Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rental marketplaces can offer attractive financial opportunities for owners, but operating these rental properties also comes with unexpected challenges. As a short-term rental owner, you may deal with a variety of problems. One of the most common and recurring issues is smoking inside your property. Depending on how long you have been a short-term rental host, it may be something you are all too familiar with. If you have not run into this issue, then chances are you probably will soon.
Airbnb smoking is not always as cut and dry as someone lighting a cigarette in your living room. Guests may be smoking cannabis on your premises despite your property being located in a non-legalized state. Your guests may be using a vape or electronic cigarette which are rising in popularity, particularly among the youth.
In these cases, you have to ask yourself: Do you, or the platform you host through, consider that smoking? Does a smoke-free property limit the number of prospective renters? Should you charge a fine for smoking at your rental? How do you avoid negative guest reviews for your Airbnb? Do e-cigarettes, vapes, or Juuls cause damage to my property?
These questions, and plenty more, are on the mind of many rental owners. While it is impossible to truly solve the issue of smoking within your property, we have some ideas and solutions that should address most of your concerns. We hope that they are helpful in keeping your Airbnb smoking free.
Prevent Airbnb Smoking with Warnings
Like anything else in life, a scary warning is a good way to disincentivize people from prohibited behavior. No smoking signs, like the ones in restrooms, schools, and airports, are great physical reminders to not engage in smoking while staying at your Airbnb or VRBO. Even better, they are often relatively cheap to purchase and install.
You should also prominently advertise your Airbnb smoking policy on your listing. You may want to let prospective renters know that smoking will incur a financial penalty and immediate eviction from the rental. It is unlikely that you will be able to collect the fee, as proof can be difficult to obtain, but you do not have to let potential guests know that.
Establish Clear Rules in Your Short-term Rental Listing
As mentioned, you want to be as clear as possible on your listing that smoking is not allowed at your rental property. In fact, specifics can be your friend here. If you do not want people vaping or using cannabis on the property, be sure to type out exactly that on your listing. The more explicit and clear, the better. Leave as little as you can up for interpretation to guests staying at your property.
You also need to be sure to specify the exact dollar amount of your smoking fee. This not only sets clear expectations for the guest but will assist you down the line if you must dispute something with Airbnb, VRBO, or whatever host platform you use.
The platforms will not be in your corner unless you have laid out in great detail your rules and the consequences of smoking in your short-term rental.
Get a Smoke Remediation Quote for Your Property
If you have not done so already, then you should look into getting a smoke remediation quote. Licensed companies will give you a fair estimate into how much it would cost to eliminate most of the impacts of smoke in your short-term rental.
A professional’s opinion may be very helpful when you are trying to collect the smoking fee from a guest at your short-term rental. These quotes can take a lot of time, so we recommend doing research or getting one in advance instead of trying to rush one when dealing with a short-term rental hosting platform. This will prevent downtime in the event a smoking incident has occurred at your Airbnb or VRBO.
Take Photos to Provide Evidence of Smoking
Like many simple solutions, taking photos is very effective. If you ever see any smoke-related damage, e-cigarette chargers, ashtrays or cigarette butt residue, or anything similar, then you should immediately take a photo. This photo will help prove to the host platforms that renters were, in fact, smoking inside your short term-rental.
In a similar vein, another simple solution is to install security cameras at your short-term rental, but remember, these must be disclosed in your listing. The best evidence for you, the short-term rental owner, are photos or videos of renters smoking on your premises. Unfortunately, the smell of cigarette smoke will not hold up as evidence of smoking to the host platforms. However, clear video or photographic evidence is nearly impossible to dispute. This could make all the difference in receiving your fee or not.
Protect Your Rental from Smoking and Loud Parties with Sentry
WYND Sentry is a revolutionary product for owners of Airbnb, VRBO, or other short-term rentals. The device can measure, in real time and at precise levels of accuracy, if there is any smoking occurring at your short-term rental. Think of it as a cigarette smoke detector for landlords.
Even better? Sentry can detect elevated noise levels, create incident reports, and includes tamper protection. The benefits of Sentry to short-term rental owners are immense. No longer do you have to worry about the painstaking process of collecting evidence however you can. Instead, you can use the Sentry app to painlessly create evidence-based, accurate reports that someone was smoking in your Airbnb.
The AI-powered technology will alert you instantly to any level of smoking detected, including giving you a start time, duration of smoking, and a particulate matter level reading. The device detects cigarette, cannabis, vape*, and e-cigarette* smoke at greater than 99% accuracy. The built-in tamper protection means renters cannot manipulate or deactivate the device.
Sentry will make your life much easier when you have to make a claim to your host platform and present evidence that your rules were violated. It will greatly increase your ability to prove a claim and give you better peace of mind as a short-term rental owner.