Excessive Temperature Enough Reason to Leave Early?

I’d like to share my complaint regarding my Airbnb reservation in Vancouver the week before last. Here is the full letter I wrote to Airbnb after I moved out of the condo and moved into a hotel.

In the end, the result was I got less than a $400 refund from the host and Airbnb out of my full payment of $860. I had booked Airbnb several times. My last experience was really the worst. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

To whom it may concern, I want to report a Travel Issue regarding my reservation. In general, the hosts of the apartment misrepresented the condition of this place, which is unfit for anybody to live in, and they refused to solve the issue in good faith. To sum up the problems and the damages:

1. They did not mention the hot temperature in the listing even though they knew it.

2. They did not mention the loud noises and the lights causing distractions, especially for young kids.

3. They didn’t want to take responsibility when questions were put forth, only some ostensible and ineffective means.

4. This was a family trip with good expectations. Now, my family, including my cold-catching wife and two-year-old son, had their feelings hurt and wasted almost a full day of energy dealing with misdirection and the aftermath of moving to a hotel at midnight while coping with a three-hour timezone difference.

5. The extra money I had to spend on the hotel. Here is what happened. We arrived at the apartment at around 5:00 PM on March 21st. When we entered, a heat wave welcomed us. The room temperature must have reached 30 C (86 F), while the outside temperature was about 15 C (59 F).

The noise from the street was pouring into the rooms through the non-sound-proof single-layer glass windows. There were three windows in the living room. Only two of them had the parts that allowed them to be opened, which was totally not helpful for getting more cool air to lower the temperature.

At first, we thought that the heat was caused by the sunset. My wife, who had a cold then, opened the windows to get more air in, which made the noise even worse. We even turned on the fan in the living room, not improving the temperature at all – the fan is an important detail; let me get back to it later.

We hoped the heat would dial down when night fell. I went out to do some shopping, and my wife tried to tuck my two-year-old son in. When I was at Safeway, I got a message from my wife saying that it was still sweltering, and the noise, plus the light from the street, were so severe that they made my son too excited. This can be found in my wife’s message history, in case you need any of it.

I rushed back to the apartment. The most obvious feeling was: it was cool outside, but the hallway of the apartment building felt hotter. The space in the apartment even hotter. The worst part was in the two bedrooms and the living room. The temperature might not have been as high as it was at sunset, but it was still making me want to run out of the building after staying more than five minutes.

By then, my son was still awake, and he kept getting distracted by the lights and the noise from the streets. The curtains of the windows did not help at all because they were too small and too thin; one layer of the curtains was red, which made the light coming through them even brighter.

Around 10:30 PM, while trying to comfort my son to get him to sleep, I contacted the host, with good intentions, asking the possibility of switching to another place. The answer was no. They offered to talk to me the next day morning. By then, the heat in the two bedrooms made it impossible for us to sleep, and we had flown more than five hours from Toronto.

All of us were exhausted. We really need to have a good sleep, especially my son. In Toronto, he usually goes to sleep around 9:00 PM. Now it was almost 2:00 AM, and he was still pretty hyped due to the light and noise, and couldn’t help but go to the window every three minutes.

I decided to move the family to a hotel. It was clear that none of us would get any sleep in the apartment. I told the host our decision, and we agreed to meet at 10:00 AM the next morning.

When we were trying to get my son to the car and stripped him to the car seat, he was really upset and struggled a lot because he was so exhausted, but you can’t expect a two-year-old toddler to understand this. It took us about 40 minutes to get him bundled. Even on our way to the hotel, he was still crying and twisting. My wife used a lot of strength to keep him in the car seat.

Before we arrived at the hotel, he finally settled down and fell asleep. We checked into the hotel about midnight, while my wife was holding my poor son and wrapped him in the blanket to keep the light from awakening him. This was all because of the unmentioned conditions of the apartment: the heat, the light, and the noise.

At 10:00 AM this morning, after five hours of sleep, I drove to the place to meet the hosts. One of them showed up, moving in an old A/C unit. I tried to reason with him in good faith, but he started emphasizing three things in an icy voice and with a poker face:

1. No refund whatsoever.

2. All your opinions can be feedback for Airbnb, I’ve got nothing to say.

3. We’ve done everything we can. The fans we have here are the proof. We know this place is hot.

Please take the last point into account; he knew the problem with the heat but didn’t mention it in the listing at all, except for a ridiculous claim: room-darkening shades, which did not help with darkening but lighting.

Seeing that there would be no agreement, I left the apartment and got back to the hotel. My family was trying to recuperate by resting today. After my son finally was able to go to sleep at about 8:30 PM, I sat down to contact Airbnb to report this Travel Issue and ask for a refund.

Per my understanding, the money was not the biggest problem. The reservation cost about CAD860. I had to pay almost CAD1500 for the rest of our stay in the hotel, which I believe is not unreasonable if they are required to pay for part of it. The biggest problem is that they refuse to acknowledge the problem.

Even worse, since spring and summer are coming, more people will be duped into booking this place and regret it. It is easy money for the hosts. I’ve summarized the problems at the beginning, and I’m pretty sure you can see our communication in the messages. It’s a shame that I can’t provide any proof for the heat wave. If I could, I would.

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

9 Comments

  1. Next time stay in a hotel. Short term rental companies suck. This is what happens when you have the expectations of a hotel and stay in someone’s hell hole house.

  2. Anyone taking money in exchange for lodging should provide a comfortable environment. Knowing that the unit was hot, and that there was a heatwave, the owner should have proactively provided an air conditioner. Black out drapes should be standard – they are in any hotel – even Motel 6 has them – and if noise is a known issue, then a white noise machine to help with sleep

  3. I think booking for only one night would be the solution if people use air bnb then you can see if you like it. We expect a means to cool down in a place that is hot . We also expect room darkening blinds/shades because we know even computer screens can keep us awake. Leaving is the best solution because it is your holiday. I don’t understand how people can keep your money if you leave because they can rerent

  4. Thanks for providing the link. The host has excellent reviews. Surely holding the host responsible for a heatwave is unreasonable? And your child’s photophobia is not the hosts problem. It’s yours.

  5. while I can sympathize you had a negative experience and the heat/light were awful, this is somebody’s home – that’s the whole point or airbnb, that you live in someone else’s home how they live, so if you needed a hotel experience airbnb was not the right choice. I don’t like airbnb at all so it’s not that I’m supporting them, but if you do book airbnb you have to accept the risk and potential for stuff like this. I’m glad (and surprised) you got anything back from airbnb.

    • It makes sense to only book one night to see if someone else’s interpretation of adequate living conditions would be acceptable then

      • That makes no sense. What if you love the place, but the morning after your stay, the place is already booked by someone else? And saying the same thing 3 times in one post (see above) doesn’t make the nonsensical, sensible.

        From what I’m reading, to have a successful Airbnb stay, choose wisely, follow the rules, and book with a major credit card if all else fails.

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