Avoid Airbnb If Their Properties Are Like This

We booked a condo in downtown Toronto through Airbnb. On arrival the condo was filthy; even though we were tired from traveling, I decided to clean it anyway. Not only was it filthy, the extra bedding was rolled up, stunk, and had been thrown in the cupboard. The blinds were broken and missing, the bed had cigarette burns on it, and to top it off the window was broken and would not close. We were on top of a bar, so we could not sleep. There was no toilet roll, no washing liquid, and no shower gel as was stated in the listing. There was also a door that could be accessed through the office downstairs to our condo.

We contacted the host by email from my son’s phone who lives in the area. The host had no interest at all and said he would send in a cleaner. He did not want to know about the other problems. The pillows also looked like a dog had urinated all over them; they were so bad. We vacated the property after a week since then getting in contact with Airbnb has been a nightmare. I sent all the photos in of the problems several times and telephoned nearly every day. The case got accidentally closed a few times and now they are saying I can’t have a week’s refund as I did not contact them within 24 hours. Our phones did not work in Canada. The host was contacted, so after all the calls, why did they not tell me that after the first phone call?

I will never use Airbnb again and will tell everyone I know not to use them. The host must be laughing being allowed to take people’s money like that.

Avoid this Airbnb Rental like the Plague in Port Coquitlam

The room was a shoebox with six people in the house who all shared the laundry right outside the door to the room. Three people lived upstairs, which was another separate property, something not mentioned in the posting. The other door in the room was to the shared washroom with the toilet which was inches from the door. I didn’t expect these noise factors. I didn’t complain about these things, but other guests should be aware of the noise.

Expect to be questioned about your whereabouts regularly, whether you’ve eaten, when you’re working, on your days off, if you have health problems, and whether you are at home. I gave this woman my cell number when I arrived and she’s been happy to text me asking these types of questions, or knock on my door and ask me questions as though that’s perfectly acceptable.

The booking was through Airbnb. When I arrived, the host wanted a cash payment for the damage deposit and rent going forward, something she never mentioned when she texted or messaged me on Airbnb or talked with me by phone before I arrived. I wasn’t prepared for this after travelling all day being up at 4:30 AM. I offered a cheque but she didn’t want one, saying she was afraid of it bouncing. That’s essentially saying: sorry, I don’t trust you. What a warm welcome that was.

Not having cash on me, I gave her a cheque for the damage deposit, which she didn’t seem thrilled about. This was my first mistake as a first time renter through Airbnb: to capitulate, listen to anything she said, and not follow Airbnb’s policy about payment through the platform after the first month. I was tired after traveling all day so just handed over the cheque, but thereafter she demanded cash for rent. If I offered a cheque, she refused and simply demanded cash only, like she thought she was perfectly entitled to demand that.

She was in her own world and didn’t communicate well. She’s Iranian and likes to talk about her country and herself generally. She has a lot of political opinions and comes off as if her point of view is right and she’s going to educate you. I have to take full responsibility for this rental going off the tracks because I wasn’t prepared to deal with someone who right off the bat wasn’t going to follow Airbnb’s policy, who was demanding and thinking just about what suited her. Right at the start she complained about Airbnb delaying paying her the rent I paid them for the booking, texting me complaining why her rent wasn’t paid through Airbnb. I told her to contact Airbnb. She first thing she complained about payment issues, whether it was through Airbnb or trying to accommodate her by offering a cheque.

After arriving we discussed the rental and I agreed to stay two more months. I wouldn’t have anticipated a problem but she consistently violated my privacy. I walked into the kitchen and she would ask me if I’ve eaten, if it’s my day off, or if I’m working. There’s a note on the fridge telling people to keep the toilet seat down. Essentially, you can be prepared to be treated like a child. This was not a rental situation appropriate for adults in any way. She didn’t follow basic BC Tenancy Laws and no written agreement was made to dissolve the Airbnb policy guidelines for renting. She assumes that policy is dissolved when I set foot in her house and it’s now her way or the highway, although nothing was discussed about different terms of rental.

On Canada Day I worked all day. It’s about a three-hour trip to and back from work. I was sick and texted the host to say I would leave a cheque for the rent on the dining room table later that day. She texted me back demanding cash, instead of saying thank you and wishing me a happy Canada Day. She also said I could pay her by Interac, which I wound up doing. I texted her and told her the payment was made and after 25 minutes she texted back that she hadn’t received the payment and that she hoped I had sent it: no thank you for sending the payment, or well wishes on the holiday.

Expect complete rudeness, suspicion, and zero appreciation for any effort you make to communicate respectfully. Implying that I hadn’t sent the payment was the last straw, because she was basically implying I was dishonest and hadn’t sent it. Keep in mind I’d worked all day. It was Canada Day and I was recovering from a nasty cold. I confronted her about her dishonesty and rudeness in implying that I was essentially lying about paying her through Interac. She didn’t apologise, nor apologised on any occasion. She was generally argumentative, and didn’t seem to even understand why I would be upset at this point. No consideration – just demands.

On July 5th, she left me a note on my door, which I have attached here. I hadn’t seen her since July 1st. She felt confronting her about her dishonesty was harassment. Expect pretty extreme craziness and no understanding on her part as to why I would be upset. I frankly think she just doesn’t give a hoot, so be prepared for full harassment.

If the issues continue this month I will have no choice but to take her to arbitration through the BC Tenancy Board and ask for the full three months’ rent back. I may consider doing that anyway, based on this letter she left.

This is my last month renting here and I’m working full time while trying to find a place to rent. The situation is just completely bonkers. She’ll just harass you no matter what. No peace, no privacy, and expecting cash payment instead of paying through Airbnb. Like I said, it’s my own fault for not paying for the damage deposit and other months’ rent through Airbnb, but I capitulated to her demands because I’m a considerate person and she was complaining. I thought it might be difficult for her to wait for the rent payment delay through Airbnb. Apparently sometimes the delay can be over a week. At least that’s what she told me; she could be lying. That’s really the only reason I decided to pay her directly because she was complaining about Airbnb’s payment system and I’m a softy. Big mistake.

Renting here has been very stressful, so avoid this nightmare of a rental. Check out the harassing letter she posted on my door which I found this morning. I guess she’s translates being confronted about her dishonesty and rudeness to me and complete lack of consideration as harassment. I’ve taken pictures of everything in the house as evidence that I’ve kept everything clean and no damage was done to her property. At least the note is evidence in my favor if I have to decide to go to arbitration.

The one other woman renter on the property with whom I share a bathroom had no issues with with me; she’s actually very nice. We hugged before she went on holidays and I wished her well. Yet somehow I’m a harassing, abusive threat. The host just makes things up and comes off as really paranoid and erratic. She won’t admit any wrongdoing and generally doesn’t communicate when it matters the most. Avoid it like the plague.

In the letter, she felt I was abusive and aggressive for confronting her even though she felt it was okay to imply I’m dishonest, that my cheques will bounce, and that I was lying about paying her through Interac. She felt it was okay to completely blindside me and not follow Airbnb policy. I was upset when I confronted her, but never used profanity or otherwise. I have the right to be upset. She never tried to work it out with me or apologize. She just left this note. She thinks I’m endangering someone or some imaginary property, but I’m not sure who that is or what property she’s talking about. She’s really, really paranoid. She can’t handle it if someone has the courage to tell her the truth or if someone is direct, or if you get upset for being treated so terribly. In response to the letter I have communicated only through the Airbnb platform. If I was angry for no reason that would be different but she’s pushed me too far.

After showing consideration about paying rent through Interac, she implied I was dishonest and hadn’t actually paid. That’s enough. Yes, I’m angry but I expressed that to her on July 1st in the span of about one minute and haven’t seen her since. I also messaged her through the Airbnb platform afterward to be clearer about why I was so upset. I wouldn’t be around for most of July except to sleep and I was putting it behind me because I have more positive things to focus on. Yet I’m a threat somehow.

I also asked her via the Airbnb message platform to stop texting me but she kept texting anyway. The Airbnb platform is a secure platform to communicate but she can’t even follow a simple request so that communication is recorded on the Airbnb platform. I’ve also blocked her number so she doesn’t harrass me by texting anymore. She’s classic passive aggressive to the extreme.

Onwards and upwards. I’m going to look for a place to rent today and actually after writing this post, have decided to file a dispute with the BC Residential Tenancy Board. Her disrespect and the lack of privacy and implying that I’m dishonest, and then leaving this letter is all too much, it all constitutes harassment. Thanks for providing this website to share my story.

Airbnb Bait and Switch with Marketing Tactics

We reserved a house in Vancouver using a credit card and the host cancelled. The credit card was not refunded but was applied to a credit on Airbnb without our consent. When we reserved another house, it was marketed and advertised as $262/night with Instant Booking (when you mouse over the Instant Booking icon you see that you can reserve the property without waiting to hear from the host). I always thoroughly research the houses to make sure they will be comfortable and as advertised. There was one bad review but the others were fine for this particular house.

In the charges area of the house listing they specified that if you have more than 13 guests there would be a $21 per person additional charge. I was delighted by the price and entered my dates manually without use of the calendar and was instantly booked via Paypal.

Here’s where things went very wrong. I had in my mind the $262/night cost promised and marketed. Vulnerable to bait and switch, I quickly booked it while traveling on the road (in a bit of panic about not having housing for a festival my band was performing at in Vancouver) and did not note that the price had been tripled. When I noticed the charge had been applied. The cancellation fee for that house was 50% refund with at least seven days’ notice.

I called Airbnb customer service to try to find out what happened with the price and they explained that there was seasonal pricing for that house. I explained there was no mention of seasonal pricing on the listing. In fact, it was listed clearly as $262/night with only $21/person extra over 13 guests, which did not apply to me. They said I had approved the charge, which was true, but under a false impression from the listing.

Airbnb customer service said that there was a new feature that showed actual nightly rates when you moused over the dates. This feature was not mentioned anywhere on the listing or clearly anywhere during my research of the house. Since I did not mouse over the dates, I was completely unaware.

Buyer beware, right? This is clearly bait and switch. The hosts and Airbnb were completely intransigent about acknowledging the false advertising and did indeed keep 50% of my funds when I cancelled. No apology, no acknowledgement of the fraudulent marketing, just 50% of the considerable sum I’d spent.

Please advise any ways that anyone has found for which I can seek recourse. I’d be happy to join a class action lawsuit. I am reporting them to the City of Vancouver, the equivalent of the Attorney General of BC, the CA Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau and any other place that can put pressure on them to refund people they have ripped off and to change their marketing to be clear and accurate.

Oh Brother! Extortion and Intimidation in Toronto

Traveling is stressful enough as it is, especially when you are coming from a week of business travel in Europe, to a quick vacation stop in Toronto, before returning home. However, when you throw extortion by your Airnnb host into the mix, it elevates the stress to a whole new level.

Let’s set the scene: I (female) was meeting up with my male friend in Toronto for an event. We wanted to stay in the city and found this listing that appeared to be decent enough. The inside of the house looked charming, with a view of the CN Tower. It was titled the “420 Cottage” and was described as 420 friendly. This was not something we were interested in, but it was located in a great area and for a decent price. We decided to book the property.

Upon arrival on a Friday night, the property looked rundown, with the small front “lawn” a jungle of clearly neglected waist-high weeds. The listing didn’t include a picture of the front of the property, only the inside and view looking towards the city… for good reason I suppose. We got into the property without any issues, and Friday night went smoothly enough, if you could ignore the overly potent stench of marijuana emanating throughout the walls of the unit and the faucet handle that wasn’t even attached.

Upon exploring the unit, we noted that there was a locked door leading to a downstairs unit, which we did not have access to. We also noted some information about parking guidelines and local things to do posted on the fridge and left on the table. Saturday morning I woke up at around 7:15 AM and noted that it sounded as though somebody was entering the property. It sounded as though they spent a couple minutes in the kitchen area, near where the door to the downstairs unit was located, and then left, locking the door behind them. Assuming it was the host, we did not think much of it.

We left for our event at around 8:00 AM, locking the door behind us. At this point, it should be noted that there are two locks on the door: a bolted lock and a lock on the doorknob. I did my due diligence as a renter and locked both locks, from the outside of the house. We returned to the property at around 4:30 PM and were unable to gain access. The bolted lock would unlock, but the lock on the doorknob did not. We texted the host, who stated that we didn’t follow the rules, which clearly stated that the knob lock should not be locked as it cannot be opened with the key provided. However, given that the lock cannot be unlocked with the key provided, one would assume it cannot be locked with said key, which means we should not have been able to lock the door.

In addition, there were no house rules posted inside the home; if there were, they were not clearly visible, and the only rules noted on the Airbnb listing were: “No parties or events. Not safe or suitable for children (0-12 years). No parties are permitted in the house, but there is plenty to do nearby.” There were also no notes posted near the door or the lock, indicating to renters that the lock would permanently lock you out of the property. The host noted that she was out of town and unable to help, which was not previously disclosed to us, but that she would have her brother come let us into the property at 8:00 PM.

At this point, it was an inconvenience to not have access to the property, but we didn’t have another option. At around 8:15 PM we returned to the property and were able to get inside by only unlocking the bolt lock. We showered and headed out to dinner. This time when locking the door, we locked only the bolt lock and were very careful not to adjust the lock on the nob, as instructed. When we returned from dinner, just before 11:00 PM, we found that the nob lock was once again locked. Knowing that this was not our doing, we once again texted the host indicating that we had been locked out, explaining that per her instructions we did not touch the nob lock. Her response was: “That’s awful that the door locked again. A locksmith is $150. My brother says he will come for $100. I am in Windsor and cannot help you.”

With all of our belongings inside the house, including passports, laptops, and luggage, it was very clear at this point that we were being extorted. Knowing that the brother had access to the property and the host was out of town, we speculated that it may have been him who entered the property in the morning and that he had deliberately locked us out of the property later in the day. After stating that this request was unreasonable, I tried calling Airbnb to get advice on how to handle the situation and was placed on hold. Simultaneously, my friend was on the phone with the host (the booking was in his name) trying to figure out what to do. He was told by the host that “if the knob lock is off by even a millimeter, the door will be locked,” which is not how locks work and indicates that she was aware this lock was problematic and failed to correct the problem or disclose the information to her guests.

My friend indicated that we didn’t have that much cash on our persons, to which she stated that she more or less has to bribe her brother to help. Out of desperation, my friend agreed to pay $80, all the while I was still on hold with Airbnb. We were told that the brother will arrive in 25 minutes. For my safety, I take my friend’s belongings, besides the $80 and his cell phone, and wait in our car down the road. About 15 minutes later the brother showed up while I was waiting in the car, about 45 minutes after being placed on hold with Airbnb.

I finally got in touch with somebody who refused to help me, since I was not the individual who made the reservation. Despite being able to confirm the name and dates, and stating that I was not looking to file a claim as my friend will do that later, I was just looking for guidance on how to handle a situation in which I feel unsafe and taken advantage of, I was turned away. Immediately after hanging up with Airbnb, I got a text message from my friend stating that I should come retrieve my belongings, as he did not feel safe enough to continue our stay. He told me that when the brother arrived to unlock the door, prior to giving access he stated: “I am an opportunist – I will take the money now.”

I entered the property and grabbed my belongings, loaded up the car, and we left to spend the night in a hotel. At this point, my friend called Airbnb and began filing a complaint. Similarly to myself, he was placed on hold for about 45 minutes before getting in touch with a person. He explained what happened and was told to hold again while he was being transferred to a manager. Over 20 minutes later, he got on the phone with a manager, who offered virtually no assistance. She stated that we can be refunded for one night, since we exited the property, but that nothing else will be done since “there is no documentation and it is he said/she said.”

Despite indicating that we have text messages documenting the case of extortion, that the host was aware of the issues with this lock and failed to correct or disclose them, and that we felt extremely unsafe in the situation, we were told nothing would be done. By the time we were finished with the calls, having accomplished very little, it was nearly 2:30 AM.

The next day, we were refunded $171 of the $409 we paid for the rental, which is hardly enough compensation for what we went through. I have since filed a police report and we are continuing to pursue the issues with Airbnb, who remain utterly useless. Never would I have expected to be extorted by an Airbnb host; never again will I be using their company, and I will encourage everyone I speak with to not use them. There was obvious negligence on the part of the host to disclose important information regarding the use of the property, including both information about her being out of town during our stay and the known issues with the locks. Given that she was out of town, an additional local contact should have been provided, or some form of emergency contact information. Maintenance of the property to provide a suitable unit for renters was clearly neglected.

The host and her brother locked our belongings in the property and used it to get additional money from us. Then, the negligence of Airbnb to provide any form of assistance when a guest who is using their services (although not the owner of the reservation) is placed in an unsafe situation, is horribly irresponsible. If I had been traveling alone, as a female who was not local to the country, who does not carry cash on them when traveling, I would have been in an even worse situation with limited options and been left even more vulnerable. When traveling, I try to screen my hosts and ensure they are somebody I would feel comfortable interacting with. Had I been aware that I would have to deal with the host’s brother, I would have changed my choice of accommodations.

Lastly, Airbnb’s inability to rectify the situation with my friend, the reservation holder, is appalling. The fact that Airbnb is claiming that we do not have any ground to stand on with these claims and stating that our concerns are irrelevant, is a testament to their unprofessional business practices and lack of concern for their customers. The fact that I was extorted and felt so unsafe that I needed to file a police report in the hopes that it would prevent other people from going through a similar situation speaks volumes to the severity of the situation. Airbnb’s failure to identify this severity and keep their customers safe is an indication that they are an unprofessional company and should not be doing business.

Ottawa Airbnb Nightmare: Kate the Con Artist

I’m currently fighting with Airbnb and this con-artist host to resolve this issue. I will post updates if possible. Here is the rundown of everything I sent to Airbnb, with a request for a full refund:

I’d like a full refund for this incorrectly advertised, poorly hosted, nightmare of an Airbnb rental. I’ll start off by explaining what was wrong with the property itself before I go into the more disturbing issue with the host. First of all, the advertisement was listed as: “massive downtown seven bedroom.” The description said it was a large home that was very spacious, with large bedrooms.

The first thing we noticed as we we drove twenty minutes past downtown was the location. A rundown, beat-up house in the middle of a bad neighborhood in the south end of Ottawa. We were disappointed before going in, but tried to make light of the situation. We walked in to a crammed kitchen, a tiny excuse for a living area, with what was supposed to be the rest of it converted into the first “bedroom”. The rest of the house was just as small and crammed.

The first thing we went to do, as a small group of six, was to sit down in the kitchen and start eating some of the food we brought with us. We went to go sit down and the table tipped over and almost broke. We lifted the corner of it and I messaged the host to tell her about the issue. She kindly told me where the tools were in her house in case I wanted to fix it. I told her I’d leave the table in the corner and wouldn’t use it instead; she had no problem with that.

The place was clean for the most part except for bugs. Only eight of us stayed the night, and only four bedrooms were used out of the six small ones available. The next day, we cleaned up what we could, except all the dishes, because we knew that was taken care of with the cleaning charge. We even swept everywhere before we left. I personally checked every bedroom and washroom to make sure the place was properly presentable and a five-star rating was completely within reach for myself as a guest. I locked the front and side doors and put the key in the lockbox happy with the overall trip even though the Airbnb was disappointing.

Then came everything afterwards. Kate messaged me asking me what I thought of the property and to give her a personal review. I gave her a review in a polite and respectful way and even praised her as a host, just to be nice. I don’t think she liked my review so that was the last I heard from her for the day.

I realized I forgot my wallet in one of the rooms and messaged Kate the same day to ask her if she could please meet me or do whatever protocol we have to go through to retrieve my lost wallet. It took her over 24 hours to reply, after I reached out to Airbnb support for the issue. This leads me all back to right now. The host just sent me a disgusting message and is outright lying in all her claims. It’s very shameful someone in a position such as herself, who manages multiple properties, would be this slimy and corrupt in an attempt to pull more money out of her overpriced rental property than she already has. I’d like Airbnb to call me personally to deal with this. The only claim that she was accurate about was us moving that 8×10 paper-thin sorry excuse for a ‘carpet’ she had on the living room floor. No one touched the TV, the windows or the screens. We never left the residence so no one was ever locked out. The host is trying to steal money and delete the mediocre review I gave her.

There’s more I have to add. The six pictures of evidence the host provided were lazy enough to help prove all of it was a lie. She showed one broken screen in the backyard of the house that we didn’t go near or had any reason to go to. She opened the garbage bag that we left outside of all the things we cleaned, and for some reason took a picture to prove something in her favor…? There were a few flakes of ash in a bathtub that they placed to take a picture of, and then there’s a picture of what looks like a perfectly good TV – no picture of the “pulled out” cord. No picture of any broken fan. Then a picture of the living room that also looks very neat and tidy. There was also one more picture of a window, one with nothing wrong with it. Apparently we broke two windows?

The house was “smoking allowed” so the years of stench from other people smoking was strong when we came in. I still feel like I’m dreaming because I can’t believe that people have to resort to this slimy low level just to make extra money. Anyways, I’ll fight this in court if I have to.

 

Airbnb Experience from Hell in Toronto

I have stayed at many Airbnb properties in the past and have always had a great experience. The hosts have left me positive feedback as well. This is the first time I was ever in a situation where our stay was literally one disaster after another. Normally it doesn’t take me as long to write a review, but this one took me a couple hours as there were many incidents I wanted to touch on which created the terrible experience. Of course with Airbnb’s word limit I wasn’t even able to fully express my anger but now I can here on Airbnb Hell.

It all started a day before our trip which was a two-day drive for my sister and me; my boyfriend was to be driving separately and meeting us there since he lives a day’s drive away. I thought to touch base with the host as she did not have a house manual or any information on the listing telling me about the condo or how to check in. She didn’t reply to us for over 24 hours through Airbnb. I was growing weary that she may try to cancel, as one of the earlier automatic reviews mentioned she cancelled the reservation prior to the stay. I was also anxious, as once I entered Canada my phone plan and data plan would no longer work so I couldn’t text or check the Airbnb website unless I had wifi; while driving, I wouldn’t have that.

After waiting a day for her reply and not getting one, I was very anxious and weary. I contacted Airbnb to see if they could get involved. They replied that they were also unable to get in touch and have alerted her to contact me the next day by 9:00 AM EST (which she did not do), then they recommended I can cancel the stay. I really did not want to do this as we had already began our trip by this point. I did quickly looked at other places for us to stay in Toronto, but for three people almost everything was booked or a ridiculous 2-3 times our budget. Eventually I texted her, even though Airbnb recommends all communication happen on the platform and I also didn’t have an international cell plan. I was able to get a reply but no apology or acknowledgement about my messages on Airbnb from a few days ago that she ignored. In the texts, she gave me very vague instructions on the room number and told me parking was available.

At this time I never thought to ask any further questions but there were so many things I would later find that she didn’t explain prior to our arrival. The apartment uses fobs for entry and she has an assigned parking spot in a very complicated underground garage. On our trip my boyfriend, sister and I were traveling in two cars. We couldn’t figure out how to get the fobs to work or find her parking spot. I had to run in to get the fob from the doorman, and then once I got it and got back to my car (which was parked far away at a pay meter) I had to run back inside to the doorman because we couldn’t find the garage to the complex after driving around aimlessly. Once I was finally able to get in the garage, we assumed that the number written on the envelope was the parking spot number – it wasn’t. We spent an hour and 15 minutes searching for her spot and then another hour searching for a visitor spot as there are a very limited about for the entire place. It took two hours to get though all of that and was a huge waste of time when we only had one day to spend in Toronto.

The host did not make anything clear to us. How it works is there are a total of four big high-rise condos which all share this small parking garage. A fob is needed to get in, and the parking is assigned. Once you do go underground you lose cell service and it is easy to get stuck there with many dead ends in the narrow garage. Backing out is a huge pain. There were no instructions and everything was left unclear to us. After an hour of searching underground we actually made our way back up to text and ask the host how any of it worked. My boyfriend messaged her since he had bought a phone plan specifically before coming just based on the fact that he didn’t trust the host and wanted to be able to get in touch with Airbnb if we did get screwed out of the booking. While he was getting information from her, I went to the front desk to ask for help. The host told him her parking spot number and told him not to mention Airbnb, meaning she isn’t even supposed to be running an Airbnb to begin with. The doorman by this point can clearly tell I am not a friend of hers, which is what I had said I was since she said not to mention Airbnb, and he flat out asks if I am from Airbnb. By that point I can’t lie about it since she had given me no instructions or directions and I’ve been coming to him for help numerous times now. I mean I don’t even know her parking spot. He even commented “Wow, what a terrible host. She didn’t even tell you where the garage was or her parking spot or anything about this condo complex? That is really bad that she gave you no directions. What type of a host doesn’t give proper information?”

We asked the host if we could check in a little early at 3:00 PM (check in was at 4:00), since we were traveling from so far and just wanted to drop off bags. We told her we would then leave again so she could clean if she hadn’t already done so. She said that was fine. We walked in and saw it definitely wasn’t clean, but figured she would be doing it before check in. We all left immediately for the day for sightseeing since we had a lot planned. We didn’t make any comments to her, although my boyfriend did mention it. I didn’t message her only because I thought she had to come back to clean; the place was a disaster.

When we arrived back at the condo around midnight, we saw it was in the exact same disastrous state as before. When we first arrived the bed was completely unmade. It was so evident the sheets had been recently used and unwashed and they smelled (of urine) so we had to wash the pillowcases, sheets, and everything. Keep in mind when we finally got back to the apartment it was almost midnight on our one day vacation; cleaning was really a waste of time and not even something we should have even had to do. We were really upset about that. This is such a bad thing to do as a host: provide dirty sheets that your guest has to clean?

The rest of the place was nothing like it had been described. The photos didn’t match the bedroom or views from the condo at all. I even took a few photos of the messy bed and the dirt tracked all over the floor of the entire place. The place was very gross. There was no soap or anything to wash our hands after using the bathroom. The bathroom was bare and had nothing to use. Luckily, we were warned to bring our own towels but she should have mentioned that she also didn’t have any soap or anything. There was also no third “couch” she lists as part of the sleeping arrangements on the listing. Our third person, my sister, had nowhere to sleep. It said the space fit three people but definitely only fit two as the “couch” was clearly a very tiny loveseat. No one could sleep on that comfortably, especially an adult. She is really small and still couldn’t fit. All three of us slept on the small bed made for two so she didn’t get screwed over, which obviously wasn’t ideal.

I left the condo in way better condition than we found it as I actually made the bed with fresh sheets and cleaned the floor in the main room. When I arrived, as I mentioned, the sheets were used, the bed was completely unmade, and there was dirt tracked all over the main room floors. The laundry room was also a disaster as was the bathroom but I tried to avoid those spots as much as I could. The host didn’t ever contact me back on Airbnb until six days after my initial messages prior to my trip asking for information when she finally gave it to me. By then my trip was already over and I had to remind her I already stayed there last weekend. I tried to be as polite as possible even though I was pretty pissed about the whole stay. I told her the city was nice when she asked me how my stay was, and mentioned I would be writing her review later. It’s hard to say how much of the mess was from the last guest or her.

Since after coming back from the trip and after already writing my review and reading some of the recent reviews now I see that sometimes she will have two people stay in one weekend without cleaning in between. Honestly that’s extremely disgusting. She would not even wash the sheets for new guests. If this is what she’s doing she should inform the second person about this just so they have a warning about the situation. She should also tell the previous person that they should do their best to tidy up as much as possible as someone will be coming in right after them. Perhaps then our situation would’ve been better. It’s the only logical explanation I can think of for her to leave her place such a mess for guests.

We seriously considered canceling when we arrived back at the place at midnight and getting a hotel but it was so late in the night that we didn’t. The whole incident is also made me think twice about ever using Airbnb again as the other reviews weren’t terrible but makes me think they are fake. I don’t trust any reviews except the last ones which were also bad. However, these had not been posted at the time I had booked with her. No one should have to go through that experience. As some of the other reviews said, she should not be running an Airbnb because she was a terrible host. In addition, her complex clearly doesn’t allow it if her guests have to keep the Airbnb factor hidden. Even better than all of this is that I have received a reply from her for my review and I think our exchange just adds to the debacle.

Host: Unfortunately I paid someone to co-host/clean as I was in New York. Clearly they did not, so I apologize for the bed situation. In regards to parking, you’re the only person who had a hard time figuring it out. Given you did stay in my unit I’m open to returning $50 but I cannot pay you more than that. Laundry is off limits as well so it shouldn’t matter what it looked like to you. Hope you were able to enjoy your stay outside of this given the area is amazing and the amenities were great. I do have a pamphlet in the unit with all amenities listed and wifi. Thank you.

Me: I see in your message that you mention you “paid someone to co-host”, but it seems like from reading the other reviews I was not the only one who had this issue. In regards to parking, you also did not tell me prior what your parking spot was nor is it shown in the listing, yet I had told you I would be parking my car beforehand. That would have saved us hours from driving around trying to figure out a spot since we thought the room number/number on the envelope was the parking spot. It wasn’t until I asked for doorman that we finally got that information. You also say your space is for three people when you only have sleeping arrangements for two. How do you justify that? You also mention laundry is off limits, yet in the listing it clearly mentions that the guest has access to the washer/dryer. Also, if it’s off limits, how do you expect a guest to clean the sheets, since we weren’t given clean sheets when we arrived? As far as the costs, you mentioned giving me back $50, but then you only offered $36. Either way, I am going to involve Airbnb because of all the things I mentioned in my original message. Between the lack of information, the uncleanliness and us having to wash our own sheets, the false advertisement (saying the sleeps three when it clearly sleeps two) not to mention the photos of the apartment, bedroom, views, and bathroom aren’t even accurate and are not for this condo. For all those reasons I think a full refund is justified. Had we known all of those would happen we never would have booked this place, and if it wasn’t so late in the night we would have gone elsewhere.

Host: I’m sure I told you parking was 3017 or it was on the envelope but if not, have fun with Airbnb. I think you’re better off with a hotel next time. 3rd person would be the couch. All photos are accurate.

Me: I’m involving them because I believe my claim is justified for all of the reasons I gave you. Also you did not give me $50. The email I received from Airbnb said you only offered $36. The last time I checked, both of the last two reviews were also terrible. You also did not note on the envelope about parking. As I mentioned I didn’t have a phone plan in Canada so texting was not an option while I was there. My boyfriend who was in a separate car (and not with me) was the one who texted you- as we mentioned in the messages. The photos of the space (which I see you have taken down now) were not of the condo. The bedroom, bathroom, balcony and views were all from stock photos. Two other people even mentioned this in their reviews as well. As far as getting a hotel, we stayed at other Airbnbs along our trip and had great experiences at each and every one of them. What you have is a love seat – not a couch – which isn’t large enough for anyone to sleep on so I wouldn’t advertise it as a space suitable for three. Hopefully you can use the feedback I gave you constructively and not take it personally. Let’s let Airbnb decide how to resolve this. Have a good day.

Host Needs to Work on Definition of Full Loft

Our Airbnb property was advertised as a “full loft” with “dedicated parking behind the building”, which is why we chose it. We arrived in Montreal and drove right by the property twice, because it’s a poorly-marked, hard-to-find doorway between two other buildings. Behind the building there were no markings about where to park and/or that there was a safe, dedicated area for guest’s vehicles. Our email from the host suggested we park across the street on the public road. Due to the French signage and parking permit issues, I did not want to do that for fear my car would be towed.

After hauling our luggage up a narrow, tall flight of stairs, we were confronted by a narrow hallway that smelled like cat urine. There may have been a “full loft” up here at one time, but what we saw were three doorways with numbers on them. Behind our doorway there was a room that was, perhaps, 10’ x 10’ with one tiny, skinny window above eye level and a skylight. In the original listing photograph that accompanied our original reservation confirmation email, there had been a real bed with end tables; the actual bed in the room we got was a pull-out couch with a two-inch thin mattress.

There was no kitchen, only a small counter and bar fridge. No table on which to eat breakfast. The bathroom was so small, if one person was on the toilet and the other opened the door, it would have hit them in the knees and the head. The room was like a student residence, not a “full loft.” My suspicion is that this property had once been a “full loft” but, in order to pack in the people like sardines to make more money, it had been divided up with thin walls (that also needed some fresh paint). We had planned to cook and have friends over during our stay, but it was so small and embarrassing, we left within the hour and found a hotel instead.

We contacted the host immediately: he defended the property and said we hadn’t looked at the photographs closely enough. He said he would contact Airbnb to see about a refund, which I assume was a stalling tactic since the Airbnb site clearly states that refunds are up to the discretion of the host. We also got the impression that the host listed hasn’t even seen the spaces on his profile and is only managing them through text messaging and emails. We have taken a screenshot from our original reservation confirmation, along with a screen shot of the follow up emails. As you can see, at first glance, both spaces shown are similar (barnboard on wall, deer art above bed) but that’s where the similarities end. We booked this space based on the first photos from the original listing and the original reservation confirmation. I don’t know if the host was trying to pull a “bait and switch”, but to us this is misleading and why we are asking for a refund.

Last Minute Cancellation for Formula 1 Weekend

I had already had an Airbnb host cancel for the Formula 1 weekend in Montreal, so my choices were limited. I picked someone despite evidence of recent cancellations and a 2.5 cleanliness rating. Communication was minimal but the host said she was busy at work; there were no major worries. I sent a reply through the Airbnb site on Thursday to let her know I would arrive at around 5:00 PM and would text once we knew our exact arrival time. There was no response. We flew into Montreal, met a friend, parked near the apartment, and then went for lunch. While eating, the text notification came up: “Your host has cancelled”.

She did not have the common courtesy to provide a note or reason. We were stranded in the middle of Montreal on its busiest weekend. I phoned Airbnb but could not get through. I knew they would not do anything (their 10% credit if you rebook is a joke) so I headed to the race. I tried to find acceptable lodgings but there was nothing in the city under $250 per night. In the end, we found a bar beneath a flophouse and I went in to charge my phone and look for places far away. On a whim, we checked the flophouse and there was one room left. With no other option, we took it. One of us slept on the floor in a room with no aircon, and a fan that would turn off with the light. Prostitutes use this place for an hour at a time. It was not pleasant.

Airbnb is only as good as its hosts, and there are many good ones. However, it just takes one useless piece of garbage like this to ruin the whole experience. This host also removed the listing, but I’m sure she’ll be back under another name to ruin the weekends of more travelers.

Cold House from Airbnb, Used Electric Oven to Stay Warm

This is my personal Airbnb Hell story. I was born in Canada but had not been there in almost 50 years as I had moved to the United States when I was very young with the rest of my family. However, I had no choice but to return for personal reasons. I arrived at the Airbnb listed as “Comfy Room” at a house located in Surrey on August 21st, 2016. At first, everything went well. In fact, I lived there for several months before things starting falling apart.

I began to notice the following issues. Every time that Lyn Taylor (real name Evelyn Mercado) would clean my room she would turn off the nightlight that I had plugged in so that I would not be stumbling around in the dark when I woke up during the night to use the restroom. The nightlight only uses 0.7 Watts. She later complained to me that I was leaving that light on – how cheap can you get? The weekly housekeeping started turning into every eight days, then nine days, then ten or more days. Eventually it got to the point where I had to get myself a clean towel as I could not depend on either Paul or Lyn to take care of that.

They have Instant Book so people would be checking in at all hours of the day and night, including 2:00 AM in one case. Many times they were not even there when people would come to check in and I would have to answer the door and explain to them that I was only a guest. Many guests were told that the key to their room was in the lock box outside the front door, but when they opened the lock box there was no key inside. They were staying in the basement suite underneath the house but it began to feel at times like they were absentee landlords.

I stayed there only because I had no close family in that area. At that time I had not driven in over four years and did not have a drivers license. The weather was turning cold, so I did not want to take the chance of going through all of that hassle to find another place that might be just as bad, or even worse.

One time I was having trouble sleeping. It was almost 2:00 AM; I heard noises outside my room and noticed that some lights were on. I opened my door and discovered that Lyn was cleaning downstairs, in the middle of the night. Another issue I noticed is that several times when I was taking a shower the warm water disappeared and all that came out was cold water. One time the water was so cold when I got out of the shower I actually felt warmer. They rented out all five rooms in their house and were staying downstairs in the basement. When the house was full there could be nine people or more using the hot water to take a shower, wash clothes, etc.

I also noticed that as it got colder outside that I would feel cold in the house even when I was wearing a flannel shirt over another shirt. I mentioned this many times to both Paul and Lyn and they would always say “the thermostat is set at 22 Celsius” even though I complained numerous times. I know that 22 Celsius is the same as 71.6 Fahrenheit so I knew that was not the real temperature; 71.6 Fahrenheit is a very comfortable temperature. I told Lyn that I was feeling cold one time and she told me that “I am sweating inside here while I am working.” Of course this ignored the fact that she was dressed in very cold weather clothing and was vigorously cleaning around the house. Many other guests also complained to me personally about feeling cold. Eventually it got to the point where my hands felt like ice even when I was fully dressed. One evening another guest who had also complained to me about feeling cold took their meal out of the oven and then told me that they would leave the oven door open for a while to heat the room up. I noticed that soon after he did that the room started feeling warmer. This other guest and I began to use the oven to keep us warm. Otherwise, we would have felt like putting on our jackets inside the house. That is how cold it felt. We did that for about a week.

The other guest left on a Saturday morning as he was retiring and moving to a property that he had purchased. I continued to use the oven every now and then to warm things up and on Sunday, the day after the other guest left, Paul and Lyn confronted me about using the oven to stay warm. I told them that I had only been using it for a week and had only used it because I was so cold. Lyn became very angry and told me that “ever since you have moved in our electric bill has gone up.” She told me that “I want you out of here tomorrow.”

I truly believe that she would have thrown me out then and there even though it was cold with snow on the ground outside except for the fact that her husband Paul said, “Nothing is going to happen tonight.” Lyn threatened to report me to Airbnb and give me a bad review if I did not accept their cancelling my reservation. I left the next day as they requested. Lyn sent me an email in which she accused me of taking hot showers even though it was “minus 5 outside.” What does she think I am going to do, take a cold shower when it is so cold outside? She also accused me of leaving the oven on when I went to bed which is not true. I owned up to what I did and told them why I did it. I would never have done that if they had not ignored my numerous complaints, as well as the complaints of other guests about feeling cold.

I had paid for the entire month of March yet I moved out on March 6th. I received a message from Lyn in a day or so in which she said that she and Paul were in line to become Superhosts and they would appreciate it if I could give them a good review as she felt I was a good person. Against my better judgment I gave them a good review and Lyn had stated that she would review the February and March billing for the electric and get back to me about a refund. I never heard anything back so I contacted Lyn in April about my refund. She stated that she was still having jet lag (even though she had returned home about two weeks before) and that she would get back to me by the end of April.

When May arrived I then contacted Airbnb to see what I could do as I was told by my bank that I had to contact them to see if I could resolve the issue as they were the actual merchant. Airbnb checked with Lyn and their last message stated: “Thanks for your patience. I wanted to give you an update on your refund request for your reservation. At this time, Lyn hasn’t agreed to issue you a refund for the adjustment to this reservation.” I have now filed a formal dispute with my debit card issuer as I am owed for the 25 days in March that I paid for and did not receive. The only refund I received was $18.00 Canadian dollars and a $75.00 credit from Airbnb. I am owed about $840.00 Canadian dollars. It is obvious to me now that Lyn never had any intention of refunding my money and just tricked me into giving them a good review to help them become Superhosts. I feel used, to put it lightly. Basically I got ripped off big time. I will never use Airbnb again. I could care less about the $75.00 credit they gave me.