The Last Straw: Tired of Being an Airbnb Host

VRBO

I’ve been a host for three years now and have stayed in Airbnbs around the world several times. After several years, I have finally had it: I am ending my relationship with Airbnb and moving on to long term renters. I have two listings; one is private room in my condo, and the other is an entire home (one-bedroom condo) that I purchased for the sole purpose of renting it out. This post is to discourage others from becoming involved with Airbnb. It’s been a rough ride these fast few years… In the early days, there were sweet guests who brought gifts, followed the rules and genuinely wanted to get to know the person they were living with or living under. Over time though, guests seem to be more driven by finding cheap accommodations and the demands are ever increasing. They expect deep cleans of the condo but argue with me over the cleaning fees, ask to borrow my car, and complain about the pillows being too soft or hard. They will empty out my mini bar and leave no monetary contribution, walk around in their underwear, be mean to my cat, etc.

The listing says the condo is not metro accessible but they didn’t want to pay the high rate to stay on the metro line and don’t have a car to get to the grocery store. If the condo doesn’t have something in stock like some flour, they simply knock on a neighbor’s door (which is terribly rude – they don’t have a rapport with that person and sometimes don’t return the item they borrowed). Airbnb requires guests to list a phone number but many times I’ve found that number is not the actual guest’s number or the guest doesn’t have an international plan and his phone is useless. There were some guests that had me constantly running back and forth: they needed more baking sheets, then a crock pot, vinegar, and sunscreen, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to leave a review.

The maximum occupancy is six guests but I charge an additional $5 after two guests; somehow, magically, no one ever has any party larger than two. I realize I could snoop around or try and check in and maybe I could see how many folks are staying there, but the minute I say “Hey, the listing requires an additional $5/person and you have six here so I will be adding $100 to your stay,” I am basically asking for a terrible review. I have seen the nicest people turn vicious and threaten to say I am prejudiced or discriminating. The accusation is already enough to ruin people nowadays. Airbnb touts this “trust community” but over 90% of my guests are first time renters and many of them rent infrequently.

Airbnb asks that I leave fresh flowers, breakfast foods, wine and beverages, games, and snacks. Less than 5% of guests have ever just left a few dollars. A Sam Adams beer might be $7 from a mini bar in a hotel, but you can’t leave $1 for the two you drank? Really? This is how you would treat a friend who was hosting you? Guests have broken things in front of me; I have taken diligent pictures, submitted my quote to Airbnb’s Resolution Center, where as always the guest refuses to pay, and even though I have a Security Deposit and have been a Super Host for three years I have to go through Airbnb’s insurance policy for a $12 plate. I have made a lot of money with Airbnb but I constantly check myself to make sure I am not being greedy and overcharging.

Sometimes, peoples’ personal stories do make me empathize. I’ve let pets stay on request, allowed early or late check outs when I can, picked up items from the grocery store, and given rides to the city center. Guests will ignore my calls for a day then expect me to pick up after two rings every time. As a host it just comes down to Airbnb as a company. I don’t believe they will take care of me if something bad happens. I’ve often wondered if convicted sex offenders can rent out rooms in homes (how would we know?). Airbnb puts all the tax strains on me and forces me to pay the occupancy tax (which I’m happy to do, but it would be nice if they took on the administrative burden).

Despite three years of loyalty I never get a thank you card or Airbnb travel credit, and in the hospitality industry usually employees are at least reminded how important they are. Last but not least, I feel really terrible for my neighbors. Over the years some have been kind while others have gone to the Condo Board and local county government. There was one gentleman who lived in the building who wrote his congressman, county officials, and attorneys. While he was a little over the top, I get it: he wanted actual neighbors and not a revolving door. Who would buy the condo next to the full time Airbnb? If I ever thought I was hosting individuals who were going to have a disruptive vacation I would never have accepted that reservation. It is so hard to screen guests because I only see a picture and a paragraph or two, and anyone can say they are in the area visiting family or friends. The review system is pretty hit or miss; sometimes it’s hard to leave a negative review because I have to question if I’m being too judgmental or expecting too much from the guests. Goodbye Airbnb. You just saw a little piece of your paycheck prance over to YourHomeSuite.

VRBO

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

4 Comments

  1. My house runs hot during the summertime, so come mid-May, I’m closing off bookings, at least until I can figure out the cooling situation. But my last two experiences have turned me off altogether.

    I rent out a bedroom, and recently reached Superhost status, but the last two guests didn’t bother to stay, and left a negative review after briefly stopping by the house. One said the surrounding neighborhood made her feel uncomfortable. Granted, I unfortunately live next door to a condemned house; I can’t do anything about that (the owner lives currently in Guam), but otherwise I live in a quiet, diverse neighborhood.

    The second guest claims she walked in, saw “stuff on the floor”, and that was an immediate no. My house stays clean, as my ratings show; the stuff she speaks of was a small UPS package. No junk, no clutter. Numerous guests have left high ratings for Cleanliness, and complimented the house for being sparkling clean, with the same “stuff” on the floor. She also walked in the bedroom and was unimpressed for some reason. She also compared my house to a Super 8 motel, and I’m guessing it’s because I didn’t provide everything you described.

    I know it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but it bugs me that people expect the Four Seasons at such a convenient price. I work two jobs, and clean my home after every guest leaves. The fact that you expect me to pull out the stops for a price cheaper than even the sketchiest hotel is ridiculous. I’ll just get a roommate and save money on my mortgage that way.

  2. I can totally relate to this. I live in very expensive Switzerland. When I started 2.5 years ago, it appeared that Airbnb were so appreciative and did all the right things to accommodate their hosts. I played my cards right and tested my rates and eventually, after 2.5 years only – I completed over 300 bookings – imagine and it is only mid Aug. Airbnb and I had issues and my account is now closed with them – their chose. The point they CS service has gotten worst and often you have to wait and not always the case manager’s follow up with you timely and you get different one from all over the world. You get tossed around.

    Ive come to realize that because Luzern now has more hosts than when I started, Airbnb was so quick to disable my account. I worked hard and yes of course I enjoy meeting travelers and my reviews speak for itself. The point is that, you as a host become just a number. Airbnb couldnt keep up with the demands and they are a big giant now and they dont a f’ if you made them money, business goes on as usual. I can assure that if Luzern didnt have as much hosts, Airbnb would have been more understanding of my issues – they claim to be a “community” but in the end, they are no more than a money making machine. Yeap, business as usual. Quite frankly, I love people and enjoying learning and hearing travelers stories and it is why I hosted this long and this much, but I can say that hosting is not easy – hard earned money in expensive Switzerland at my dialy rate of only 85 max – imagine how hard I worked with over 300 bookings. And I get the fuck off from Airbnb. Airbnb, how much do you think I earned with over 300 bookings in expensive Switzerland after I pay my Nebenkosten from guests – water, electric, gas , garbage and taxes . I can meet travelers and hear their wonderful stories elsewhere, other ways.

  3. same experience here, I did my best to please a guest, allowed him huge discount because for a couple of days there was no hot water, offered him my bicycle, answered within minutes all his email requests, and finally even got a bad review… he was all the time in his mobile phone, not even a “good morning” or “good evening”, communication was happening only electronically… it seems that the new generation really suffers of autism and egocentricity. In future I will take only elderly people who maybe still have some education left.

  4. I don’t blame you. I’m kinda fed up with strangers in my house altogether. What comes to mind first is friends of a friend of a friend who stole a box of tea. I mean, come on.

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