Cockroaches and Long Term Cancellations

I had an internship in a foreign country (not tropical, and not at all known for big problems in the slightest). I needed a place to stay for two months and couldn’t access any of the local sites from the states. So I turned to Airbnb.

Now, we all know Airbnb’s absolutely shitty long-term cancellation policy of losing a month up front (if not more). Well, on day two of my trip, I woke up to a cockroach in the bedroom, and this dude was absolutely massive. I also woke up pretty late, around 8:30 AM, so it was broad daylight outside.

I immediately Airbnb messaged my host and Airbnb support, specifically saying I found a cockroach. I then ended up killing it (this thing was so massive I couldn’t get its dead body off my shoes and ended up tossing them). My host’s response was to go buy something at the store and put it in the apartment… so spending my own time and money to fix the problem in his place.

I came back from work later that same day and there was another massive cockroach by the TV. At this point I was absolutely disgusted: two cockroaches in one day, both in broad daylight. I told my host I wanted to leave and since I had only been there for two nights I wanted a refund. I found another place and everything and wanted to leave. He refused a refund and told me to essentially wait a week and deal with it.

The day after, I woke up again to a third cockroach in broad daylight. This one was way slower so I took a video of him before I killed him. At this point I have messaged my host multiple times, messaged Airbnb, and tweeted at Airbnb. There has been response from Airbnb and no successful response from my host (he had mentioned when I checked in that he was leaving for Paris that coming Friday for two months so probably more worried about his trip than his guest).

At this point it had been a solid 60 hours and three cockroaches. I vacated the property. It was that bad I had to leave in the first week of my long-term reservation (there were also dead cockroaches literally everywhere in the hallway – it was nasty). I sent videos and pictures to Airbnb and still, no response.

Finally I cancelled the reservation so that I could considerately let my host re-list his place and Airbnb finally responded. They said that because I cancelled before hearing back from them I was not entitled to anything. There’s almost $900 down the drain. They told me cockroaches were a “minor” issue, even though almost every doctor and sanitation worker (and even landlord) would disagree, and I had patiently lived with them for three days coming out in broad daylight: clear signs of an infestation, especially in a city that is not at all known to have any issues with cockroaches.

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One Comment

  1. Palmetto bugs are huge flying wood-roaches- could that be what you saw? It is the smaller English or European cockroaches that carry salmonella & other illnesses.

    Large roaches are nasty looking but tend to not be vectors for spreading illnesses/diseases.

    Airbnb wasn’t designed for long term rentals. They will accommodate long term rentals but they don’t do it well. In their long term rental “rules” section they recommend hosts get a separate long term rental agreement for any rental exceeding 30 days.

    By you cancelling the reservation before Airbnb responded, you set yourself up to lose your rent. You violated the Airbnb terms of service.

    Since the rental became available again, the HOST has the option to refund part or all of your rental. Through the Airbnb messaging system, ask for the host to refund you.

    If the host encouraged you to cancel your reservation then didn’t refund your money, you were played. You fell for it by cancelling the reservation instead of letting Airbnb process the cancellation and by not knowing the terms of service covering your rental.

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