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How to Set Up a Varying Security Deposit on Airbnb

safety & security Feb 19, 2021

Are you tired of dealing with broken rules, damage, and unwanted parties?


It seems as our unruly guests have the upper hand and there is seldom any recourse or justice for burnt hosts.  Yes, Airbnb pays out occasionally after a long hard battle but usually gives you the run around before giving you a dime.  Here’s one easy thing you can do that is a GAME CHANGER. By the way, I have no incentive for sharing this other than to help other hosts; together we can set a new precedent.


I wouldn’t consider running a short-term rental without this!


COLLECT YOUR OWN SECURITY DEPOSIT ON THE PLATFORM, as collecting money off-platform is prohibited. 


After realizing how hard it was to actually collect on the “host guarantee” (not guaranteed!) I added to my House Rules that an additional refundable security deposit is required for all bookings. It’s fully refundable if my rules are honored and only if they are honored.  Basically, no parties, no damage, and leave our place in good condition.  I request it 5 days in advance of their stay and let the guest know it must be paid 48 hours before check-in or no entry.  You can request it via Resolution Center on the reservation (scroll down to "Send & Receive Money").  Then return it the same way if all goes smoothly.  Just make sure their payments have cleared. 


The ones not intending to be mindful will cancel - perfect. I don’t want those types in my home.  When you have money they want back, guess what?  Presto chango into ideal guests!  Guests who don’t pull stupid stunts like parties! 


I wouldn’t consider running a short-term rental without a deposit. That would be like a landlord not getting a security deposit!


STEP 1 - Add it to your listing. You do not have to state an amount as that can fluctuate based on the number of guests, duration, etc (it’s up to you).

Mine says in the description, “Please Note: Guests are expected to read & be willing to honor House Rules. No gatherings/parties allowed, only booked guests can be there at any time (unless discussed and approved in writing and additional fees paid in advance).

Additional security deposit required for every booking per House Rules; booking implies agreement to pay deposit and honor rules.

Unpaid deposit means no entry.

No cats (allergies). Dogs must be discussed/approved and paid in advance.”


Step 2 - Add it to your House Rules (under "Booking Settings"). Mine says, “By booking, guests agree to pay an additional security deposit prior to check-in. Booking guest acknowledges that access to the property will be denied until the deposit is paid in full or reservation is forfeited without refund. Payment is collected via Airbnb and is potentially fully refundable if all rules are honored. Refund is dependent upon ALL THE GUESTS in the group honoring ALL THE HOUSE RULES and is initiated after check out & after all payments have cleared & any needed resolutions made.  Our hope is to provide a full deposit refund because the stay went smoothly.”


Step 3 - Mention it upfront for inquiries/requests and bookings. Only guests who are planning on breaking rules (planning a party) tend to have an issue.  Yes, they will most likely cancel and let them. “Hi, Thank you for your interest in staying at Lagoon Manor! We’d love for you and your family to enjoy our beautiful home. Please take a moment to review House Rules as the security deposit you’ll pay a week in advance is only refundable given that all rules are honored. Please note, only booked guests can be there at any time (unless given approval). Pets must be discussed & paid for in advance.”


Step 4 - 5-7 days before check-in, go to the reservation, scroll down to ‘Send or Request Money” - request it there, then send the guest a message. “Hi, Thanks for booking Lagoon Manor for your stay. We look forward to providing a wonderful getaway! You are confirmed for 8 people total and 0 pets (pets must be discussed & paid in advance). Please note, no one else can be there at any time - not even one extra without prior approval. Parties or gatherings beyond booked guests are strictly prohibited (a clear violation of House Rules). Before your booking is final, there’s one more step. Please go to the following link & click “accept” to pay the security deposit (required for all bookings as stated in the listing): This must be paid a minimum of 48 hours prior to your check-in. The deposit is a 100% refundable fee - based on honoring 100% of the House Rules. It is always my hope that all goes smoothly and there’s nothing unexpected (especially in regards to extra people), so I can fully refund it! Thank you”


Step 5 - Make sure they have accepted your request - you will get an email or go to the above link to check the status of all your requests.


Step 6 - After check-out, given that all went smoothly, send the guest a thank you message letting them know that after all the payments clear, you will send back the full deposit (it can take a few days). Then follow through.  I send them a screenshot of the last page showing the money has been sent.


That's it!  No more worries about large groups trashing your property!


Written by Marcie Peters and Posted with Permission

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