How to Claim a Guest's Security Deposit on Airbnb

Claiming a Security Deposit on Airbnb (Successfully)

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Airbnb no longer supports security deposits and now handles damage and liability claims with their Aircover policy

One of the most common complaints we’ve seen online is from hosts who have unsuccessfully placed a claim on a guest’s security deposit. It is a complicated system, most notably because making a request to a guest for reimbursement can prompt them to leave a bad review. We haven’t had the same experience, we have always found Airbnb to be very fair when it comes to reimbursements. Be sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with the requirements of making a claim. The Host Guarantee program has lived up to its promises in our experience. We have compiled a list of guidelines to follow when trying to recoup damages from guests.

 Successfully Claiming a Guest’s Security Deposit

  1. File the claim as soon as you find the issue. Even if the guest hasn’t checked out yet, it is important that you file the claim immediately! If the issue is something warranting the early cancellation of a guest’s stay, call Airbnb immediately and work on a resolution with them. Many hosts wait too long to request money from their guest and lose their eligibility. You must file a claim before the next guest’s check-in time! It’s important to note that you might not know exactly how much the damages will cost you, but you must file a claim anyway. When asked for an amount, aim high because it’s likely Airbnb won’t want to reimburse higher than this amount when it comes to escalating the issue.
  2. Document everything. Take photos and save invoices, because when it comes to the Airbnb Resolution Center, you’ll need proof that you actually suffered financial damages as a result of the guest’s stay.
  3. Explain to your guest why you are requesting the money. Guests might not know they broke your house rules. Many guests don’t look at them and ignore any posted signs you may have in your listing. Be civil and give the guest the benefit of the doubt. If you handle this correctly, the guest might cough up the money without ever having to involve Airbnb. A common mistake hosts make is to get emotional and confrontational with guests. This is more likely to make Airbnb take their side and see you as the villain! Act like a professional and Airbnb will treat you like one.
  4. Always involve Airbnb. Most guests are likely to completely ignore the request for money. If they press decline, don’t worry, you can still go back to the claim and escalate it to Airbnb. Don’t forget to do this! If the guest ignores the claim, you’ll be able to escalate it to Airbnb after 72 hours.

About the Author Kevin Kelsey

Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.