Airbnb Guests Damage House, Refuse to Pay

We have rented our house out for several years and recently had a party of guests who left the house in a complete mess, requiring an extra five hours of cleaning: burnt pans, broken kettle, damaged lights and kitchen utensils. Even worse, they had some sort of candles burning on the mantlepiece (we don’t allow candles) which caused significant smoke damage to the wall and ceiling which they tried to clean off, making even more of a mess. They broke every single house rule and then tried to claim the house was dirty when they arrived (I am a superhost and my house has always received five-star reviews) We contacted Airbnb with photos of the damage and after two weeks of going backwards and forwards with photos of items we need to replace and estimates for the cost of replacing them, they have come back and said they will not allow us to claim any of the security deposit to cover the costs of these things. I think this is disgusting and disrespectful and weighted far too heavily towards the guest. I used to think Airbnb was a great way of staying somewhere and we have always had no issues as guests. Actually our Airbnb guests have usually been better than those on other sites, but I will remove my house from their site now because they have confirmed that they don’t care what happens to my house; they won’t cover any damage.

Airbnb Million Dollar Warranty is Fake

Friday evening my guests texted me with photo evidence that they broke our keys in the door lock. We are in Milan. I knew from experience that it would cost at least 500-600 euro to fix the issue. Forgetting about our evening plans, my husband and I rushed to the place with some tools, hoping we could fix it ourselves. There was no chance; the guests used the wrong key (even though we had explained during check-in which key was used for which lock) and they forced it in a way that the metal key had broken, leaving part of it deep inside the door lock.

The guests were a nice couple from Slovakia. They were terrified and felt guilty as there were five of us (together with the neighbour, who couldn’t get in as the door they broke was actually the common one) witnessing that it was their fault. It was as obvious as 2+2=4. Everybody agreed; there was no discussion there. We called a 24-hour locksmith. They said they would arrive in half an hour and make a determination as to whether the lock needed to be changed completely. It would cost 400 euro without a receipt and around 600 euro with a receipt. The guests were shocked and almost crying. The neighbour needed to be let in; he had already waited outside of his home for an hour. The locksmiths were pushing us, saying that they had a 94-year-old lady waiting for them and that we needed to make up our minds.

We called Airbnb and explained the issue. They suggested we pay and then claim the money back from the guest through the problem solving center. If the guests refused, they would get involved. Everything is protected under the one million dollar warranty. So, we went for the official option and my husband paid the 600 euro. I wasn’t nervous about reimbursement as it was very obvious whose fault it was. We finally got back home at 2:00 AM, but our Friday evening was ruined. The next morning I started the process according to the rules of Airbnb. After a few weeks I received an answer: “We’ve carefully reviewed the claim you submitted and unfortunately, we’re unable to fulfill your request because we do not believe that the guest can be held wholly responsible for the damages caused.”

After a series of messages from my side, they answer was that we could not get a cent back for what we have paid for another person’s mistake hoping for the support of intermediate. Not even the deposit of 80 euro. Nothing. No explanation why, no references to the Terms and Conditions. They simply did not believe me. This was the final decision and end of the conversation. I am really disappointed. Does anyone have any ideas about what can we do in this situation? What lessons can I learn from this? Thank you to everyone who has read this until the end and for your comments.

Expensive Bedwetting Accident in Airbnb

My first Airbnb experience was so awful it was nearly my last. Unfortunately for me I endured an embarrassing accident on the second night of a two-week stay when I wet the bed. It wasn’t just a little bit that could be hidden; everything was totally soaked through the mattress to the bed base. I was burning with shame but had no choice but to get up, shower, and change the sheets. In the morning I took the mattress out to dry in the sun and explained the situation to my host along with a thousand red-faced apologies. She wasn’t happy in the least but what was done was done. I remade the bed the next night and tried to put the embarrassing situation behind me. I’d forgotten about it until two weeks later when I received my review and a damage bill for $1200 for a new mattress. My review (which is public and has my photo) said something like “Joel has problems controlling his bladder at night and was made to pay the full cost of replacing the mattress he ruined when he peed on it.” I overheard the host telling two of her friends and a customer service lady from Airbnb. I learned a valuable lesson that stay and every time since I bring my own waterproof mattress protector… just in case.

Selective Airbnb Scammers: No Damage to Boat

We recently had a lovely stay on a houseboat in Italy. Only a couple of nights, and beautiful accommodation. However, a day and a half after leaving the boat (in exactly the condition we found it) we were accused of stealing a knitted jellyfish that had been hanging up in the boat, and accused of breaking the special toilet installed on the boat. Both my partner and I used the toilet before we left – and locked – the boat for the last time. It worked perfectly for both of us. There was no handover back to the hosts, as the boat was in a private secure marina. We simply locked it, and left the key where instructed. Neither of us have any desire to steal anything from anyone. We are not thieves, or vandals.

The host demanded we pay 200 Euros to repair the apparently broken toilet. When we asked for proof of any damage, none was provided. When we declined to pay, the issue was escalated to the Airbnb Resolution Centre. Having submitted all of the evidence in my possession (which wasn’t much), I waited for Airbnb to be in touch. Today (two weeks later), Airbnb emailed to say that they’d decided we should pay for the damages and, by the time I’d finished reading their email, had already billed my PayPal account.

The host had relatively good feedback. About 90% positive, and about 10% very negative. One or two of the negative reviews detail  experiences eerily similar to my own. The host alleging damage, theft or loss of items, which the guest claims were not damaged/stolen/lost. It seems very suspicious that the negative reviews are of a very similar nature to my experience. I’m very disappointed that Airbnb decided to rule on behalf of these con artists, and even more disappointed that I heard nothing from them until they decided to just take my money.

Please be careful with Airbnb in the future: take plenty of photos or even video when you arrive at the property, and when you leave.

Guest Breaks Furniture, Leaves Early, Demands Refund

My guest – let’s call him Jake – was supposed to stay from July 10 to July 18. Instead of staying for the entire trip, he had to take a flight back to the United States. He had to resolve an issue with his embassy after his passport got stolen. I was not notified of his change of plans. I repeat: I was not notified. My partner and I came back to find the toilet seat and the armchair broken (after warning Jake that the armchair was fragile). After attempting to reach my guest numerous times, he wrote me on July 18th (the day of his scheduled departure), stating: “Hi, I emailed you multiple times informing you that I left the apartment last Tuesday. I had to leave earlier based on the embassy’s guidelines. I left the keys in the mailbox as instructed.”

This was puzzling, because I had received no email, either through my personal account or through my Airbnb account. No message was sent to me between July 8th and July 18th. Had I been notified of his change of plans and had he asked for a refund in a timely manner, I would have done so. But, since he had to leave early due to unfortunate circumstances and since I didn’t ask for a security deposit initially, I decided to let the matter drop. Suddenly this former guest (over a month after the end of his reservation) messages me on August 25th, noting his “surprise” that I did not refund him for the days he did not stay. Also on August 25th, Jake began to complain about the supposed unacceptability of my Airbnb listing. However, the other guests who have stayed with me after him have been satisfied. Rather, this is a clumsy attempt to steal money using scare tactics and playing the victim.

So, on the whole:

1. The guest only notified me of his wish for a refund over a month after the fact, after not having followed any of the cancellation procedures during his reservation and having failed to contact me to inform me of his early departure.

2. We know that his allegations regarding the problems and presumed “dangerousness” of my listing are false, since other users have been satisfied. Rather, he is dishonestly claiming that the listing is unsuitable to justify a full refund.

3. This guest alleges to have not caused any damage when I have a dated photograph stating otherwise. He even claims to be offended, and has called me a liar numerous times. He is playing, simultaneously, the role of a victim and a bully.

4. He may have been dissatisfied, but considering that he didn’t cancel in time and that the damages he caused have cost 200 euros overall, I think this is a fair trade.

5. This guest is manipulative, vengeful, dishonest, and petty. He is hysterically implying that I broke host rules and that this justifies me refunding him for the entirety of his stay. He, and the obtuse labyrinth that is Airbnb customer service, is making me reconsider staying on as an Airbnb host. Airbnb hosts, beware of an overweight dark-haired guest in a penguin suit. He doesn’t know how to respect property and will use any manipulative tactic imaginable to bully a host into a refund.

Airbnb Host’s Lack of Maintenance Costs Guests

We just got back from our vacation at Andy and Rachel’s Knotty Pine House in South Lake Tahoe. This was our first time AND LAST time to use Airbnb. The first night we were there, my four-year-old niece went to take a shower. She was the first one out of our group. When her mom went to turn off the water, the way you’re supposed to turn it off, the hot water knob came loose and sprayed water everywhere. The water dripped from the second floor bathroom down to the first floor bathroom and the kitchen (the first floor bathroom and kitchen share a wall). We contacted the Airbnb hosts immediately.

The homeowner was very frazzled and couldn’t believe that the knob could come off because he had installed it himself just six months ago. He made statements like, “There’s no way it could come off without using a wrench!” He had me running around outside to try to find the water main to shut off the water to the house. He had me look under a piece of wood that covered a hole on the front porch where he thought the water main was. It was not there. While I was talking to him, my brother was able to insert the knob in somehow to stop the water from leaking any further. After this, the host sent his wife over who was staying at one of their other vacation homes in the area because he was out of town. She came over with her father who walked around the house as if to inspect to see if we had caused any other damage, and when he couldn’t find anything, he proceeded to sit down in the living room and wait for his daughter. Talk about awkward.

Needless to say, the host’s wife, Rachel, walked through the bathroom and inspected the shower. She took pictures of the bathroom and the water that had leaked to the first floor. I mentioned to her that all the towels in the house were damp and unusable. She said that they had a back to back reservation and blamed her cleaning people for not getting the towels dried in time for our arrival. She also stated that this was a vacation home and not a hotel. I said that we were paying $329 a night and the least they could do was give us usable towels. She then went into the locked garage and proceeded to give us some dry towels… which she found out were still damp as well. She found five dry ones that she left for us while the rest were being washed and dried.

They were supposed to provide two rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, and one bathroom only had one roll and a half. They told us that since it was late (around 6-7 pm at the time) that they would get a plumber the next morning. So, now we were stuck with one working shower for the thirteen of us to share. We were gone on excursions the next day and thought the repair would be done while we were out. Of course the plumber didn’t come until after 6pm the next night during dinner time. Anyway, we finished our week there and went home and the next thing you know, I got an email from the hosts requesting we pay $180.00 for the plumber who came to fix the loose knob. I told the host that I did not agree with that and that it was their responsibility to keep their rental home in working order. I never heard from the hosts again because they took the situation directly to Airbnb to let them decide.

The evidence the homeowner provided was a picture that I texted her of the loose knob, a screen shot of a text message between them and the cleaning people to ask if the knob was fine when they were cleaning the house before we got there (How are you going to rely on people who can’t even get your towels clean? They couldn’t even put new rolls of toilet paper in the bathrooms, the oven had leftover crust everywhere that sent smoke through the house when we turned it on…), and a screen shot of a text message from the previous people who stayed there – they said that it was fine, but they had taken most of their showers somewhere else. The next thing I got was an email from Airbnb asking what our side of the story was. I told them. Then I got another email saying that they were going to charge my credit card because “there is no denying it happened while you were there.”

We are not denying that it happened while we were there. They failed to take into consideration that the homeowner installed it himself (he told me this in our phone conversation when I had called the number on the reservation to report the problem) and that there could’ve been a possibility that it was installed incorrectly. (The whole house reeked of non-professional installs, e.g. the toilet rocked back and forth, the sink fixtures moved around). They charged my credit card and “disengaged” from further conversation. I repeatedly asked for an explanation of how they came up with their decision and the only response I got was that they have the final say so.

I was so mad that I called the city only to find out that the city has no record of the homeowners pulling any permits for any remodel work done on that home. I believe that the homeowners should be held accountable for something. What if something worse happened while we were there? If there was an electrical fire while we were there, would Airbnb make us pay for it because we were there when it happened? There is no logic to their decision in this matter. My one-star review showed up for one day, but has magically disappeared. How is anyone ever going to get an honest review of the hosts or the place or the practices of Airbnb? According to all the reviews, it was a 5-star place, but of course it is since our honest one-star reviews didn’t get posted!

If we could at least WARN people about how Airbnb goes about making their decisions in matters like this, then hopefully this will not happen to anyone else!

Conclusion:

1. Because the homeowner did a shoddy installation job, Airbnb made us pay a professional to install the shower knob correctly.

2. Airbnb’s Help Center is a joke.

3. The number they provided routed me to someone in Asia who said she could do nothing except email the Airbnb “mediator” to ask her to email me back…I have yet to hear back from her.

4. The “mediator” only responded to my emails after 10:00 pm my time which led me to ask where they could be located. I found out that they are located all over the WORLD, which would explain why they don’t care about local laws that require permits to be pulled for remodel work of any home.

5. There is NO WAY to leave a bad review for the hosts or Airbnb.

6. Whatever the cost, DO NOT EVER USE AIRBNB! There are ALWAYS other options out there!

Airbnb Rejected my Claim and Lost a Good Host

I hate to admit that I have been in the real estate business at least ten years longer than the customer representative with whom I dealt has been on this earth. So I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised that this person handled my damage claim like a snarky little kid. My “guest” decided that he didn’t have to do dishes during the week of his stay, and that he didn’t have to follow the House Rules, which are clearly posted next to the wifi codes (so I know they will see them). Here is one of the brilliant reasons used to turn down my damage claim: “There wasn’t a printed invoice from the housekeeper, so you must have made up the extra charge.”

She came up with this decision despite six pictures of the filth this guy left behind. I don’t know of a housekeeper or house cleaner that gives me a printed invoice. This young lady just called me a liar. I have 34 reservations totaling about $60,000 in income. I immediately removed all of my listings from this website. I refuse to reward idiots like this who ignore the evidence and make the leap that I must be the bad guy. Unfortunately for her, I’m not, and I’m also not stupid. You can find me and my properties on coastalsalesandrentals.com and vrbo.com. If you wonder why you can’t find a decent property on Airbnb, now you know! The picture above is just a taste of what Airbnb considered to be “acceptable”. Good luck with that.