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Airbnb Bans Indoor Cameras. Here’s How to Be a Good Vacation Rental Host, Guest

Get our tips for considerate hosting and visiting before your next stay

spinner image a camera is looking at a house
Airbnb bans indoor security cameras. In addition, outdoor cameras, which are still allowed, cannot intrude where privacy is expected indoors or outdoors.
Photo Collage: AARP; (Source: Getty Images (3))

In an effort to put privacy at the forefront of its guest experience, Airbnb will implement a global ban on the use of indoor security cameras in all rentals. The revised camera policy goes into effect April 30, and any hosts who do not adhere to it will be subject to having their listing removed from Airbnb’s platform.

The homestay rental company had allowed indoor cameras in common areas such as hallways and living rooms. Under the new guidelines, outdoor cameras and decibel monitors will still be permitted, as long as the general location is disclosed before booking and the devices do not intrude where privacy is expected indoors and outdoors.

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Airbnb joins other home rental companies, such as Vrbo and Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, in not allowing indoor cameras in rental units. Vrbo instituted its camera ban in 2022. According to Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy, any external cameras in areas such as the pool or patio are disclosed to guests in the property description and must face away from private guest areas.

At Airbnb, “our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb,” said Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s head of community policy and partnerships, in a March 11 statement announcing the change. This isn’t the first time Airbnb has revised a policy. In 2022, it made its pandemic-era party ban permanent.

For Oman-based Airbnb guest Nicole Brewer, who uses the rental site a few times a year, this policy is a welcome change. “I’m grateful that Airbnb has banned cameras on properties. I feel like they were an invasion of privacy while on holiday,” she says. “You don’t have cameras in hotel rooms, so you shouldn’t have them in your Airbnbs either.”

Vrbo’s “policy prohibits any cameras that capture the inside of a property (whether they are indoors or outdoors),” says Melanie Fish, a Vrbo spokesperson. “Vrbo also requires disclosure of outdoor cameras, including additional disclosures if the outdoor cameras also capture pools.”

The company has an extensive vetting process that allows renters to find a listing that works best for any concerns or needs. According to Vrbo, prospective renters can use a filter to search for a Vrbo Premier Host, noted on the site by a special badge. These hosts have received 4.4-plus guest review ratings, a 95 percent or higher acceptance rate, and at least five bookings, or 60 booked nights, across property portfolios.

Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy has a collection of more than 140,000 premium and luxury whole home rentals. The global company aims to foster a good renter experience by working with property management company hosts that adhere to the high standard of Marriott hotels around the world. “We see vacation rentals continuing to be a desired accommodation choice for travelers, and Homes & Villas by Marriott Bonvoy complements our hotel business by offering more options and space, as well as access to more destinations for our guests,” says Jennifer Hsieh, vice president of the division.

Ruth White, 60, has rented more than 25 Airbnb properties in 14 countries over the past nine years. She welcomes the new policy and added privacy. “Airbnb is supposed to be my home away from home, and while I understand the need for security on the outside, I am not willing to have my privacy invaded at that level, so I am very happy about the ban,” she says.

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Honoring arrival times that are agreed upon with the host is one way to be a good guest.
Getty Images

Guest protocols

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Guests also have to adhere to guidelines to ensure they respect the rentals they’ve checked into and receive good ratings from hosts. “Our property manager partners love hosting our … guests because they take great care of the homes they stay in,” Hsieh says.

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Airbnb and Vrbo have suggestions on how to be a good guest. Consider the following tips:

  • Act at rentals as though you were staying with friends, taking particular care to keep the home clean and respect the items in it.
  • Honor arrival times that are agreed upon with the host.
  • Put trash in designated receptacles during your stay.
  • Refrain from loud music that would disturb neighbors.
  • Follow smoking and maximum occupancy rules that are noted on your rental listing.
  • Familiarize yourself with the host’s requirements, and stay on top of them.
  • Contact the host with any questions you have.

Fish suggests guests read reviews before booking, then leave a review after their stay that could include information about “safety devices” to help future guests.

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A tip for being a good host is to facilitate a welcoming environment.
Getty Images

Host recommendations

Hosts are always provided with guidance on how to make the guest experience comfortable. Airbnb offers some tips for hosts to create a 5-star stay, including:

  • Create clear instructions for checking in and checking out, including photos and maps with arrows.
  • Be transparent on the listing page about all the property’s amenities to ensure the place is a good fit for a potential guest.
  • Facilitate a welcoming environment by providing comfortable blankets and showcasing local artists’ work.
  • Be sure to include emergency supplies and phone numbers to prepare for the unexpected.

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