98% of my guests are respectful and leave the house in almost the same condition they found it. BUT I just had a family that did not treat my house with ANY respect. They were very demanding before they even arrive but I don’t want to get into that. Everything in the whole house was coated with sticky childrens’ finger prints – EVERYTHING. My housekeeper rarely complains but this was not a normal condition to leave my house. It took her an extra 2+ hours to turn the house, keeping my next guests waiting to enter…. Arg! They also did not set the alarm and did not take out the trash (which are items I describe on my listing and via a text message).
I’m writing because I don’t know what to do. I’m angry and feel violated but I don’t want to write them a really bad review because I don’t want the bad karma (and don’t want them to burn down my house). If I could write a cruel review I would but now that they reviewed me, I feel compelled to do something. How to handle the public and private review on Airbnb?”
– Jessica in Palm Springs, CA
My heart palpitates when I read your tale. Some people/families should be outright banned from renting…anything! Since they had the audacity to write you a review expecting one in return and you don’t know what tact they took with theirs, all you can do in my opinion with unreasonable people like this is write a very terse neutral review and give them a thumbs down. They won’t know you gave the thumbs down so your house should be spared from arson.
There are 3 elements to evaluate guests: Communication, following the rules, and cleanliness. It sounds to me that they did not follow the rules and were not clean. You can say something like this. “X stayed for a large family gathering and were easy to communicate with”. If they communicated well, give 5 stars and 1 star for cleanliness and around 3 for following the rules. If the cops were not called for a noise violation, then they did follow at least the most important rule so give them 3 stars but knock 2 off for not setting the alarm and not taking out the garbage.
Then rip them a new one in the private remarks but do it in a way that sets you up for success with Airbnb in the case you want to go full throttle and charge them for the extra cleaning. Say something like, “Understand that small children can be a handful but we had to spend an extra two hours cleaning the stickiness from everything the children touched which made us late for our next guests – we had to refund them $100 for the inconvenience and also had to pay our housekeeper an extra $50 since the house was not turned over in the same condition which you found the house which is stated in our rules on the Airbnb website. We would welcome you back if you could abide by the rules.”
If they leave you a neutral to good review -that’s it – let it go. If they DARE give a bad public review, if I have the energy, I would send a payment request for $150 via the Airbnb app and see what happens.