Seeking Advice On Current Airbnb Situation

This post is an appeal for advice on my current Airbnb long-term booking in Évry, France. Yesterday (June 9, 2019) the host knocked on the door of the room I am renting in her home and asked me to help her evict another non-paying Airbnb Guest.

The young man who was staying in another bedroom of her home is Middle Eastern – and she whispered, with tears in her eyes, that she was afraid he might have a bomb. She said she feared for her (undisclosed in the Airbnb listing) two kids, and wanted me – a 71-year old female paying long-term guest – to “back her up” when she knocked on the young man’s door, recording cell phone in hand, and tell him to pay up or get out.

I have only been in this rental for 12 days. There are a multitude of big problems with this accommodation, ranging from absolute filth (the communal fridge contained putrifying foodstuffs; the toilet seat was broken and slid off the porcelain base; the bathroom itself is disgusting with built-up human waste and dirt). There are no handrails on the staircase to the four second-floor rental bedrooms.

Last – but certainly not least – is the host’s four-year-old son, who dominates the household. He has no schedule or discipline, does not go to nursery school, and is typically left in the care of his teenage sister (who is glued to her iPhone and generally ignores him). The child chatters, laughs, shrieks, cries, and screams from morning to late night (1:30 AM is typically when the host and her teenage daughter finally leave the living room for their bedrooms). The living room is open to the second-floor staircase, permitting everything the young child says or does to be clearly heard upstairs.

When I emerge from my room to go to the bathroom, downstairs to the fridge, or to leave, or return to, the residence, the boy approaches, follows, and bombards me with pleas and demands for attention. It is constant. I am wearing earplugs as I write, but even so, I can hear his occasional shrieks and screams when the host or her daughter (ineffectively) admonish him.

I make this appeal for advice here, in this forum, because I have researched my options and learned that cancelling the remainder of this three-month booking (for which I have already paid the first of three installments) means I will owe the host the full second month’s installment equivalent to 30-days (to wit, Airbnb’s long-term cancellation policy during a stay: “If the guest books a reservation and decides to cancel the reservation during their stay, the guest must use the online alteration tool in order to agree to a new checkout date. Regardless of the checkout date chosen, the guest is required to pay the host for the 30 days following the cancellation date…”)

My funds are limited. My savings has been eaten up by the Airbnb host of the previous booking I had before this. There was the promise of wifi; the wifi code did not work; the host sent a different Livebox passcode, which was bounced by Google within three days due to a “proxy server”. Thereafter, the host ignored my desperate Airbnb messages, calls, and texts for nine days, well after the Airbnb 24-hour full-refund cancellation period for an accommodation-not-as-advertised guarantee.

This resulted in my having to rent a mobile wifi hotspot device in Paris which cost $200 per month for the three-month booking. Other necessary expenditures to make that “service room” livable cost an additional $1,000.

My goal (such as it is… I’ve just about given up hope at this point) would be to secure an alternative long-term Airbnb accommodation (perhaps a good one, with some hard-earned wisdom on my side now). However, my monthly retirement income will be sucked up later this month, when my host gets another installment paid to her, the funds I could use to secure a replacement accommodation. I would be most sincerely grateful for any and all advise, and I thank you in advance.

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

7 Comments

  1. Get a google voice number. It’s free.

    Install the google voice app on your computer/chromebook.

    When you are connected to wifi, use the google voice app to call AirBnB. It will be free.

  2. I have used Airbnb 2x only, but both times are for only a few days. The pictures shown, the description on the ads are far different in person. And with airbnb’s cancellation policies, I think long term should be avoided. I suggest rent the place for a month, and if you like it, extend it.

    • Thank you, Ms. Mcnerney, for your wise advice! I have come to the same conclusion — only book Airbnb rentals one month at a time. If one IS lucky enough to find a good spot, it is a roll of the dice whether the listing will be available for extension of the reservation. Complications arise in every scenario, alas. I am very grateful for your comment. Sherry Armstrong

  3. I want to say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for your helpful Comments! Really, I am in tears — so touching and kind for you all to reach out with solid advice. I’ve been so “knocked down” by my two first-time Airbnb experiences (my earlier vacation rentals this trip were through Paris Vacation Apartments (PVA); Vacations in Paris (VIP); and VRBO — all excellent, professional, clean, safe and secure).

    I believe I will take Shelley G’s good advice, and simply send my Posted appeal to Airbnb via the Help Center Message site. I am gathering the courage to photograph and video (using my Chromebook laptop’s recording device — I have no iPhone; only a cheap SFR prepaid mobile phone. I am a dinosaur.)

    Thanks to BFP for querying whether I’ve called Airbnb. That raises another costly problem for Airbnb Guests in foreign countries. The California Airbnb Customer Service phone number IS toll-free. HOWEVER, one must purchase a French International Calling SIM card for the mobile phone. [SFR’s current offer is: 20€ = Série limitée du 23 avril au 10 juin inclus, jusqu’à 140 minutes d’appels vers le monde entier (soit 40min offertes) +4Go d’internet mobile offerts, valable 30 jours. Translated: 20 € = Limited series from April 23 to June 10 included, up to 140 minutes of calls to the world (40 minutes offered) + 4GB of mobile internet offered, valid for 30 days.] This means, calling California; waiting on Hold; explaining the situation — possibly to several transferred Agents (I went through this when seeking assistance for the wifi-less Airbnb). Suddenly — often mid-sentence — your 20 euros (at today’s conversion rate, about $23) is used up and the call is cut off. Another downside to calling: NO WRITTEN RECORD OF THE EXCHANGE.

    Special thanks to each one of you — BFP, Shelley G, and Kaylee. Now, I’m going to have a little cry, drink some coffee, and put on my Big Girl Pants and contact Airbnb. Let the Chips Fall Where They May.

  4. The host should not engage your assistance in “evicting” another guest. That is her job, and the contract is between her and Airbnb and the guest and Airbnb. Her request to you for that is inappropriate.

    Document all problems via the Airbnb app with your host. It is the only way that you have proof of the issues with the accommodation and that you let the host know of the problems.

    Appeal to Airbnb with photos and a factual, not opinionated (as you’ve done here quite well), and clear list of issues. While you might not get full satisfaction given your current financial situation, you will at least get this host on their radar for problems. Refer to the description of the accommodation, and how the description is incorrect. Also document broken/dirty/hazardous conditions.

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I hope you get something back for your trouble in the end.

  5. I would contact Airbnb and let them know about the situation, from what I know they have helped relocate people in similar situations, especially if the unit is not as described in the listing.

    I’ve learned ALWAYS share the info with Airbnb before cancelling on your own so they are aware there is a problem.

    Best of luck!

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