We Found the Host Having Lunch in our Airbnb

I had a five-night stay in a Brooklyn Airbnb, where my brother and I rented the entire home. After the first night, I called the host to express my dismay at the lack of cleanliness and got nowhere. If I had contacted Airbnb at that moment, none of the following would have happened; I would have gotten my money back, and all would be well. I didn’t know that was an option at the time. I tried to work with the host directly. I didn’t think I could have afforded to move to a hotel and I was worried about paying for two places and not getting my money back. I stayed and tried to make the best of it.

On the third day, the ceiling started to cave in from an upstairs plumbing issue and the pipes had backed up into the bathtub. The bathroom was completely unusable. I contacted the host, requested a refund and he refused. He literally said, “Why?”

Really? He said it was an old house and he would get it repaired. When I returned to the home that evening, the repairs had been made. I only had two more nights in that awful place and I figured I would make the best of it, really wanting to avoid any further hassle. The next day, we came back to the rental to find the host and another person inside. They had been there for quite a while, totally unauthorized. My suitcase had been packed and moved aside. The host was eating a meal on the patio and refused to leave even after I showed him my reservation. There was a huge fight. He said it was his house and he wasn’t leaving. I certainly wasn’t going to stay and hang out with him.

It was an unsafe and very volatile situation. I had no choice but to leave immediately before things got out of hand. I contacted Airbnb by phone from my alternate lodging less than an hour later and they said they would look into it. A few days afterward, I received an email stating they have issued me a refund for one night’s stay.

Does this seem right to you? No one should have been inside much less going through our things. Despite all of my other complaints, this alone should warrant a full refund. They were trespassing. He had no reason to be in there much less hanging out with another person while we were away. How many other times was he there while we were out for the day?

Host Refused Refund for Poorly Maintained Property

We booked a trip for ten nights in Barbados for my family of four. Upon arrival at the property, we heard hysterical dogs barking. The neighbor had a dog pen less than 30 yards from the house we were renting. The pen had about five dogs which spent every waking moment inside. When the host came about twenty minutes later to greet us, we expressed concern as we had a one-year-old who doesn’t do very well sleeping in new places, especially if dogs were barking aside. He told us that they would calm down. I wasn’t looking forward to our son and the rest of us being woken up at 1:00 AM to those dogs carrying on next door.

When we got settled into our tropical vacation cottage, we came to realize the place was filthy. Every piece of furniture was stained, and the floor hadn’t had a good mopping in weeks. I have pictures of our black feet. The kitchen was disgusting. One of the policies of Airbnb is that the properties must be clean, a policy they don’t care much about. There are even other reviews of the property (which we came across after the fact) pointing out how unclean this property is. The next day we asked to leave. We told the host about our issues. He said he had a little apartment in town that we could use, but the neighbors are less than desirable and it’s very tight quarters. He told us to think about it and contact him later.

We decided that we weren’t going to spend our 11-day vacation in some little dumpy apartment. We needed to be refunded and move on to another property through someone else. He told us via email that he wasn’t going to refund us anything. Airbnb asks that you place complaints within 24 hours; ours was placed 27 hours after check in. Keep in mind we’re in a foreign country trying to find a place to stay on very slow internet with two children. By 2:00 PM on the second day we found and paid for another property using Homeaway.com and then left. After returning home, we contacted Airbnb again for a refund, supplying a detailed account of our experience and about a dozen photos of the filth. After going through the process, which took three weeks, we were told that because we didn’t contact them within the 24-hour period there was nothing they could do, but they would refund us one night’s stay. We paid for ten.

We tried numerous times to contact Airbnb after this despicable explanation and were completely ignored. We never heard from them again. We were out $1200. Then we decided that since neither the host nor Airbnb were going to do anything for us after a three-week runaround, that it was time to leave a review. But no, you only have two weeks to do that. That’s right: if you don’t leave a review within two weeks of your check out date, your window closes. We got completely screwed out of $1200 and couldn’t even leave a review. This was the last time we’ll ever use this horrible, disgusting company again. What a horrible disappointment. Beware folks!

Airbnb Nightmare at Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala, Mexico

We arrived at Casa Pasco in Lake Chapala, Mexico, having booked through Airbnb. Our welcome started with the owner answering the door after repeatedly ringing the bell at the gate. No “Hello” or “Welcome” just, “Where have you been?” Well, we landed in Guadalajara, grabbed a taxi and the taxi driver had difficulties finding Casa Pasco. The owner, Scott, gave us quite the rude welcome. Immediately my first thought was this place was not going to be what Airbnb advertised, starting with some small out-of-control dogs that attacked the pet we had traveling with us.

There was a sewage/chemical smell in both Casa Pasco Casitas. The internet was not working, as had been promised in my Casita. I went to my family member’s Casita, and the internet was still working poorly: forget about watching Netflix or even getting some work completed. The smell was so disgusting I returned to my Casita. Every time we went to ask for help we always felt uncomfortable as the owners were not so friendly, as if we were a bother since we were complaining. It was almost comical watching Scott try to work with a simple internet router that was hanging outdoors on a nail outside my Casita.

Within a couple of hours of being there I knew we had to get the hell out of this place. No way we were staying for multiple nights. I talked to my family member and explained that we were leaving no matter what. We stayed up the entire night, keeping my family member up in my Casita outdoors to avoid the stench of sewage and chemicals (maybe roach spray?). Scott claimed to be so involved with the local community; he said that his local friends and soccer team kids would be visiting and that we should be kind and accommodating. We were also told to lock our belongings up while they visited. I won’t say or express what I think about this host.

Within 12 hours we were packed and left this Airbnb nightmare. The photos look great and the reviews are all great but one must wonder about the authenticity of each review as we had to negotiate with Airbnb and the owner to get a partial refund. Airbnb seemed to side with the host and I wonder if they even suggested that the owner take an honest look at our complaints and resolve them. I will never use Airbnb again, as I don’t feel I should have to negotiate the way we had to. I think that us offering to pay for the first night was more than fair especially after our experience. Don’t use Airbnb, and stay away from Casa Pasco at Lake Chapala. We found an amazing place within those first 24 hours by searching for accommodations on Google. A place that said “welcome”, loved our pet, and allowed us to decompress after 12 hours of hell.

Rude Airbnb Host in LA Stole My Jacket

My host’s name was Vince. He lived at a house near Venice Beach in LA. While listing his property, he posted a different address; the real house was much farther from Venice Beach than the address posted. I would like to say the following to him. When I first passed this message along to Vince, he didn’t recognize me as a guest and I felt ignored. With this evidence, I would like to thoroughly clarify the Airbnb messages we exchanged.

Hi Vince,

Upon arrival, I noticed right away how your listing misrepresented the property. It was unsanitary, to say the least. Your advertisement made me falsely believe that I was going to share a secure and clean room with 4~6 people, while in reality there were closer to 35 people on the entire premises and the conditions were extremely unsanitary. I felt very uncomfortable and felt the urge to cancel my reservation right away, but decided to give it a couple of days since your rates were affordable. However, this morning, I was extremely shocked to find out that someone had stolen my leather jacket, which was kept securely in the closet in my room. It is one thing to stay in a place that has been misrepresented and unsanitary for its affordability, but it is absolutely intolerable to stay at a place where security is at concern. 

I doubt he even lived in the house. He said there were four hosts, but I didn’t know who were the hosts and who were the guests. When I asked for a refund, Vince suggested that I could stay longer if I worked on the house. I was skeptical about his management system as a guest. I cannot believe people who call themselves hosts anymore. There’s just too much uncertainty using Airbnb.

Beware Booking Airbnb Properties in Los Angeles

We tried to stay in three Airbnb properties in Los Angeles over the past three weeks. The first one in the Echo Park area was great. The host was kind and helpful. The property was clean and very suitable for our needs. The other two were very bad. The second one in Mid-City had parking, but we had to go through two gates to reach the parking lot behind the house; the first one was padlocked. It was in a rundown neighborhood with garbage and used mattresses sitting on the street near the house. When we first entered the house we noticed that the rugs were filthy. We heard water running in the bathroom and found that the bathtub faucet had an annoying leak. There was a built-in heater already on which we couldn’t turn off , though the outside temperature was over 85 degrees. There was no air conditioning. When we opened the windows to cool off a little, we found that all the screens were ripped. We left the next morning, and got a refund of at least some of the money (we still lost hundreds of dollars). We then found another place on Airbnb to stay on short notice. It was a clean apartment in the La Brea area. Not until we checked in, however, did we learn that the owner and his wife actually lived in the house. We faced the choice of sharing the place with total and complete strangers, which was a total surprise and completely unacceptable. We immediately cancelled, but because of the strict cancellation policy of this property we lost over $500. Interestingly, each of these properties had multiple rave reviews on the Airbnb website. Be aware.

Romantic Getaway by a Waterfall Ruined by Airbnb

My girlfriends and I wanted to book a weekend away where we could relax and have fun. Being from different cities, we opted for a city in between our home towns. I found a ‘cottage’ on Airbnb with a hot tub overlooking a waterfall. It sounded perfect, and looked like what we had in mind. When we arrived, the long driveway was littered with an abandoned school bus, organ, and RV. Outside the cottage, chandeliers hung from the trees, and the waterfall turned out to be a foam-filled pond by a treatment plant of some kind. Inside, the floors were dirty. A dish of bacon grease sat on the stove. The fridge and freezer were so full of the owner’s food there was no room for ours – not that we wanted to cook in that kitchen. His hiking boots were hanging up over the counter and bowls. A vase of dead roses in brown water sat on the table.

In my room, the sheets were very stained. Rather than the open, tidy space shown in the posting photo, there was a rack of his clothes, and a half-full laundry bin at the foot of the bed. There were bathrobes to wear to the hot tub, but they were caked with grime. When we went out to use the hot tub, we discovered that the water from the pond left scum all around the tub. My friends started calling it the serial killer cabin: it was so gross and creepy, and they actually barricaded the door at night in case the host tried to get in. The next morning when I got in the shower, I discovered five used bars of soap, as well as his other toiletries. The wifi he said he had was actually only available on his iPad. When I opened it to try using it, his personal email was open. I wasn’t comfortable with that, so turned it off and had no internet access. This was obviously his residence, and he vacated it for the weekend without cleaning or tidying. I don’t think my girlfriend will let me book our weekend getaways anymore.

Dirty and Unsafe Airbnb for Vacation in California

This was my first trip to California. I have wanted to visit since I was a child, so for over 40 years. Now with the whole family – my wife and three teen daughters – it was about to come true. I was initially going to use VRBO which I have used with great success in the past but found what I thought was a great deal on Airbnb. Since I heard all the buzz about Airbnb, I thought I would give it a shot. What could the risk be with Airbnb behind me? Ha ha…

The fact that the apartment was in Downtown LA was some concern to me but not having been to California and in the excitement of the moment, I neglected to research just how much traffic there really is in the area; I will accept responsibility for that. Prior to booking I did repeatedly ask the host about the safety of the apartment and the surrounding area and was met with the response: “It will fit you perfectly.” Upon arrival, the initial impression of the complex was acceptable with a nice looking pool, architecture and grounds. However, once we began the ascent into the facility I began to have that sickening feeling when something just isn’t right. Musty odors and the smell of drugs were present as we walked the halls to the apartment. Once we entered I immediately tried to remain calm,though I was not pleased with the condition of the beige carpet, paint peeling off the walls, and a refrigerator containing old food.

Needless to say, below is what I wrote to our host and a representative after I decided to leave the following day. Yes, we stayed the first night as we were all exhausted after the seven-hour flight and fighting traffic to the apartment.

Hello Mike,

After some careful deliberation, we have decided not to stay in your rental due to the reasons listed below. As a result I would appreciate a refund for the balance of the days we will not be staying as even a cleaning will not make up for the fact that my daughters are uncomfortable with the environment and I don’t wish to subject them to the marijuana odors that waft through the halls or patio doors. I would appreciate your cooperation and will leave the keys with the concierge.

– Dirty, not cleaned well or recently

– Carpets are dark with dirt blotches and contained some sticky substances. I was afraid to remove my shoes.

– Old food in refrigerator and cupboards

– Smells of pot were frequent and loud neighbors stomping and slamming doors

– Unsafe surroundings not as described. My daughters were harassed outside the apartment even by pool area

– Sirens going several times throughout the night

– Dining seats are all stained, not appealing to enjoy a meal

– Food spillage down the kitchen cabinets and stove top dirty, making it unappealing to cook.

Following the above message to the host, I received a message from Nick at Airbnb who indicated that I had not followed Airbnb policy (when in fact I did, other than waiting around for the host to provide a resolution… with only five days available and the severity of the situation, this was not possible) and that I could open a refund request in the resolution center, which I had already done.

My response to Nick:

My first email was to Mike the Airbnb host, and I then opened a case with Airbnb within the 24-hour period as per the guidelines. Mike has rejected my refund request, following which I selected the option to involve Airbnb. As to finding a remedy, this situation was not able to be remedied in a timely manner as we are only in California for five days and it would be unreasonable to believe the apartment carpets and seating could be shampooed and other areas brought up to a clean standard in a reasonable time frame. Please review the pictures, as I am not sure anyone could clean what should have been done before even stepping foot in the facility. I was not about to put my family through this type of situation any longer than was necessary especially for Mike to come by to talk. The only resolution suitable would be a refund as these are distrustful and manipulative tactics simply to rent out his location. In addition, the safety factor is completely beyond the host’s means to correct, along with the elements of drug use; they are out of his control. My primary concern at this point is to ensure my family has a safe clean location to spend the rest of the short vacation in the time we have left. Had the host represented the location as not suitable for families this issue could have been avoided. I even questioned the safety of the location and was met with: “It will fit you perfectly.” I have used VRBO and hotels without issue in the past so this was a very stressful situation and caused me to seriously not trust Airbnb fpr future bookings, especially if there will be no support or protection for guests. Perhaps the host should have been more thoroughly vetted, as I would be shocked if any family would find this location acceptable. I have initiated the process to involve Airbnb and get a full refund.

Nick’s Response:

Hello Adam,

Thank you for your patience while I reviewed your case. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your concerns and perspective on this experience. Based on the information provided, I have decided that any refund will have to come directly from Mike based on our refund policy which you can read upon within the previous email. Thank you again for your understanding and for your valued time and contribution.

Best wishes,

Nick

So even after providing pictures as to the poor cleanliness of the apartment and the fact that my daughters were harassed – two conditions specified by Airbnb as reasonable – our request for a refund was still rejected. This issue is current as of April 26th, 2017 and I am still trying to fight it. Although with no response to my emails and no contact information for Airbnb as they don’t clearly list any means of reaching a representative or manager, it is tough. I do appreciate the contact information for Airbnb found on this site.

President of Alliance for HOPE International Speaks Out

Airbnb let a host take $900 from us after advertising a really dumpy, sub-par unit in Washington DC. “Tommy”, the owner, posted his row house but took only pictures from a distance and did not show a picture of the bathroom or the kitchen. His unit was listed as #11324355. This is always a good way to identify a dishonest Airbnb host but my staff members missed it. We booked the unit and did not realize how poorly maintained it was until we arrived at the unit on a Friday. We immediately contacted Tommy to say we could not stay there; he was profane and raged against my staff members. We booked another unit within the hour and had a great host. However, when we appealed to Airbnb, they sided with Tommy and let him keep our money even though the unit had dirty, stained carpets, tattered furniture, holds in the walls, faded paint with water stains, and peeling paint on the front door. The kitchen was old, drab, and poorly maintained with 1970’s formica and linoleum. Airbnb thought we were first-time users even though I have personally spent tens of thousands of dollars with them over the years. They sided with the host and would not refund our money. They ripped us off and sided with a very dishonest host.

Negative Review of Crazy Host Deleted by Airbnb

This was truly the most negative Airbnb experience we ever had. I say this as someone who has hosted 300+ people and stayed in about ten Airbnb’s over the past six years. We stayed here for 2.5 months but we should have left earlier; we failed to notice early warning signs of bad hosting and I wish we read his other negative reviews better. We were hoping things would improve, but they only became worse.

To give you an idea: three weeks without a toilet (needed to flush using a bucket), broken air conditioner, every day there was new cat pee on the balcony, which prevented us from opening the door (we got tired after cleaning each day), lightbulbs spontaneously burning and incorrectly installed lights (made by the host) that caused electrical problems and electric shocks from the washing machine (a fire hazard), many rusty nails sticking out of the hardwood floor that ruined all of our socks (and hurt our feet), description says “A/C” but there’s only air conditioning in the bedrooms, a check-out fee (an early check-in fee is understandable, but a check-out fee during the daytime?), and lying about heating in the apartment – we had to wear winter jackets when autumn had just started.

The wifi didn’t work on my phone and the host said: “It’s working on my phone; nobody has ever had wifi issues in my apartments.” We read in at least five reviews that his other places had wifi issues too. The windows leaked when it rained, and there was a nightclub that was open until 7:00 AM and was very loud (I specifically asked the host about this; he just lied about it). The worst thing, however, was both hosts. In early messages they were friendly, but this changed as soon as they received payment – their tone soon became sarcastic and at times even offensive.

The very first day the 25+ year old air conditioner broke down, it was 90+ degrees out. The host refused to repair it. In the end they even wanted us to pay for repairing the flush of the 35-year-old toilet by saying we broke it. According to reviews of other guests and according to the plumber the toilet has been having problems months before we arrived. They knew about this but still tried to charge us.

We tried to solve some of the problems with the host and Nina at first. They were never helpful (at best) and at times even rude (at worst). Looking at how badly they dealt with the air conditioner, the nightclub, and the toilet and wifi issues we noticed we couldn’t expect much from them, so we stopped asking. Later the host said, “Why you didn’t ask me?” Well, we did notify them several times, but they just chose to ignore us.

The review above was deleted by Airbnb, because we mentioned other reviews. Why don’t they then remove that one sentence? Does this happen often? I wonder how many negative reviews Airbnb deletes on a yearly basis based on this. After the review was live for a very short time, the host even sent me this: “How can you be so repulsive? The lowest kind of human behavior… when did I not answer your problems? We constantly attended to your requests! You need to go to a hotel, not an apartment.”

This only confirms how crazy he was. While they never ever attended to the issues, this message comes on top of everything that happened. I need to say again that I was very understanding and even kind during our conversations, being a former host myself, but this host was completely uncooperative. We read some negative reviews about this host but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt; as a former host I know how unreasonable guests can be. I now wish we didn’t. The least Airbnb can do is publish our review and warn future guests.

Airbnb Slumlord and Customer Service Torture me

I planned a trip to New York from Feb 23rd until May 31st. From the day I arrived the place was filthy. I brought my own linens and a shower curtain out of fear. Then mice and cockroaches started running through the place. We came home to a mouse just sitting on my son’s pillow. The fresh paint was a patch job and already caused mold to form. The heat didn’t work for three days. When it finally was turned on, the radiator was leaking and so loud you couldn’t even hear a person speak. The steam ruined the entire room, and the water caused the flooring to rot. My son must sleep in that room and the water shot all over our stuff.

I have now had to wait three different times for a repairman to come. This has messed up most of my days and the issue is still not fixed. A couple weeks after arriving, the hot water started turning off. I have had the city health department out here numerous times. Still, you never know when you can shower. For a month I tried to contact Airbnb; they always say a supervisor will call back. This of course never happens. I even sent pictures and explained about the mice. Still, there was no answer. I finally decided to do my own research. It was not hard to find who owned the building… the same guy who is our host. I Googled his name and his family is listed on the NYC worst landlord list. His mother was actually sued in court over being a slumlord.

Does Airbnb have no responsibility to at least investigate the product they are selling? They make money off me as well as the landlord, so does only the landlord deserve protection? I am now in fear of these people as Airbnb has notified them of my complaints. I wake up and, no hot water. He can now torture me if he wants. I just want out for my own safety. I feel there needs to be more responsibility or laws for Airbnb as they are making a fortune and do not have to comply with rules we apply to hotel owners. My entire trip has been destroyed.

In regards to Airbnb customer service, I finally have just been continually calling as I have not only been to the hospital because the property made me sick, but now I have an eye infection from the filth. They still refuse to help. I have been through ten case workers in two days. Most of them lack knowledge or even decency. If I sue I will request all taped calls as most have admitted to the terrible conditions and that they themselves would not stay here. I even will have a tape of one of the agents who forgot to put me on hold, and was discussing me with the supervisor, who refused to get on the phone. They had a nice conversation about how their break was more important and were laughing about me. I have sent videos, pictures, hospital notes, health department notices, all the text messages between the host and myself, and even the articles on the host’s reputation, and they are still giving me the runaround. I need to get out but they have all my money. Anyone that can help, please give me some suggestions.