Laying Down the Ground Rules for Extended Stays

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Whether you rent out your house as an Airbnb for a few months or a few weekends a year, setting ground rules is very important. Ground rules boost the efficiency of your business and give your guests a better experience while also protecting your house. Laying down the ground rules for extended stays is just as vital, if not more so, for long-term guests since they will be spending a considerable amount of time on your property. 

What are ground rules?

Ground rules for extended stays allow you to professionally articulate what guests can and can’t do and the penalties for breaking any set rules. The ground rules you set for your house set the tone for your guests and give them a taste of how you host and protect your property.

Ideally, you post your house rules as part of your listing to help guests establish whether your location is suitable for them before booking.

When laying down ground rules for extended stays, strategy plays a big role in determining how effective the rules will be. Here is a simple guide for what to consider when setting up the ground rules:

Keep It Simple

Use simple language that is easy to understand; this is especially important if international guests use your Airbnb. You shouldn’t write ground rules in jargon. If you do, potential guests will just flip through the rules and not read them, which could cost you and them if an accident occurs. 

You can leave a House Manual at the property to explain further rules, penalties, and other need-to-know information.

Keep Your Guests in Mind

Before creating your Airbnb ground rules, think about the type of guests your house may attract and their demands. Will your guests be: 

  • Traveling professionals
  • Vacationing grandparents
  • Families with children
  • Young adults

Ensure that your ground rules align with the type of potential guests who may rent your house.

Offer Reminders

You shouldn’t assume that your guests are eagle-eyed regarding safety and security. Place small reminders throughout the Airbnb to encourage safety. For example, place a simple laminated sign on the back sliding door that reads, “Remember to lock the door.”

Let Your Personality Shine

Your rules shed light on your hosting style and the feel of your Airbnb. If you are a fun-loving and relaxed person, you can showcase that in your rules. For example, you can add a sense of humor to your rules by requesting that the guests not burn down your house when they choose to BBQ in the backyard. 

Possible Things to Include in Your Airbnb Ground Rules

  • Parking Availability: Be clear on the availability of parking and what type of parking it is, including street or oversized parking, and any potential penalties for parking violations if they occur.
  • No Additional Guests: You may explicitly forbid guests from visiting your property as they are not paying guests and would be using your facilities and property; you are also taking on the liability of yet another individual. 
  • No Parties or Events: Ensure your Airbnb is not being used for a wedding or other event; you want to earn an income based on what you provide. Guests should pay more for an event venue, and an Airbnb is no place to hold a 200 guest wedding. 
  • No Smoking of Any Kind: Spell out the smoking rules of your property, where it is allowed, and where they can dispose of their trash. Or clearly state “No Smoking” and have a hefty cleaning fee if smoking occurs. Don’t forget e-cigs and cannabis are very popular, and may be legal in your area, but may still a nuisance to clean up after.
  • No Shoes Inside: Whether out of respect, or to preserve your flooring, you may require guests to leave shoes at the door. If you are going to do this, have a designated basket or cubby for shoes.
  • Pet Policy: Ensure your guests know if your property is a pet-friendly zone. If it is not, you will need a cleaning fee should a pet be brought to your house. Also, if pets are allowed, create a designated area of the yard for pets to keep your property free of unwanted droppings and damage.
  • Children & Infant Policy: If your home is not kid or baby-friendly, include that as part of your ground rules. If you do allow children, there are many affordable child-proofing kits available for purchase that could set your mind at ease.
  • No Flame Candles: Do not allow open flame candles on your property; this can include birthday candles. Assure guests they may use battery-operated, flame-free candles for their use and provide them if possible.

Other simple and self-explanatory rules may include:

  • Don’t eat or drink in bedrooms
  • Turn off the AC when you leave the Airbnb
  • Respect the check-in and check-out times
  • Follow local quiet hours
  • Do not lose your keys
  • Don’t rearrange the furniture
  • Do your dishes and take out the trash

What happens if a guest breaks your Airbnb ground rules?

Your Airbnb guests should keep their part of the bargain by following the rules. Most of the time, the consequence of breaking house rules is a fee used for clean-up or replacement. However, you can ask for something specific if the damage is difficult to rectify or too extensive to be covered by your insurance.

Gound Rules Protect You

If there is a disagreement between you and a guest, your ground rules can assist you in mediating the conflict. If a guest breaks your ground rules, the first step should be to have a direct conversation with the client to come up with a resolution.

Unfortunately, there will be times ground rules are broken, and you will never know. That is part of business, but be mindful of your guests and anticipate their needs. It is okay to adjust ground rules as you host more often; just keep your listing current with new and improved rules.

Final Thought

Establishing ground rules that suit your Airbnb and your preferences reduces damage to your house and helps prevent accidents. Ensure that you keep your ground rules explicit but simple. When your guests comprehend your rules, it will make you feel in control and enable you to have peace of mind while you are hosting guests.

About the Author Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones is an award-winning writer and editor from Oklahoma City, OK. Her work has been published on influential sites, including Entrepreneur and International Business Times. She spent several years in property management and leasing, handling short-term rentals, student housing, and community rentals. Rachel is also experienced in staging and real estate photography. With a B.A. in English in her back pocket, Rachel combines her passion for property management with her storytelling ability to offer Airbnb hosts helpful advice as they monetize their homes.