When it comes to running an Airbnb, first impressions are everything. While many hosts focus on essentials such as taking great photos and crafting a great Airbnb description, they often neglect writing house rules for their listing.

Whether you’re renting your home for a couple weekends or a few months of the year, guests are always going to need some direction and guidance on your home and what is allowed.

If you’ve never written house rules before, you might not be sure where to start, but no need to worry. We’ve broken things down in order to help you get this squared away, so you can focus on other essential tasks.

What are Airbnb house rules

Airbnb House Rules

As the term implies, house rules give you the chance to efficiently and effectively communicate what guests can and can’t do within your property. One of the things about Airbnb is that just as every listing is unique, it’s up to the host to develop rules that fit their needs. This is different from hotels where common sense is enough to have a successful stay.

Before you begin writing your Airbnb house rules, you’ll want to think about the types of potential guests you’ll attract, along with the demands and expectations they’ll have. Are you catering to college students who like to party? Is your space optimized for business travelers, or solo guests? Maybe you’re looking to welcome entire families?

Ultimately it’s up to the homeowner or renter to craft rules that best suit their space. Regardless of whether you choose a serious tone, a casual approach, or something in between, how you write your rules shows your personality, therefore helping you to attract the guests that best match with you.

It’s worth noting that you can’t pull a bait and switch with your house rules. All the essentials need to be laid out, up front, so guests know what to expect. Suddenly changing the rules can lead to negative reviews and even issues with collecting the security deposit in the rare instances where issues occur.

Taking things from the top, you’ll want to ensure that your house rules are simple and straightforward. You don’t want to come off as being too heavy-handed with your rules. In our experience, we’ve found that most successful hosts are extremely selective about their house rules—limiting to the top 3-5 components that are most important to them.

Developing win-win guidelines

Happy Airbnb Host

Given the fact that there’s no shortage of properties for Airbnb guests to select from, they’re going to be focused on finding the listings that are best for them. Since they’re paying customers, they’re going to be asking “What’s in it for me?”

People don’t like rules. That’s why you need to focus on showing what your guests will gain from following your house rules. For example rather than saying “guests are required to shut all lights and the a/c when leaving the home,” you can instead explain it like, “by helping us to conserve energy, we’ll be saving money, which leads to savings that we can pass onto you.

By framing things from a win-win angle, your guests are more likely to be receptive and understanding of your rules.

Here’s an example of how an Airbnb host uses the win-win approach to limit certain areas of their home:

“Since this house has multiple occupants, we like to ensure everyone has their own space. We kindly ask guests to refrain from entering our home office, and garage. In return, we’ll ensure your space is likewise respected.”

What to include in your Airbnb house rules

Airbnb House Rules

At this point, you’re probably looking for a house rules template that you can copy/paste into your Airbnb listing. Unfortunately since every Airbnb listing is unique, there’s no one size fits all approach to writing house rules. That being said, we’ve put together the following considerations so you can mix and match the topics to create house rules that work for you.

    • Will you allow extra guests within your property? If so, how many? Should ID verification be required for approval beforehand?
    • Is smoking permitted on/in your property? If so, where?
    • What areas are off-limits to your guests (if any)?
    • Is eating permitted throughout the home or are there specific areas that you would prefer limiting it to?
    • Where should the trash go? Are guests allowed to use the dishwasher? Should they be conscious of sorting their trash?
    • Do you have a washer/dryer for guests to use? If so, do they need to supply their own detergent and fabric softener?
    • Are parties and gatherings allowed? What size? What times?
    • When are quiet hours (if any)? This rule especially ties into rentals within apartment complexes.
  • Are pets/animals allowed? Is there an extra deposit?