The fact is that if you don’t get on well with your neighbors your Airbnb let will have problems from the start. Whether your lets are in an apartment building or a house, you must follow this vital rule:
To keep your Airbnb neighbors happy, build strong relationships by getting to know your neighbors. A smile and a hello is often enough to break the ice. Make sure you deal with any issues immediately, and if there’s a problem: apologize – in person. Be ultra considerate, and ensure your guests adhere to correct parking rules. And above all else make absolutely sure there are no parties.
I know this from experience. Our Airbnb apartments are in a small residential estate and we’ve managed it well. We have had the occasional issue, which I’ll go on to write about how we’ve handled. But be assured, if you don’t handle them right, you will have a problem.
Here’s a checklist of things to do to keep your neighbors happy.
1. House Rules
Ensure your guests are aware of your house rules. Specify them more than once in your literature. If you use an online booking form on your website, you can ask them to sign (or tick) that they agree with your house rules.
House rules should specify:
No parties. I would strongly advise this and watch out for booking details. Much better to cancel a booking, even if this means Airbnb penalizes you than risk upsetting your neighbors and risking your business.
Consider whether you want pets or not. This is situation-specific, but if in an apartment there may be other rules stopping this.
Specify quiet hours. Usually, 10 pm-7 am.
Be very specific that you have a zero-tolerance policy on antisocial behavior.
2. Charge a Security Deposit
Compliance with your house rules is helped by charging a security deposit. We charge £500 even for a one-night stay. For larger groups, we charge up to £1000 (After this we had no more problems).
This is particularly important where you suspect that there may be a group of people and it looks like it could be something resembling a party. One tip I picked up is that groups of young people simply can’t afford a £500 or £1000 deposit whereas older, perhaps more professional people can. This immediately gets rid of potential trouble.
3. Get to know your neighbors.
The more you know them, the easier any problems will be to resolve.
Be the one to say hello on the stairs or in the street. And remember this: relationships are not built in an instant, don’t expect people to be your best friend straight away, but if you consistently get to know people and make an effort to be friendly, they will be much more forgiving in the event of a problem.
Likewise, if they ask you about your short-let, be absolutely 100% honest with them. Nothing destroys relationships more than lies be they small or big.
4. If you do have a problem or a complaint
In the event of any problems or complaints, be extremely proactive. Go and see your neighbors in person immediately. Apologize. And mean it. If you don’t mean it, and you don’t care about your neighbors, you shouldn’t be running a short-let.
Also, remember that in this situation (as in life in general) it is extremely important to listen to the person who has the complaint. If you appear not to be listening or make excuses the conversation is pointless.
And if you need to apologize, do something too. Drop round a bottle of wine or some flowers. This further emphasizes that you do care.
Finally, leave your neighbors your mobile phone number so they know how to contact you. They will appreciate this.
5. Manage Noise
Ensure noise is managed. There are devices you can buy to monitor noise. This is a great product we use. It doesn’t spy on your guests but it does tell you when the noise is getting too high so you are aware.
Noise is probably one of the single biggest causes of concern for Airbnb neighbors. This also ties in with your house rules. Explain very explicitly that “quiet hours” should be observed between 10 pm and 7 am (for example).
6. Make sure your guests park in the right place.
This is also another “bigey”. Nothing annoys people more than having someone else park in their space. If you live in an area where parking is scarce, consider parking your car away from your home, and allowing your guests to use your space. Better that than your neighbor’s space.
I made a YouTube video to show guests where to park, and this works really well. And then tell guests specifically where they should not park.
7. Beware of Groups on a Friday or Saturday
Call them and find out why they’re staying. Trust your intuition and if you have a concern, cancel the reservation. Much better than risking your business.
Also, make absolutely certain you have a large security deposit and they know that will not be returned in the event of anti-social behavior.
Finally, meet your Friday or Saturday guests and tell them this beforehand. If they know you will meet them, they know you’ll be keeping an eye on them. This works. We’ve done it.
8. If problems do happen
If problems do happen, be proactive and talk to the management committee of your apartment, or your immediate neighbors if this is a house. People will appreciate you taking the initiative and not trying to hide or ignore the problem.
We have had problems in the past, and we’ve fixed it largely by doing two things – charging a big deposit for possible problem guests and screening them by phone.
We also made a huge effort to contact all of our neighbors and did apologize. And we meant it. And they appreciated it.
Q: I enjoy running my short-term let, but it’s stressful. What can I do?
A: There are many things you can do to cut down on your stress with Airbnb or other short-term lets. Please see this post which has some actionable points you can implement today!