unless you have sustained financial damage (for property damage or paying the cleaners more money, for example), I don't believe you can legally withhold anything from the damage deposit.

                                  • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                                    linky17 Active Contributor

                                    And -- "on-balance"/in-hindsight -- What will you do differently: in terms of your listing?  Rental agreement?  To prevent (versus 'allow' to pass/given your OP?) a similar IB circumstance?

                                      • Re: Untruthful guest re occupancy and left late
                                        sward6880 Contributor

                                        Your asking me this linky17 of itself gives food for thought.


                                        Firstly  - If I had checked the security camera at 10.15 a.m (my doing so is very rare - and here only because of a "guests have not left" alert from housekeeping) and discovered the driveway was empty then the guests mendacity would not have been discovered. 


                                        So far as our management company are concerned a post stay clean is just that  - they don't ask about the number of guests when we inform them of a reservation.  They simply assume a "full house" as it nearly always will be.


                                        The cleaners show up, and get on with it.   If a full house of guests check out at 10 a.m having used all the bedding, all the towels, left a pile of unwashed dishes / pots and pans etc then housekeeping roll up their sleeves and have the place in pristine condition for the next guests arriving at 4 p.m.    


                                        Most of the cleaners our management company use are husband and wife teams  - indeed if there are two homes close by they will have them both prepared by going back and for between the two homes.   If a home is in better than usual condition they will clean more intensively so a standard clean then resembles a deep clean.  For them its a well trodden routine and the same teams clean all of our rental homes.


                                        We are charged the same amount irrespective per clean - most guests however strip beds and at least have the laundry under way.  The messy guests are offset by others who leave the place as clean ( sometimes even cleaner) as it was when they arrived.


                                        We only hear of any issues if there is any damage or anything unusual. 


                                        We add a margin of on average $40 to the cleaning charge we incur,  to give the cleaning fee we apply to each reservation  - so if there are minor issues ( most usually towels stained with make up etc) then they are dealt with and our extra cost is covered.     Anything of significance is very unusual  - I can recall only two damage claims in the last seven years and a single CSA insurance claim.  This over hundreds of reservations. 


                                        Given our homes are where they are,  then guests are generally at the Disney parks / Universal etc for all of each day and collapse in an exhausted heap in each evening.     If at home then they are on the deck / in the pool etc.  Most are too knackered to make a mess !


                                        So in answer .....:very little except to make sure the listing ( and others where applicable) is clearer about the existence of security cameras.    I am also mindful that a damage deposit is as it states  - if the home is full to the rafters then if there is no damage .......then there is no claim to be made. 


                                        With seven rentals running at 85% occupancy and often with several arrivals / departures on the same day we do in large measure rely on honesty.


                                        Its rare we are disappointed  - although I accept that had these guests been up and away on time the chances are we would not have known about the true number of occupants.  In the absence of damage then housekeeping would not have informed us.  So far as they are concerned there would have been nothing to inform us about!


                                        I know some owners insist on a signed on each page rental agreement / a list and ID of each and every occupant etc  - we don't as I don't see it as an effective use of my time and would not expect this if I were a guest.    But in this instance the guest would likely have signed off and provided his own ID and still have gotten away with his being untruthful had he and his friends left on time. 


                                        As we are "non resident aliens" ( UK nationals living in Spain) it would not be realistic except in the most extreme of situations to have recourse to an attorney or the US courts.    Bear in mind that generally we and our rentals are 6,000 miles apart. 


                                        So I guess the simple answer to your question is "very little" .......