Black Mold is Considered Clean and Sanitary to Airbnb


This was my first experience with Airbnb and it went terribly. I really wish I had researched the company a little more before committing to a four-night stay in Myrtle Beach. I thought I had found a great deal and was excited about my trip. Unfortunately, the condo reserved was covered in mold and filth. There was black mold on the curtains, shower curtain, the walls, and the baseboards along with just general filth and stains everywhere else. I went to take a shower and the shower liner was covered in mold and the most disgusting part is that there were pubic hairs on the walls of the shower. There were random stains on the floor that didn’t even look like they had been attempted to be cleaned.

I contacted the owner who said that they would send someone to clean it. The longer I was in the room, the more I realized that this wasn’t a “cleaning lady” job and that someone needed to come in to remove this mold as it was a health and safety risk. I was also wasting precious vacation time on a long weekend away. I waited two hours for a cleaning person to show up. When no one had come, I reserved a room elsewhere assuming that once Airbnb saw my pictures, they would completely be on my side (that’s how dirty the room was) and would feel the same level of disgust. I followed the online steps and submitted a request through the resolution center within the 24 hours stated. Unfortunately, Airbnb restricts the number of characters that you can put in your request so I just tried to give the general run down and attached the pictures of the filth.

When I hadn’t heard anything the next day, I wanted to contact Airbnb directly. It was difficult to find the contact number but I eventually found it and spent quite some time on hold. When I finally spoke with a representative, the woman stated that we needed to give the owner time to respond and that she thought a refund wouldn’t be a problem… she was wrong. Airbnb denied my request for a refund and only provided me with a $200 credit (why would I be interested in using Airbnb again?), not the $475 that I paid on the room. The response from the resolution center claimed that I didn’t give the owner time to have someone come and clean. When I reminded them that I waited two hours and then sent additional pictures of the mold stating that my short stay wasn’t adequate time for them to take care of this issue, the representative then told me that I didn’t follow the proper procedure.

I not only contacted the resolution department within 24 hours but the next day, I called and spoke to a representative who gave me the feeling that I wouldn’t have any issues. As a reminder, their policy states, “at the start of a guests reservation, the accommodation: (i) is not generally clean and sanitary (ii) contains safety or health hazards that would be reasonably expected to adversely affect the Guest’s stay at the Accommodation.” At the start of the reservation… so, at the start of a reservation, the room should be clean. Also, I would think that black mold would be covered under both statements (i) and (ii) considering how dangerous it can be. Apparently not. The room is still up for rent. Airbnb and the host are still collecting their money.

I honestly cannot describe what I’m feeling right now; it is enough to want to cry. $475 is a lot of money to me and this falls in the midst of me trying to save every penny for a wedding. Not only am I out the money for the Airbnb but also the money for a safe hotel that wasn’t covered in mold and stranger’s pubic hairs. I feel like the money was stolen from me. They falsely represented a clean and SAFE room. They didn’t deliver and are keeping my money anyway, even though I didn’t stay at the accommodation. It is so unethical on the host’s side as well as Airbnb and is such a hard thing for me to accept about a company that appeared to be reputable. I have many more pictures but only attached the number of photos that the system allowed. The attached photos are what Airbnb and the host consider to be “generally clean and sanitary” and with no safety to health hazards. They “reasonably expect” the condition of this room not to affect my stay. They are crooks.

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  1. Apparently nothing has changed with AirBnB. I used to have a house I hosted on AirBnB and when I had several guests destroy my home and I couldn’t recoup the deposit to make repairs, I sold the home. I thought as a former host I knew how to look for good places to stay but my last stay was horrible and I will NEVER be using AirBnB again. I got a house in Yonkers, NY to help move my daughter into college. When we got there the house smelled like they empties a bottle of lysol in the place. Given it’s covid times I was okay with it but when we got back from buying goods for my daughters move in, the lysol had faded and it was clear the house smelled terribly of mold. We left all the window open to air the house out and the next day when it still smelled so bad we had to leave the bathroom door closed otherwise the whole house would smell we felt it was not safe. We booked a hotel. When I contacted airbnb they said I didn’t give the host time to fix the issue. There is nothing the host could have done to fix mold during my stay. Nothing. Airbnb is only refunding me $500 of a $1200 dollar stay. This is the last time I will be using them. The hotel we found about 20 miles away from where we wanted to stay but it was clean, new, safe and had a full kitchen. AND only cost $10 more a night than the airbnb.

  2. I’m going through that in an apartment in Houston,TX and I followed the procedure and waited (72 hrs for the host to respond and 24 hrs for Airbnb) they are giving me back $145 of cleaning fee from a $2,000 bill!!!!! The place is filthy to the point of dry pepperoni under the sofa, there’s mold everywhere, hairs in bathroom, and the host says they cleaned it already. I’m furious and feeling desperate. Can’t go anywhere else since I used my money to pay this place. Apt on Greenbriar from host Adam.

  3. and, like you, Airbnb refunded one night of my four night reservation and I paid to go stay somewhere else. I drove down the beach that next morning and called a number on one of the other rentals from a local company.

    Airbnb added insult to injury when they removed my thorough, accurate and truthful review of the moldy house at 21610 Kenedy Drive, Galveston, TX 77554 and owned by Michael Pope.
    The last review I could find was from an August 2017 stay where the people were stuck in the house for 2 days in August in Texas with no air conditioning and they finally had to move to another house. The owner said several times that a couple and their kids stayed in the house before I did and didn’t complain. I find it hard to believe and I believe they probably left a bad review and Airbnb did what they did with mine and removed it.

    A bad air conditioning installation can cause widespread mold and I’m guessing that’s what happened. The air conditioning went out and he went and bought some used air conditioner and installed it himself and messed it up.

  4. I relate totally to your story. I rented a moldy the beach house in Galveston Texas. Pretty much the same story as yours. I sent them pictures I even sent them a text where the owner admitted there was mold and that he had to cleaning lady clean it between visitors. The same here, this is not a cleaning lady job when the air conditioner system is blowing mold into the rooms and there’s a haze of mold on the wall outside every air register in the room and on the air conditioning cabinet. Everybody in my party was sick that morning we woke up after the first night. We knew it was bad that night, but thought we talked it out and see how we felt in the morning as it was so late when we got there. I will never run from Airbnb again.

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