Whether you’re brand new to managing short-term rentals or you’re just looking to make sure your current rentals are taken care of, Airbnb house rules are a necessity. They inform your guests on what is or isn’t allowed. Vacation rental house rules can also help establish some housekeeping tips to make your life easier when caring for your property. Next to your actual listing, these Airbnb house rules are just as important in having a clear communication channel with your guests.
Below is a guide to crafting the perfect house rules and enforcing them without turning away your guests.
What are house rules?
Short-term rental, or Airbnb, house rules are guidelines that you as the host will give the guests to set expectations during the stay. These include what they can or can’t do and provide them with an idea of what kind of host style you may have. The house rules are typically outlined in the listing, allowing the guest to see whether or not your property would be a good fit for them before booking.
Establishing these rules beforehand will create a better experience for both you and your guest, leading to repeat stays and better reviews. However, before you begin to craft them, you’ll need to understand what type of guest your listing will attract. You don’t want to be overbearing since the guest is most likely there on vacation, but you do want to state the permissions they have in your residence.
Most importantly, depending on the type of guest you want to attract, you may want to add some personality to the rules. You can make them short and to the point. Or you can make them funny and lighthearted. Whichever way you choose, here are some guidelines to follow to write effective Airbnb house rules.
Tips for writing effective Airbnb house rules
- Don’t overcomplicate the house rules. No one wants to read a 20-page legal document when they’re looking for a place to stay on vacation. Keep your vacation rental house rules simple so that guests will read them thoroughly with no confusion. As well, you may have international guests, so be conscious of that when writing them. Keep them easy to translate when necessary.
- Keep the list of house rules short. This means list out your must-haves first and use those as the house rules. Any nice-to-haves can be included in the guide book provided to the guest once they check in. You certainly don’t want to overwhelm the guest before they book with you.
- Short-term rental house rules can change with time and when you gain experience. Revisit your house rules from time to time. Don’t be afraid to add new ones, take off ones that aren’t doing any good for you, and make changes as needed. Keep them as up to date as you keep your listing.
What should you include in your Airbnb house rules?
Use the overview statement to set the tone for your short-term rental house rules. This is where you can decide to be stern or lighthearted.
Check-in and check-out
With your listing, write what time check-in and check-out are for guests. Is there a fee for late check-out? Let them know what to expect ahead of time. This allows the guest to plan when booking their transportation and travel.
Including how your guest will check-in and check-out of your property could be what sets apart your listing. If your guest knows they’ll be arriving late at night, you may want to provide options for how they can get in. A code-access lock on the door, rather than meeting you to hand over the keys, could make all the difference. Listing your check-in/check-out procedure in your house rules could save both you and your guest a headache.
If you do provide a key, be sure to include the penalty for a lost key. This could lead to changing the locks, arriving late at night, and unhappiness for both you and the guest.
Resources to make check-in and check-out smooth and efficient
Do you want to boost the guest experience while also reducing your workload? This is where automation can help you in a big way. First, you can use software to send check-in information in tandem with the house rules automatically. Second, you can use your vacation rental software with third-party integrations to create and send unique door access codes.
Does your property offer parking? Is it numbered or street parking? How many cars are allowed?
Setting these expectations for your guests prior to their arrival will not only make it less stressful for them, but it may be the defining factor in whether they rent a car or not. You want them to arrive with a smile on their face, not walking in frustrated because they couldn’t find where to safely park.
How you can make it easy for guests to find parking
Describing a parking spot in a written format can get messy. A picture is worth a thousand words. With a digital guidebook, you can clarify parking instructions with detailed pictures – here’s a great example.
Include your pet policy in your house rules, so that you don’t receive any unexpected, furry “guests.”
If you decide to allow pets, keep in mind that future guests could be allergic. Be sure to do thorough cleaning for any pet hair after each stay. You may also want to establish a weight restriction. This will avoid damages or accidents.
Your listing should include your pet policy. Note that it’s becoming commonplace for hosts and managers to charge an extra cleaning fee for pets.
Similar to pets, allowing smoking could potentially turn off other guests since it can be hard to eliminate that smell. Clearly state the rules of smoking at your property and where it’s allowed. If you allow smoking outdoors or on a balcony, be sure to include where they need to dispose of the butts (This can be included later on in the guide given at check-in).
More importantly, state clearly what the penalties would be if this rule, or any of the others, are broken. For example, if you know that it may cost $200 to eliminate the smell of smoke properly, clearly state in your house rules that any offenders will be charged $200 for smoking where it isn’t allowed.
If your property has carpet or other delicate flooring, you may choose to ask guests to keep their shoes outside. While you can include this in your house rules, details for where to keep your shoes can be provided in the check-in guide.
Parties and visitors
Some properties allow rental for parties or events. If this is your property, clarify the maximum number of people and cars allowed. Avoid being loose with any wording here, as a “few” friends may be interpreted differently by different guests. As well, if your property is part of a development, note the HOA rules and quiet hours.
Your guests may meet other travellers or locals while exploring your city. State ahead of time the rules for bringing in visitors that aren’t registered to stay there. You want to make sure your property is cared for, and the guests are held liable for any damage that takes place. Bringing in visitors can complicate this, so be sure to stand firm on this in your visitor guidelines.
Laundry, garbage, and recycling
Do you want your guests to load their towels or sheets in the washer prior to leaving? Do they need to bag the trash and bring out the recycling bin? Clarifying these responsibilities in the house rules before booking and at check-in can let your guest know what to expect on their last day at your property.
Details for cleaning up before departure can be listed in the guide given at check-in. It may also help to politely remind your guest of these responsibilities before their arrival.
Outdoor areas and pools/hot tubs
If your property includes an outdoor grill area or pool, lay out the safety rules first and foremost, as these could potentially become liabilities. To ensure these amenities are properly taken care of, provide guests with directions on how to use, turn on, care for, etc.
If you rent out only part of your residence, you may want to touch on privacy and what areas are off-limits. Is there a storage area they should not have access to? Should they enter through a certain door or use a certain restroom? Clearly list which areas are accessible and which are not.
With most booking platforms, a deposit is taken in small damage. Small accidental damages can happen to us all. However, one critical house rule to include is the policy if those damages exceeded the deposit and how you’ll proceed with filing those claims.
In case of an emergency with your guests, it’s wise to provide them with emergency contact numbers within your city if they’re unable to reach you. This will also give your guest an extra sense of security while enjoying their relaxing vacation.
Airbnb house rules template
Here’s a sample set of house rules to give you an idea of how to organize and phrase them:
- Check-in is at 3 pm. A key code will be sent to you 48 hours prior to check-in.
- Free street parking is available. Please be aware of emergency lanes.
- Pets under 80lbs are allowed. A $25 cleaning charge will be added.
- No smoking in the house. Smoking is allowed on the back patio, and an ashtray is provided for butts. Do not dispose of butts in the bushes or grass.
- Please leave shoes outside by front and back doors.
- No parties or third-party visitors allowed. Registered guests only.
- Please leave used towels in the bathroom. Remove the trash bag and recycling bin and bring them outside.
- The outdoor grill is available for guests. Please refer to the guide book for how to operate and clean it.
- Upstairs is a private residence. Please stay on the ground floor only.
- Report any damages immediately. Any damages that exceed the deposit must be paid for by guests and will be reported to Airbnb.
While house rules may not always be an exciting topic, there can be an exciting way to deliver them to your guests. Hostfully guidebooks boost the guest experience, eliminate repetitive tasks, and create new revenue streams. Check out the latest examples to get inspiration for creating a Hostfully guidebook of your own.
Your Airbnb house rules can keep your property safe, but remember to maintain a balance between protection and still encouraging bookings. Use your house rules to establish expectations for your guests while still creating an environment for a great vacation.