Horror stories of Airbnb

12 Replies

I randomly created a listing for one of the bedrooms in my house on Airbnb last week. I didn’t think much of it or that I’d get any requests, but here we are with 5 requests so far! It would be for a private bedroom & bath upstairs of our home. We have a (very furry) dog. There’s no TV in the private room. We aren’t trying to earn a ton off of this, hoping to just do a couple nights a month for an extra $1,000-1500 a year that I can put towards our investments. What have you learned from mistakes and horror stories you’ve experienced from Airbnb’s? What information do you include in your house guidelines, if you even have one? Do you require a security deposit? What should I include on the listing? What do you provide? What chaos have you experienced? What information do you disclose, especially regarding having a dog in the home. What suggestions would you give me? How much did your homeowners insurance increase when you added short term rental to your policy? Tell me everything!

@Amy H. So you don't have a separate area that can be locked to separate a stranger from where you will be sleeping? How will you vet these strangers and have a high level of confidence that you are not putting your family in danger for an extra $1000/year?

What about having these strangers in your house when you are not home or if they are coming in at 2AM?

Are you going to change locks or rotate codes to after someone stays?

Is $1000 worth that risk? Risk vs reward?

I understand someone house hacking when they have a guest house or basement apartment with a separate entrance.

I just want to make sure you have thought this through before pulling the trigger on this.

People expect cable tv and wifi in their room.  It's the norm.  If you go to a restaurant and order food, you expect it to come with a plate and silverware.  People expect a gas or charcoal grill too.  I don't charge any deposit with my 24 STRs with 84 beds.  I provide everything except cooking, cleaning and laundry service.  

Chaos???  Bwahaha.  Let's see...having a tenant turn into a missing person and the police find his body by the railroad tracks.  Having one tenant screw around with another tenants wife, they lived next door to each other in some apartments.  The guy with the wife was the boss to the guy screwing around.  Police were involved with that, it happened 3 days ago.  Another tenant had some mental issues.  Thought people were living in the walls.  Police involuntarily committed him to a facility.  Had 11 guys living in a 3 story house.  I was collecting rent and they asked me if I wanted to stick around for the daily show.  I asked what the show was.  The show was a lady (that's too nice of a word) that came by every evening and it involved a cucumber.  I didn't stick around but I saw the video from the day before.  Had another guy whose wife left him and took his vehicle and credit card.  He made about $3000/week.  I bought him a 1 way bus ticket to Atlanta with my credit card.  Had some other guys that kept rattlesnakes in their garage.  Everything was fine until one escaped.  Game wardens were involved with that.  Had some guys that didn't think they needed to pay the full rent.  I had their utilities disconnected, electric meter pulled.  They jumped the electrical lugs in the meter box with 2 pairs of scissors wrapped in electrical tape.  They stole electricity from the city.  Had a meth head break into one of my houses.  He was sleeping in the bedroom when I went in.  Police with guns drawn were involved with that.  Another meth head broke into the 3 story house and tried to steal the internet signal. I had it all recorded on camera.  Police were involved with that.  Had a ring of marijuana smoking bicycle thieves break into one of my houses and set up shop in the living room.  They would grind off the serial numbers.  My wife walked in on them while they were in the house.  Police were involved with that.  98% of my tenants are contractors.  The guys you see working on the large erections of steel at a petrochemical refinery.

@Amy H.

I think I can help! We first started doing Airbnb out of our extra rooms in our house. We definitely had some of the same concerns and we did a few things to help us feel more secure.

The first is, get a Schlage lock and a Wink hub for your home



This allows you to make your home a "Smart" home and make specific codes for each guest.

Once thing we also got is a schlage lock for our own personal door.


This way my wife and I didn't need to carry a key around with us in our own home. We just had our own personal door code and it makes us feel a lot safer with guests in the house.

One of the best things we did when screening guests is we would send them a "welcome message" which reinterated rules such as

-Don't park in the driveway

-Take your shoes off at the door


and hidden (smack dab in the middle) was the "secret code phrase" that they had to reply with to confirm they actually read the welcome message. This way I actually KNEW they read the rules and this signicantly decreased the amount of problems we had at our house. No secret code--no access to our house. 

You can rent your primary home for up to 14 days a year tax free. 


My ex sister-in-law rents out a room in her home.  When her daughter (my niece) was 19yo and living with her she would leave for extended amounts of time and leave the AirBnb'ing up to my niece (don't get me started on how I felt about her letting strangers stay alone in the house with my super cute and bubbly 19yo niece).  My niece told me that most of the time it was fun and she enjoyed meeting new people and what not.  However, one time a guy was doing meth in the house (while only my niece was there) and she had to call the police.  She also said there were a few times the people gave off really bad vibes and she wouldn't be able to sleep at night because she was so nervous and the flimsy little lock on her door wouldn't stop anyone who was truly motivated.

@Amy H. you should talk to @Craig Curelop he is the shared-space Airbnb king in Denver.  

I would make sure your homeowners policy covers "shared areas" and not just the specific bedroom you are renting.  

Everyone I have talked to who rents out individual rooms loves it.  You have to be a specific type of person and be comfortable with strangers sleeping in your home, but I think once you get over how weird it is at first it can be a cool experience.  Just make sure to protect yourself! 

@John Underwood totally true! We have a lock on our bedroom door but it's not a separate space. I am staying in Austin in an Airbnb this month that is a similar set up so I am very curious to see how it works. I love that you brought up risk vs reward, always a good thing to remember!

@Travis Rasmussen great suggestions! Always love schlage locks.  Was your extra room have a separate entry from the rest of your house? I love the idea of the welcome message!

@Natalie Kolodij I haven't fully researched all the tax implications of it so thank you for letting me know about the 14 days tax free. That's definitely going to be a deciding factor if we go ahead with the idea.

@Mandy Ellett Oh goodness that sounds awful! Do they have locks on their personal bedroom doors for some sort of protection and piece of mind?

@Tyler Work you are exactly right! I've just this year started staying at airbnb's that are not whole homes or apartments so it definitely takes some time to adjust having the homeowner around at times.