Just prior to my departure from Canada to the UK, the host cancelled the booking we had made ten months prior. Airbnb sent a few recommendations, and we selected one. The pictures on the Airbnb website showed a spacious environment, in which the French Door from the kitchen was open and I assumed led to a garden. I assumed it was a terrace house since that is the style of house I had originally booked.
The property was actually a former counsel flat. The French Doors opened onto a tiny deck measuring approximately two feet by two feet, a far cry from a private garden. The entranceway to the property was littered with garbage and the stairway smelt of urine. A large sign was posted outside the entrance way stating that the authorities were aware of all the violence in this building and surrounding grounds and will be increasing their surveillance of the area. I felt played. I was so terribly mislead. The homeowner told me the doors to the flat needed to be locked at all times due to the high crime rate in the building. Happy holidays.
Do not take Airbnb property recommendations. Do not rent properties that do not show the outside of the building from both the front and back. To protect yourself from bad hosts, I would strongly recommend you take pictures of the inside and outside of the property on arrival and again when you leave, so the condition in which you left a property can not be debated.
The second location I had the displeasure of staying at was in Somerset. The posting made it sound that the house was located in the townsite of Shepton Mallet, but it was in the district of Shepton Mallet, a 15-minute drive to the townsite and any amenities. The pictures on the Airbnb website made the dwelling look much larger than it was and showed lovely white leather furniture. In reality, the inside of the home looked more like a charity shop with all mismatched furniture. The pictures of the outside of the chapel style home showed a lovely manicured lawn, with a fence since the home was supposed to be dog-friendly. We chose this rental primary based on that picture. The garden actually belonged to the neighbour.
On the day of our arrival, we were treated to an extensive electronic rule book and all the additional fees, such as utilities, that could be added after our stay. All additional charges were at the discretion of the host after our departure. Before we left the home my daughter and I tidied up, mopped the floors, put away all the dishes, following the host’s instructions to the letter. The house lacked basic cleaning supplies, and the electronic rule book had stated if there were no cleaning supplies, it was up the guest to buy them.
After our departure, the host fined us for the recycling bin being full and then gave us a bad review for having a full recycling box. Looking for additional funds, they searched the contents of our sealed garbage bags. Potato chip packages were deemed party food, and were written into the review as evidence we were “extreme partiers.” Again, potato chip packages that were pilfered from trash bags. The dog’s adsorbent mats, which we had brought in case the dog had an accident and to protect the host’s home, were found in the garbage and we were billed for them.
These people dug though our garbage to find things to bill for. I find it sickening that the host went through our sealed garbage bags and wrote about us based on the contents. I felt violated. Once again, I felt like I had been played as a fool and was angry that I had spent so much time cleaning up the place and leaving it in much better condition than I found it. I am appalled that this type of host is allowed to continue with Airbnb; she is dishonest, a cheat, and vulgar. All I can assume based on her behaviour she must have a severe mental disorder that has been left untreated.
Ask your host for the square footage of the dwelling, since photographs can be very deceptive and misrepresent the size of the dwelling. Ask your host if the photos of the property are an accurate depiction, and when they were taken. Ask your host if there are additional fees that do not appear on the website. Ask your host about the rules for pets. Do not put dog mats in the property’s garbage bin. It can not be understated how much you need to protect yourself from dishonest hosts, by taking picture of the property on arrival and on departure, and time stamp them.