I’ve been at a reservation for over two months now in Washington. Recently the landlady tried to buy the entire house out of her contracts and everyone refused. She then proceeded to start construction which has resulted in utilities being cut off on a regular basis. I took pictures and videos of the construction and complained to Airbnb. Wanna know what they did?
They called me about a week later telling me I had to get out and I would be refunded for the time I haven’t stayed yet. I said “no”, that I wouldn’t be leaving, and any attempt to kick me out could be argued in a court of law as an illegal eviction. I told them because I was already there for over two months I qualified as a tenant I didn’t actually have to leave if they forced me out.
The Airbnb support person told me if I didn’t get out by the end of the day I would be trespassing and the police would get involved. I mentioned how I would be contacting the police and an attorney to sue them if they moved forward.
She responded: “This is our policy so it’s fine.”
Me: “If a policy is in violation of state law the state will just ignore it.”
Her: “You can contact your lawyers and do what you want. We are a 25 billion dollar company and this is our policy.”
Me: “What about the Airbnb policy that states that if a home is unlivable or there’s unnecessary construction the guest gets a refund? What about the Airbnb policy?”
Her: Makes a comment about my tone and says she will be looking at the pictures I sent.
She put me on hold and it became very clear she had no idea what she was doing. She offered me $100 and to pay me back for the nights I haven’t stayed yet. I told her, “No. I’m not going to accept that. You can’t force me to take compensation I don’t believe is adequate and if you’re going to move forward with these actions I would like an explicit email acknowledging the fact that I did not agree to your terms. I will be contacting the police and an attorney.”
She said, “Sure, whatever,” mentioned my tone again, and hung up.
In the meantime, I contacted the police non-emergency number and they said they would call me back. It had been about two minutes since I spoke with Airbnb and they called me back.
Same support woman: “Your host is thinking about changing her mind but she says construction will continue. You can stay if you’re okay with the construction.”
Me: “I’m not okay with construction but if you allow me to stay I will.”
Her: “Well, why do you want to stay if there’s construction? She said you can stay if you’re okay with it and she will continue to shut off the water.”
Me: “Because I believe what she is doing is illegal and if I stay I’ll be able to collect damages in a court of law. Additionally if you kick me out right now I’ll be thrown on the street so even if you allow me to stay I will be suing her at this point. You don’t have to mention how I’ll be suing her.”
She hung up again, and said she would tell the host I wanted to “continue my reservation.” What a nice way of saying I didn’t want to spend the night on the streets. How kind of her.
In the meantime I finally got in touch with the police and explained the situation: how she decided to kick me out once I complained about the construction, and how I’m a tenant due to the way I’ve rented. He asked if I’d received mail at the property. I explained I had received some mail there. He then got upset and said, “Okay, so who am I talking to? I need a phone number.”
I gave him the landlady’s phone number. He called me five minutes later and told me she was no longer evicting me and she “changed her mind.”
I’m going to be suing. At this point in considering suing Airbnb too. The dumbest part is I have pictures of all of the construction and even messages from the landlady confirming when I complained and that the construction is renovations and not repairs necessary to the property.
1. Airbnb is not a long term (over 28 nights) platform although it will allow booking. Airbnb recommends to hosts to have a separate signed lease for rentals over 28 nights to meet the rental’s area long term rental agreement laws.
2. You stated the owner tried to buy tenants out of their Airbnb rentals early and everyone refused. Good luck in court getting any financial compensation. You will get to stay longer in a construction zone which is unhealthy and unpleasant but you declined a buyout. You will more in legal fees than it is worth.
3. If the Airbnb rep called you, the conversation sounds fake as if the landlord is again trying to buy you out and had someone (not Airbnb) The conversation you relayed does not sound like an Airbnb rep, especially the part of how they are such s big company.
4. Guests who refuse to leave are a horror story for hosts/owners. Many hosts refuse to do rentals for 28 nights or more. This is why.
5. You don’t mention how long your original reservation is for. Are you staying beyond that? If so, you’ve now violated your Airbnb agreement
Wrong platform for long term rental. Lack of a long term rental agreement. Offers to buy you out of the rental early. What a mess. Have fun living in a construction zone and standing your ground. Do you still have time to take the money and go?
If you are staying somewhere this long, why are you even using AirBnB instead of looking for a longer-term let?
Airbnb does NOT have a policy to protect guest from host who misrepresent their living arrangements. I told a mediator that my last host lives in a refugee government, own, building and he is NOT allowed to have roommates, sublet or rent to Airbnb. The host expected me to lie and or cover his illegal activity having Airbnb guests, I was there. The mediator said: we can’t ask hosts to show their renting contracts to us that is too invasive.’’
I am shocked, Airbnb will have legal problems if they do not write a policy to ensure guests are safe and never have to lie.
This host had professionally staged his apartment for Airbnb photos but look at the reality of this place. It is in Malmo, Sweden.
I hope this guest/tenant follows up with this court case!
I feel airbnb is usually a nightmare for both host and guest on most month to month rentals. Month to month tenants have good rights for fare treatment in most states. Being a landlord takes some educating and training! Airbnb, is just not setup for all the disclosures and processes for a month to month or long term rental (LTR). In fact many illegal airbnb hosts advertise as a 30 day rental to be “legal as an LTR” when thy have an intent to be an STR (short term rental with few rights). This opens hosts up to squatters and such that use the system for free accommodations.
Construction on/near an LTR is the right of a landlord. I have heard horror stories about businesses in leases for years being in a war zone type situation. I feel this person might get back a few days of rent when utilites are off, but it is just not worth it to me to hold out. Likely this person just wants to continue a “great deal” that is too good to be true!
The lesson here is to rent an LTR with a property management company or other experienced landlord with a good history! That would NOT be airbnb!