Red Flags of the Problem Guest

What to Look For as a Rental Property Owner

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Running rental properties can be an incredibly lucrative side hustle and even serves as a full-time career for some. Just like any job, there are good and bad aspects. In this case, nightmarish guests definitely fall into the “bad” category.

Once you’ve gained enough experience as a rental owner, you learn how to spot trouble from a mile away. Getting ahead of the situation as soon as you spot the red flags of the infamous problem guest can save you time, money, and maybe even your business.

Red Flag
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Here are 10 property rental red flags to look out for in your guests:

  1. Missing Verification Information

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid accepting a booking request from any guests who can’t provided a verified form of identification. Anyone who can’t provide this is more than likely looking to scam you. What other reason would a traveler have for not being able to upload a photo of their driver’s license or passport?

  1. Last-Minute Booking Requests

Most travelers book their trips months or at least weeks in advance, so a last-minute booking request is worth taking a closer look at. While it could certainly be the result of a simple change of plans or spontaneous weekend getaway, it could also be a sign of a scam. On its own, it may be nothing, but when paired with other red flags—steer clear.

  1. Bad Reviews From Other Hosts

This one should go without saying, but getting bad reviews is one of the most clear rental guest red flags you could ask for. After all, the whole point of the reviewing system is to help guests and hosts get a better idea of what to expect from one another. A single subpar review could be a fluke, but if a guest has made a habit of ticking off their previous hosts, you’re most likely setting yourself up for failure.

  1. Requesting Rule Exceptions

If a potential guest is asking you to make exceptions to your house rules for them, whether they want to bring their dog to your non pet-friendly property or want to exceed the allowable number of guests, that’s a pretty clear indicator of what’s to come. You can use your best judgment to decide if you want to bend the rules, but it may be best to just recommend another property that would be better suited to their needs.

  1. Oversharing Personal Details

Many hosts don’t realize that a guest providing way too much information in their initial booking inquiry can actually be a red flag. If someone is spilling a bunch of personal details about the recent passing of their grandmother or how difficult things have been with their partner lately, they could be looking to guilt you into accepting their request. This could be a scam or an attempt to get a discount, but either way it’s a red flag.

  1. Rude or Inappropriate Communication
Red Flag
Photo by Andrew Hunter on Unsplash

This should go without saying, but someone speaking to you in a rude or inappropriate manner when trying to book your property is a huge red flag. As the rental property owner, you don’t owe this person anything. If their messages are rude or aggressive, you can expect further issues down the road from your entitled problem guest.

  1. Fake Name

Is John Doe trying to book with you? How about Britney Spears? Hello, red flag! If someone’s name seems fake, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look to see if you spot any other red flags. Sure, the name may be a funny coincidence that can be verified with their photo ID, but be sure to do your due diligence to avoid falling for a scam.

  1. Local Address or Phone Number

Does the inquiring guest appear to be from your town? This isn’t a major red flag by any means, as many people love taking a staycation from time to time, but it is worth asking about. Some locals may book a rental property to have a place to do something they wouldn’t do at their own home, like throw a wild party or engage in illegal activities.

  1. No Reviews

While being new to a rental booking platform is not necessarily a reason for pause on its own, submitting a booking inquiry without asking any questions first as someone who’s new to the platform sure is. Someone booking for the first time will almost always have at least a few questions for you, so this should set off some alarm bells to take a closer look and ensure that this guest isn’t actually a scammer.

  1. Sketchy Email Address

Before approving a guest’s booking request, check their email address. Does the name match the name on their profile? If their name isn’t found in the email address, is it something questionable like ’’ or ’’ I think it goes without saying that these kinds of email addresses would be red flags.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to identifying problem guests, it’s all about trusting your gut. By paying attention to the red flags rather than dismissing them, you can save yourself many potential headaches, poor reviews, and frustrating experiences. If you’re in need of a safe, secure, and efficient booking software to manage your rental properties, contact us today to schedule a demo and learn how to boost your bottom line with CabinKey™.

Photo by Julien L. on Unsplash

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