My Home was Destroyed and Used as an Illegal Airbnb

I own a 5000+ square foot executive home in a gated community in Las Vegas. My tenant illegally rented out my home for up to $750/night. My neighbors reported that on a daily basis limos and party buses would roll up with 15-20 people going in and out of my house daily. My home was subject to bachelor parties, naked pool parties, and even had a rap video filmed inside. Airbnb does not check that “hosts” are authorized to rent out the homes. As a result, my home suffered over $25,000 in damage. When I reported it to Airbnb, they refused to remove it from the site and cancel future reservations. I had to get the police involved and move people out in the middle of the night. The same host is doing this with other unsuspecting homeowners. If anyone files a class action on behalf of property owners, I’m in. How is it that Airbnb does not check to see if a host is legally entitled to rent out someone’s home? Also, when notified, how do they not shut down the listing, as well as their other listings immediately?

How Safe is Airbnb Really if Guests Can Copy Keys?

Last weekend my girlfriends and I rented a super pimped out, amazing three-bedroom house near old Montreal. We’re talking high roller kind of place… after all, it was my bachelorette party, so we figured we would splurge a bit. The reviews were great, the host was nice, and the place was amazing. Everything was great until we got home at 3:00 AM on Saturday night to find everything ransacked, and all our stuff stolen. Not just a few things, but a lot of things: $20,000 worth of iPads, diamonds, purses, sunglasses… all gone. They even took one of my wedding shoes. That’s right, just one.

After dealing with the police, filing a report, doing all the things we had to do we were finally able to contact the host. He came the next morning, and as he was inspecting the place he told me that someone had rented his place a few weeks ago, under a false name and stolen credit card, and stole a bunch of his stuff. Why didn’t he tell us that before? The buggers probably copied the key to the place and just came back a few weeks later.

Which leads me to ask: how safe is Airbnb? Keys can be easily copied. A quick trip to a convenience store or home depot – that’s all it takes. You can’t tell me that every host changes their locks after every guest. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen. So really, how safe are you sleeping in a house that could have hundreds of copied keys to the front door? We were just lucky that none of us stayed in that night. The night prior, one of my girlfriends stayed in. If they came in on Friday things could have been much worse. All of this tell us Airbnb is not safe unless the host has a pin pad lock and changes the code after ever guest. Always ask, and really it should be mandatory by Airbnb. By the way, none of the host’s stuff was stolen, not a thing.

Airbnb Trips Turns into Extortion in DR

My friends and I went to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic on June 10-19, 2017. During our stay we had a couple issues: the grill not turning on, the fridge spoiling our food because it was not working. We booked an ATV riding experience and paid in cash on the spot because we wanted no surprises; some reviews stated the host had extorted money from guests for similar tours. We told them we had booked a catamaran with another company and they seemed a bit upset.

The next day we were told the catamaran company would pick us up at 8:45 AM. He said the company told him that; we were a bit confused by this because we had an email saying it was an 8:00 AM pickup. We thought maybe they worked together. We went on the catamaran. It wasn’t what we expected; it was boring, and even the best parts were mediocre.

After getting back we were then told the hosts had taken us on their catamaran (not the one we had booked) and they knew how to cancel our original PayPal transaction; they insisted we should send them the money after the tour. We were confused how they could do such a thing without our permission. They put it in a claim with the other company, saying they had come and taken us.

The next day the workers came again, telling us to pay $100 more then what we paid with our original plan. We told them PayPal had not given us our money back yet, and we would do it as soon as the money was received.

We left the 18th at night. One of our friend’s flight was later on in the day so she stayed. The host would not let her leave, brought security saying she couldn’t leave and the police were on the way. A guy friend of ours was in the same villa so he gave the host $350 and she charged the credit card that was on hold for $500 and the Airbnb account $720 in order to let our friend go.

We called the original company that we booked. They notified us they came and the host had said we didn’t want to go with them. We were also told they don’t issue refunds, so we payed for two catamarans. This host is a fraud and must be stopped. How can she live with herself, extorting people? She made a few thousand off of us for the Airbnb and extorted us for more. She told us a pickup time of 8:45 because we told her the pick up was at 8:00 AM. The company couldn’t reach us with all the security and they wouldn’t have waited 45 minutes. She set us up so we didn’t know we were on her catamaran.

Airbnb Guests Doing Illegal Drugs at our Apartments

I’m not too sure which point I should be focusing on, the bad guest experiences or the Airbnb management system, but I will be explaining both so readers can be the judge. First, I had a guest book one of my apartments and checked in at night around 11:00 PM. He rang me up and asked how to check in. I gladly informed him of the instructions and he checked in successfully. Two days later on his check out day, our cleaners entered the apartment to clean after the check out time (11:00 AM). The guest was still sleeping, so the cleaners had to ask him to leave; he was not really listening so the cleaners had to ask several times.

Eventually he left but when the cleaners went inside the apartment, they found it in a hideous state. Everything had been moved, with splatters on the walls, sheets and blankets and pillows thrown everywhere, everything in the kitchen had been used and left unwashed, candles and decors were completely smashed, cups and other decors were missing, and there was a strong smell of cigarettes in the apartment. Obviously he had been smoking in our apartment, so already he did so many things wrong.

Guests are supposed to leave the keys on the table when they leave but when we couldn’t find them, I tried contacting the guest all day by phone, text, Airbnb, and even on Facebook. Eventually the guest answered the phone late that night saying he forgot to leave the keys and took them with him. He came back to return the keys and I asked him to reimburse for the damages done at our apartment. He said he would if I sent him an email with an invoice. I did and surprisingly enough, he replied with a rejection. He said he would not take responsibility and didn’t agree he left the apartment in a bad state.

I had to request money from Airbnb. Because the guest did not respond, it had to be escalated. Airbnb has not been replying. To be fair it has only been ten days, but I still think that is plenty of time for them to get back to me, as they have gotten in contact with me for other reasons, just not this. I have asked them what has happened to my case, and they only ask me to wait (probably forever).

Several days after this happened, the same guest decided to book another one of our apartments, and messaged me asking how to check in. If I’m thinking clearly, I couldn’t imagine why he would do this because we clearly had by far the worst experience with him. Of course I had to cancel by calling up Airbnb (because it was already after check in time). Thankfully they cancelled that booking for us, but they also cancelled the previous booking that he made and paid for, which resulted in the past reservation fee to be refunded to him. This was pretty much the last thing we needed, but when I emailed them and asked for this to be fixed ASAP, they only said it was a glitch and will be looked into very shortly… as in never?

Unfortunately I’m still waiting on this, and not sure if I will ever hear from those case managers again. Airbnb really does a pathetic job with training staff, technical systems, management, and customer service. This isn’t big news for anyone I suppose. I just wanted to put this post out here, to warn hosts about receiving dodgy guests. Please see if they have a bad history, review, or just a weird vibe in general. I just finished hosting his girlfriend today; I didn’t even know it was her at the time. I basically hosted the same guest, who ruined our apartment once, and she did it again.

This one burned all of our candles and covered the fire alarm with a shower head. She was in bed “sick” all day according to our conversation. Again, there were stains all over the floor, sofa, and blankets, the place fuming with a candle smell so bad because there were five full sized candles all used up in just a few days. We found syringes under the bed and sofa and all the furniture was moved in weird places. They locked themselves out by leaving the key inside so I had to go and let them in. I really should have caught on there was something fishy about them then, and at least checked out the apartment. All these signs, and the fact that it was the same guest that ruined our last apartment… I could only think that they had been doing some kind of drugs at the property. Please beware of guests like these, as they seem to go around Airbnb houses to do drugs.

Fake Long-Term Rental, Scammers Pretending to be Airbnb

I was recently scammed out of $2,800 for paying what I thought was a security deposit and the first month’s rent for an apartment on Airbnb in Australia. I found the initial listing on Domain; it looked like a private rental with the listing asking any interested parties to email rentscall@gmail.com. I had a response back from the owner ‘Harald Grabner’ (lab.teacher@novartis-pharmaceutical.com) who explained the apartment to me, attached scanned copies of his passport and license (see above), and explained that as he lived in Germany the rental (inspection and handover of keys) would be handled by Airbnb.

He explained the process and said that in order for Airbnb to put me in their system there would be an upfront payment (the $2,800 mentioned above) which would be held by ‘Airbnb’ and released to him if I decide to take the apartment. If I didn’t like the apartment, it would be immediately refunded. He told me that Airbnb would be in contact soon.

I received an email from ‘Airbnb’ with deposit information, which looked exactly like the other real emails I had received from Airbnb in the past. I transferred the money and in a few days time got confirmation from ‘Airbnb’ saying the money had been received and that an agent would be in contact to make arrangement to view the property but wouldn’t be for a couple of days, as he needed to come from Perth. I was never contacted and the real Airbnb has no record of my payment or emails. Beware: the emails looked exactly like the real Airbnb emails. The real Airbnb will never ask you to transfer money off their site. Lesson learnt.

Stranger came to my door but I’m not on Airbnb

I am not a host or a guest. A week ago Friday we had a lady show up at our home saying she booked our property and wanted to get into our home. After a lengthy discussion with this lady, we looked at the Airbnb listing and it was indeed my address. However, nothing matched my home’s description. There were lots of misspelled words, and the “host” spoke about Satan. The whole post was a sham. We both contacted Airbnb several times to take down the post. We explained to them how it’s a safety issue and eventually someone will come knocking that paid for the house and wants in and won’t be as nice as this lady was. Airbnb has not given this guest her money back, nor have they taken down the fake listing. I’ve made several phone calls within a week to this place, as well as emailing and calling them out on Facebook. Nothing is being done. This is so ridiculous that I have to check online everyday to see if my home has been booked and if an unwanted person will be arriving. Why can’t they just take it down?

Triple Billed by Airbnb, Had to Contact Bank

I was triple billed for my Airbnb stay. That is, Airbnb deducted my fee of $124 three times for the same date. I attempted to contact Airbnb, but all one can find is their ridiculous “ask the community” nonsense. They should hire more people. I finally did find an email address and after making a complaint, I talked to a number of “representatives of the team” who could not understand my complaint and asked me to contact the host, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the billing as he only gets paid after our stay. Finally I phoned the bank to ask them to reimburse me for these illegal charges. I left for my trip with the situation still unsettled. Upon my return I saw by my bank receipt that I had been reimbursed, but I never received any communication much less an apology for my lost time and frustration from Airbnb. Two months after this I now note that $124 has just been charged by Airbnb without any communication whatsoever, even though my billing history on Airbnb shows that I have paid for this stay. Once again I have spent over an hour trying to track down Airbnb’s email address or phone number. What a dishonest company. I will phone tomorrow, but I believe that I will once again have to contact my bank to stop this robbery.

Four Families with Seven Children Kicked out at Midnight

My family and friends’ families were staying in State College, PA for the Blue and White Weekend. We arrived at the Airbnb rental property at 10:00 PM on Friday night. When we arrived, the owner showed us the house and strongly encouraged us all to use the hot tub, despite it being late. We stayed the night, did not enter the hot tub, went to the game the next day, and came back to the Airbnb rental around 6:00 PM. We then played with the kids, all under the age of five, in the backyard, ate dinner, put the kids to bed, and retired to the patio and hot tub for the night. My three-year-old daughter is scared of the dark, so my wife was rocking her to sleep on the patio with us. Some of us went to bed with the kids, some of us were wrapping up the night, and some were having nightcaps on the patio.

A couple of us got in the hot tub at the owner’s suggestion. The hot tub was so full of water that it overflowed with just one adult entering it. As others got in, it continued to overflow. We knew this was odd, but didn’t think anything of it. We were sure to keep proper care of the hot tub, as my dad owns a very similar hot tub that we have used in the same manner many times. Around 9:30 PM, my 62-year-old father walked around the house to make sure we weren’t too loud, as the sign asked us to keep it down after 9:30 PM, so we started to wind down around that time. After all, a person can only really stay in a hot tub for 15-20 minutes. My brother and his wife had already gone inside and another couple was already in bed asleep. At 10:00 PM, the the owner came out from behind some bushes and started screaming at us, telling us we were being too loud, it was past curfew, we were breaking the rules, and we were misusing the hot tub. He said we had to get out of the house right away and the cops had been called (at this point he had already called the cops himself and reported a noise violation). When my 3-year-old asked why he was yelling at us, he turned around and yelled at her, scaring her and causing her to cry.

The cops came and when they arrived, they actually thought they were at the wrong house because it was too quiet in the front driveway. We explained the situation to the police and the police pleaded with the owner not to kick us out. We even apologized, despite not doing anything wrong, and said we would go inside and head to bed as we had seven children sleeping in the house ages seven months to four years old. He would not take no for an answer and had the police forcibly remove us. He showed the cops a video, allegedly from the surveillance system (it is illegal to film someone without their consent in a private setting, let alone in bathing suits). The hot tub is surrounded by three walls and leads to a yard with an eight-foot privacy fence, making it more than reasonable to expect this area not to be under video surveillance.

The cops said they had never seen anything like this, but they had to ask us to leave. It was very traumatizing, especially to the kids, who kept asking why we had to leave, and my autistic sister,who was crying throughout the whole thing because they said we’d have to go to jail if we didn’t leave, and our kids would be given to child services. This is a traumatizing thing for a parent to hear, especially without being given a legitimate reason. We asked an officer and the owner to walk through the property so they could all see there were no damages to the household in any way. The owner chose not to walk through after all the guests were removed (he did storm to the door to go inside before we vacated and was stopped by the police). We have video evidence of the walk through along with pictures of how we left the house. For being kicked out at midnight, we left that house in pretty amazing shape.

According to the police, “officers cleared the call at 12:23 AM on April 23rd.” As for the hot tub’s condition, after the owner jumped out of the bushes and yelled at us, my father observed him close the hot tub, and everything was still working fine at that time, including the jets. There was no damage to the hot tub. The owner turned off the jets and placed the cover on. Several witnesses saw the jets working after the abrupt exit, the hot tub was 103 degrees when covered, and there were no drinks in the hot tub. The only difference was that there was less water, which is normal in any hot tub.

Now this traumatic incident has continued to disturb our lives with this fraudulent claim that we broke his hot tub. We exchanged words about the capacity rating of the hot tub and we informed him that my father has a similar model and we treated his hot tub the same as we treat his and did not misuse it. I think it is also worth noting that we were in one of the largest college towns in America; the parties of concern generally involve many college kids with extremely loud music and absurd amounts of alcohol.

We had a few 35-year-olds with a 62-year-old grandfather on a patio deck. We were kicked out in the middle of the night, packing toys, pack n’ plays, food, clothing and toiletries and loaded everyone into our vehicles for a two-hour drive home with our children. My 2-year-old was wide awake on the ride home and continued to ask: “Bye-bye? Why?” We did not get to our friends’ home until 3:00 AM, and our poor kids were tired, confused, and saddened. Not to mention traumatized because the owner yelled, screamed, was rude, and inappropriate through the whole ordeal. We are all shocked and stunned and are still suffering. There were no noise violations, no warning, and certainly no understanding or empathy for children. My friends’ wives and my sister were in tears because he was so out of control.

When we found out, he had been videotaping us in the hot tub as “surveillance,” we no longer felt safe. We called the police Sunday and the sergeant was very nice. He complimented us on how we handled the situation and even mentioned the guy tried to charge us with a noise violation and public disturbance. The police said, “the first officer arrived at the house at 10:15 PM and was met in the drive by the property owner. The officer did not hear any loud voices or music.”

The owner asked the police to charge us with a noise violation and public disturbance. The police did not witness anything that would warrant such charges and called the district attorney’s office to see if they could charge us with anything. The district attorney’s office told them we were doing nothing wrong. They called it a civil dispute in their report. This cop even apologized for having to do it, and said he would not have handled that as well as we did. We did not break any of the house rules. We did not have a party; we were not given a chance to vacate the patio by 10:00 PM, as his online house rules state, as he jumped out at 10:00 PM.

According to the police there is no noise ordinance for that area anyway. There were no rules anywhere about hot tub capacity or use. The owner then tried to open a claim against us on Airbnb for damaging the hot tub. His evidence is screen shots of random hot tub services, an invoice (which I have no doubt is fake), and his word. Looking through this evidence, I do not even understand where he is getting the number of $750 that he thinks we owe him. There are mostly screenshots of estimates from the internet. All of the screen shots of hot tub services/values prove nothing. There is one invoice, which our we believe is fraudulent. We believe this was fraud to exploit innocent families and children.

The invoice is also for cleaning the hot tub, which there was no need for. Airbnb ended up denying his claim because of the evidence we provided showing his claim was fraudulent and ruling in our favor. The owner and his friend were laughing as we carried our children from the house. I don’t know what kind of human being does this to kids and families. We have pictures and video evidence that we left the house in great shape despite being kicked out in the middle of the night. We tried to resolve this issue through Airbnb. Our first case was opened and seemed to be making good progress, but then communication stopped from Airbnb’s case manager. I called customer service and it turned out they closed our case for no reason. I reopened the case thinking it was a mistake. It took weeks to even get a response from them. I called every day for four weeks to check on the status and provided many pictures, police reports, and accounts of this story. On my final call I escalated the issue to a supervisor of the call center. The supervisor didn’t get on the phone and just relayed the message that the case had been closed. They did not give any reason or explanation as to why they closed the case, but offered to open another case, which I did. I still have received no response from Airbnb as to their handling of this. It is awful that they would let a host treat families like this with no repercussion. We will never use Airbnb again.

Valuables Stolen at Barcelona Airbnb, No Resolution

My daughter and her friend checked into their Airbnb in Barcelona on May 13th, 2017. They went out for the night and came back to find all their valuables gone: two Macbooks, two GoPros, one gold bracelet, and my daughter’s baby blanket that always travels with her. They called the police who came to the apartment. They called Airbnb who told them to go to a hotel, but it was the grand prix that weekend and they had trouble finding one at 2:00 AM. The girls filed a police report and stayed in a hotel for the next four nights because they were afraid to stay in an Airbnb at that point. Airbnb was very supportive at first and offered to help. The apartment host changed his name and picture the next morning for the same place but my daughter could not review on it because they did not stay there. Airbnb has done nothing about that. We have been trying to contact Airbnb for the past nine days. I have called five different times and spoke to five different people all with a promise to call me back about our claims. To this date, nobody has returned my calls. I waited on the phone today for over an hour to talk to a manager and was then finally cut off with no call back (they took my number). When I called again, they would not transfer me to a manager and I had to start all over. I am unable to contact them through the website. I only have a few standard questions but there is nobody to contact. This is pretty frustrating and for such a big company, you would think they would have amazing customer service. Shame on them!