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Can an Airbnb Host Come in Unannounced?: Know Your Rights

Lots of folks are wary of staying in an Airbnb due to the misconception that they’ll just be hanging out in some stranger’s guest bedroom. While this is sometimes the case, all Airbnb rental spaces afford guests some measure of reasonable privacy. 

Some hosts are also left in the dark regarding the official policy on entering a space that a guest is occupying. Since the home is owned by the host, many feel they should be entitled to enter their “own” space whenever they want. But is that truly the case?

Can an Airbnb Host Come In Unannounced

Can an Airbnb Host Come in Unannounced?

Since there are so many different types of Airbnbs (shared homes, single units, apartments, spare rooms, etc.) there is no concrete rule about whether or not a host can enter unannounced. However, it is the overwhelming consensus that a host cannot and should not enter a private Airbnb space without guest permission except in the case of an emergency. 

Still have questions? Keep reading to find out when, why, and how an Airbnb host can enter the property during a rental!

When can an Airbnb Host Come in Unannounced?

With Guest Permission

If the host asks for permission to enter the space and the guest grants it, they obviously are able to enter. If you’re a host asking permission, make sure it is via the Airbnb messaging service so you’ll have evidence in writing in case you need to prove it later on. 

Hosts generally shouldn’t need to enter the space in the short term, but sometimes longer stays require more maintenance and cleaning (similar to a hotel’s staff entering your room). Be sure to specify when you’ll be entering, why you need to, and for how long in your message. 

Shared Spaces

Even in a shared space situation (such as an individual bedroom within a home), hosts still should not enter without getting permission first. The guest should still have plenty of privacy and feel secure in their accommodation. Most (if not all) private rooms have a lockable door for this reason. 

Again, consider a hotel room situation. The housekeeping staff will knock before entering, and guests have the option of leaving the Do Not Disturb sign outside. In an Airbnb, I would still recommend getting written permission for entering during a stay rather than just knocking out of the blue. 

If an Emergency Arises…

In case of an emergency, privacy etiquette goes out the window. Whether it’s a burst pipe, flooded bathroom, electrical short or even a fire, the host might need immediate access to the space. 

In these cases, it isn’t practical to get permission before entering since things are very time sensitive. Hosts should still try to knock and loudly announce their entrance, but guests should understand that notice may not be given in these situations. 

Can an Airbnb Host Kick You Out? It Depends…

Extenuating Circumstances

If a host experiences a family emergency or other extenuating circumstance, they may need to cancel mid-reservation. This isn’t ideal from a guest perspective, of course, but things do happen. In these cases, it is helpful for the host to try to find alternate accommodation for the guest if at all possible. 

Can an Airbnb Host Come In Unannounced

In some emergency cases it simply isn’t possible, so the host should refund the guest for the remainder (or entirety) of their stay and apologize. Under Airbnb’s cancellation policy, hosts are permitted to cancel penalty-free in extenuating circumstances. Try to have as much documentation to prove it was an emergency as you possibly can, since they will likely ask for it. 

Rule Violations

If a guest breaks the house rules, many hosts feel that they have the grounds to kick them out. This is another somewhat gray area that Airbnb doesn’t go into specifics on. They do state that you should cancel (or simply not book in the first place) a guest that you feel uncomfortable hosting, but in some cases this can result in a penalty on your account. 

If a guest is already at your Airbnb and they break your house rules, you have a few options. First and foremost, you should contact the guest and try to remedy the situation. Explain that a rule was violated and provide evidence if at all possible. 

Most hosts won’t bother with trying to penalize a guest for breaking a “minor” rule, so these situations are usually reserved for severe infractions like hosting a raucous party, bringing in drugs or alcohol where not permitted, or having lots of extra guests that weren’t mentioned in the booking.

You can give the guest the opportunity to remedy the situation or explain that you’ll be canceling the reservation. Make sure to be in contact with Airbnb during this process to make sure everything is documented correctly. 

Be sure to check out Rental Recon’s advice on protecting your Airbnb HERE!

Do Hosts Stay at Airbnb? Not Always!

Not all Airbnbs are owned and operated by the same person!

Some Airbnbs are actually managed by a person that has never set foot in them! Property managers sometimes own the house but more often are hired by the owner to run the Airbnb while they make passive income. In these cases, you’ll probably be renting out the entire home and the host will not be on site. 

How Will I Know if My Host is at the Airbnb?

It should be clear in the listing whether or not the Airbnb is the entire home, part of the home, or just one room. Even in a shared space, sometimes the host isn’t on site and you’ll just be sharing the home with other guests. If you have any questions, be sure to message the host prior to booking the Airbnb. 

Hosts: Ever wondered what you should leave for Airbnb guests? Don’t miss out on my tips to give your guests a 5-star experience!

Rental Recon Tip: Are you currently functioning as a host, cleaner, maintenance man, plumber, lawn service, and more? You shouldn’t have to! Hiring a cleaning service for an Airbnb is one of my top recommendations for hosts. It will save you so much time that could be better spend building your Airbnb empire! Check out my best advice for Airbnb cleaning services today!

Can I Sue my Airbnb Host? 

Sometimes a host and a guest will have a dispute that cannot be settled by them or by Airbnb. In these extreme cases, legal action can be the only option left. Talk with a local attorney if you are in a tough situation. 

Can an Airbnb Host Come In Unannounced

What Do I Do if the Host Violates Our Agreement?

Your first step should be to head over to the Airbnb Resolution Center. The vast majority of Airbnb related issues can be solved through this service, and they’ll even handle payouts in some cases. Be sure you have proof (typically in writing or pictures) that the host has violated some part of your shared agreement. If you can’t reach a solution through Airbnb, it may be time to pursue legal action. 

Don’t Trust Everything You See Online!

It’s not a good idea to rely on information from social media sites or other public forums to make a decision with financial or legal consequences. Contacting a lawyer is your best bet in any case that Airbnb cannot resolve for you. 

Check Out Our Other Articles on Rental Recon:

Related Questions:

Can a Guest Cancel Airbnb After Check-In?

Guests can cancel their reservation at any time, including after they have checked in. Their reasons behind cancelling may vary, and whether or not they receive a refund will vary as well. 

According to Airbnb, once a guest cancels after checking in they are required to leave immediately. They will still have to abide by the host’s cancellation policy except in the case of an extenuating circumstance. In most cases, they will not receive a refund if cancelling after checking in. 


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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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