This is both a host and a guest story. I have been a host since about 2006 and have always been a huge advocate of Airbnb. I have also loved using Airbnb myself all over the world. I have had tons of positive reviews on both the guest and host side.
Now, suddenly, after having a terrible experience with a guest, I am permanently deactivated. Airbnb won’t talk to me. The reservation I have for my family at Christmas time in Savannah has been canceled, and I have received no refund. In addition, my fiancé, who was also on that reservation, was also deactivated.
I had decided to sell my three unit property that has two units listed on Airbnb. The units are monthly rentals and usually rent from 1-6 months. The real estate agent asked me to leave the units open to make it easier to show them, so I was considering taking the listings down.
However, I received a request from a guest who said she was between leases and needed a place to stay. She didn’t have any reviews on her profile but I decided to help her out. I asked her for two things: I said I am selling the property. Would you be willing to work with my real estate agent for showings? She would need to leave the extra key in the lockbox for the agent. And would you be willing to keep the apartment clean? She agreed to those conditions and I accepted the reservation.
She checked in on a Sunday and that afternoon I called her and messaged her and got no response. On Tuesday morning the city inspector was scheduled to come through for the city certification, something the city does every four years. I called and messaged her multiple times Sunday and Monday and got no response.
On Monday my friend went over to see if she was there and if the second set of keys was in the lockbox. She was not there and neither were the keys. By Monday night I called Airbnb and I sent her a message saying that if she didn’t respond I was going to have to get a locksmith for the city appointment. I should have had more sets of keys but only had two sets (one for her and one for the lockbox).
In the morning we had a locksmith get into the apartment and we found a disaster. There was stuff everywhere, alcohol bottles everywhere, lighters, discharge papers from rehab, her wallet and the wallet of another person plus the parole card of a third person (the reservation was for one person).
The stove had been dismantled. There was food everywhere. We found a needle in the bathroom. While my friend was there with the city she discovered the guest had locked herself out and gone out partying, didn’t come back until 3:00 AM and then tried to break into the wrong apartment, scaring my neighbors and the tenants in the other unit, who called the cops.
However, they didn’t contact me at any point. They never ended up contacting me. I was finally able to cancel their reservation through Airbnb, but I still had her stuff. I called the mental hospital/ rehab listed on the papers in the property and gave them the contact info of my friend to try to get her stuff back to her (I do not live in the area any longer).
She screamed at my friend, told her she was going to get revenge, and that it was a race issue, that we were treating her badly because she was black (I had never seen her). Shortly thereafter, her stuff disappeared from the apartment, and there was a lighter left on the table. She or her friends must have broken in and taken her things.
A few days later, and my account is deactivated and my fiancé’s account is as well. Airbnb won’t talk to me. I have a paid for reservation in Savannah for which I believe I should be refunded. It is upsetting that, after years of working with Airbnb, they would do this without even hearing my side of the story, and that they can cancel a reservation without refunding the money. It seems like the consumer should have more rights than this.