As a short-term rental host, maintaining a clean and healthy environment for guests is critical. In fact, Airbnb guests expect this out of most hosts on the said rental platform. Unfortunately, managing smoking inside the rental property is one of the biggest challenges that short-term rental hosts face.
In this article, we will discuss the Airbnb smoking fee, how to set up a no-smoking policy, how to spot guests who smoke inside, and how to charge the Airbnb smoking fee. From clear communication to strict consequences, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to protect your property and ensure a positive experience for all of your guests.
The Airbnb no-smoking policy applies to all of its listings. It strictly prohibits the act involving cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and any other smoking devices in all indoor spaces, including common areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms.
The platform, however, puts all the power to allow or prevent guests from smoking into the hands of the hosts. Therefore, as a short-term rental host, you must ensure that your guests are aware of this policy and that they abide by it. If a guest is caught smoking inside the premises, you can charge them a smoking fee.
Setting up your house rules is crucial in ensuring that your guests understand what is expected of them during their stay; a no-smoking policy is simply one of the most important rules that a short term rental host can include.
Clearly stating this policy is the best way to prevent smoking in your Airbnb. We also recommend that you take a security deposit, just in case someone breaks the rules and greater vacation rental property cleaning is required.
According to Kris Lippi, founder & real estate broker at Isoldmyhouse.com, “Airbnb hosts are better off not doing business with renters who smoke as their habits can significantly devalue the property”.
This is because cigarette smoking can stain the walls, odorize the space, and put the rental unit at risk of fire. A policy in your house rules that restricts consumers on what they can do, however, should be clearly stated in the listing description and house manual, and be communicated to the guests prior to their arrival in order to observe their rights. This also ensures that your upcoming guests are updated before deciding to book.
Communication is key when it comes to enforcing the Airbnb no smoking policy and your house rules. Before the arrival of your new guests, send them a message reminding them of your house rules and the smoking policy.
You can also include this information in your welcome message or house manual to deter guests from smoking inside. During check-in, take the time to walk your guests through the no-smoking policy and answer any questions they may have.
Requesting a security deposit can also be done, as long as the renters are made aware beforehand. This will serve as your insurance that will potentially prevent smoking. State that your property is a non-smoking property and if your guests break this rule, you will use their security deposit for a professional cleaning service to get rid of the smoke damage.
Additionally, Airbnb hosts who practice impeccable customer service and turnover rental units that are clean and crisp from top to bottom, dressed with the finest bed linens and curtains, and equipped with security cameras, are also less likely to have their properties damaged by smoke because “guests are discouraged from ruining what goods and service and they’ve been greatly provided with” according to Nicky Dutta, founder of Lorel Diamonds and an experienced Airbnb host.
One of the best ways to spot guests who smoke inside is by looking for smoking signs. Some of the most common signs include cigarette butts, ashtrays, and the smell of cigarette smoke.
You can also look for discoloration on walls and ceilings or burn marks on furniture. If you suspect that a guest smoked inside your rental property, Airbnb encourages hosts to address the issue immediately.
This way, the renter will be made aware of the cleaning fees he/she is accountable for that will be allotted towards the deep cleaning and deep washing of the Airbnb properties in question.
If you catch a guest smoking inside your rental property, it is important to address the issue on the spot, instead of waiting until the last minute of the guest’s checkout date to help prevent smoking for the rest of their stay’s duration.
Emphasize that you do not tolerate smoking by asking them to stop immediately and pay up for a cleaning fee to rid of the secondhand smoke and other potential damages.
You can also provide them with information on nearby smoking areas if they need to smoke. If the guest refuses to comply, you have the right to ask them to leave and charge them a smoking fee. Hosts may also leave negative reviews to warn other hosts or refuse to rent the violators. However, it is crucial that the guests be informed of their right to contact Airbnb about any concerns they may have about your method or approach to enforcing your policy.
If a guest has smoked inside your rental property when you have explicitly announced a no smoking rule, do not hesitate to charge them a smoking fee as it is your right as a property owner and Airbnb host.
Specify the fee amount in your Airbnb listing description and house rule to demoralize violators from contesting. This fee should cover cleaning costs as well as any damages caused by smoking.
When charging the smoking fee, make sure to keep track of any smoking evidence, such as recordings from outdoor security cameras, live cigarettes that are usually just left on the front porch, empty cigarette packs, cigarette butts, ashtrays, or burn marks on sensitive spots such as the bed linen or soft furniture. In doing so, you must also adhere to the laws that protect short term renters.
If a guest has smoked inside your rental property, it is important to have the property professionally cleaned to eliminate any smoke odors or damage. Professional cleaning services are a surefire way to remove smoke stains and odors from walls, ceilings, and furniture.
This approach also affords you a cleaning crew that’s well-trained and equipped for ridding your property of traces of any form of cigarette inside so that future renters won’t suffer from second hand smoke.
As per Dutta, you should “make sure to keep all receipts and documentation of the cleaning service, as this will be necessary when charging the smoking fee”. She also suggests that cigarette smoke odor can linger for hours, if not days, and the best way to address them naturally is to “..place coffee grounds on a few bowls and station them all over the interior space where the smell is strongest.”
E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are also prohibited under the Airbnb smoking policy. These devices can leave behind an unpleasant odor that lingers on the property and poses a health risk to future guests.
Make sure to include e-cigarettes in your no-smoking policy and enforce it just as you would with traditional cigarettes. Should the renters require a smoking area, make sure to charge them an extra fee and “designate the farthest corner of the listing’s outdoor space for this activity to prevent smoke from damaging the walls and air conditioner, and clinging onto the bed linen, curtains, and other indoor garments” says Lippi.
Managing the process around security deposits and damage claim can be an extremely labourious process, but it doesn’t have to be! Vacation rental management software like iGMS is quick and easy to set-up and takes menial management tasks off your plate in one swoop! iGMS offers a range of helpful capabilities like:
In conclusion, managing smoking inside your rental property requires a proactive approach. Prevent smoking by setting up a strict no-smoking policy, communicating it to your guests, and enforcing it to protect your rental property from smoking damage.
If a guest does smoke inside, make sure to document the evidence and charge them the smoking fee to cover the cost of cleaning and damages. You can also leave a negative review on the platform about the renter to warn other hosts about their negligence of the guidelines.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your rental property remains clean and healthy for all of your future guests.
David Bitton is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. He is a five-time entrepreneur who has been surrounded by real estate his entire life, with a background as an investor, realtor, and community manager. He is also a best-selling author and legal CLE speaker.
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