No Compensation for Trouble with Host and House

I’ve been an avid Airbnb user for a while now, paying for around nine consecutive months in my travels. I used to trust the service and recommend it to anyone. I recently booked a new place. The listing said it was for two people, a private room with one bedroom and six beds.  I messaged the host, who should have been a woman based on her profile picture. I asked to book for around a month and a half from March 11th. The response I got was that the house was not finished yet, but should be by March 17th. I said that it was important for me to arrive on the 11th. I got a response saying that they may have everything ready by that day, and if I was fine with that I may come; they sent a special request for the new time I stated for the same price. Later, I found out that they changed the cancellation policy to a stricter one as well.

Unfortunately, my flight was cancelled twice, leading to me getting there a day late. The owner declined a refund for that day when I asked. This is where things started to go astray. I met the owner, a middle aged man nothing like the woman featured on the profile. He showed me the place, which wasn’t where it was listed on Airbnb but a few minutes’ walking distance from there. He explained that the house wasn’t ready yet, and led me to a house still under construction, unfurnished, and filled with cardboard and dust. Basically I had a decent room, but no shower, kitchen, or almost any of the amenities that appeared in the listing. Construction workers woke me up everyday when they started working, and there was no internet in the apartment, though it had been listed – something that was specifically important for me.

There was another guesthouse rather close by where there were some of the amenities listed (like a shower, kitchen, internet). I used that for whatever necessities I had. On the second day, I was locked outside by the construction workers and had to call the owner in the middle of the night for help. The first time this happened he asked me to sleep in the other guesthouse’s attic, which I myself had suggested earlier. However, I found out later that this wouldn’t be a good idea since people go in and out of there many times and it wouldn’t be possible to sleep. I called once more and he angrily refused. I had to make him come and open the door to my house, which was very bothersome for him. The living situation wasn’t comfortable at all and it was very cumbersome to move between these places and in between the construction going on in the building.

He had said things were expected to be finished by March 17th. So I waited. Things didn’t improve much, besides the shower and adding a few hangers. There was still no internet, no common areas, and no kitchen. I decided to call Airbnb customer service, and had a talk with a guy named John who was nice and promised to help me. He said that he could refund all of my money and help me find a new place. However, after a while we couldn’t find anything feasible so he said that he would advise me to keep looking for places and his colleagues would help me. After that, I got few responses from the team, in which they sent me links to places that were very different from my requirements: much lower standards, way over budget, or very far away from where I was. I talked to them once more and tried to explain that right now, apartments in Tokyo are hard to find with such short notice. It was also a busy tourist season, which would make it even harder.

More time passed, and I called again. Emailing customer service was slow and cumbersome. This time I spoke to another guy who asked for pictures of the place, which I provided. He agreed that the pictures showed the place in construction. However, he decided to call the host. What followed was a long conversation I had between him as a proxy towards my host. I basically said that I would like to get a refund as well as some compensation for the trouble that I got. It is simply unfair to customers to sell them places that are still under construction and not ready; I wanted to get some compensation for the days I stayed in that house as well as the days I was looking for a new apartment. The customer service personnel told me that since the host sent me a special request that showed the value of the new place with construction and everything, and made it clear to me that the place was under construction, I would not be compensated. They also said I should have expected that construction such as this go well past deadlines.

This would have been a good response, if it weren’t for the fact that it was simply not true. The price was exactly the same price, and not a special offer at all. This was simply done to change the date as well as the cancellation policy, in and of itself something a scammer would do. The message I had been sent was “the house was not ready”. I always assume that the houses listed on Airbnb are held to some sort of standard. In no way do I think that “not ready” is equivalent to “there will be construction workers with helmets building rooms and running around you filling your socks with dust.” I was given a date when everything should have been finished. There shouldn’t be any excuses on that point. It’s a business. I paid money. I expect things to be on time. If they are, the minimum response is to compensate and apologize. I tried explaining this to the case manager but he wouldn’t really do anything about it. He decided to give me a coupon for Airbnb and said that this was already above and beyond what I should get. I left with a feeling that I would rather spend my next twelve months of traveling with a different company. I advise you to do the same; there is not much added value for a middleman if he doesn’t help you once things get shady.

Here are some pictures of the apartment on the first day.

House in the Woods Should be Called House on the Highway

People should be aware about an Airbnb property called the House in the Woods in Issaquah, WA. Cool home? Yes! Accurate listing? No! The host claimed it as a Business Ready Listing, but according to the Comcast technician, the Internet and Cable Account had not been set up. Airbnb requires hosts to notify guests in a timely manner if any listed amenities are not available. This host did not; he merely gave a partial refund for the inconvenience. The deferred maintenance issues were noted, photographed, and reported, some of which were paramount to our safety. There were dangerous steps leading to the unit, no smoke detector, and possible electrical issues including buzzing switches, flickering lights, numerous junctions boxes in ceilings, and burned out bulbs.

There was a security issue: no way to lock door between units from the upper unit side. The property was located 60 feet from an extremely busy highway; it was very loud hearing tandem dump trucks start rolling by at 3:30 AM. There was no privacy. The previous home owner operated a landscaping company and had several sheds, trailers, vehicles, work equipment, and a large junkyard located directly behind the home. All could easily be viewed from the wraparound deck, master bedroom and master bathroom. Men were on site all day, moving equipment around, working on noisy gas powered tools, and riding around the property on a noisy four wheeler. If we could see them, they could watch us as well. When we returned from an afternoon outing, one of the men appeared to be snooping around the home. He wasn’t doing maintenance, as he had no tools. What was most disturbing is he ran away when he saw my husband approaching the house. He ran towards the highway, up around the house, and back down to the commercial business. It was scary. The host dismissed it as nothing when we notified her.

At 2:30 AM, on the second night of a two-night stay, we realized one of the men was actually living in a red pickup truck located in the workspace behind the home. We became aware of this when the truck’s headlamps shone through the bedroom window each time he started the truck. It is winter; he ran the engine about once an hour, likely to warm himself. There were questions in our minds keeping us from falling asleep afterwards: is the man homeless? Is he a felon? Is he dangerous? Do we call the police? Needless to say, we were very troubled to learn this was not a quiet serene home located in the woods as the host wants people to believe. It was crazy that other reviews describe it this way. It should be named House on the Highway, as the host’s inaccurate description minimizes the truth. We were totally wigged out by the immense lack of privacy, no separation from the commercial business operation, catching a strange man creeping around the house, and finding another man living on property in a pickup truck visible from the bedroom.

Host Reviews Always Seem to be too Good to be True

We just returned from a really poor Airbnb experience in Chamonix, France. I looked at her reviews as host and they all were too full of sunshine. This makes me think that guests are afraid to tell the truth because then they will be reviewed negatively. So everyone says “It was great!” I’m tired of being lied to like this. The woman who rented to us was clearly crazy, micromanaged every moment of our stay, disrespected our privacy, told us what to do constantly, drove us out of the house the day before she left, gave us the bum’s rush about when we were leaving, had an infant grandchild stay in the small apartment who cried and awoke us, and smoked cigarettes. It was so difficult to relax and enjoy our vacation time. I am about done with Airbnb. It’s all roses in reviews then the reality is different. I do not trust the reviews at all. We were kind, quiet, clean and courteous guests and all we got was grief. We arrived an hour earlier than the 5:00 PM check in time and was greeted with disdain and freak out… how lovely. In addition, we thought it was a private attic apartment, not shared with her and a baby. I would have never booked a place with a baby in the house. Before we went to bed, I asked her to turn off or at least turn down a loud electronic baby toy next to the entrance to our room and she snapped and said “wear earplugs!” We were not allowed to touch anything in the kitchen due to an earlier guest. She should have stated that in her listing. We paid dearly for this crappy treatment and experience. It’s hotels or private accommodations from now on. Airbnb is not worth it anymore. There are too many flakes.

You be the judge: Who is at fault, the host or guest?

My experience with Lane & Elizabeth was absolutely awful. As I reached out to Lane attempting to meet at the house at 3:00 PM to check in, he could not make it at that time and it wasn’t convenient enough for him; he pushed it to 4:00. The second I walked into Lane’s place there was an overwhelming smell of chemicals. Lane spoke to me as if I were a child being given a lesson, as he barely showed me around, handed me the key rudely, and left. I already felt uncomfortable. As I began cooking dinner I could hear the neighbors walking around above me and clearly hear conversations from the hallway, outside and through each of the walls of Lane’s place. It was already an issue that the walls were so thin and if I would have known they would so easily let sound pass through I never would have rented the place.

I continued my evening with a few friends. I made sure they kept their voices down to avoid any noise complaints and sure enough after Lane responded to my question about how to set up the television he mentioned a noise complaint. At first he explained how clearly the neighbors would hear anything happening on the balcony so I warned my guests. Soon afterwards I received another text demanding “the party be shut down”, labeling my gathering as a crazy party Lane was stressing over. He said the neighbors were angry and he didn’t want to have to drive over and leave his pregnant wife at home. This is Airbnb, an official business under a professional transaction. Although I understand Lane’s complaint about having to deal with his nine-month pregnant wife it was very unprofessional and did not concern me as the cause of the stress he was experiencing. He continued to text me that the “Party needs to end now. The party needs to end.”

Receiving these texts was beyond annoying because there was no party happening. On a Friday night at 10:00 PM I was being told to send my few guests home and make me feel like we were being extremely loud when it was truthfully not loud at all. Next an Airbnb manager called and spoke to me about the complaint purely being about loud voices on the balcony and nothing else. By this time I had completely silenced the music and had minimal friends over who were all just talking and eating. It was extremely frustrating to be yelled at by Lane over text when I had followed all his instructions and kept the noise to a minimum. This still wasn’t enough. At this point we were over the night and extremely disappointed to have been bothered multiple times, complained about when I had been responsive, and in communication with Lane and the Airbnb manager who had called twice. The Airbnb manager was very polite and understanding and completely willing to accept a compromise in the end.

Five people did sleep over, which I honestly had not known would cost extra or be an issue, but I did agree to pay an extra $25 per person. This was my fault and I just wanted to compromise in some way. This $705 will not be paid to Lane because my experience was just as unenjoyable as his. He complained that there was a balloon stuck in the fan which would cost $100 to fix. We had meant to remove it but no one was tall enough to reach. It was not tied in or stuck at all, it was simply wrapped around and an easy fix for any of us. It is crazy how angry Lane was the next day. He texted me saying his place was trashed which was completely not true. We had taken out all the trash, washed all of our used dishes and cleaned all the trash and food. Anything we had brought was removed from his unit.

I paid a $45 cleaning fee and all we left for Lane’s cleaning crew – himself and his nine-month pregnant wife – to clean was the floor which had chip crumbs on it. Lane also complained that we had left a phone and bullets, which was innocent enough. A friend of ours came from the army and left them with his phone, there was nothing more going on with them. I do understand how this was probably scary but I assured them it was an innocently mistake and we could provide any proof if necessary. My friend was not able to retrieve his phone right away because Elizabeth held it hostage in exchange for her blanket, which we mistakingly took because I thought my friend had left it. She sarcastically responded to us finding it saying: “Oh, all of a sudden you now have the blanket”. She was extremely rude, and harshly accused my friends of trying to steal it.

The last complaint Lane left was regarding burns on the sofas and carpet. These burns were there when I had first come into his unit. I saw them myself and asked Lane about them because I clearly read that one of their few rules was no smoking whatsoever. There was no one smoking at my gathering and I can assure you that I am being wrongfully accused and attacked. I do not feel it is right to charge me $705 and unprofessionally handle this situation due to the anger and rage Elizabeth held towards us, someone to whom she had never spoken.

Airbnb Owners Traumatise Neighboring Family

We have attempted to communicate with our neighbours for the last three years to find some sort of resolution to the constant intrusion to our family life. Our communication has been up and down to say the least but we are now blocked. In summary they have countered, ignored and deferred our desperate pleas for action for three years. I guess if they are earning $600 a night for a heavily booked hotel with no consequences, it’s not in their best interest to acknowledge our concerns. Insulating the house and putting up a decorative privacy screen does nothing to mitigate the foul behaviour and assaults that emanate from an openly advertised party venue. The owners are running the business next door and they are responsible for what happens there. I believe that as an owner of the property they should be held accountable for what happens. We have been verbally and physically abused and my children now have to ask if it’s ok to play in our back yard. Airbnb have ignored our multiple reports and phone calls. I was hit by flying beer and wine bottles last week. What does it take?

 

Constant Noise from Airbnb Guests Annoys Neighbors

My next door neighbour owns 15 properties in Dublin, and unfortunately we happen to live next to one of them. The listing says up to six people are allowed (for a two-bedroom apartment), which effectively allows big groups of friends to rent it. As a results, every other weekend we suffer from loud music and noises coming from this apartment. Our efforts to speak to the visitors is nothing more than a short-term solution. They might listen and somewhat calm down but there are new people every few days. We’ve never seen the owner, and we unable to discuss this matter with him. We’ve been forced to file a complaint with Airbnb, but still have yet to receive a reply.

I’m Not Even a User and I Can’t Stand Airbnb

I’m not even an Airbnb user and I absolutely can’t stand them anyway. So many people in my building rent their flats to tourists who get insanely drunk, shout like crazy day and night, make a mess of our shared toilets, and won’t go to sleep cause they’re too busy shouting or taking drugs and yelling (I live in Amsterdam). This is a sort of mixed industrial area, and our walls and ceilings are pretty thin. There’s no isolation so since the whole Airbnb hype started, life has become so much less enjoyable, more like a living hell. Our building has now suffered from so many incidents: things get stolen, Airbnb people ring your doorbell at night because of course they have no idea which doorbell to ring when they’re so drunk and drugged.

Can anyone just sue Airbnb? The world was a better place without it. The worst part is that my “friends” don’t ever have space in their house for me anymore because they’re all renting their spare rooms to Airbnb users. When I’ve needed a place to stay, everyone says no because they have Airbnb guests. Honestly, that means those “friends” suck, but it’s also creepy that everyone is letting strangers stay in their houses. From what I hear, this site is way more expensive than most hotels anyway. Why not stay at a nice hotel where you’re provided privacy and security? People are weird.

Airbnb Neighbor Rents Out Home for Large Parties

I live next door to a large modern home in Sherman Oaks, California. For months we’ve seen people coming and going, films being shot, and dogs barking all day and all night. However, New Year’s Eve made us realize this house is actually empty and is being rented out for large parties. New Year’s Eve was pure hell. Even at 3:00 AM the music was still pounding, women were screaming and giggling, beer bottles were being thrown, furniture was being toppled on the back porch, and there were firecrackers being set off. Over 300 people in one house. If it happens again the police will become involved. The owner has turned this place into a frat flophouse. She should be ashamed of herself. None of the neighbors are happy. Maybe Airbnb as a company should vet these owners a little more carefully. I will make this owners life miserable if it continues. There’s no way to contact Airbnb. I tried and all they keep doing is sending me rental listings in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t use Airbnb if my life depended on it. They are as much to blame as these absentee owners who are just in it to collect the rent.

What has happened to Airbnb? Why are guests so bad?

I’ve been hosting for three years. The last guest turned up at my house drunk, took his shoes off to release a cheesy foot odor that I could taste but still declined a shower and drank another bottle of wine while I sat with him. Then within one hour after I went out, he broke my ceramic toilet lid, left his light on, went out, and wouldn’t respond to calls. Unfortunately, I have to say, though this person was a little extreme, most guests lately are just rude and horrible. Is it because Airbnb encourages through their advertising that people ‘make themselves at home’ at another person’s house (read, hog the bathroom and splash water everywhere, sit around in the open-plan kitchen all day, help themselves to condiments from the cupboard, get packages delivered that hosts have to pick up because it’s their address, get drunk in their room, slam doors while people are sleeping, etc)? What is the solution? My house rules are comprehensive. Should Airbnb politely ask guests to mind their manners while they are in another person’s home?

Distributor Kept us Awake in this Loud NYC Airbnb

This was my first experience with Airbnb, traveling with my sisters and daughter to New York City. We thought renting an Airbnb so everyone could have their own rooms would be a great idea. The host would not give us the exact address until three days prior to our stay, yet her refund policy was strict: no refund for a cancellation within seven days of a stay. The reviews on this Airbnb were all positive and there was no mention of noise from a water bottle distributor under the apartment windows… until two months prior to my stay. I have stayed in many cities (none using Airbnb) and know that they can be noisy, but all four of us felt like we were sleeping on the streets that night. To top it off, the water bottle distributor began operations at 4:00 AM, with fork lifts going forward and backwards (including beeping) from then throughout the morning. No one in my party received more than a few hours of sleep that night. So as not to ruin our entire vacation we contacted the host and said we could not stay because of the noise, which was not mentioned anywhere in her post. The host would not negotiate any refund whatsoever. In order to save our vacation and get some sleep we were forced to vacate and move to a hotel for the remaining three nights of our New York trip. My next step was to contact Airbnb. They took my comments and I sent some photos of the window air conditioner that had openings to the outdoors and the street view of the water bottling company next door. After a brief review of the situation, Airbnb denied my request for three nights’ reimbursement. In a hotel one has the ability to change rooms if one isn’t satisfactory. There is no such option with an Airbnb. I will never use Airbnb again.