9 Outrageous Rules Travelers Have Encountered at Airbnbs

Airbnb rentals may be your choice over hotels, but there can be some unexpected catches.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Travel suitcase behind the open door of hotel apartment room

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Knowledgeable hosts, one-of-a-kind properties, and reasonable prices have lured plenty of travelers away from conventional hotels and into Airbnbs. However, some Airbnb users have encountered outrageous rules once they checked into their homes away from home.

Following are 10 of the most ridiculous rules users have encountered when searching for an Airbnb.

Astronomical cleaning fees

Саша Потапов/Adobe hands in medical gloves holding a bundle of dollars

We’ve all been there: You search for an Airbnb and find one with a good price, only to be discouraged when the cleaning fee makes the booking no more affordable than a hotel.

That was the sentiment of @masonbriles, who wrote the following on Twitter: “They got $150 cleaning fee on a $90 a night apartment. I’ll spend that at a hotel and they’ll make my bed for me thank you.”

Another Airbnb customer, @_va_ne, had a similar experience: “An Airbnb host when we went to Joshua Tree wanted to charge me $375 for not arranging the pillows correctly and for some hair in the shower.”

A request to pretend you're something you are not

The Hidden Touch/Adobe welcome bedroom

Picture this: You book what seems like the perfect Airbnb, you hop on the plane, and then you arrive — only to be told to pretend you’re not staying at an Airbnb.

This has happened to more than one user of the service, including Patricia Payne. Payne showed up at an Airbnb only to be told by the host to act like a fugitive.

“He told me that if anyone asked, I was just here to visit him and his family, like we were friends … and not to speak to security or the concierge or really anybody who worked there,” Payne said.

Demands to avoid heating the pool or using the hot tub

sir.chitvises/Adobe boy learn to swim in the swimming pool

Some of the best aspects of staying at an Airbnb are the amenities, like swimming pools and hot tubs.

So, it’s understandable that Twitter user @tristangraham lamented Airbnb hosts who charged $100 per day for heated pool access, but repeatedly texted not to use the pool too much.

Forbidding use of the climate controls

zimmytws/Adobe thermostat cost

You would think that when you stay at an Airbnb, your hosts would want you to be comfortable. But Twitter user @cre8iv_sparq was in for a surprise after learning there was no option to control the temperature in an Airbnb.

"My last Airbnb wouldn't let me control my own A/C in FLORIDA!" the traveler tweeted. "I was melting during the day. I just wanted to nap after the plane and couldn't."

Strange food requests

Oksana Volina/Adobe toy pig on a plate in the figure on the chalk board

We get it. Airbnb hosts want you to respect the property, be careful when using appliances, and in general take care of the space.

However, one host took things a bridge too far when telling Twitter user @tradbunni what couldn’t be eaten during a stay at the property. “This one Airbnb was ran [sic] by vegetarians and they said we weren’t allowed to eat meat in the house,” the traveler explained.

However, we do have sympathy for hosts at another Airbnb who had to specifically ask guests not to leave bags of nuts on the floor, which were attracting squirrels.

Excessive chore lists

Joshua Resnick/ADOBE  woman taking out the trash

Arguably one of the most common gripes among Airbnb users is the excessive chore lists that hosts expect you to complete.

“My last Airbnb was like, ‘Just run a load of laundry, take out the trash, remove the weeds, clean the gutters, and leave the key in the lockbox before leaving,’” Twitter user @minemystake quipped.

And if you mess up the chores? It can cost you, says Twitter user @thesarahkelly. “When I went home for Christmas they charged us $50 for completing the chore list incorrectly,” the traveler shared. “I’m still not sure where I messed up.”

No delivery allowed

daviles/Adobe Pizza shopping app in a mobile phone screen

Depending on where you’re staying, your food needs may vary at your Airbnb. If you plan to cook and there’s a kitchen you can use, great.

However, Twitter user @TrondyNewman had a rude awakening when the food she ordered never arrived at her Airbnb.

“The last one I stayed at the owner turned away my delivery person citing her ‘no guests’ policy,” she revealed.

No noise allowed…at all

deagreez/Adobe angry woman raising fist up screaming at ceiling

If you’ve ever been stuck with loud neighbors, you know the struggle. But some Airbnb hosts have taken it too far when it comes to their rules concerning quiet hours.

“At 8pm the owner texted us and said we were too loud – we were literally barely speaking and certainly not loudly,” Twitter user @Owl_Whisperer explained. “We then whispered.”

User @aesthdistance1 likely can relate after writing the following about a stay at another Airbnb: “The owners told me to stop walking around in the apartment between the hours of 10 am - 10 pm bc the downstairs neighbors didn’t like the sound of footsteps, even barefoot.”

Asking for pet-sitting

annaav/Adobe two dogs help get ready for a trip

Finally, believe it or not, some Airbnb hosts have asked guests for help taking care of pets.

“There was a listing that came with a cat named Cosmo and in the notes had ‘feeding schedule and care instructions will be provided’ like I was paying HER $98/day to cat sit this thing,” Twitter user @cannotbedan wrote.

Twitter user @Caisie had a similar experience when the Airbnb host asked the traveler to look for the cat and supervise it. “Ma’am, I’m not here for a capture & rescue mission,” @Caisie joked. “I’m on a business trip.”

Conversely, one Airbnb host explicitly had to make a rule about no pet grooming after one guest washed a dog in the shower.

Bottom line

uladzimirzuyeu/Adobe Airbnb logo on a computer screen

While plenty of Airbnb hosts have reasonable rules for people who rent properties, that’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes the regulations that hosts ask their guests to abide by are downright wild.

If you do decide to book an Airbnb, consider using one of the best travel credit cards to reserve your special getaway. And make sure to show respect to both your host and future guests by treating the Airbnb rental as if it were your own home.

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Cat Lafuente Cat Lafuente is a Florida-based writer and editor with extensive experience in digital and print content spaces. Her own personal finance journey — particularly consolidating debt and paying it off, in turn boosting her credit score and becoming a homeowner — inspired her to join the FinanceBuzz team; she hopes she can help others do the same.

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