Airbnb has Standards for Hosts? What Standards…?

Let me start with the link to the luxurious, custom and tastefully decorated house we rented in Union City, California. Whatever you do, don’t believe anything you read concerning this house on Airbnb and don’t rent this house. If you do, you won’t be able to say I didn’t warn you.

We rented this house because it was big (for seven people), it seemed nice, it was well situated for us, and the comments of past renters were all good. The stay started with the host saying that the house was not ready for us when we got there, one hour and a half after the check in time. The host then told me that he was told by the last renter that she might have heard a mouse during the night. We later learned that this was a lie because when the comments of the previous renter was posted, after our arrival, the mouse traps were already there before she got there.

The next morning we went away early for the day. We had time to see that the place was not very clean. We ate out that night and got home around 10:00. To our disgust, we killed two roaches in the kitchen. That was when we first contacted Airbnb. To our surprise, Airbnb replied immediately. We said we were disgusted and we wanted out. They told us we had 24 hours upon our arrival to file a complaint so we could get out of there with a refund. We had been there 28 hours.

To make a story short, here is a list of all the issues we experienced with the house and Airbnb:

1. We saw a mouse, we killed two roaches and we found many other bugs in the house.

2. The stove was out of order, the BBQ grill was disgusting, and there was supposed to be a gaming room with pinball machines, foosball, and pingpong table.

3. The house was not very clean: curtains were stained, the BBQ grill was disgusting, the doors to the bathrooms were dirty, the windows were filthy we could barely see through, and on the side of the house we found a dozen empty old paint containers.

Attached you will find a few pictures to show some of the nice things we had to live with. You should also know that these three points contradict two of Airbnb’s standards and regulations. However, Airbnb doesn’t care about their own standards and regulations and their customers. Like I said earlier, Airbnb were very quick to respond and seemed very helpful. We had constant contacts everyday. I was on vacation and the last thing I wanted to do during my vacation was run after Airbnb customer service.

In fact, they were not helpful at all and they were all but productive. I had seven case managers involved in my case, all seemed very understanding of my situation but none of them answered my questions. When our trip was finally over, I asked for a refund. After a few exchanges I was told that I could get a partial refund by one of the case managers involved. He changed his mind because the host sent him a copy of the invoice of a pest control company that supposedly visited the house during our stay and it said there weren’t any traces of vermin in the house.

I didn’t believe a pest control company came to the house so I asked to see the invoice or the name of the pest company, but Airbnb told me the host didn’t want them to share that information with me. Talk about transparency. If you have nothing to hide, show me the invoice, right? Not with Airbnb. The host did not want them to share it with me. I didn’t believe that a pest control company came because the host told me that when it came it didn’t find traces of vermin.

That same night we found traces of mice in two different places in the house. Then the host told me that the bag in which we found different bugs under the fridge were long dead according to the ‘pest control company’. In fact, I had killed the bugs myself the night before their visit. Lastly, we found rolled up paper coming from the mouse traps on the counter after their ‘presence’. It is not very professional for a company to leave their trash on the counter after they left, isn’t it. One last thing: my reviews, that were very negative, were never posted on the site. Maybe that is why we see few negative comments concerning the houses we can rent on Airbnb. Transparency…

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.

Airbnb Tilghman Island – Where Guests Are Housemaids

Welcome to your Airbnb rental! Your host knows you love doing housework. That’s why he didn’t bother to have the place cleaned before your arrival. I hope you like dirt and grass clippings all over the floors, food dropped on the stairs, globs of toothpaste in the bathroom sink, dishes in the kitchen sink, unmade beds, and wet towels in the washer. That was the experience we wound up with when we chose to rent an Airbnb property for a weekend getaway on April 22 -23, 2017. The rental fee was $554 for the two nights, which included $395 for the property, plus (laughably) a $100 cleaning fee and a $59 service charge. The check-in time was at 3:00 pm, but when we arrived, we found the place was left unlocked by the previous tenants and we actually entered and saw it between 1:30 and 2:00 PM.

I immediately called the owner to complain, but naturally, he didn’t pick up. I left a voice mail message describing the condition of the house and stating that we did not want to stay there under those conditions and requested a full refund. The owner didn’t respond, so I followed up with a text message at 3:30 PM. Hearing nothing, we located and rented a hotel room (another $143 apiece) for the night. Finally, just before 6:00 PM, the owner sent a text message with an apology but no solution to the problem. When I told him we were staying elsewhere and asked about the refund, he replied that he couldn’t process a refund without proof, so I sent several photos I’d taken at the house documenting the conditions (see attached). He responded saying the previous tenant denied having left the house as I described it. When I pointed out that I had the photos as proof and a picture of the note they left to the “housekeeper” as evidence that they fully expected that the house to be cleaned upon their departure, he texted back that he would come to see the place the next day to verify my story.

The next day, we waited for the owner to get back to us throughout the day but heard nothing from him. Finally, around 5:00 PM, we decided to cut our trip short and return home a day early. Around 8:00 PM that night, I finally texted him myself to ask if he’d visited the house to verify the conditions I described. Surprise – he had not. A day later, he sent a message stating that he would refund $400, which he characterized as “very fair given the facts. I would have gladly worked with you to make this right on the day of your arrival.” Since he didn’t even respond until 6:00 PM on Saturday night, it’s safe to say there was no way he was going to “make it right” on the day of our arrival, especially since he lives in another state at least a 2.5-hour drive away from the property. Given that this dispute stems from the place not being clean, it’s somewhat amusing (but nevertheless galling) that the refund he offered is essentially the amount of the two-night rental cost less the “cleaning fee” and “service charge”. My advice to potential customers: do not rent from Airbnb. There’s no third party resolution support if anything goes wrong (hence my writing on this website). This is my first and last rental through Airbnb.

Airbnb Subcontractors Promise More Than They Can Deliver

Have you noticed there are some companies that will book your Airbnb property and guests for you? Steer clear: they help Airbnb by keeping you from getting paid and getting guests to rent a lousy place to stay. This comes from both ends of the spectrum – host hell and guest hell – where a third party is in the middle preventing either from reaching a resolution.

How it works: Airbnb is using start-up companies that only book with Airbnb, promising they will communicate with both hosts and guests, provide property maintenance, cleaning before and after each rental, let guests in (and secure the rental when they leave), help with any issues both hosts and guests have at any time of the day or night, collect any rental and damage fees, pay the hosts directly, and have a customer support line 24/7. I answered a local ad through Craigslist out of curiosity to apply as a “licensed cleaner” for Airbnb properties. After spending an hour or so clicking through a basic “do you know how to clean” on my computer, you are not given a background checked at all. You are signed up immediately and can take ‘tasks’ from your smart phone, including cleaning and stocking rentals. So first off, neither the host nor guest has any guarantee the rental will be damage free, clean and maintained. For someone like myself who is certified in the cleaning industry with over 20 years’ experience, state licensed and bonded, in one day I could tell this was a huge scam and mistake, but wanted to see what was up on how all this worked.

The first “claim job” day was a Sunday. There were three rentals that needed cleaning, clean bedding, and linens and a mini-stay pack (like hotels). Everything was sent to a storage unit. All jobs needed to be finished by 3:00 PM, so I got to the storage unit at 10:00 AM. I needed time to find what I needed since I’d never been to this storage place before which was in downtown Seattle, right off the most notorious intersection the city has. At least it was Sunday, so I had that going for me. Right off the bat, I couldn’t get into the unit from the code they gave me. I waited an hour and a half for someone to send me the proper information. This was after calling their “worker support line” which no one answered, and their customer support line, finding not one person knew I worked for them. So much for being listed as a cleaner – and I had full access codes to three properties. Eventually I got a single text and entered the storage unit, which was a mess: Cintas was supposed to be supplying linens but they were out of just about everything. It was disorganized, so I had to hunt to find enough supplies for three rentals.

I tried to find the first unit; the address was wrong and again, I spent almost an hour trying to get a response from anyone at this company. Then I found the unit and just about fell over: my son had rented an apartment right next to the building years before. He left because of two problems: there was a small fire station you couldn’t really see but hear go off at least every two hours round the clock, and crime was high in that area. I entered the unit which was a three story, two master bath, two bedroom plus skinny, and very trashed rental. They had a kid who loved peanut butter, which was stuck solid to the windows, walls, furniture, floors and all over the kitchen. The upstairs master bath didn’t drain at all, which is why the downstairs one was used so heavily.

This unit had been booked for a two-hour cleaning. It was already 1:00 PM when I arrived. Panic set in and I notified the company there was no way I could get all three properties finished in time. They assured me this wasn’t a problem so I set to work running up and down stairs, and unclogging drains. Thankfully I had brought my steam machine to get the peanut butter off everything. It took 3.5 hours to make everything clean and presentable. The company charged the guests an additional $300 for cleaning. This was exorbitant for an additional 1.5 hours more than they quoted, though the guests had been there a full month. I’m not sure what they expected but I am sure the guest and host both got screwed on that one.

Off to another property that had an address that did not exist on any map, and more calling the company to receive a text to find the property. I should mention in between these visits my phone kept going off from SMS messages received. They turned out to be from one of the company’s employees – the one giving me the proper information –  on who his pick was for the NFL super dream team. It couldn’t have been less professional.

Next was a 2700 square foot home in the older part of Seattle, which meant uneven climbing up zigzag steps where the cement was old and broken. The guests had arrived and the wife was furious. The place was trashed from a frat party on Friday night (the guests had to do a two-night minimum booking). I hauled all my cleaning stuff up, asked them where would be best to start (the bathroom, they wanted to shower), and got on it. I then moved to the kitchen where I found broken plates, glasses, a broken microwave plate, and no less than 27 empty bottles of liquor. The guests had a concert to attend so I was able to clean like mad without running into anyone but again, had to reach customer service to figure out where to put the duvet cover that had an entire bottle of cologne spilled on it. The entire upstairs smelled of this horrific men’s cologne and it was the host’s duvet cover. “Bag it and drop it off when you are done” is what I was told but no one would know to whom or where it belonged. I pinned a note to it, bagged it, and wrote the host’s address and last name on the bag.

Once that was finished at 8:00 PM, it was dark with no lighting to see the steps. I eventually tripped on the last one hitting the cement sidewalk. Still, I got up and headed off to the third rental. The week-long guests were compensated for three days and the host had to go over to the property to see the damage. It wasn’t fun for anyone and later I learned the guests were charged $1,200, with the host getting $200 after a month of fighting with Airbnb and the middleman company with which I signed up. I arrived at the third property greeted by some kids on skateboards who glared at me, circling my truck. I decided to take in all my cleaning stuff (Miele vacuum and steam cleaners are expensive).

This place was creepy and not well marked on how to access the basement rental as the top is the house with no lighting on either side indicating the “entrance in the back”. I walked through some bushes, a spider web, and some rocks and found the door. However, I couldn’t find the lock box for the key which had been buried under a planter, not beside the bench. It was pitch black and I was using a military grade flashlight. Still, it took half an hour to find the key. Luckily there was no one there as they were out for dinner and it was small, and not heavily used. I sighed in relief and went to work getting all the linens changed. I cleaned the entire unit and was almost done when the guests arrived. It was an awkward moment to say the least but I was very apologetic and polite. We struck up a conversation, I gave them additional towels (marked in my phone for reporting later to the company), bid them good night, and headed to the storage unit to drop off the dirty linens – which of course, was closed. I hauled them back home.

The next day they had one rental that needed an early clean and since I still had some clean linens, I headed to that home, arriving at 11:00 AM. The guests were from England and their flight didn’t leave for awhile so they were told not to worry, and they could check out before 1:00 PM. I was not notified of this and got a coffee, sent pictures from the day before to the main office of this middleman company, and also told them to get me off the SMS football list. That home was supposed to be two hours of cleaning and while the guests had done a great job of keeping it clean, it was just under 2500 square feet of brand new high-end home space: two stories with the entire downstairs hardwood, upstairs two master baths, four bedrooms. I took my time, disregarding the set pay for the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Given how the company paid me, it worked out to under $8 an hour on each house.

Here is the kicker for hosts and guests: guests leave a 1-5 star rating on their stay, cleanliness, and amenities which is reported to Airbnb. Since all but one of four rentals was trashed in one way or another, and I was way behind due to the company not having all information handy, those ratings went against the host and some didn’t make it against the guests. Airbnb found a way to really screw over everyone by using a middleman booking company that does very little for the additional cost both hosts and guests pay for, up to 17% more per booking with a monthly cleaning cost of $500-$700 for each property no matter the size or bookings.

The really scary part for everyone else is I told this booking company I could not work for them in such a manner. I’m a professional and it costs money to pay my insurance, license, bond, gas, and cleaning supplies. So even after I told them “no, thank you”, they started emailing me bookings for other clients. I had all the information of the host, guest, payment type, link to both host and guest, plus access information. Because I was still curious, I didn’t tell Airbnb nor the booking company about this; I wanted to see how long it would take before they figured it out. After a week of getting booking notices to my email account for six days, I called Airbnb.

Airbnb had no one single person that I could talk to about the booking company or emails. I was put on hold until the line was dropped twice, transferred to nonexistent extensions, and muddled through why I was calling with agents who did not speak English as their first and possibly second language. Eventually I sent an email to every Airbnb address I could find along with a text and email to the booking company who by the way, were operating in Seattle from San Francisco with no one here at all from their office. In fact, I couldn’t find anyone who’d even been here before which explains the terrible access to things they want you to use for each rental.

About two hours after sending a text message to the booking company, someone called me back and apologized for “the mix up” though I had to let that person know that I wasn’t going to continue working for them. If you are wondering how I knew about the “Frat Party House” and how that shook out, it’s because the guests lived closer to me, hired me on a regular basis to clean their home, and told me what hell they’d been put through to prove the previous guests left such a mess… as if my pictures didn’t already show that? They were almost on the hook for the extra clean up and damage and only Airbnb would deal with them, not the booking company. Luckily I did two things: take a ton of pictures and use a stopwatch for the exact time which can be uploaded to show the date and time. Hopefully this will help some hosts and guests at the same time. I won’t be a part of it for the rest of my career.

Filthy Bed, Soiled Bed Linen = Airbnb Unfit for Use

This was my first experience at using Airbnb for accommodation in Sydney, Australia near Elizabeth Bay because so many places were booked solid. This will probably be my last time too. The place looked cute in the pictures, but when I arrived it was completely unclean. It was an old 1960’s apartment that was tidy, but so dirty. I did know that I would have to make up the bed myself and was fine with this, but I was not expecting to have to clean the whole place before I used it.

The previous guests had left four bags of garbage, even though they could have disposed of them; there were plenty of bins in the street. They also had left their soiled bed linen and towels on a pile on the carpet. If I could have vacated and found another place I would have. There was thick dust on the TV and stand. The bathroom floor was dirty – and I mean really dirty. Under the basin there was dust and debris, used cotton buds, and hair pins.

The toilet was not sanitary. In the bowl were fecal stains and the deodoriser was empty and soiled. The shower base was cracked, crazed, and dirty. On top of the toilet cistern was sitting a huge gilded mirror with years of dust on the top and mould on the air vent. The carpet stank of dog – the hostess did not disclose in her ad that a dog lived on the premises – and was dirty and gritty.

The mini refrigerator was dirty. The ice box was completely frozen over with a piece of fish in a plastic sachet completely “cemented” into the ice. The ice trays were mouldy and there was half-eaten food still in the fridge. The stove elements and rings were encrusted with baked-on food.

Now for the worst.: the bed. The mattress had many large stains. It also stank of dog. The sheets were not fresh smelling nor clean. The quilt that I had to go searching for was ancient, stained, and torn. So was the cover, which was also flecked with red paint which matched the colour of one of her walls. When I contacted the hostess she asked me to please “excuse the holes and tears”. I was horrified to learn that she herself sleeps with the same quilt that she supplies to her guests.

The next morning I purchased my own quilt and sheets. The hostess agreed to reimbursing me for these, but never did. Underneath the sofa cushions were years of dust, crumbs, and debris. I doubt whether it had ever been vacuumed. I found the vacuum cleaner shoved in the totally messy wardrobe. I switched it on to clean the carpet then quickly switched it off because it stank of dog. I took it all apart and scrubbed every component. It was clogged with matted hair and all kinds of filth. The filters had never been washed or replaced. I spent six hours cleaning and trying to make the place livable.

The large black-out curtain was folded underneath a sofa. At nighttime I had to hang this curtain on nails on a pelment. The curtain had a terribly cheesy odour. No amount of eucalyptus spray that I purchased could eradicate the stench. The other window had no covering at all. Fortunately I brought an eye mask, otherwise I would have awoken at dawn with sunlight streaming through the window.

The hostess gave me all sorts of excuses: “the cleaners were away”; “the previous tenants must have left the place dirty.” She even said that the carpet (which I vacuumed three times because the barrel filled up) had been cleaned with an “industrial cleaner” only three days prior to my arrival. This was a total fabrication. The woman who lives here is not one who has tidy habits. Just one look at her cupboards and you would know. I suspect that she relies on the kindness of her guests to clean up after the last. When I vacated, no cleaning was required, except to replace the linens. No basic amenities like tea, coffee, sugar or milk were provided. Fortunately, I brought my own. I was expected to go rummaging around in her dirty pantry. No garbage bags or cleaning cloths were anywhere to be seen. The only things that were clean were the towels. All this for a place that charges similar to hotel rates.

The hostess said that “my expectations were more than most.” Is it too much to expect a clean bed? I don’t think so. This hostess makes no attempt whatsoever to provide a clean environment for herself or her guests. I wish I could show you the photographs. The most puzzling thing of all is that my review was the only negative one.

Anyway, my advice: there are plenty of other lovely places listed on Airbnb and much cheaper ones too. Some even in the same building. Here is the link to the dirty dump I stayed in.

Airbnb Nightmare in Tokyo: Hotel was Necessary

We booked a place in Tokyo only to arrive after 4:00 PM to a dirty room with soiled sheets, pubes all over the bathroom, scum on all the mirrors, dirty glasses and stovetop, and reversed sheets to try and hide the stains. We couldn’t stay there. We tried to contact hosts as we were tired and just wanted to shower and rest but didn’t receive any replies. We had to find a hotel. We found a reasonably affordable one, a little more expensive than the Airbnb but we weren’t going to look or travel far as we had already had enough. Finally, the hosts contacted us after a few hours when we were already in a hotel, saying they were sorry: the place had been cleaned but the quality was not so good. They didn’t check. After a while they offered a refund, minus the cleaning fee. They had to be kidding. There was no offer to cover the extra expense of our simple hotel costs. I’m hoping Airbnb can help us out?

Airbnb Scams Guests and Apparently Hosts

We have had three terrible experiences using Airbnb. After reading this blog from both guests and hosts, it appears Airbnb doesn’t discriminate on whose money they steal. We have been told to lie and say we had not rented the property through Airbnb, that we were friends with someone in the complex (they provided a name). Then when we left an unfavorable review because of some issues with the apartment, the true host posted that we threatened him; we never even dealt with him in person. The second time, when we received the itinerary my husband Googled the address to find it did not exist; there was only a commercial building at that address. We contacted Airbnb and they told us to cancel. We received $74 of the $447 as a refund. Because we had already planned that trip, we looked for another apartment, which we found and booked. Upon arriving, we found that the apartment was not quite as it was described in the posting. After our stay, we once again left an unfavorable review on some of the noise issues, but again, nothing that prevented us from staying. After we posted our review, we received a message through Airbnb from the host that the couch smelled of urine and requested we pay an additional $275 for cleaning. Of course we denied it. We have all the text messages and emails to support our claims. Something needs to be done to stop Airbnb from their unethical business practices. They are stealing from hard-working middle class people. We are willing to help any way we can.

Unsanitary Airbnb Stay in Anaheim, California

I am not sure who to reach out regarding my recent Airbnb stay in Anaheim. I am conflicted between leaving a negative review for my host or contacting Airbnb. Christine was responsive and genuinely a nice person when I meet her but the place that she hosted was not sanitary. She met with me and gave a quick tour of the studio. Upon entering, the studio had a pungent smell – hence the multiple candles and air fresheners in the room. The place looked clean but upon settling in, we found the bed was covered in white dog hair. We know it was dog hair because she drove away with her boyfriend and a small white dog. Luckily, my fiancé and I are not allergic to dogs. We found dog hair on top of the comforter and inside the bed under the sheets. We thought a quick fluff would do the trick but the bed was disgusting. As we removed the bed sheets, the mattress was yellow and brown and had nail polish on it. We found a fake purple press-on nail. The towels provided were gross. She said they were clean but they left purple lint on us as we dried off. The other towel was folded nicely on the counter; we turned it over to find crusted white stuff throughout the towel. We had to use our shirts to dry off. We checked in at midnight so we couldn’t find another place on short notice. Instead, we placed pillows on the floor to sleep. The next day, we ended up crashing at a friend’s house. I do not want to leave a negative review for the host, as she was super nice, but the place she listed was not Airbnb quality.

Leaky Roof: Beware of Airbnb Host in Miami

Stay away from a host called Vinod advertising on Airbnb in Miami, Florida. Having used Airbnb for a bunch of stays during 2016, the last one was terrible. There was a leaky roof that stained the sofa, and cockroaches, slugs, and ants infested the condo. Collection bills were piled so high in the mail box the mailman delivered armfuls to the condo. I bought pest spray and tried to control the issue. When I contacted the Airbnb Helpline, they were anything but helpful and charged me $500 so Vinod could fix his “leaky” roof claiming I made the condo sofa dirty and stained. He claimed no knowledge of the bugs crawling around. Was it coincidence the sofa was positioned under the leaking roof and he claimed I did it? Well, Airbnb sided with him and charged my credit card for damages. Consumer protection – I don’t think so!

Horrible Airbnb Experience for Overpriced Stay

I have used many sites to book weeks, weekends and one-night stays all over the country for years, but never had a more overpriced, over represented or more frustratingly terrible, amateur experience than booking through Airbnb. First of all, Airbnb charges fees, no matter what. Once you fall victim to them, they will never be refunded for any reason whatsoever. Also, they do not vet their so-called “hosts” (any Joe-blow anywhere who wants to rent out his nasty rooms to people who haven’t heard about this scam), their hosts’ practices, the actual properties, amenities, and any claims that hosts are allowed to post their listings, whether real or not.

What I booked, at the price of a 5-star hotel, for a weekend, was described as a beautiful downtown apartment, entirely for my use. It actuality, it was actually a third story walk up in an old, nasty building. There were no amenities or comforts provided; not even a spoon or fork in the kitchen, no chairs of any kind to sit on in any part of the so-called apartment, one shelf of refrigerator space, an unusable, old Keurig that leaked all over the counter and couldn’t make a cup of coffee, a metal sign outside the window that creaked, banged and made racket all night in the wind, and a full size bed with what appeared to be twin sheets stretched over the rubber sheeted mattress that came off all night and made sleep impossible. This bed was in the middle of the one “furnished” room – that’s all, just the bed; it had no bedspread, blanket or cover of any other kind. The host graciously left one newly purchased, never washed, Walmart towel for the entire weekend for 2 people.

We had to wait two hours to get into the place when we arrived because the host’s representative said she locked her keys in her car and couldn’t bring us the key to the apartment. They did not answer my calls or texts about where to leave the keys until the day after I sent them and were both upset that I left because I got tired of waiting for instructions and needed to get home. All in all, an extremely horrible experience. From now on, I will stick with the professional sites that stand behind their customers, vet their renters and properties, don’t charge hidden, exorbitant fees, and give you real value for your money.