CouchStay.org is a place where everyone can participate, and that requires a good foundation of trust and expectations of host and volunteer behavior. We have established these Community Standards to be clear about the expected behavior and conduct of our members. We believe these standards will help bind the community with a common understanding and they are meant to promote and protect the interest of everyone.
The following standards — Safety, Security, Fairness, Authenticity, Reliability — are at the core of our efforts to help ensure safety and foster unity within our community. We are constantly working to make sure sure they are upheld and enforced. At CouchStay, we facilitate a symbiotic positive experience for our hosts and volunteers.
CouchStay members’ experience starts from the moment they enter our site eager for adventure and ready to create great memories. That is only possible when a user trusts that our community is safe. The safety of our members is paramount, so causing any harm to yourself or others is prohibited and may leave you legally liable. Therefore, we require that you refrain from being involved in unsafe or unkind behavior at all times.
Harming yourself or others
Our users are expected not to commit physical or sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence, robbery, human trafficking, other acts of violence, or hold anyone against their will. CouchStay.org will cooperate with law enforcement requests in responding to valid law enforcement requests to help promote and maintain order and peace.
Things like suicide, self-injury, eating disorders, and hard drug abuse are taken seriously by CouchStay, and we are ready to assist people in crisis to live a normal and happy life.
You should never communicate an intent to harm anyone by your words, physical actions or in any other form. At CouchStay, we take threats to others or self-harm seriously, and we may take action and intervene when we become aware of it.
Creating hazardous situations
Never keep unsecured weapons, disease risks, or dangerous animals, and do not create conditions that increase the chances of a fire or that would prevent escape. Interaction that is deemed harmful between members is not tolerated and may result in the suspension or termination of a user’s account.
Members of the CouchStay community are sharing their homes, neighborhoods, and time. Whether you are opening your home as a host or visiting as a guest, you should feel secure and protected. Therefore, everyone is expected to respect others’ property, information, and personal belongings, and we also expect and require everyone to have polite interactions.
Theft, vandalism, or extortion
CouchStay members are not allowed to take or use other’s property without their permission, make copies of others’ keys or documents, damage property, or remain in the property after the booking time has expired. No member should threaten anyone with bad ratings or harm in order to try to get compensation or benefits.
Spam, phishing, or fraud
For everyone’s protection, all communication in the days prior to the volunteer’s arrival should not be made outside the platform. No one should commit or attempt to commit booking fraud, credit card fraud, or money laundering. There should not be any marketing of unrelated products, diverting of payments meant for others, or making false claims against other members of the community. Violation of these standards may lead to immediate suspension or termination of the account.
Violating others’ privacy or intellectual property rights
Do not engage in spying on others. The presence of cameras in premises should be disclosed to volunteers prior to arrival. Cameras are strictly prohibited in private areas (such as bathrooms or sleeping areas). Members shall not access other’s accounts without authorization and should not violate other’s privacy, copyrights, or trademarks. Members should not use, break into or go through others’ property (such as luggage and private belongings), and no one should attempt to enter or break into areas that are purposefully locked.
CouchStay is comprised of a global community that is distinct for the principles of fairness that bond us together. It helps make it possible for us to develop trust for one another, be inclusive members of world and local communities, and give us a sense of togetherness.
Discriminatory behavior or hate speech
We expect you to treat and be treated with respect, in a professional and courteous manner in every interaction; adhere to all applicable laws and not treat others differently because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, gender, disability, or serious diseases. Personal choices that do not negatively affect others should remain private. Humiliating others in any way is also not accepted behavior.
Bullying or harassing others
Do not share personal information that would embarrass or threaten others, nor should you use any information to blackmail others. Do no treat others with offensive behavior, defame others, or disobey CouchStay’s Community Standards. Bullying of any kind is strictly forbidden.
Disturbing the surrounding community
Do not disturb common spaces, such as living rooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas. You should not treat neighbors with disrespect, create a nuisance for those around you, or persistently fail to respond to raised concerns when using CouchStay, during, before, and after a stay or experience.
At CouchStay, we want your experiences to be full of pleasant memories and adventure. Because our community’s foundation is based on trust, authenticity is an essential element, as it encompasses a balance of mutual expectations, genuine interactions, and accurate information. So be authentic and kind in all your interactions.
As a volunteer or host, you should not provide an incorrect name or date of birth, utilize a listing for commercial purposes without your host or property owner’s authorization, organize events or parties without your host’s permission, create duplicate accounts, or create an account if you are under 16 years of age.
Misrepresenting your spaces
Do not provide incorrect location information, have erroneous availability dates, deceive others about the type of place you are hosting with wrong details in the listing, exchange one listing for another, or set up inaccurate or invalid listings, leave misleading or incorrect reviews, participate in false pricing schemes, or fail to communicate hazards and the current habitability status of your property.
Experiences that are merely transactions
CouchStay is a medium to enable people to share their homes and their personal time. We envision that every listing is not just a financial transaction, but a place where everyone can participate and have great life experiences. CouchStay’s objective is to facilitate and promote individual, material, and spiritual growth, and we strive to make it a place that promotes the well being of all participating members like you.
Every CouchStay experience is unique and each detail specific to a home, a neighborhood, and a host. Since our community makes commitments based on these details, we have to be able to trust each other’s reliability.
We want to ensure that each CouchStay experience is special and that all details specific to a home, a neighborhood or a host are accurate and reliable. Our community exists because of commitments made based on these details. Therefore, we have to be able to trust each other and our collective and individual reliability—be it in timely communication responses, the condition of the property, and overall expectations.
Providing uninhabitable spaces
Do not offer spaces with inadequate cleanliness or undisclosed shortage of running water or electricity. Avoid providing spaces that are not properly tested and fit for sleeping, that are not stable for the duration of the stay (e.g., moving boats, tree house on a windy location), or inadequate access to dedicated restroom facilities on location.
Notwithstanding extenuating circumstances, do not cancel after the deadline set by the host in their cancellation policies. Make sure the check-in of your guests is straightforward. Hosts are expected to be very upfront, clear, and specific about their house rules in their listing. As a guest, do not fail to make a payment and do not break the host’s house rules.
Do not maintain persistently low ratings, be unclear during the booking process or during a stay or experience, fail to provide a satisfactory point of contact or direction to the location, or refuse to partake in our resolution process if needed. If any issues arise that cannot be resolved with the host or guest, members shall immediately contact CouchStay for guidance or assistance.
Effective 1 June 2023