Keep an eye on your guests!

The era of unlocked front doors and implicit trust in strangers is long past us.

These days, you have to play it smart.

I’m not trying to instill panic or fear in your. There are still plenty of good, honest people out there. But you can’t really assume that all of your guests are going to be like that. And if you wait to make precautions until you know you’ve got a bad apple, it’ll be too late.

That’s why this week’s Tuesday tip was to get a video doorbell or some other type of camera installed on your property.

Video recording devices will go a long way in helping you protect your property, especially if you live off-site.

I’ve used my outside doorbells to prove everything from drug use to extra guests to unauthorized parties. I’ve also used them to stop potentially damaging situations before they got out of hand. They give me a peace of mind that I wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Except, I guess, if I just camped out in front of the houses that I manage…but seriously, who’s got time for that? Also, that’s creepy…

I recently had an unexpected issue in which the guest decided to cover up the camera with duck tape so I couldn’t see what was coming in and out of the house. I asked her to remove it or I would have to charge her the maximum extra guest fee. She complied, and after that I put a separate fee in my listing for tampering with the camera – haven’t had an issue since.

A lot of beginning hosts don’t want to invest in a camera. Video doorbells (or other types of security cameras) can be pricey – they often cost at least several hundred dollars. “What’s the worst that could happen?”, the new host rationalizes to themselves.

Let me be clear: the worst that could happen is thousands of dollars in damage with every single booking.

That is not likely to happen, of course – the vast majority of short-term rental reservations conclude without a hitch. But I am trying to emphasize to you that you are making an investment as a host, and it’s worth taking the precautions to protect your investment. Bite the bullet and buy a camera now, before you end up regretting not having one after the terrible guest has checked out!