The 10 Commandments of Handling Bad Guests

Are you having trouble dealing with bad guests?
As hosts at Weekender Management, we’ve noticed a common concern amongst property owners like us. We’ve all experienced difficult guests at some point – those who take advantage of our hospitality, disrespect our properties, or just fail to follow the basic rules. This can lead to stress, frustration, financial loss, or even, in rare cases, the guests getting blacklisted.

When you have one of your properties listed on rental platforms like Airbnb or VRBO, it becomes your responsibility to manage guests. However, certain guests can put a strain on your hospitality skills and require a strategic approach to handle. They can disrupt your usual business operations and possibly leave you struggling with unexpected costs due to damages, bad reviews, and, overall, a tough time. But worry not as this is all part of the learning experience.

Setting boundaries and establishing clear rules for house guests can make navigating these instances easier and less stressful. The best strategy is always proactive. From screening your guests before their stay to managing expectations by indicating your house rules – these measures can help decrease the likelihood of hosting a troublesome guest.

Just remember the golden rule: A good guest is well-informed and respectful; a bad guest isn’t.

Now, we’re here to arm you with useful tips and practical advice for dealing with bad guests, through our “10 Commandments of Handling Bad Guests”. This guide minimizes the chances of a lackluster interaction and equips you with the necessary knowledge to handle tricky situations, should they arise.

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Stick around as we unveil the first commandment to handling bad guests – setting clear expectations. Delving into this will help you make a proactive step toward ensuring a smoother process, better guest relations, and, ultimately, more successful rental property management.

Quick Guide: Handling Difficult Guests

  1. Set Clear Expectations: It’s essential to establish the house rules and expectations in advance. This preemptive approach can help avoid potential issues and misunderstandings.
  2. Review Your Guests: Don’t skip checking the reviews of your prospective guests. It’s a simple way to spot any potential red flags and prepare accordingly.
  3. Strike a Balance: Be available for your guests when they need assistance. However, it’s equally important to respect their space and privacy. It’s all about striking that perfect balance!
  4. Keep Your Property Tidy: A clean and well-maintained property is more likely to be treated with respect. It sets a standard for your guests to follow during their stay.
  5. Plan for the Unforeseen: Despite all precautions, things might still go wrong. That’s when your contingency plan comes into play. Have a plan and keep necessary authorities or support within easy reach.

Commandment 1: Thou Shall Set Clear Expectations

As a property owner and host, one of the most crucial steps you can take to prevent issues with bad guests is to establish clear expectations from the outset. At Weekender Management, we’ve seen firsthand that a lack of clarity can lead to misunderstandings and friction between hosts and guests.

Importance of Communicating House Rules and Expectations Upfront

From our experience, ensuring that your guests understand the house rules and what is expected of them can significantly reduce the likelihood of problems arising during their stay. This encompasses everything from noise restrictions and the shoe policy to cleanliness standards and check-out procedures. By setting these expectations, you not only create a better environment for your guests but also protect your property and your peace of mind.

Just as we advise in our Airbnb host guide, a clear list of house rules is paramount. This is not about being overly strict or controlling but about fostering mutual respect and understanding between you and your guests. Indeed, if your guests fail to follow the rules, it could result in your getting in trouble with local authorities or, if you live in a regulated market, your ability to operate.

How to Tactfully Communicate These Rules to Guests

Communicating these rules to your guests doesn’t have to be a difficult or uncomfortable process. The key is to do it tactfully and professionally. Here are some simple steps you can follow:

  1. Written Communication: Include your house rules in your property listing and booking confirmation emails. This ensures that guests are aware of them before they even arrive.
  2. Welcome Guide: Consider creating a comprehensive guest manual or digital guide. This can be a simple document detailing the house rules, local attractions, emergency contacts, and Wi-Fi details. As we suggested in our short-term rental tips, proactive information sharing can be a game-changer.
  3. Verbal Communication: If possible, a walk-through with your guests upon their arrival can be highly beneficial. This allows you to personally explain any specific rules and answer any questions your guests may have.

The goal is not to overwhelm your guests with rules but to ensure they have a comfortable stay while respecting your property. Setting clear expectations is the first commandment in handling bad guests and laying the foundation for a positive hosting experience.

Commandment 2: Thou Shall Not Tolerate Disrespect

In hosting, maintaining a respectful environment is paramount. As hosts, we at Weekender Management firmly believe that respect is a two-way street. We treat our guests with courtesy and expect the same in return.

Identifying Disrespectful Behaviors in Guests

Identifying disrespectful behaviors in guests can be challenging as it often involves subjective judgment. However, there are telltale signs that are universally accepted as signs of disrespect. These may include guests breaking house rules, leaving your property in a messy state, or being verbally abusive. This can particularly be true when you’re renting out rooms, rather than whole properties. As Myka Meier, an etiquette expert, points out, actions like “snapping, clapping, or waving [aggressively] to get service attention” are frowned upon and can be classified as disrespectful.

How to Address and Handle Disrespectful Guests

When it comes to handling disrespectful guests, patience and understanding are key. Not all guests who exhibit difficult behavior are inherently disrespectful. They might be out of their routine or facing challenges that are causing them to act out.

At Weekender Management, our first approach is to communicate with the guests, understand their perspectives, and try to address their concerns promptly. The goal is to avoid conflict and ensure everyone has a good time during their stay.

However, in cases where guests continue to disrespect you, your property, or other guests, it might be necessary to ask them to leave. In some extreme cases, we might even relocate them to other lodgings, as we believe that it’s better to forgo income from a particular stay than to tolerate disrespectful behavior.

The key is to balance the need to maintain a positive hosting environment with the needs and behaviors of your guests. Following this commandment helps ensure that your property is respected and your guests have a pleasant stay.

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Up next, we’ll delve into the third commandment of handling bad guests: maintaining patience.

Commandment 3: Thou Shall Maintain Patience

Patience, as the saying goes, is a virtue. This holds particularly true when dealing with bad guests. It’s easy to lose your cool when faced with a guest who’s being difficult, but it’s crucial to remember that not every difficult guest is a difficult person. They may be acting out of character due to stress or discomfort. Try not to take it personally if they are disruptive or make unreasonable requests; remember, they are not always acting this way on purpose.

The Importance of Patience in Dealing with Difficult Guests

Patience in the face of adversity can make the difference between a negative interaction and a resolved issue. It’s quite possible that the guest is having a bad day or not feeling well, which is causing them to behave in a less-than-ideal manner. By maintaining patience, you’re giving them space to express their concerns without escalating the situation.

Moreover, a patient approach can lead to a more thorough understanding of the guest’s perspective, which can be key to resolving the issue at hand. This doesn’t mean tolerating abuse, but it does involve giving the guest some leeway to express their discomfort or dissatisfaction.

Strategies for Maintaining Composure and Patience

Handling bad guests with patience involves a combination of communication, empathy, and firmness. Here are a few strategies to help you maintain your cool:

1. Practise Active Listening: Ensure you’re really hearing what your guest is saying. This helps them feel understood and can diffuse tension.

2. Take a Pause: If a guest is being particularly difficult, it’s okay to pause the conversation. A brief time-out can help both parties cool down and approach the issue more calmly.

3. Use Empathetic Language: Express understanding and sympathy for the guest’s situation. Statements like, “I understand why you’re upset,” can go a long way in calming a tense situation.

4. Maintain Professionalism: Keep the interaction professional, even if the guest becomes personal. You’re representing your property and your brand.

5. Seek Support if Needed: If you’re unable to resolve the issue, don’t hesitate to involve a third party, such as a property manager or customer service representative, if you have one.

By adhering to this third commandment of handling bad guests, you’ll be better equipped to navigate challenging guest interactions while preserving the peaceful atmosphere of your property. In the next section, we’ll explore the importance of upholding cleanliness when hosting guests.

Commandment 4: Thou Shall Uphold Cleanliness

As a host, it’s crucial to provide a clean and inviting space for your guests. However, dealing with bad guests often includes managing those who leave a mess behind or fail to respect the cleanliness of your property. Here’s how to handle such situations:

Dealing with Messy Guests and Maintaining Cleanliness

It’s not uncommon to encounter guests who are terribly messy. Such behavior can be frustrating and time-consuming to deal with. To mitigate this issue, you need toe accept this as part of the business and implement a robust cleaning protocol in between bookings. This ensures that your property is always clean and ready for the next guests.

To build guest confidence, be transparent about your cleaning practices. As stated on our Vacation Rental Cleaning page, guests need to feel confident that their vacation rental is clean and safe. This can be achieved through clear communication about your cleaning procedures. For instance, include information about your cleaning procedures in your property listing, or share photos of the cleaning process.

Setting Rules About Cleanliness and Enforcing Them

Rules about cleanliness should be part of your house rules and expectations that you communicate to your guests. However, be mindful not to overburden your guests with too many tasks. While it may – I emphasize “may” – be ok to ask guests to do simple things like running the dishwasher or putting the trash in the trashcan, they are paying customers, not employees. Overloading them with chores may leave a bad impression. This is particularly true if you are charging a cleaning fee.

In case of a breach of your cleanliness rules, address the issue with the guest directly, but politely. If the problem persists, you may need to enforce penalties such as withholding part of the security deposit, if you charge one. The goal is to maintain a clean and comfortable environment for all guests.

Cleanliness is a two-way street. While it’s vital for guests to respect your space, it’s equally important for us, as hosts, to provide a clean and welcoming environment. By upholding cleanliness, we can enhance our guests’ experience, reduce the likelihood of dealing with bad guests, and maintain the reputation of our properties.

Commandment 5: Thou Shall Respect Privacy

One of the most crucial aspects of hosting is understanding and maintaining the privacy boundaries between you and your guests. Some guests may not understand or respect these boundaries, leading to uncomfortable situations and potential conflicts. Let’s explore how to address these issues and protect your privacy.

Addressing Issues of Privacy Invasion by Guests

Dealing with privacy invasion can be challenging, particularly when your short-term rental is on your property or you’re renting out a room. Whether it’s guests asking too personal questions, coming into your personal space without permission, or behaving inappropriately, tackle these situations with grace and assertiveness.

It’s your property, and you have the right to establish privacy rules. If a guest crosses the line, communicate your discomfort immediately. If the behavior continues, don’t hesitate to involve Airbnb or the relevant platform. As one Airbnb host shared on Reddit, some guests can be quite disrespectful and engage in activities that invade your privacy and disrupt your peace. In such situations, it’s best to report the issue to the platform for immediate resolution.

How to Set Boundaries to Protect Your Privacy

Setting boundaries is vital. Here are some tips to help you protect your privacy:

1. Clear House Rules: Define your house rules clearly in your listing. Specify any areas that are off-limits and times when you are not available.

2. Communication: Be open and honest with your guests. If a guest crosses a boundary, let them know immediately.

3. Key Control: If possible, provide keys only to the areas the guests will need. This prevents unwanted access to your personal areas.

4. Use a Property Management Service: Services like Weekender Management can handle guest interaction, saving you from potential privacy invasions.

5. Security Measures: Consider installing security measures such as locks on your private rooms or a security system for your property. However, be sure to stay informed about the laws and regulations governing these installations.

By respecting our own privacy and that of our guests, we can create a hospitable environment where everyone feels comfortable and respected. After all, handling bad guests often comes down to clear communication, firm boundaries, and a bit of patience.

Commandment 6: Thou Shall Not Allow Overstaying

One of the most challenging situations we encounter in the short-term rental business is dealing with guests who overstay their welcome. As a host, it’s crucial to understand that your space is not a public amenity but a business, and it should be treated as such.

Identifying and Dealing with Guests Who Overstay Their Welcome

Identifying guests who have the potential to overstay can be a tricky task. It’s often a matter of intuition, but certain behaviors can serve as warning signs. For instance, guests who are vague about their departure plans or repeatedly ask for late check-outs might be planning to overstay.

If you notice such signs, it’s vital to take action sooner than later. At Weekender Management, we believe in the virtue of patience and understanding, but also in the necessity of setting boundaries. A simple reminder about the check-out time, sent in a friendly yet firm manner, can often resolve the situation.

How to Tactfully Ask Overstaying Guests to Leave

If reminders don’t work and the guests still overstay, it’s time to take a more direct approach. We suggest a few steps:

  1. Start with a polite conversation: Remind the guests of the check-out time and the reasons why it’s important to adhere to it. Make sure to communicate this in a kind, respectful manner.
  2. Use written communication: If verbal reminders aren’t effective, follow up with a written message. This creates a record of your communication, which can be useful if the issue escalates.
  3. Refer to the contract: As part of the rental agreement we have guests sign, we reserve the right to take necessary measures when guests overstay. Pointing out this clause can often motivate guests to adhere to the check-out time.
  4. Involve the platform: If the guests still refuse to leave, contact the platform (like Airbnb or VRBO) and report the situation. They can provide further assistance and might be able to mediate the situation.
  5. Consider legal action: If all else fails, you might need to involve local authorities. While this is a last resort and not a pleasant experience, it’s sometimes necessary to protect your business and property. Depending on your jurisdiction, however, short-term guests typically do not acquire tenant rights and can be removed by law enforcement without having to involve the local courts.

Dealing with bad guests who overstay can be a daunting task. But remember: your property, your rules. You have the right to enforce the agreed-upon terms of the stay. It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance between hospitality and business.

Commandment 7: Thou Shall Address Noise Issues

Dealing with Noisy Guests and Maintaining a Peaceful Environment

The seventh commandment for handling bad guests is all about addressing noise issues. As hosts, it’s crucial that we maintain a peaceful environment not just for ourselves but for all guests involved. Everyone deserves to enjoy their stay without being disturbed by unnecessary noise.

Noisy guests can be a real headache. Whether they’re blasting music, having loud conversations, or causing disturbances in the middle of the night, these bad guests can disrupt the tranquility of your rental property. Identifying these disruptors early and addressing the issue tactfully can save you from potential conflicts and complaints.

Setting and Enforcing Rules About Noise Levels

At Weekender Management, we believe that prevention is always better than cure. That’s why setting clear, concise house rules about acceptable noise levels is so important. This involves specifying quiet hours and explaining expectations about noise during check-in. It might not prevent all noise issues, but it provides a clear standard that guests should adhere to.

Communicating these rules effectively is essential. This could be done verbally, in a written format at the property, or through the rental platform. Providing guests with a heads-up about potential noise disruptions, like construction nearby or a lively neighborhood, can also be beneficial.

However, setting rules is just the first step. The real challenge lies in enforcing them. If a guest breaches the noise rules, it’s crucial to address the issue immediately. It could be a simple reminder about the quiet hours or a stern warning if the situation escalates. It’s your property, and you have the right to maintain a peaceful environment.

In extreme cases, if the guest continues to be disruptive, it might be necessary to involve the rental platform or local authorities. At Weekender Management, we always advocate for peaceful resolution, but we also understand the need to protect our property and the tranquility of our environment.

Addressing noise issues is all about striking a balance. It’s about ensuring guests can enjoy their stay without causing discomfort to others. By setting and enforcing noise rules, we can maintain a peaceful environment for everyone.

Commandment 8: Thou Shall Not Ignore Dietary Restrictions

If you are among the minority of short-term rental hosts who provide food for guests, this is particularly important. When it comes to bad guests and their dietary restrictions, knowledge is power. As hosts, we must be aware of our guests’ dietary needs to ensure their comfort during their stay. Ignoring or overlooking these restrictions can lead to uncomfortable situations and potentially harmful health consequences for guests.

Importance of Being Aware of Guests’ Dietary Restrictions

Understanding our guests’ dietary requirements is not just about providing an inclusive service; it’s about demonstrating respect and care for our guests’ well-being. Allergies are a must-know. If guests can’t eat virtually anything in your pantry or refrigerator due to dietary restrictions, it can significantly impact their experience and overall satisfaction.

A satisfied guest is more likely to leave a positive review, and that’s gold in the realm of short-term rentals. Guest feedback is a valuable tool for identifying areas for improvement and enhancing our service.

How to Handle Guests Who Do Not Communicate Their Dietary Restrictions

On the other hand, it’s equally important to address the issue of guests who fail to communicate their dietary restrictions. Here, the mantra is: maintain open communication.

We should encourage our guests to disclose any dietary restrictions or allergies before their arrival. This can be done by including a section in the booking process where they can note any special dietary needs. If guests do not provide this information, a polite follow-up message can serve as a reminder.

However, we shouldn’t overstep. While allergies are critical, personal food dislikes or preferences should be managed by the guests themselves. As hosts, we can provide a well-stocked kitchen with essential items, but guests should bring or buy any specific food items they prefer.

Being aware of and accommodating dietary restrictions where possible is a hallmark of excellent customer service. It sends a clear message to our guests: we value your comfort and well-being, and we want your stay with us to be as enjoyable as possible. This commitment to their satisfaction can turn even bad guests into good reviews.

In the end, dealing with guest dietary restrictions is just one facet of the overall guest experience. Up next, we’ll explore how to handle more severe issues like theft and property damage.

Commandment 9: Thou Shall Not Tolerate Theft

A bad guest isn’t just someone who breaks house rules or overstays their welcome. Unfortunately, some guests cross the line into theft or damaging property. At Weekender Management, we believe in safeguarding our clients’ properties and taking a firm stand against such behavior.

Dealing with Guests Who Steal or Damage Property

Not every case of damaged or missing items is intentional theft. Sometimes, guests may accidentally break something or mistakenly take items like towels or bathrobes, thinking they’re complimentary.

However, there are instances where guests purposefully steal or cause damage. As an Airbnb host, you may face situations where items like decor pieces or even salt and pepper shakers from the kitchen are missing after a guest’s stay, as one user shared on Travel and Leisure.

Hosts should be vigilant and proactive in protecting their property. For particularly high-end properties or long-term stays, implementing measures like doing a walkthrough with your guests upon their arrival and pointing out any areas that might be fragile or off-limits may be appropriate. Never leave items of sentimental or significant monetary value unsecured in your property, as it can be difficult to determine who may have broken or removed an item.

Steps to Take When Theft or Damage Occurs

If, despite your precautions, damage or theft occurs, there are several steps you can take.

First, document the damage or missing items thoroughly, with photos if possible. Then, reach out to the guest to discuss the situation. They might be willing to compensate for the damage or return the stolen items.

If the guest is uncooperative, you’ll need to report the details to your rental platform. For instance, on Airbnb, you may want to leave a poor — but accurate — review to warn other hosts about the guest. You might also report the incident to Airbnb itself; they may want to bar the guest from the platform. In severe cases, you may even want to file a police report.

Handling bad guests can be challenging, but with clear expectations, proactive measures, and the right support, you can protect your property and your peace of mind.

Commandment 10: Thou Shall Maintain Open Communication

The final commandment revolves around the art of communication. As hosts, we at Weekender Management believe in the importance of open and honest communication with guests. It’s not just about answering questions; it’s about forging connections, ensuring comfort, and fostering trust. This can completely change how a guest feels about their stay with us and influences the kind of reviews they’ll leave us.

Why Open Communication Matters

Open communication can be a game-changer in dealing with bad guests. It helps in understanding what your guest needs and wants. By understanding this, we can make them feel taken care of and important. This, in turn, can influence their behavior and turn a potentially bad guest into a cooperative one.

Moreover, good communication can help you nip potential issues in the bud. If a guest is aware of house rules and expectations right from the start, they’re less likely to overstep boundaries and become troublesome.

Navigating Conflict Through Communication

Addressing issues and conflicts is a tricky business. However, with a calm demeanor and strategic conversation, you can resolve most conflicts effectively. The key is to be patient and understanding. Not every difficult guest is a difficult person. They may be being difficult for a reason. Looking at things from their perspective will help avoid conflict and ensure everyone has a good time during their stay.

It’s also important to remember that while we strive to offer the best service, sometimes it means sacrificing the income from a particular stay to satisfy the guest. If a guest is uncomfortable with the situation, it is often better to help them relocate to other lodgings than deal with them for an entire stay.

Moreover, consider setting up automated responses for frequent queries. This ensures that guests receive immediate answers even when you’re unavailable. Also, create a comprehensive guest manual or digital guide that addresses common questions about the property, local attractions, emergency contacts, Wi-Fi details, and any house rules.

Lastly, seek feedback after their stay. This not only helps in refining your communication strategies but also demonstrates that you value guest opinions. This also serves as a channel for guests to express any dissatisfaction, thereby avoiding negative reviews.

In conclusion, maintaining open communication can serve as your best tool in handling bad guests effectively. It fosters trust, deflects potential conflicts, and promotes a more positive experience for both the guest and the host.


Throughout this guide, we’ve outlined the 10 commandments for handling bad guests, providing you with practical strategies to ensure a positive rental experience for both you and your guests. From setting clear expectations to maintaining open communication, these guidelines can help you navigate the challenges that can arise when hosting guests in your short-term rental property.

Each commandment has its significance. Clear expectations set the foundation for guest behavior, while a firm stand against disrespect safeguards your rights as a host. Patience helps you maintain a professional demeanor, and upholding cleanliness ensures your property remains in good condition. Respecting privacy, addressing noise issues, and preventing overstays all contribute to a peaceful living environment. Being mindful of dietary restrictions shows you care about your guests’ well-being, and an uncompromising stand against theft protects your property and investment. Lastly, open communication allows for the resolution of issues and fosters a better understanding between you and your guests.

Though dealing with bad guests can sometimes be an unavoidable part of the short-term rental business, it shouldn’t deter you from reaping the benefits of your investment. If handled correctly, even the most daunting guest-related challenges can be turned into opportunities for growth and learning. Every interaction is a chance to sharpen your hosting skills and improve your service.

At Weekender Management, we strive to make the hosting experience as smooth and rewarding as possible. We are here to assist you, providing expert advice and services to maximize your returns and minimize your stress. Armed with these commandments, you are now better equipped to handle any bad guests that come your way. But remember, you’re not alone in this journey. We are here to help!

For more in-depth advice on property management and short-term rentals, be sure to explore our blog. If you’re interested in taking your hosting game to the next level, consider our property management services.

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The ultimate goal is to create a welcoming environment where guests feel at home, and you feel at ease. Our commandments are not just about handling bad guests, but about fostering a positive community and promoting a culture of respect and understanding. After all, at the end of the day, every host’s dream is to hear their guests say: “We had a great time, we’ll be back soon!” That’s the kind of experience we aim to help you create at Weekender Management.

Even the worst guest situations can be turned into positive learning experiences. It’s all about perspective and approach. So the next time you encounter difficult guests, just remember these 10 commandments and turn the situation around!

Happy hosting!

If you’re interested in learning more about how Weekender Management can help you get started in real estate, schedule a call with us today!