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How to Protect Your Airbnb from Unauthorized Guests (2024)

This past summer I got a call from my neighbor informing me that there was a large party going on at my Airbnb. Since the booking was supposed to be for just two guests, I was a little upset. Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common and many Airbnb hosts have had similar experiences.

Bringing in unauthorized guests is disrespectful guest behavior, and it can also be a huge liability for hosts. Keeping these unwanted visitors off your property can seem like an uphill battle, so I’m going to share my best advice for keeping your Airbnb secure.

How to Protect Your Airbnb from Unauthorized Guests

How should you protect your Airbnb from unauthorized guests?

  • Exterior surveillance equipment
  • Extra guest fees
  • Clearly stated maximum occupancy
  • Concise and informative house rules

Check out the sections below for my top tips on protecting your Airbnb from unwanted guests!

How can I best secure my Airbnb?

Securing your Airbnb is the number one thing you can do to prevent unauthorized guests from entering. The best way to accomplish this is to use exterior video surveillance. You’ll need to notify guests that there is video surveillance on the premises, and often this alone is enough to deter them from bringing any unwanted guests. 

I highly recommend using the Ring Doorbell. I like that its sleek design doesn’t interfere with the overall look of my Airbnb. It takes up very little space and also functions as a “second set of hands” for when I can’t be there in person for check-in. The video calling feature means that I can speak to guests in real-time, as well as any delivery people or other service workers. 

It syncs up with your smartphone and will notify you of anyone arriving or departing the home. It also captures video of these events, which is what you’ll need to prove that there was an extra person (or people!) at your Airbnb. 

Again, simply mentioning that there is video surveillance outside the home is usually all it takes to prevent someone from trying to sneak in extra visitors, which is an added bonus and much less work on your part. 

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Another great and low effort way to protect your Airbnb is to notify your neighbors that you’ll be hosting guests. Unfortunately, many times neighbors aren’t too receptive to the idea of living next to what they imagine will be a hotel. I hope that Airbnb’s new Neighbors feature will help put a stop to that and help our neighbors feel more secure living next to a short-term rental.

This new feature has live chat as well as non-time-sensitive email options for neighbors to contact Airbnb in case of an issue at the property. Most people’s primary concern is the noise level, and often they expect to hear rowdy guests at all hours of the night. 

Making them aware of this feature is a great way to ensure that you’ll have eyes and ears on your Airbnb even when you’re not around! It will ask them for the link to your listing, so providing them with this would be helpful. It even has a live hotline for issues that need to be addressed quickly. 

Check Out Our Other Articles on Rental Recon:

How Should I Charge for Extra Guests at My Airbnb?

There is some discrepancy on how and when to charge for extra guests at an Airbnb. Essentially, there are two “strategies”, and each will have varying results depending on the situation.

One strategy is to charge the same amount that you would for a normal, expected guest. For example, if your listing sleeps two and you charge $90, it would equate to $45 per guest. If you found out that there was an extra guest at the property, you would use the “request money” feature to try and collect that additional fee.

Another option is to charge significantly more for an extra person, which is more of a deterrent strategy. For example, some hosts only charge $75 for the booking but would charge $300 for an extra person. The idea is that the high fee would discourage guests from bringing others, as some guests may be willing to pay the smaller fee and not care about the inconvenience.  

Both of the above options would need to have been spelled out for the guests, either in your house rules or in the listing itself (ideally both) so they couldn’t claim that they were unaware of the fees. 

These might not always be successful, as some people will lie even when confronted with proof of an extra person on the premises. In this case, Airbnb would need to get involved and you would need to file a dispute through the Resolution Center in order to collect the fee. 

Airbnb has implemented new guest standards that give hosts more of Airbnb’s backing when determining disputes, extra charges, cleaning fees, damages, and more. This type of thing is nice to see, especially from the perspective of a host, and will hopefully make the experience better overall for both sides of the renting industry. 

How Can I Rent Out my Airbnb to More Than 16 Guests?

Airbnb’s website has arbitrarily made 16 the maximum number of guests that can be selected on the booking screen. Nobody seems to know why, especially when many houses sleep far more than that. 

If your Airbnb has a maximum occupancy of higher than 16, don’t despair! There are a few easy ways to rent out to many more than 16 people, but they will take a little extra work on your part. However, remember to state clearly in the listing that the price increases after 16 guests and how much it increases by! This will help potential guests avoid a lot of confusion.

The main way that most hosts of larger homes collect payment for parties of greater than 16 guests is by using the “Special Offer” feature before the guests arrive. This should give them ample time to pay, and in the event that they don’t pay it will give you time to cancel the booking. 

Optionally, if you want to wait until the guests have arrived, you can use the “Request Money” feature, but you run the risk of not being paid and then having to file a dispute with Airbnb. In the case of a dispute, you would need to have very clearly documented your extra fees and the guests agreeing to pay them. 

What is the maximum number of guests allowed at an Airbnb?

There is no set maximum on how many guests can stay at a single Airbnb. It depends entirely on the host’s preferences. Obviously, each person will need somewhere to sleep, but this can be anything from a couch with a pillow to a king sized bed. 

Rental Recon Tip: A surprising amount of common issues can be avoided be having clear and concise house rules. The vast majority of guests that you’ll deal with on Airbnb are understanding people with good intentions. Whether you allow or don’t allow extra guests should be one of the first things in your house rule manual, and it should also be made clear in the listing itself. 

Related Questions:

What happens if an Airbnb guest causes damage?

In the case that your home (or property) is damaged by an Airbnb guest, you should have two courses of action. The first is that Airbnb offers its Host Protection Program which covers certain instances of property damage. 

The second course of action is to file a claim against this guest using your short-term rental homeowners insurance. Regular homeowners insurance is unlikely to cover guest damage, so you’ll need a dedicated rental-oriented policy to make sure you can recoup your losses. 

Are Airbnb Parties and Events Allowed?

In short, it depends. Almost all hosts that I am aware of explicitly forbid hosting parties in their Airbnb, as well as forbidding extra guests. Also, according to Airbnb’s website, they are instituting new rules banning hosting of open-invite or large parties in any shared building such as an apartment or condo complex. Always ask your host before planning your next big event!

Ryan Drew- Contributor
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Ryan Drew- Contributor

I'm an Airbnb Superhost sharing my Airbnb journey and tips that I've learned along the way.

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