Like a parent who’s out of town for the weekend, vacation rental hosts leaving their home in the hands of a stranger can experience a lot of different worries. Aside from the accidents and general mishaps that can happen, parties are one of the most common fears and concerns that hosts have. As an Airbnb Superhost, I’ve spent a lot of time compiling lists of rules for my rental. More recently, I’ve been specifically trying to keep partiers away from my Airbnb.
If you want to keep your Airbnb or vacation rental party-free, it’s crucial to have a great set of rules in place that guests are aware of. These might not stop determined party animals from hosting an event, but they’ll be there to back you up when it comes time to deal with the consequences.
Maybe you don’t mind if your guests host a little get-together, but still want a few rules to be in place. In that case, it’s even more important to emphasize the restrictions you’ve put on your rental to ensure compliance.
What are the best rules to prevent parties at your Airbnb or vacation rental?
- No unauthorized guests
- No blocking or moving security cameras
- Noise level restrictions
- No drugs or alcohol
- Guest responsible for damages
What if I want to allow some parties at my Airbnb or vacation rental?
- No open-invite parties
- Define the event
- Party must be approved by host
- Limit number of people allowed
- Restrict alcohol on premises
- Higher security deposit
See below for both sets of my top Airbnb and vacation rental party rule suggestions!
Rules to Prevent Parties
No Unauthorized Guests
Unauthorized guests in an Airbnb are a huge hassle to deal with, even if there are only a few of them. For starters, booking websites that charge “per guest” ensure that you’re paid fairly based on the amount of cleanup and maintenance you’ll have to do in order to turn the rental around in between bookings. Extra guests blatantly disregard the amount of time and effort that you put into your rental and lose you money in the process!
To prevent unwanted guests from entering the rental, I highly recommend installing a security camera. Smart cameras, such as the Ring doorbell, are great because you can monitor them remotely from your phone. They notify you of entries and log who comes and goes. Party-minded guests will think twice when they see one of these outside the door!
No Blocking Or Moving Security Cameras
The entire point of having a security camera is that you’ll be able to remotely monitor your property. You do have to notify guests if one is on the premises (according to the terms of service of most major rental websites) but the vast majority of them are very understanding.
However, I have heard of a few cases where a guest claims that they “bumped” or “accidentally covered” a security camera, leaving them conveniently able to do what they want inside of your vacation rental. It may seem a bit redundant, but make it clear that you won’t tolerate any blocking or meddling with the surveillance equipment.
Looking for the proper verbiage for this type of rule? Check out my House Rules article here!
Noise Level Restrictions
There are fancy monitors you can buy to measure the actual noise level inside (or outside) your Airbnb or vacation rental, but I find that instituting “quiet hours” is a more cost-effective solution.
Unless you have a long history of very determined partiers at your property, something simple like “Please refrain from excessive noise between the hours of 10pm and 8am” is often sufficient. If it continues to be an issue, a noise monitor may be your next step!
No Drugs Or Alcohol
In many cases, this might be more of an issue for your homeowner’s insurance than you personally! In fact, there are plenty of policies that do not allow you to provide guests with any alcohol and even limit the amount that may be present during a rental.
While tricky to enforce, limiting alcohol at your vacation rental is possible. Rather than outright banning it, some people will politely ask that guest refrain from excessive drinking on the property during their stay. You can even blame it on your insurance (whether or not the policy mentions it)!
As far as drugs on the premises, this should be a no-brainer. State that drugs or evidence of drugs found on the premises will result in eviction and termination of the booking effective immediately. It’s not worth the safety risk to you or your guests to turn a blind eye.
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Guest Responsible For Damages
Many hosts assume this is automatically covered by the terms of service of their vacation rental booking website. In fact, in most cases it is not.
You need to be in charge of collecting a security deposit high enough to deter damage to the property. If property damage exceeds the deposit, it falls on the host to collect the remainder. This can end in a long legal battle, so be prepared with evidence that you had this rule in place and that you caught the guest breaking it.
Rental Recon Tip: The burden of proof is on the host to prove that a rule was violated. Unfortunately, vacation rental websites serve the guest, not you. This is why I harp on the importance of security cameras and clear house rules! You could even go so far as to have each guest sign a copy of your rules or sign a rental agreement if you want to be extra cautious. What is my next step if a guest breaks my house rules?
Rules if You Want to Allow Some Parties
No Open-Invite Parties
Open invite parties are expressly prohibited by Airbnb and other vacation rental websites. The liability is much too big for anyone to take on. Nevertheless, it bears repeating to your guests, who may not know that such a rule exists.
Define The Event
What does the guest plan to host? Is it a barbecue with a few friends visiting town? A bonfire night with coworkers on a business trip? A giant pool party with a DJ?
You need to find out and get a good idea of what will be happening at your property. Different events have different levels of liability, some of which you may or may not be comfortable with.
Party Must Be Approved By Host
Once you’ve gotten a run-down of the planned event, give your clear approval and specify the scope of that approval. If the event or parry morphs into something bigger (or just different) than what you had both agreed on, do you trust the guest to rein it back in? Having clear expectations (both from you and the guest) and keeping communication open will make for a much higher chance of success.
Limit Number Of People Allowed
Open invite parties being barred won’t necessarily prevent extra people from trailing into an event. When you’re defining the event or party with the guest, make sure to put a hard limit on how many people you’re comfortable with having over. It doesn’t hurt to have a guest list either!
Restrict Alcohol On Premises
If you’re not going the no-alcohol route, encourage responsible drinking from all of your guests. Another important tip: no minors should be present if alcohol is going to be consumed! Waaaaayyy too much liability for you.
If you suspect something is up at your vacation rental or Airbnb, are you allowed to just barge in? The answer might surprise you, check it out HERE!
Higher Security Deposit
Security deposits are a deterrent against damage and an insurance policy for you as a host. An Airbnb or vacation rental that allows parties inherently takes on more risk, so it only makes sense that the security deposit would be higher. Remember that collecting damages in excess of the deposit can be tricky, so make use of a large up-front deposit whenever possible.