[RELEASE] Rental Lock Automater - Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Booking, Expedia

I presently keep my rental schedule in Google Calendar. Anyone care to recommend one of the services that can automate the rental access codes? I don’t need to advertise, a pay portal, or anything else (I have to turn people away each year) but automation is nice!

What plays nicely with this new Smartapp and won’t take too much of my money?

@RBoy — I just installed the commercial app for Airbnb. It looks like it’s gonna be exactly what I need! I have a couple questions:

  • When renters receive the automated message, what phone number do the messages come from? Should I include text to make it clear that they should not reply to the message?
  • Do I ever need to re-import the calendar, or does it automatically update?

Thanks for the great app!


It comes from SmartThings.
Yes, you include a simple line at the end of your message like “Please don’t reply to this message” or “Contact me at XXX if you have any questions

Not required. The app will update the schedules multiple times a day and do it’s housekeeping to keep everything up to date. If something isn’t responding expected it’ll send you a notification and take corrective action.

It’s a set it and forget it setup. The goal is to give you back your time and peace of mind. Combined with the energy management, security and experience apps from RBoy Apps, it will manage your property and renters for you.

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@maddie Thanks for the quick and helpful response. Two quick follow ups:

  • Is there any way to see a sample of the text message?
    Is there a log that I can look at to get a confirmation that it went out? Or an alert/notification?
    UPDATE: Just got a notification that the sms was sent!


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I am currently using the manual lock control from Rboy. I rent 3 rooms in my house, and each room is a separate Airbnb listing. The main entrance lock to the house is of course shared by each room and each room also has its own lock. When I change the code for one of the rooms, I also change it on the main door lock, which has the codes for all rooms. This means each guest just has to remember one code which works for the main entrance and their room. Can the rental lock automater handle this situation?

EDIT: To get the Multi Rental Unit feature (you can share common locks between properties), upgrade to version 02.00.00 or newer. You can configure up to 8 properties (more in future) each with their own AirBnB, Homeaway/VRBO calendars.


This app can program multiple locks simultaneously, so you can have one AirBnB listing and synchronize the user codes with multiple locks (deck door, front door, main gate, garage door etc).

However it is never a good idea to have multiple apps program a single lock as they will clash with each other. Plus it can have unintended side effects like the lock running out of slots trying to consolidate codes from multiple locks.

In your situation you have three separate “units” each with their own lock and their own listing. RLA can manage each listing and lock for you independently.

The best way to handle this situation would be add a keypad on your main door for each of your rooms and program that keypad along with the room lock using RLA (it can program multiple locks/keypads).

Then use the Lock & Door synchronizer to unlock the main door lock (one way synchronization from your Keypad to Main door lock) everytime the user unlocks the keypad.
The added advantage is that when they unlock using their room keypad at the main door, you can have the lock & door synchronizer unlock both their rooms doors and also the main door.
The reason for one way synchronization (from Keypad -> Main door & Room door) is so that when someone unlocks the main door it doens’t unlock their room door as well.

With this setup you can total automation and synchronization between the main lock and the room locks while maintaining a separate list of users for your main lock.

Keypads are cheap, you can buy them for $10 to $15 on eBay.

Hey everyone! I’ve been using the regular lock programming app from Rboyapps, and have just started using the Rental Lock Automater. I have 6 airbnb rentals. I tried the Rental Lock Automater out on my personal lock, pretending in the app that it was one of my rentals, and it worked marvelously. Because of that, I went to set it up on one of the “real” rentals, and I’m getting some issues. This has happened with both the auto-generated users as well as permanent users:

12:59:28 PM: warn 3802 failed to add user 3. Retrying again
12:59:28 PM: trace 3802 code report codeChanged returned Name:XXXXXXXX, User:3, Code:null, Desc:User code is not added, Value: 3 failed, Type: failed
12:59:28 PM: warn 3802 failed to add user 3. Retrying again
12:59:28 PM: trace 3802 code report codeChanged returned Name:XXXXXXXX, User:3, Code:null, Desc:User code is not added, Value: 3 failed, Type: failed
12:59:22 PM: trace Scheduled to run codeCheck in 15 seconds
12:59:22 PM: debug Requesting 3802 to add XXXXXXXX to user 3, code: XXXX, because it is scheduled to start at Fri May 11 2018 13:00 PDT
12:59:22 PM: trace 3802 User 3 XXXXXXXX is scheduled to start at Fri May 11 2018 13:00 PDT and expire on Thu May 17 2018 11:30 PDT

I’ve removed the guest’s name and code for privacy purposes, but where it says requesting to add to user 3, code: XXXX, it shows their correct code. Then, shortly after trying to program, it gives the error of “User:3, Code:null, Desc:User code is not added, Value: 3 failed, Type: failed”. So it seems somehow the code is becoming “null” for that user. I can’t figure out what could possibly be going on. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

From what I understand you have multiple locks setup with multiple hubs/mesh’s.
There is one lock that’s responding with an intermittent programming failure, it is close to the hub but it doesn’t have a repeater, while the locks with repeaters in their mesh are working fine.

We highly recommend having a repeater within about 20ft of the lock because the ST hub doesn’t buffer messages.

Z-Wave networks are mesh network and the reliability/strength of the mesh is created with repeaters in the mesh. Without a repeater (e.g. just a hub) it doesn’t create a mesh which can lead to intermittent failures due to lost commands (the ST hub is not a reliable message buffering device, which is highly recommended when using a z-wave beaming device such as a lock). The Schlage BE 468/469 models are particularly susceptible to a weak mesh/buffering issues.
This is a common setup issue and we always recommend having atleast one repeater on the mesh preferably within about 20ft from the lock. This is because locks need a buffered network to hold messages until they wake up to accept them. I’ll add this to the FAQ’s as well.

A Z-Wave repeater are most mains powered Z-Wave Plus devices. See this post for a list of recommended buffering/beaming repeaters which support locks. We recommend using a plug rather than a in-wall switch simply because it allows you the flexibility to place it at an appropriate location between the lock and hub.

After adding a z-wave repeater please do a z-wave repair on your hub so that the mesh is optimized. If you have any issue with your lock after adding a repeater please feel free to each back out to me.

Here are some popular choices for locks

Special considerations

These locks have a known issue with the firmware where they don’t accept reprogramming codes which are already programmed. This can be an issue when there is packet loss in the mesh, if RLA asks the lock to program a code but the programming confirmation message is lost in the mesh, RLA will continue to try to reprogram the code until it receives a confirmation. However since these locks do not accept reprogramming existing codes, they will not respond to the request. A typical symptom of this issue would be that the code works however it’s shows up as a failed programming request.

These z-wave locks have a known firmware defect which makes them susceptible to mesh packet loss (especially at low battery levels) causing a loss of lock/unlock notifications or names of users. The loss of notifications for these locks can be reduced by using the Enhanced Z-Wave Lock device handler and a good beaming repeater.

  • Schlage FE599
  • Yale Keyless
  • IDLock 150

These locks do not report which user unlocked the lock. Consequently RLA cannot execute per user actions nor will it be able to record the usage history for guests.

Locks to avoid when using automatic code generation

It is advisable to use locks that have a full keypad. Avoid locks with a limited keypads that share buttons for digits, such as the Kwikset 888/910/912.
This is due to an inherent design flaw in these locks, if two codes share the same key button in the same order, e.g. 1234 and 2134, it cannot tell the difference. Consequently the lock will reject codes which share the same order of the key buttons. To put it in context, a 10 button keypad can generate 10,000 unique 4 digit codes, a 5 button keypad can only generate 625 unique 4 digit codes.
Since RLA generates codes automatically based on user/reservation information it is advisable to use locks that have a full keypad to avoid running into this issue.

Avoid Kwikset 888/910/912 and similar limited keypad locks

Alfred (DB1-C-BL, DB1-B-BL) locks do not allow sequential and repeated user codes (eg: 1111, 1234)

Comparison of Lock Features

Here is a write up comparing the features of different lock brands (they vary by model but it’s a good place to start).


If I forget to add an SMS message template, what exactly is being sent to the guest before check in?

The smartapp references “The Palms” as the dwelling… If I forget to add an SMS message template, will guest see a text mentioning “The Palms”?

If there’s no template, no SMS will be sent. This way you can choose if you want want the app to send the SMS or not.
When a SMS is sent you’ll be notified (if you’ve enabled the scheduling notifications options in the property management page)

Hi folks

I installed this yesterday and it is looking very promising. I made some comments to Maddie who’s being very responsive.

Just so that they are out there, here goes.

  • I list with multiple providers. I maintain my aggregated calendars in Guesty. Would love to see a caledar feed from here
  • I rent the whole house but also individual rooms in each house. I need therefore to have a number of calendars supported for the location - one for the house and one for each room.
  • I’d like to pick up the location and room and use them in the SMS : Hi - the keycode for your stay at is …

Thank. Today, my SMS message was not sent to the Renter. My hub is online with internet access. Check in time was 3pm. My current time is 5pm. App is configured to send custom message on the day of check-in. Is there a log to know why the message wasn’t sent? Im using the Classic app.

Also, is it possible to force a SMS message or send a message on demand?

Are you saying that the renter didn’t receive the SMS or how did you determine that it wasn’t sent?
The SMS is sent by the ST server from the cloud at the specified check in time (hub timezone), even if the hub is offline. It’s checked every hour.

I never got a SmartThings app notification showing a SMS was sent to the renter. I did not ask the renter if they received it. As a precaution, I just emailed them the code via AIrBNB app. How can I determine if the SMS was sent, besides asking the renter if they received a SMS?

Most likely the ST platform timed out before pushing the notification to your phone. The app has safe guards built in to ensure that the platform sends the SMS. There is no way to confirm if it the SMS was received (it’s outside of the ST environment, e.g. users’ plan doesn’t support it, number doesn’t support SMS etc), but it tracks if it was sent.

The app keeps tracks of which SMS were sent by the platform (e.g. the platform times out while sending then it won’t register as it was sent successfully) and it will keep retrying the SMS every hour until it’s sent out and then send your a push notification confirming the same.
If the app cannot send the SMS (e.g. the phone number is missing or the SMS template entered is incomplete) it will send you a push notification notifying you that the SMS could not be sent because of XXX.

I was one of the beta testers on this app and have been using it on my own airbnb for a couple months now and I’ve had no issues. It fully automates the code creation/deletion process and even allows you to customize the code creation/deletion time for each guest (my idea!).

This really is a must-have app for anyone with an airbnb rental property and a keypad lock.

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Beta tester here too, I’ve had around 20 guests using this since beta. No issues. Pretty awesome considering every single guest gets a unique code that only lasts for the duration of their stay, and I sit back and literally do nothing around door code programming. Thank God!

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I’ve read this post and the FAQ’s and I still have a couple questions. I use the current rboy lock/user manager app and love it. I want to move to this app and already purchased the license but I have current renters which consist of two rooms each with its own listing. So what is the process when I have the existing with about 20 codes programmed ready to go at the moment?

If I create the new smartapp - will it be able to read the existing codes and “import” them?
Do I need to delete the existing smartapp and just start over? If yes, do you have to do the “clear codes”

Maybe a better single question - Is there a migration path from the lock/user management app to this one? What are the steps if yes?

Thanks Rboy, your apps save me a ton of time and are rock solid!

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Reading back existing codes is limited for security reasons. It’s always best to start afresh when using a new app since apps aren’t designed to communicate with each other in ST.

If you’re using AiRBnB, VRBO or HomeAway, RLA will automatically create new codes for your booked renters. For the manual users, yes you’ll need to recreate them manually and it’s best to run the Clear Codes procedure before uninstalling the existing app so that the new app starts with a clean slate.