Ripped Off at Smelly Los Angeles Airbnb

We rented an apartment in Los Angeles and from all the pictures it looked like a nice place. We arrived in a shady neighborhood and walked to the apartment. We were greeted by a barking dog and a musty odor as soon as we opened the door. We opened all the windows and waited for about three hours. After three hours, the smell had not changed. We contacted the owner and they basically said “Too bad – O was there earlier and didn’t smell anything.”

I asked if we could negotiate something as I knew they had it reserved and they said no. We then rented a hotel for the the week instead and contacted Airbnb. They called the owner and he sent them some pictures and everyone said it looked nice. I said I had a sensitive nose and allergies; my sinuses began to swell closed and I had difficulty breathing because of the moldy odor. They said because there was nothing visible they could not help me.

I said I could not photograph the odors and they asked if I went to the hospital. I said I had not, as it was an allergic reaction and I knew how to treat it; there was no need for a hospital trip or expense. They then said there was nothing they could do. So I immediately filled out my review in detail and they never posted it. I started to read reviews on the site and noticed there were very few negative reviews. I wrote and called, asking why they did not post my review and I never received an answer. This was my first and last experience with Airbnb.

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


  1. Better off in a hotel. Pay a bit more and know that you won’t have any allergies, it’s just someones house who knows.

  2. Smell is very subjective and personal. What stinks for an overly sensitive nose like yours, would push somebody like me just to open the window or buy a cheap air freshener.

    • That’s not a fair comment. It sounds as though you are suggesting that manky places go with the airbnb territory.

  3. If you have this many allergies, you need to contact a host before booking to ask if there are any pet smells or if the house smells etc. If you want hotel-standard accommodation, book a hotel.

  4. While I sympathize with your plight, I’m going to side with Airbnb on this one.

    If they granted you a refund, everyone would just say the same thing and stay for free, whether there were smells or not. As Phil stated, perhaps you should inquire about these matters before booking since you’re so sensitive to smells.

  5. I was looking for a Airb&b host near my apartment in Venice California for my aunt and uncle, they are vacationing me from NY. I looked online and found a host less then a mile from me in Mar Vista California and I drove by the house to check it out. Long story short, a elderly neighbor next door told me be careful, she told me to google the female hosts name, so I did and found out that several years ago the woman was convicted of assault.

    From a little research it looks like she bypassed Airb&b TOS (terms of service) by listening her boyfriend as host not using her name. I

    I contacted Airb&b and emailed them explaining and attaching several links to local news articles showing the women’s mug shot, arrest file and proof she was convicted..

    Airb&b said they would investigate, that was almost a year ago and they never responded or shut down the host. If you think Airb&b is concerned with you or keeping you safe, don’t believe it for a second. They’re only concern is collecting money.

  6. Did you really expect Airbnb hosts to cater for guests with a sensitive nose and multiple allergies? Why didn’t you mention this BEFORE you booked the place…. Something smells fishy here – if you get the pun 🙂

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