Absolute Nightmare of a Host and Stay

How can I even begin to describe the absolutely horrible experience my two friends and I had dealing with our Airbnb host? Nothing short of a nightmare.

None of us had ever been to Miami Beach and were so excited to spend our spring break there (April 10th-16th). In the beginning, prior to arriving to Miami, the host was super responsive, seemingly charming and very accommodating. Everything was awesome.

I was told closer to the date that we would be checking in with a man, which was strange because most people I know who booked through Airbnb had lock boxes or codes on the door. However, I assumed he was simply the landlord of the building or something.

They were nice enough to let us check in earlier than expected, since we took a red-eye to Miami and came in at about 3:00 AM. Check-in, which was initially 3:00 PM, was moved up to around 11:00 AM. Great.

The man and his wife, who joined him to let us into the building, were nice enough. I had to sign a lease agreement which I also found odd, since I never had to do anything like that when renting a hotel room. The apartment looked so cute on a preliminary scan, and my friends and I were absolutely enamored.

He and his wife left us with the keys and we were ready to get settled. I ventured into the bathroom to shower so I went through the drawers that were under the sink to find a washcloth and towel. I realized that there were only a couple of washcloths, but there were three of us signed up to rent the place. I assumed maybe there were more in the closet so I took one.

Afterwards, I went to hang up my towel and the towel bar just collapsed. There was no extra pulling on it, not anything. I simply laid my towel on it and boom. The anchor holding it to the wall slid right on out. That being said, it was obviously broken before (this information was later confirmed by him). We also discovered that there were, in fact, only two washcloths.

Before heading to the beach, the left corner of the bed was lightly sat on. It completely gave away and caved in. Luckily there were no injuries, but we were left wondering: where is everyone going to sleep now? I immediately messaged the host to let her know what happened, as well as texted him. No response. We wound up having to put something under the mattress to prop it up for our very first night in this place.

The next day: still no response. I was wondering what happened to my oh-so-hospitable host, seeing as she had always been so responsive prior to my stay. Finally I sent another message and she told me to just call him, but he didn’t answer the phone. I messaged her yet again after he didn’t respond and she contacted him. He showed up unannounced at almost 10:00 PM to give the bed a temporary fix. Then he also promised to bring more towels and washcloths. I never saw him again for the rest of the trip, so we had to continue to use dirty towels and washcloths for the duration of our stay.

One of my friends noticed water pooling behind the toilet, which I thought was maybe from the shower. It turned out, according to him, the toilet had a leak.

On the second night of our stay, since we rotated who would use the couch and the bed, one friend slept on the couch. The next day she woke up with a ton of red bites on her body, which appeared to be bedbug bites. At this point I was completely through with the place. She still currently has the bites and they still itch.

That evening, we all went out. Upon our return we attempted to unlock the door. We had done it quite a few times already so everyone knew which keys went where. The lock wouldn’t budge. We stood outside for a solid ten minutes trying to jimmy the key around until finally one of us was able to get the lock to give. It was then that we realized the top lock was actually broken, which is definitely a safety hazard. There was even a note on it that said not to touch it.

The fourth day we went to turn on the TV In the bedroom. It didn’t work. I am not sure if it ever did, but I know it was advertised and was one of the selling points for me, so I was very disappointed.

My friend went to use the hair dryer, plugged it in, and it made this loud grating noise as if something was stuck in it. Mind you, this was the first time we even realized there was a hair dryer. After the initial plug in, it was never touched again. I submitted a complaint, and the host was contacted about it.

The host was basically yelling at me via my inbox for doing that and was accusing my friends and I of the damage that was clearly pre-existing. I very calmly let her know about each and every problem that had occurred since the bed broke and she basically accused me of being a liar, especially about the bedbug bites. After getting completely snippy with me, she wrote me an awful review and attempted to accuse my friends and I of causing the damages that were clearly pre-existing and tried to charge us for the damages.

I submitted this same review and Airbnb took it down because it “violated community policy”. Although they dismissed the charges, none of my complaints were really addressed. Not that I expected any sort of money in return, but I did not expect to not be assisted at all.

To conclude, this host is a scammer, peddling a mediocre experience disguised as a dream vacation, and Airbnb is the medium that allows for scammers like her to operate unregulated. I am absolutely disgusted.

Dirty Airbnb Hell in St. Petersburg, Florida

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We stayed at this Florida home for Christmas 2018. We walked in and the house seemed grand.

When unloading our kitchen items, we discovered that the countertops had not been cleaned and there was food and crumbs everywhere. The kitchen floor was disgusting. It had clearly not been washed in months (or more). There was even a condom on the kitchen floor.

After going upstairs, we noticed that there was only a bed in each bedroom: no dresser, night table, nothing. We were forced to put our luggage on the floor. Upon inspection of the bathrooms, there was hair everywhere, toothpaste on the sink, piss on the toilets, and even a fake fingernail lying about. It was so gross.

We were forced to go to the store and buy cleaning supplies and clean before we even felt comfortable staying there. With that done, we inspected the beds. The sheets had clearly not been washed as there were pubes and other hair on the sheets. It’s sickening just writing this.

All of the sheets and comforters had to be washed before even using them. The sheets were about the thickness of Kleenex and the “comforters” were basically disgusting scratchy blankets. For all of this, the host thought that $100 was fair compensation for my purchases and trouble.

The house was billed as having a heated pool. The pool was in no way heated and when asked about this, the host stated that the pump had to run the next day to heat it. What a joke – that is not how a pool is heated. I have noticed that this amenity is no longer listed.

There isn’t even any furniture to sit outside on. Another joke. Upon inspection of the piece of furniture, the living area had a nasty sectional couch. Well wouldn’t you know, numerous condoms were underneath the cushions – this was bad.

We left a few hanging clothes behind that the host promised to send me. He kept making excuses why he couldn’t send them, then finally stopped responding all together. Airbnb won’t even respond to me.

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Serious Issues with the Water at Texas Airbnb

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This is my very first Airbnb “horror story” and I think it could have been resolved very easily with just some plain old fashioned honesty. I think it should be mandatory for hosts to disclose if there are any issues that might effect their guests’ health and their ability to function during their stay, particularly if they are trying to attend to any important issues from their room via phone.

I arrived late in the afternoon for my first day of a ten-day stay and as soon as I got into my room, I noticed there was a dog next door that barked continuously. The room next to mine was the owner’s daughter. She had locked up her dog and left. The little guy was letting everyone know he was very unhappy. This went on until well after 10:00 PM.

I did not notice anyone because I was busy unpacking, but the next morning when it started again, I asked the owner to please check on him. She explained that her daughter leaves him alone a lot and that she would let him out. Problem solved, or so I thought. Next morning… same routine.

By the third day the daughter decided to move to a larger unit, according to the owner. Great, peace at last, or so I thought. Now the owners have decided that this would be the very best time for them to remodel the newly vacated unit: time to break out the table saws, miter saws, mallets, and hammers and get busy.

The wall between my unit and the daughter’s newly vacated unit was maybe two inches thick with no insulation. The first day they started around 8:00 AM, they startled me so badly I had a severe anxiety attack within an hour. I asked if they were doing construction work and the host answered “Yes”.

I then asked her how long they would be over there doing this and she could not say. I told her I would need to check out that I could not function in any capacity with all that noise and asked her to please adjust my bill and refund the difference for the additional days. She informed me that there were no cancellations and no refunds, but that they would stop working on the unit. Which they did… for about four hours. Then they started up again.

In the interim, in the middle of the night, the toilet started gurgling and making hissing noises around 2:45 AM. It was so loud it woke me up out of a dead sleep. I jumped out of bed, tried to figure out what was going on with it, and discovered that a massive amount of air was hissing through the tube, so much so that the tube had come out of the cylinder it fit into, which water is supposed to be coming out of. The tank was almost empty.

After about 10-15 minutes of trying to resolve it, I just shut the water off at the valve line and it stopped. The next morning I checked it and turned it back on and everything seemed okay… until I turned on the water. Milky white liquid poured out of it continuously. I switched back and forth from hot to cold to see if it made any difference. Nope.

I contacted the host again. She had no idea what was going on. She said it just “looks dirty”. Hmmm… really? It looks like milk to me. I got distilled water for drinking but what could I use to bathe in?

The next day, there was no water at all. None. I contacted the host again. Amidst the banging, hammering, sawing and ongoing construction work, she advised me that there was no water in the entire city of Natalia, but she didn’t want to tell me because she did not want to “disturb” me.

By now, I was highly suspicious, so I just Googled “Natalia Texas Water Services” and up pops every alert and health risk related alerts you could imagine, including asbestos in their water system. By now I was mortified and resolved to contact Airbnb with requests for refunds and go elsewhere for the remainder of my trip.

That afternoon the water came back on but it was still milky white. I was not taking any chances with my health, so I refrained from using their water at all except to flush the toilets. Now I have to find another place to shower and bathe and forego having any phone conversations from my room because of the noise.

All of this could have been easily avoided with just an honest disclosure from the owners. If they had mentioned there would be ongoing construction next door to me, I would have politely declined, but that never happened. Nor were there any health-related disclosures about the water. Although they did have a pitcher with a filter in the refrigerator, no mention was ever made of why or what types of contaminants the pitcher filtered out.

All of this should have been disclosed to anyone considering staying there so that they could determine whether or not it would be a hindrance or issue for them or their health. Before anyone chooses to stay in Natalia Texas, I urge you to simply Google the water issues they have had and then choose wisely. As for me, I think I will pass.

I would deeply deeply appreciate a response from Airbnb on this matter as I only have a few days before I leave this review on their site as well along with a video of the running water coming out milky for several minutes.

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Landlord Exploits Long-Term Guests on Airbnb

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My landlord has turned two rooms of the house I’ve lived in for nine years into an Airbnb. Last night three dudes checked into one room. Nobody in the house had any notice about these strangers. The first thing they did when they got there is let my cat out of the house, which resulted in my roommates and I spending hours tracking him down.

Two of the guests are allergic to cats and the landlord didn’t mention it in the add, so I gave them some of my own Benadryl. The landlord had purchased no amenities like toilet paper, hand soap, garbage bags, towels, ect. All of those things were purchased by my roommates and I, who also pay for the internet the landlord advertised on the listing.

The appliances, like the washer and dryer, are also owned by me, as well as the TV and other electronics the landlord has listed as amenities. The room the guests are in is plagued by leaks and isn’t insulated. The roof has been leaking since 2016 and the landlord refuses to repair it. She just plasters over the water damage in the Airbnb every time it storms.

The landlord or “host” made the guests pay up front outside of the Airbnb app. They decided they wanted to leave, but she demanded a week up front for a special price, so they’re out that money. They rented the room out for a month.

I managed to get enough people to report the listing to take it down, but the guests are still here, at the house, using the stuff we bought. Three guys in one room. They party and drink all night, leave doors and windows open, make messes, and use dishes that I then have to clean. Imagine if you had strangers treating your house like a hotel. My landlord expects me to eat up all the Airbnb expenses and do all the Airbnb labor while she nets all the profit.

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Moldy, Smelly and Rude Host. What more could you ask for?

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We rented a property in Redington Shores for two weeks. We were prepared for the old, outdated, small space as that was what was shown in the pictures.; our expectations were not high.

What we were not prepared for was an air conditioner that sounded like a jet engine taking off that emitted a nauseating smell that resembled urine. Also, the teeny tiny shower that had mold around the entire floor edge. We tried to sleep through the night but at 2:00 AM we turned off the air conditioner in the hopes of the smell going away and quieting the noise.

In the morning we called our host. She was indignant that we could even begin to have an issue with her property. She told us that all air conditioners make noise and it was impossible that it smelled anything like urine (we have lived in multiple homes with window air conditioners and none sounded like this).

Then she informed us that there was no mold in the shower.We offered to send pictures but she declined. We have attached them here. We also sent them to Airbnb. We told her the kitchen light seemed to have an issue. When you turned the light on, it flickered but then went out. We were concerned there was a short in the wiring. She questioned how we were turning it on. We are not PhD’s but we are educated adults who know how to turn on a light. She then informed us it didn’t matter because there was a lamp nearby.

She was the opposite of what we would consider a host; she was rude and basically called us liars. She said we were not there to critique her property. Since she was so uncooperative, we decided to check out of her property. She then lied in her review and said we had already checked out of the property when we called her.

We contacted Airbnb and they were totally unhelpful, saying that we did not have any documentation of the conversation. I guess that was our mistake in calling her rather than texting. We put our review out there and her response was very sarcastic. She has multiple properties in this building.

Friends of our had rented the space next to ours for the second week. We called and told them to cancel. Although we could not go into the space, the blinds were all broken. The pictures on the website showed a nice area in the rear of the house with an umbrella table and chairs. There was nothing there except broken furniture.

Now there are similar reviews to ours in other posts on her property. I would think Airbnb would be more interested in their customers. I actually responded to our representative from Airbnb and heard nothing back. Although we requested our money back since the place was unlivable, we were given our $90 cleaning fee. It was more an insult than a consolation.

I’m not sure if this link will work but this is the place we had rented. Here are her other places on the same site. I wish I had known about this website earlier.

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Airbnb Bait and Switch, Fake Reviews

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We had a lot of problems with an Airbnb house in Houston. When I kindly told the host to fix the following problems he got extremely aggressive.

A few days before arrival, the host has switched the property. The property I initially booked is no longer listed on Airbnb. I paid more than double the price, as the host was asking for the new listing. The new listing said that it was located in a historic, quiet neighborhood. However, it was located in a run-down neighborhood.

The other neighbor had three big dogs (five feet away from the bedroom) which barked all day and night. We were always waking up and it felt very uncomfortable.

The TV did not work. When we arrived, the Internet TV had no power cable and it was not installed with the router. The stove and oven did not work either, because the gas meter was locked by the gas company. After two days, we had no more access to the laundry room.

As of April 1st, 2018, Texas law dictates that any residential and commercial structures with both sleeping areas and gas or fuel-burning appliances must install and properly maintain carbon monoxide alarms. However, there was only a cheap smoke detector, no carbon monoxide and no fire extinguisher. The host was very reluctant to solve these problems.

Without getting a review from me, the host was giving me a totally bad review, without reason. However, in the last email to me he wrote: “It was a pleasure hosting you! We will be certain to leave a great five-star review for your stay. If you ever come back, please let us know and give us the chance to accommodate you again. A five-star review for us as hosts is very important for our business. Please don’t forget to give us that.”

After checking the reviews of the listing, I discovered they were all fake.

Excessive Temperature Enough Reason to Leave Early?

I’d like to share my complaint regarding my Airbnb reservation in Vancouver the week before last. Here is the full letter I wrote to Airbnb after I moved out of the condo and moved into a hotel.

In the end, the result was I got less than a $400 refund from the host and Airbnb out of my full payment of $860. I had booked Airbnb several times. My last experience was really the worst. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions.

To whom it may concern, I want to report a Travel Issue regarding my reservation. In general, the hosts of the apartment misrepresented the condition of this place, which is unfit for anybody to live in, and they refused to solve the issue in good faith. To sum up the problems and the damages:

1. They did not mention the hot temperature in the listing even though they knew it.

2. They did not mention the loud noises and the lights causing distractions, especially for young kids.

3. They didn’t want to take responsibility when questions were put forth, only some ostensible and ineffective means.

4. This was a family trip with good expectations. Now, my family, including my cold-catching wife and two-year-old son, had their feelings hurt and wasted almost a full day of energy dealing with misdirection and the aftermath of moving to a hotel at midnight while coping with a three-hour timezone difference.

5. The extra money I had to spend on the hotel. Here is what happened. We arrived at the apartment at around 5:00 PM on March 21st. When we entered, a heat wave welcomed us. The room temperature must have reached 30 C (86 F), while the outside temperature was about 15 C (59 F).

The noise from the street was pouring into the rooms through the non-sound-proof single-layer glass windows. There were three windows in the living room. Only two of them had the parts that allowed them to be opened, which was totally not helpful for getting more cool air to lower the temperature.

At first, we thought that the heat was caused by the sunset. My wife, who had a cold then, opened the windows to get more air in, which made the noise even worse. We even turned on the fan in the living room, not improving the temperature at all – the fan is an important detail; let me get back to it later.

We hoped the heat would dial down when night fell. I went out to do some shopping, and my wife tried to tuck my two-year-old son in. When I was at Safeway, I got a message from my wife saying that it was still sweltering, and the noise, plus the light from the street, were so severe that they made my son too excited. This can be found in my wife’s message history, in case you need any of it.

I rushed back to the apartment. The most obvious feeling was: it was cool outside, but the hallway of the apartment building felt hotter. The space in the apartment even hotter. The worst part was in the two bedrooms and the living room. The temperature might not have been as high as it was at sunset, but it was still making me want to run out of the building after staying more than five minutes.

By then, my son was still awake, and he kept getting distracted by the lights and the noise from the streets. The curtains of the windows did not help at all because they were too small and too thin; one layer of the curtains was red, which made the light coming through them even brighter.

Around 10:30 PM, while trying to comfort my son to get him to sleep, I contacted the host, with good intentions, asking the possibility of switching to another place. The answer was no. They offered to talk to me the next day morning. By then, the heat in the two bedrooms made it impossible for us to sleep, and we had flown more than five hours from Toronto.

All of us were exhausted. We really need to have a good sleep, especially my son. In Toronto, he usually goes to sleep around 9:00 PM. Now it was almost 2:00 AM, and he was still pretty hyped due to the light and noise, and couldn’t help but go to the window every three minutes.

I decided to move the family to a hotel. It was clear that none of us would get any sleep in the apartment. I told the host our decision, and we agreed to meet at 10:00 AM the next morning.

When we were trying to get my son to the car and stripped him to the car seat, he was really upset and struggled a lot because he was so exhausted, but you can’t expect a two-year-old toddler to understand this. It took us about 40 minutes to get him bundled. Even on our way to the hotel, he was still crying and twisting. My wife used a lot of strength to keep him in the car seat.

Before we arrived at the hotel, he finally settled down and fell asleep. We checked into the hotel about midnight, while my wife was holding my poor son and wrapped him in the blanket to keep the light from awakening him. This was all because of the unmentioned conditions of the apartment: the heat, the light, and the noise.

At 10:00 AM this morning, after five hours of sleep, I drove to the place to meet the hosts. One of them showed up, moving in an old A/C unit. I tried to reason with him in good faith, but he started emphasizing three things in an icy voice and with a poker face:

1. No refund whatsoever.

2. All your opinions can be feedback for Airbnb, I’ve got nothing to say.

3. We’ve done everything we can. The fans we have here are the proof. We know this place is hot.

Please take the last point into account; he knew the problem with the heat but didn’t mention it in the listing at all, except for a ridiculous claim: room-darkening shades, which did not help with darkening but lighting.

Seeing that there would be no agreement, I left the apartment and got back to the hotel. My family was trying to recuperate by resting today. After my son finally was able to go to sleep at about 8:30 PM, I sat down to contact Airbnb to report this Travel Issue and ask for a refund.

Per my understanding, the money was not the biggest problem. The reservation cost about CAD860. I had to pay almost CAD1500 for the rest of our stay in the hotel, which I believe is not unreasonable if they are required to pay for part of it. The biggest problem is that they refuse to acknowledge the problem.

Even worse, since spring and summer are coming, more people will be duped into booking this place and regret it. It is easy money for the hosts. I’ve summarized the problems at the beginning, and I’m pretty sure you can see our communication in the messages. It’s a shame that I can’t provide any proof for the heat wave. If I could, I would.

Two Airbnb Scams in Dominican Republic

I traveled to Punta Cana in 2017 with a friend and we planned on spending the summer there. We found a two-bed, two-bath apartment a block off the beach. The pictures looked greats and the host was very pleasant on the phone. The listing stated that the apartment was fully furnished and that all utilities were included. The listing also stated that there was a full washer and dryer.

When we arrived, we noticed immediately that there was no washer or dryer. Additionally, the host showed up and told us that we had to pay for the electricity ourselves. We argued and protested but the host would not budge.

We called Airbnb and dealt with their useless customer service for over a week. The electricity was literally on a prepaid meter, and we had to constantly recharge the service every week to the tune of $50-$75. Airbnb did absolutely nothing to help us other than offer a refund.

When we threatened the host that we would dispute the charges for our stay unless he offered us compensation for the blatant misrepresentation of the unit and breach of contract, the host decided to reduce our monthly rent by $250 a month. On our second month we literally left the keys on the table and walked out. A miserable experience from both Airbnb and the lying host.

A few days later, we rented another unit in Santo Domingo. This was a two floor penthouse that was supposed to be fully furnished with furniture and appliances. In this case, the host made it clear that the electricity was not included. Upon arrival, it was the same scam situation we dealt with in Punta Cana. The apartment did not have a dryer and the bedrooms did not even have cabinets/drawers to store our belongings. One of the bathroom showers did not even have a partition/door on the shower.

We confronted the host, who was yet another typical money grubber out to fleece a few tourists. We got on the phone again with Airbnb and dealt with their worthless customer service department. Airbnb once again told us we could pack up and find another place to go, having the audacity to offer us a measly $100 for the inconvenience.

After a week of battling it out with the host a few of the problems were fixed. The host of this apartment wasn’t even the owner, but instead a property manager working for the owner who ran his own separate company called Dominican Vacation Rental SRL.

Airbnb is absolute s$#t unless you are renting from a Superhost. The site is rank with scammers and liars alongside properties that are not as described. Airbnb offers practically no resolution, no compensation, and is an absolute nightmare to deal with. Spend more and stay at a hotel.

Worst Airbnb Experience Ever, Rust Smell

My destination was Acadia National Park. Everything was booked nearby so we decided to book an Airbnb outside of Acadia, and in Sullivan. The house was on a street in a rural to suburban area. In rural areas, I expect and know that rust might be in the pipes, but I also was banking on the fact that it would go away after a few minutes. I was so wrong.

I was in a group of four. The first person went into the shower for twenty minutes, and the smell of rust didn’t dissipate in the hot water. The second person went in and tried the cold water shower, only to end up with the same rust smell. No matter how long the shower water was running, the rust smell was so bad I couldn’t stay another night. I can’t even document the smell of rusting pipes or the water tank for Airbnb.

Airbnb doesn’t even have the “essentials”

Earlier I went to Oaxaca City in Oaxaca, México, staying at a serviced (not really) apartment listed on Airbnb. Since it was so cheap, I wasn’t really expecting anything. When I saw that there wasn’t a table or a desk at all (despite what’s shown on the listing), I wasn’t bothered since I wouldn’t really be using a laptop anyway.

However, they had almost none of the so-called “essentials”. They had no soap… fine. They didn’t have any towels at all; I literally had to go out to buy one. No toilet paper either – in fact, they didn’t even have a toilet seat.

I’m guessing they are called “essentials” because Airbnb does require all hosts to have them. They didn’t, and when I told Airbnb that, they didn’t say or do anything. As you can see, they still say they have all these things. Perhaps they’ve gotten better now, or maybe nothing had happened. Who knows?