Airbnb No Longer Reimbursing Hosts for Material Damages

Two guests booked two days for our 35-foot motorhome during a local Renaissance fair. We’ve been hosting 3.5 years. I should have been suspicious when three guests showed up. The guests were drunk when in residence — a bit loud, but tolerable because the motorhome is remote.

Then we went to clean for the next guests. What a mess. They had been cutting and sewing costumes for the fair, both inside and outside the coach. Strings and pins/needles were everywhere in the carpet. They ruined one set of sheets and towels with black goop that my wife couldn’t get out, so we had to order new ones for $65. They spilled coffee with creamer on the fabric couch and dribbled it on floor.

Normally takes about 2.5 hours to clean the unit. My wife spent five hours cleaning and I spent three extra hours spotting the carpet and steam cleaning the couch. I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to remove all the tiny threads, and pins/needles so the next guests would not injure themselves. I’m an an old guy but we got it cleaned.

The three guests left just after a noon check out, and new guests arrived at 4:30 PM and had to wait until we were finished. This was the first time this has happened in 3.5 years.

Here is the clincher. When we contacted Airbnb for reimbursement for the sheets and towels (not for our extra five hours of cleaning) we were denied because we didn’t meet their “complaint before next guest arrives” time frame. The next guests arrived before we had finished cleaning. Did I mention the extra time Airbnb demands to meet their COVID-19 cleaning requirements?

What have we learned from this lesson? Airbnb does not cover hosts’ damages even through they require a damage deposit from guests. Do not allow new guests to check in until you have made any claims, even if it means cancelling the new guests. We are rural and must drive to town to upload pictures due to our slow internet. We have no cell signal here. We increased our price 25% to cover any material losses because Airbnb will not charge guests for them.

When our “weird-s–t-O-meter” goes up for new guests…. we go with it and deny them access to the property. Don’t get me wrong: we have had good results with listings from Airbnb. Their fees are more expensive than most other platforms and our guests in the past have been top notch. I find that it is Airbnb, not the poor guests, that are the problem. Airbnb has always paid us the $50 per night on time and correctly.

If you cannot “personally” manage your rental check in and after rental inspection then I would not recommend them, as I do not believe you will be reimbursed for any property damage. Talking to a large number of Airbnb guests has convinced me that “hosts” are not cleaning to the Airbnb standards on the website as we do. But I must admit when we have traveled using Airbnb we have gotten very clean and tidy places to stay.

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2 Comments

  1. Same thing happened to me this summer. My guests were long term with kids and they snuck a dog in my place! Over $1500 in damage, half of which was refunds I had to extend to my next two guests after the nightmare guests because my place was infested with flies and ants. I am still considering suing in small claims court and seeing how the law can be changed in my state to address the lack of transparency about their notification “policy” until something happens. I’ve also looked at others’ experiences and it seems that even when hosts comply with their notification policies, they find ways not to pay. We are NOT protected.

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