Avoiding the houseshare from hell

Published: Sunday 1st March 2015 by The News Editor

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If you’re hosting guests, or going to stay at someone’s house, certain codes of behaviour go without saying.

Keeping the toilet roll replenished is a no-brainer for hosts, while guests are always considerate and respectful. Or so you would think.

The emergence of an online handbook for housesharers proves that what’s obvious to some is a complete surprise to others, especially in our digitally-focused, tech-frenzied world.

The new ‘Debrett’s Guide to Homesharing Etiquette’ – a collaboration between the time-honoured etiquette experts and the housesharing website Airbnb – is aimed at smoothing relations between guests and hosts.

It aims to mix ‘guidance rooted in centuries of British etiquette, including rules on punctuality and how to make the perfect introduction, with advice on modern predicaments like smartphones and social media at the dinner table, and smoking electronic cigarettes indoors’.


This advice is clearly overdue, considering research by Airbnb (www.airbnb.co.uk) found more than 68% of people think social etiquette is on the decline.

Even shockingly basic standards like getting too drunk, wearing dirty shoes, poking around uninvited and announcing special dietary requirements at the last minute came up as potential guest pitfalls; while a failure to have clean bedding, provide toilet rolls and offer that British staple – a cuppa – were common howlers of the host.

James McClure, general manager of Airbnb UK says the survey results are “interesting”.

“They dovetail with our advice that manners are there to make everyone feel welcome, remove any anxiety, and minimise social difficulties or awkwardness.

“It’s not difficult to be a great guest or host – you just need to make sure you’re fully engaged with the other person, give them your full attention, be courteous and be respectful.”


Remember these rules and they’ll invite you back as a friend.

1. Turn off your phone.

2. Avoid Instagramming your dinner.

3. Don’t get drunk.

4. Take off dirty shoes at the door.

5. Try not to snoop!


Treat your guests as you would like to be treated and they’ll remember you fondly.

1. Put the kettle on.

2. Clean all the sheets and towels.

3. Stock up on toilet roll.

4. Introduce them to the household, including any pets!

5. Open the door with a smile.


According to the Airbnb research, hosts found the following were the worst faux pas for guests:

66% said walking in muddy shoes

64% said being glued to your phone

59% said bringing a dog without asking

47% said overstaying their welcome

36% said criticising tea-making skills

32% said taking food from the cupboard without asking

24% said spending too long in the bathroom

But it seems hosts aren’t perfect either – guests complained of the following behaviours:

55% said unclean sheets on the bed

36% said refusing to put the heating on

34% said not having any milk, tea or coffee

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Sunday 1st March 2015 by The News Editor

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