Host Guarantee Means Nothing to Airbnb

I will be talking about the devastating and very much time consuming that I have been through since August 1st until today. Almost 40 tiring days have passed with no result but that feeling of being very much ignored with many saved responses by the case manager from the resolution center remain.

I had a guest who robbed my apartment, taking an expensive Canon camera 50mm f/1.2 lens and an ironing machine. I overlooked the ironing machine and the fact that she had left permanent stains on the bed cover which I bought new right and I considered them collateral damage after the one-month reservation.

However, the 50mm lens was $1,472. Thus I have reported this incident to Airbnb support center on the phone and by messaging from August 1st until the 10th. I talked with tens of agents and case managers and I sent them all the photos and documents that they needed. They told me they would contact me soon.

Anyway, this was a lie from all of them and my first experience with such an incident. On the 11th of August I called again and a case manager told me that I had to request a refund from the guest who robbed my property. I have done so and she denied it, so I got the resolution center involved.

They automatically send you an email that it should take seven days to have your case resolved. It took until today, which is 25 days. This required all the patience that I had. I sent all the documents that they requested with every tiny detail and I waited and waited. Then they requested a police report which was a very strange thing to ask for after 25 days (I had four guests in my apartment since then). Why didn’t they request it when I called, messaged, and reported this incident?

I managed to go the police station and told them every tiny detail. They gave me the police report. By the end of that day I thought Airbnb would honor their Host Guarantee. I then resent all the photos, conversations, and documents.

Since then the case manager took five days to respond to my emails. He emailed me very strangely as if he knew nothing about my case. He said – and I’m quoting from his mail – “Thanks for your response. In order for an incident to be eligible for Airbnb assistance, the reported damages must have been caused by a guest or an invitee of the guest. You are free to pursue reimbursement from your guest directly. However, per this requirement, this case is not eligible for reimbursement. You may review the Host Guarantee terms here. If you have other questions about the Host Guarantee and what is covered feel free to respond.”

As if I didn’t involve them after I requested the refund from the guest directly. I emailed him back and he didn’t answer of course. Then I called Airbnb and after a very long conversation – thirty minutes – in which I had to tell the whole story from the first detail, I requested that they change the case manager who is investigating my case. He responded shortly by email: “After a thorough review, we have decided to uphold our original decision. We determined that a payout could not be processed in this instance. We consider this decision final.”

I will unfortunately be un-listing my Airbnb apartment. Although I met with many great guests, I would never have done this if I hadn’t been that ignored.

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


  1. I think the host (Basel) has learned the hard way about being a landlord, and that Airbnb really offers no help on problems like this. The only time Airbnb tends to step in is when severe damages happen, AND you get some good media coverage about it! Airbnb responds quickly when they get these nightmare situations on main stream media… causing loss of user base due to fears.

    I think it is ridiculous to keep valuable items in any furnished rental! The is common sense for any landlord! You would also need landlord insurance, since standard insurance does not cover theft from a renter who is granted access. As a host I lock a closet with just supplies like TP, sheets and towels! These are things that I can afford to replace but have convenience of on site storage.

    So here is what you have to collect as a landlord for a deposit. It should be a months rent or the typical stay value. That is $1000 for my $500 rental. It has not been a problem for guests and is not even charged to the guests … but instead pre-apploved by airbnb to collect for damages. What airbnb does not say is that it is YOUR Burden of proof to document damages as a host. What they also do not say is that many damages are “option voluntary payment based” for guests. That means you have to deal with collections!

    Another terrible trick airheads pull is that if you use a security cam for proof they start to interrogate you as a host and claim that you are eavesdropping on the guest and therefore you lose the case! Just a few years back it was fine to use parking cam shots for things like over occupancy charges or smoking. Now they use it against you even when you have the parking cam disclosure on the listing! It is all about profit, and screwing the hosts to the benefit of dishonest guests who basically default on the rental contract. Airbnb still gets paid, and keeps one more guest user on the site for income and damages to other porpertties never to be paid by airbnb.

  2. Why oh why would you leave something that expensive where someone could take it, once you let them into your home? Yes, you should give up.

    • I advice you to stop bullying and watch this video by airbnb who claim that even if you wanted to leave electric guitar it’s protected.

      Anyway my apartment is private condo but in your opinion what about the whole idea of airbnb that you rent a room in a house with the hosts should those take your ‘advice’ as well?


  3. Thanks Geoffrey and I think you’d be the perfect candid to work with airbnb claims center (at least you don’t reply with saved responses)

    1.It was self check out since they suddenly checked out at 1am.the another day I come in very early in the morning and I called airbnb and they told me don’t worry we have your back, every reservation is host guaranteed with 1,000,000$ … and they told me what to do and I did every single thing they said from taking photos and receipts to contacting the guest…
    anyway it was long term reservation (1month) and it was my second reservation as a host.

    2.they weren’t accessible. It was locked in a closet with a locker however they managed to break the closet hand, is not a hotel and in our country there’s no insurance on private houses and apartments.’s 30 meter squared apartment if let’s say that I took 200$ security deposit which is almost 7 days stay (not reasonable for so many people who are using airbnb) it won’t cover 20% of my losses of that particular incident and that’s why there is supposed to be the “1,000,000$ Host guarantee”

    • Oh dear, Basel, I do feel sorry for you. Thanks for providing more information – it does make your situation clearer.

      You’re very kind, perhaps too kind. I would not call it a “self check-out”; I’d call it a moonlight flit, i.e. to leave secretly, especially to avoid paying money.

      Having the cabinet broken into would be more of a reason for me to call the police immediately regardless of AirBnB’s so-called guarantee. If there was no break-in it would have been difficult to prove the theft, the guest could simply deny it. Whereas a broken into cabinet shows evidence of theft.

      I realise it is not a hotel. I am astounded there is no insurance in your country for private dwellings.

      If it is not feasible to take a returnable security deposit, perhaps an alternative would be a passport or some valuable. Otherwise you’d need to invest in a safe or a reinforced door on your bedroom with state of the art locks and keep absolutely everything of value in that room. When I commenced short-term letting, I removed everything of value to me, I mean everything, from the common areas leaving only items which were too big to steal or if it were stolen, would be of no consequence. This goes so far as to remove good cutlery and crockery and replace it with cheap, second-hand op-shop stuff. That is what I meant by setting yourself up appropriately to do short-term lets. It does mean your home is no longer as you’d like it to be though.

      As for AirBnB’s $1m host guarantee …. what can I say? Pffft! It’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Other than giving them hell and pester them and spread the word, there’s probably not a lot you can do if they do not honour their so-called guarantee.

      You may be better off getting a permanent lodger than doing short-term lets. But I think the writing is on the wall that you should not deal with AirBnB again.

  4. I’m surprised you did not report the theft to the police as soon as you became aware of it.

    I’m also surprised you left valuables accessible so they can be easily stolen.

    I’d suspect your own insurance, if any, does not cover loss caused by persons you have allowed into your home or without forced entry. It seems you did not have the appropriate insurance, ie landlord’s insurance.

    It appears you did not take a security deposit or credit card details from the guest.

    It appears you were not set up appropriately to undertake a business involving strangers in your home.

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