Vacation Rentals - Screening guests

8 Replies

Hi all,

    Is anyone with a vacation rental, currently using, or have you used for verifying a potential guest in your rental? In 8 years, I've been extremely fortunate to have great guests stay with us. Unfortunately, this past week, we had a group of so-called professionals stay and trash one of our homes. I'm thinking about using the site, but they do require that you link back to them, with a disclaimer indicating that guest information can or will be reported to them. My only reservation with this, is that it may be a deterrent to future "good" guests.



Besides scaring away future renters, I don't know that I'd want to be open to the liabilities these blacklisting sites could present. We live in a sue-happy society, and people don't want their name to come up in a Google results page with something negative attached to it.

@Kris Taylor  These are some of my same thoughts. I think that my best bet is to just work closely with the others that are renting properties in the area, and keep a private blacklist. This is by no means a usual occurrence, and my screening process is bound to fail some of the time. There's probably no need to change what I'm doing because of one bad egg. It's just a shame that grown adults will spend a considerable amount of money to rent a well kept home, and then revert to adolescent behavior while staying.

@Steve Dove thanks for posting this question, as I hadn't seen that website before. I think this is a fascinating question and hope some others chime in. We, too, have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with guests staying at our vacation rental in New Hampshire the past 5 years - but the 2 or 3 bad ones unfortunately dictate how we need to handle everyone else. I remember specifically thinking after one particular group last year that I wished I had a way to warn other rental owners.

I do wonder about the legality, so to speak, of the guestchecker website and what happens if someone finds out they're blacklisted and then goes after the site and the owners. Are owners' names made public in the reviews of renters?

On the flip side, guests can leave reviews and say pretty much anything they want on any number of sites, so why not have a way for owners to leave reviews for guests? I recently rented a place through airbnb and learned that they do have this service; the owner left a review of me, as a guest. I thought that was a brilliant move by the airbnb folks. Similar to the way ebay has ratings, now I, as a "buyer," come with reviews and ratings when I go to book another place on airbnb. I love that move.

As for vetting guests, I know one owner who gets the name and copies of drivers licenses of everyone who's staying in his rental and puts those on the lease, similar to the way you might do so on a long-term rental. It's not totally foolproof, but he feels it has helped weed out some bad renters.

@Steve Dove  , you are absolutely correct about some people resorting to adolescent behavior. Since I manage several vacation rentals, I see it a lot more than homeowners do. It is pretty much always due to everyone getting drunk and acting like idiots.

I don't think it would do any good to verify or blacklist people. They can easily put the reservation under someone else's name next time.

I also use AirBnB and I do like that I can review guests. However, if I give them a bad review, then they just go on Yelp and other sites and start badmouthing my company. It's not worth it. So, I don't review guests at all. It's unfortunate that people have to act that way. But, with the anonymity of the internet, people have no qualms with it.

I think ocassional bad guest is part of the business of vacation rentals unfortunately.   We have had good luck using Evolve Vacational Rentals for our property in NH. They charge 10% of each booking but they handle all the bookings, take credit cards and mandate travel insurance for each guest which gives us three thousand dollars worth of coverage.  I don't think there is anything you can do to stop bad guests, or even good guests who behave badly, but you can give yourself a little more protection when it happens.

I'll put in another vote for Airbnb. Users are "verified" either by phone, email or social media sites. If a user doesn't have a picture, I don't approve them. I check their past reviews (as I assume they do mine), and have even had occasions where a total stranger from another state was a friend of a friend on Facebook and we were able to see that connection.  And I always call to speak to them prior to booking or arrival just to get a gut sense of who they are. It makes everyone feel more comfortable.

Reliable property management would be my next choice.

and @Kris Taylor  I agree we should focus on giving positive reviews and accepting guests with good feedback rather than blacklisting people. Seek out the good! has no phone number no business address listed so that is a red flag. Always do your due diligence and never believe what you read on the Internet and take Facebook with a grain of salt.

Joe Gore

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here