Top 10 Guest Damages in 2024 from a Resolutions Advisor

Your priority is giving guests the most enjoyable stay possible. But what happens when they break your rules?

The Superhog vacation rental dispute resolution team has processed 977 reports over the past year. Incidents range from mundane incidents like stained linens and lost keys to major destruction caused by parties and reckless driving. 

In this article, our Senior Resolutions Advisor, Tanya Simmonds, discusses frequently occurring incidents, plus a few of the craziest incidents she’s dealt with in 2024.

Tanya Simmonds, a Senior Resolution Advisor at Superhog with 20+ years’ of frontline and safeguarding experience in law enforcement.

Reducing the risk of guest damage is essential to prevent losses when something inevitably goes wrong. Superhog offers a range of solutions for vacation rental property managers, including vacation rentals guest screening, damage waiver, and a Damage Protection Plan to give you peace of mind, protect your Airbnb listing from damage, and save your profits if guests refuse to pay for Airbnb accidental damages.

Top 10 guest damages Superhog team covered in 2024

Most damage is fairly small and caused by guests being careless or not following your house rules. 

You can cover the cost of small guest damage using our damage waiver, which allows you to collect a small, non-refundable fee from each guest which waives their liability. 

So, what items do guests most commonly break in your Airbnb?

Here are the most common incidents, according to Tanya.

Make-up-smeared linens and towels

Tanya says stained linens and towels are among the most frequently occurring guest damages.

Tanya explains that “Makeup, hair dye, and fake tan” were all common culprits for ruining towels and sheets.

She adds that it’s a common practice for the hosts to change their linens every year, but Superhog covers the cost of replacing stained linens sooner in no time compared to the OTAs.

Pets behaving badly 

Property managers also face damage caused by pets. Dogs and other pets may scratch furniture, break vases, or leave excessive mess. 

We can only cover damage caused by unauthorized pets,” she clarifies. 

If the guests haven’t obtained permission to bring pets, the property manager can claim for damage caused.

Broken locks

Fixing a damaged lock is always a property manager’s first priority. 

Many property managers reported guests losing keys, not returning them after their stay, or breaking the locks with force.“ In case of a broken lock, we’ll need to see a report from a locksmith to prove that the damage is caused by guests, not just wear and tear,” Tanya explains.

Smoking indoors

Smoking inside a property can be a common complaint, though Tanya explains that hosts must be able to show concrete proof that smoking occurred.

“Ashes or discarded cigarettes in the rubbish, for example,” she says.

If a host can prove that the guest smoked, Superhog tends to cover Ozone cleaning to eliminate the smell.

Wrecked beds

Tanya deals with many bed-related incidents, including broken bed frames, torn upholstery on the headboard, and stains on the mattress.

Patching carpet catastrophes

Carpet stains are another common complaint, as well as damage to hard flooring. 

Often, Superhog will cover the cost of fixing the damage rather than replacing the entire carpet. 

Tanya explains that Superhog works closely with specialist repair services to fix the damage without redoing the whole carpet or floor.

Smashed TVs

TVs are easily broken.

“You can spill liquid on the electronics, or you can crack or even completely smash a screen,” Tanya says. 

Superhog will generally cover the cost of repairing the TV.

Malfunctioning hot tubs

Hot tubs are one of the top, must-have amenities for Airbnb that can convince guests to book your property over competitors.

Tanya explains that hot tubs are susceptible to damage.

Sand or stones can get into the tub and quickly damage the filter. Sometimes, guests play around with settings, which can lead to problems with the pump.”

Because hot tubs are so popular, property managers must get any issues fixed quickly.

Blocked toilets

Blocked toilets are unpleasant for both guests and hosts. 

It can be hard to hold guests liable for a blocked toilet because they can blame it on bad plumbing or a build-up over time,” said Tanya. 

Some property managers are lucky, though. Tanya explained that if you’ve recently had the plumbing checked, it would be easier to prove that your guests caused the problem.

Maintenance issues

Finally, all kinds of maintenance issues with appliances are a common source of trouble. 

Garbage disposal units are especially tricky. Guests often put too much into the garbage disposal, or insert things that aren’t supposed to go there.  

Leaks and floods are another typical problem, which may or may not be the guests’ fault.

It’s important to explain how to use appliances clearly to reduce the chances of damage.


5 of the wildest incidents Superhog has dealt with 

While most guest damage is mundane, occasionally, the incidents team comes across absurd stories of guests acting up. 

Here are some of the most bizarre reports Tanya and her team have dealt with over the years.

New Year’s Eve party

Hosts should have heard alarm bells ringing when a 22-year-old rented a huge property, in his hometown, for one night – New Year’s Eve!

It’s down to hosts to look at the guest screening report and weigh up the pros and cons of accepting such a high-risk booking,” said Tanya. 

The property managers were left with thousands of dollars worth of damage, however, they weren’t penalised by Superhog for not spotting the red flags.

Bite mark in an ornamental apple

A property manager tried to claim for a damaged ornamental apple with a bite mark on it!

Tanya explained that this bizarre incident was rejected after listing photos showed that the bite mark had been there before the guest arrived.

Truck destroys the garden

Security cameras at a vacation rental property caught a man reversing a truck out of the driveway, destroying the garden in the process. “It was all caught on video,” laughs Tanya. “The guy was struggling to reverse his truck and tore up the whole garden, smashing up rocks and stones.”

Hosts accuse guests of running a brothel 

A couple of years ago, hosts accused the guest of running a brothel.

It wasn’t used as a brothel it was just the guests’ friends paying them frequent visits,” says Tanya. 

However, this case shows how it can sometimes be difficult to know the difference between parties and illicit activity, and guests innocently inviting local friends to the property during their stay.

Treasured tree cut down

Mature Japanese Maples are rare and beautiful trees with colour-changing foliage.

Property managers at one vacation home were aghast when they had to cut down this stunning tree in their backyard due to guest damage.

Wear and tear vs guest damage

Before we get into the most common incidents, knowing the difference between guest damage in vacation rentals and normal wear and tear can help you avoid unnecessary disputes. 

When you rent your property regularly, you’ll experience some wear and tear, and will occasionally need to replace things.

However, when guests are careless and ignore your house rules, you can face the unexpected cost of fixing or replacing broken items. 

Superhog’s damage protection plan, like most damage coverage packages, doesn’t cover standard wear and tear, but it does protect against accidental or deliberate damage to your property.

How to protect your properties from all kinds of damage

Our chat with Tanya shows that guest damage is extremely common. 

Whether you’re dealing with a few stained towels or the aftermath of a New Year’s party, it’s important to protect yourself from unnecessary costs. 

With Superhog’s Damage Protection Plan, you’ll get $5,000,000 worth of coverage for guest damage for verified short-term rental bookings across any booking channel.

You can also use our Guest Screening solution to avoid hosting troublesome guests. Find out how to protect your business today.