Airbnb Listing was Nothing like the Description


My wife and I were in Mansfield, Victoria and we needed a place to stay for my mother’s funeral. We searched and found a place with great pictures that showed it being neat and tidy with positive reviews. We booked it and arrived at the agreed time, then immediately noticed that the place did not resemble the photos: the garden was neglected, the grass overgrown, there were weeds all over the flower beds, etc. This was an extremely neglected property.

My wife stayed in the car and I knocked on the door to meet the host. Several dogs were barking and jumped all over me. The host arrived and the dogs continued to jump as I walked into the house. The foul stench from the five other dogs in the house was overwhelming and once again the property did not resemble the photos; the host had not cleaned and it was very untidy.

After viewing the messy kitchen I was taken over the long grass to the self contained studio. I was horrified when I entered; she had made one bed and the other was a bare mattress with a pile of crumpled sheets on top. There were no pictures of the interior on the website and I understood why. The two beds were pushed into the corners of the room. In between the beds there was a space of one meter and a large 1.5-meter high weaving loom occupied it. What could we possibly want to use this for, I asked myself?

There was a large clothes stand storing random items occupying the rest of the space. I was speechless; this was a storage shed and she was renting it out. Worse still, the corrugated tin roof was exposed on the inside, radiating heat like you wouldn’t believe. No wonder there were two oversized pedestal fans randomly placed inside, because there were no fly screens on the windows. She generously supplied insect repellent just in case we needed to open the windows and let in the cool air.

There was no fridge, running water, kettle, microwave, TV, Internet, or bath towels – just some beds and some useless junk. I noticed that there were no outside lights and the main house with a toilet and running water was some 100 meters away. There was no path leading to the main house and the grass was quite overgrown, with plenty of places for the Australian insects and reptiles to hide out of sight when it got dark.

We both like to shower at night before bed and I knew my wife was not going to handle this. I took it up with the host who explained that there were torches in case we needed to visit the main house during the night. My wife and I stayed for ten minutes before we walked back to the house and told her that it was not acceptable. We asked for a refund and she refused and became quite hostile at that point. She told us that this is the country and that’s how people live here. Worse still, I received a message later to say that she had contacted the police and they are looking for us. She also posted a review of us to say that we damaged the property.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. Hi Phil,

    Did you not read that the government has said that the property is NOT Habitable?

    I suppose you believe it would be acceptable for a house owner to build a cubby house and attempt to rent it out on AirBnb using pictures of the main house. That is essentially what this owner has done.

  2. Hi Phil, I didn’t argue with the host, we logged a support request with AirBnB, asked for a refund and got out as soon as possible. The issue is a lot more than overgrown grass as shown by those pictures. In fact she has broken quite a few laws in Australia because the shed has not been built to be occupied as a dwelling. In Australia you need a permit to build and a permit to occupy it. The government have already stated that it is NOT Habitable, are they also being finicky?

  3. I posted this story and have an update.

    I contacted the police and they wrote back to say that she had not lodged a complaint and they were not looking for us. She had lied about this as well as the property damage.

    The funeral director contacted the government and they inspected the property, their reply was as follows :

    Studio NOT built as a Habitable Building (art room etc only)
    Issue will now be pursued with property owner
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention

  4. Instead of arguing with the host, you should have called Airbnb straight away. Yet, a little overgrown grass in the countryside? Somebody is being finicky here…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *