How Airbnb hosts can enforce their no smoking policy

Many hosts are very proud of their Airbnb. So, to ensure that their guests have the best experience, hosts will go to great lengths to make sure that every detail is attended to; from a rigorous cleaning regime between guest stays to picking up the finest bed linen.

Guests who smoke inside a property can generate a number of issues that most hosts will rather avoid. Smoking in a short let can rack up a fairly expensive cleaning bill for a host and, potentially, a poor review from future guests.

So how do you, as a short term rental host, keep a property smoke free and avoid bad reviews from future guests?


1. Set clear house rules

The first and most important step is to set strict and clear house rules. You need to decide whether your policy is: no smokers or no smoking. For many, there’s a big difference between the two.

Smokers will often book ‘No Smoking’ Airbnb flats because they are happy to smoke outside. There are hosts who are also okay with letting smokers stay, as long as they smoke outside. But for most hosts who have a no smoking policy, they will actually mean – no smokers. And this needs to be made very clear:

  • No Smoking Inside
  • No Smoking Outside
  • No Smokers

2. Highlight your no-smoking policy in an email 

Welcome to my Airbnb!

Reinforce this in your welcome email and don’t be afraid to mention that anyone caught smoking will be removed from the property without a refund and/or anyone who leaves the smell of cigarettes inside the house will risk a fine and a bad review.

3. No-smoking signs Everywhere 

Many hosts will go to the effort of putting additional notices in the bathroom, on the balcony and in the living room about fines for smoking and the fact that it is not permitted on the property. We recommend this as a way of making it 100% clear that you will not tolerate smoking on the property.

4. Avoiding breaches of the no-smoking policy 

Airbnb smoking policy: no smoking allowedIt can be difficult to prove that a guest has smoked inside your property – even if it smells of cigarettes – but the best thing you can do is make sure your guests are greeted by you or a representative at check-in.

If you have a strict no-smoker policy and they arrive smelling of cigarette, you have a right to deny them and contact Airbnb to request they be rehoused elsewhere without a refund.

You can also charge penalties for breaching your house rules but Airbnb requires proof and that can be tricky. Some hosts install outdoor cameras and, as long as guests are notified that cameras are on the property, this can be another way to deter guests from smoking on your property.

5. Cleaning up after a guest smoked 

If a guest has smoked inside the home, it’s important to note that the smell can remain on the walls, curtains, bed linen, towels and soft furniture. Apart from the smell, cigarette smoke can also cause stains on the walls but that’s usually over a longer period of time.

Time to refresh

So how do you rid your home of that smell? Here are a few suggestions to help remove the smell of smoke from your property.

  • Remove any ashtrays or cigarette butts from the space
  • Open the windows and place a fan inside the room
  • Try an odour eliminating spray but make sure you choose one that says ‘odour eliminating’ and not just a fragrant spray as that can make the smell worse
  • Set out a few bowls of white vinegar, cat litter, baking soda or charcoal – all helpful with eliminating bad smells
  • Air out the furniture (preferably by placing it outside for a day or two) as well as mattress (if the furniture smells very bad you might have to pay for it to be professionally cleaned)
  • Steam clean carpets
  • Wipe down walls, ceilings, windows and all other hard surfaces with an ammonia-based cleaner.
  • Put all curtains, pillowcases, blankets and towels through a deep wash, adding vinegar to assist with removing the smell
  • Replace filters inside heaters and air conditioning units.

For those who have new guests arriving in a short space of time after they have been hit with an unexpected smoking guest. Your best shot in refreshing your home in the shortest amount of time is to use an air purifying system which can do most of the work for you as you try to clean the rest of the house. Some that are recommended in terms of removing smoke:

Winix 5300-2

GermGuardian AC4825

Levoit LV-H132

Aironic 40W Pro True HEPA


6. Leave a bad review

Even though it can be frustrating to have to clean up after a guest, remember that you do have the power to ensure other host don’t have to suffer the same consequences by writing a review that clearly states the “Guest breached house rules by smoking”.

Need support?

It can be daunting for short term rental hosts to confront guests about a breach to their Airbnb smoking policy. It can also be upsetting to have to deal with the clean-up if your policy is breached. GuestReady helps hosts manage their Airbnb properties and deal with eventualities such as the one described above. Schedule a call today with our team of experts to find out how we can help manage your short let property.

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