Legal Troubles with Airbnb: Is it Worth the Hassle?

We are currently going through an ordeal with Airbnb where a recent guest party resulted in us having to cancel one month’s worth of rentals. We would go into more details about what the guest did and how Airbnb handled it but at this moment sharing more information publicly may make us easily identifiable by Airbnb. They may terminate our account to destroy evidence of message histories and emails, etc. It may also bias a future potential legal case. We filed a claim with Airbnb for theft, damages, and lost booking revenue under the Airbnb Host Guarantee and were sure that they would take responsibility and help us. After many emails and phone calls and not being called back, experiencing the exact same horrific lack of support for hosts as has been described over and over here, eventually Airbnb agreed to compensate us for only some of the stolen and damaged items. They have also agreed to compensate us for our lost revenue from the bookings we had to cancel.

However, Airbnb consistently refuses to compensate us for our lost booking revenue (nearly 10000 GBP) from our cancelled bookings from competing sites such as Home Away, Owners Direct, Holiday Lettings and FlipKey. This despite the fact that we have provided Airbnb with documentation which validates that these are bonafide bookings that we had to cancel in the aftermath of the Airbnb guest party. We have also provided a police report number and other relevant documentation to Airbnb. They are referring to their vaguely formulated Host Guarantee Terms, i.e. this paragraph:

“Booking Income Loss is the loss of booking income from the booked portion of a Covered Accommodation (according to bona fide Airbnb confirmed bookings, contracts or agreements in force prior to the established time of loss) by you, as a Host, resulting from a Covered Loss. Booking Income Loss does not include non-continuing charges and expenses or any loss of booking income during any period in which the Covered Accommodation would not have been tenantable for any reason other than a Covered Loss. The Booking Income Loss will be measured by Airbnb’s insurer starting from the time of occurrence of the Covered Loss and ending when the Covered Accommodation can be made ready for habitation under the same or equivalent physical and operating conditions that existed prior to the damage.”

From this paragraph it is not clear that Airbnb will not cover lost revenue from competing booking sites and Airbnb is clearly just trying their best to escape paying us. So far we have not accepted their offer of compensation as it does not cover our losses from accepting a booking from this verified Airbnb guest. We are now considering our options and we understand from reading various articles on Airbnbhell.com that the only two options available to us are to get media coverage or engage a lawyer.

Can any host on this forum please share with us if they know of any successful cases where a host has brought legal action against Airbnb? Is it worth our time, effort and money to try to fight such a big organization that has the legal backing and resources to win legal battles against entire cities? Do you have any recommendations as to what type of lawyer would be suitable? Is this property law? Contract law? Dispute law? Do you have any recommendations for lawyers in the UK who have had experience successfully running host cases against Airbnb? Or is it better to let the national newspapers run a story about this? If so – would Airbnb be more likely to compensate our losses then? All we want is to get our losses covered so we can keep up our financial obligations for our property and get back on track with our rental. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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One Comment

  1. The cover provided by ABB is very limited, the clause you quoted says that it caters for future ABB income only.

    Contract law/ Insurance law, not sure any Lawyer would advise you to take the case further, you have no basis and any legal costs would be substantial.

    Is this not covered by your own insurance arrangements?

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