Ongoing Nightmare Housing Situation: Airbnb Unlivable

This is truly a nightmare that started over two weeks ago. I’m in a hotel now still dealing with it as the home’s walls (with wiring) started filling with water due to a broken pipe after the host’s property manager had failed to do anything for weeks and the host refused to do anything. I’ve had little support from Airbnb and still have 11 days left on the prepaid reservation.

It began two weeks ago (so much worse now). I rented a long-term Airbnb property, from mid-August through November 1st while we were waiting to have a house built. There were a few minor issues early on, but recently things have gotten really bad. The owner is not in the country (the place is in Baja, Mexico and he’s in the US). He has a local property manager that is supposed to handle things but has rarely shown up and is now not responding at all. 99% of the time when I contact the owner, he says he’ll contact the property manager and then I don’t hear back, email again and the whole thing starts over.

The more major issues include: there is an Airstream trailer on the property we assumed was being stored here, but suddenly without any warning a woman with three dogs moved in. We didn’t see her, only the dogs initially, and thought they were wild dogs that had snuck in, which is common here. When we went to shoo them off – as we have two little dogs – a woman came out of the trailer screaming at my partner that it was her property.

I immediately messaged the owner who told me he had no idea what was going on, but that he co-owns the place with his brother and maybe he knew; it was probably a crazy ex-girlfriend. She’s still here. He’s never responded when I’ve asked again about it and the dogs bark continuously; most of the time they’re just left outside. Sometimes they come right to our door and bark incessantly, making it difficult not only to take our dogs out but to actually enjoy the property.

There was a big rain storm last week and with the high heat and humidity, the front door has swollen so much that it’s cracked. It’s very difficult to shut at all, likely insecure, and easy to break in. Part of the ceiling has also being chipping off as there are cracks in the concrete with bad water leaks. They’re developing in many other places in the house, so another rainstorm is likely going to make that worse.

The property manager is also supposed to be taking care of the landscaping which has gotten out of control (not a big deal to us but it really looks bad), and pick up the trash once a week. We haven’t seem him in two weeks now so it’s really piling up and there doesn’t seem to be a place we can take it here; we’re in a small village in Baja, Mexico.

I think he’s supposed to be doing something to the water to prevent algae too, but that’s not happening since he isn’t here. Algae-filled water has been pouring down the side of the house near the front door.

An Airbnb case manager contacted the host right away who promised him he’d reach the property manager – suddenly he was able to. He promised the guy would arrive within two hours. He never did: no message, nothing.

Finally about 8:30 he messaged that the guy’s car had broken down and that his dad would give him a ride over. He was leaving right then and said that he would also come back at 7:30 in the morning to work on the landscaping problem. He’s just a few minutes away. Twenty minutes later, no one had come and I had to be up at 5:00. It was dark and he wouldn’t be able to see many of the problems anyway so I told him to just come in the morning. He could start the yard stuff and then afterward we’d show him the problems, that we would be here all day until about 5:00.

Of course, he never showed. I messaged him to see when he was coming. There was no response. I messaged the owner. Finally after he received a picture of the algae-covered wall that had gotten much worse he said it was “emergency time”. He was going to contact his brother who knows people there. He promised he’d contact him several times before but apparently he never really did because once that happened, his brother (the co-owner) sent over a couple that lives nearby and knows the house very well.

They were shocked and said it was extremely unacceptable. It was well known that this property manager takes people’s money and rarely does anything. He is totally unreliable. They also found more major problems that we hadn’t noticed and things have gotten worse; there are pools of water on the floor now. They took a lot of pictures and said they would be sure both brothers would receive them.

In the meantime, our Airbnb case manager was on his weekend holiday and wouldn’t be back until the next day. The owner said he was firing the property manager and trying to find someone else, but we finally left to go out to eat at 5:00 as we’d told the property manger. Then we got a text from him just as we got there that he was here waiting outside, knowing full well we wouldn’t be here.

After what the couple said and the experiences we’ve had, we totally don’t trust this guy. He still has all the keys. I messaged the owner and told him to call him to let him know because I really didn’t want to go back there and deal with that at this point. He told me he couldn’t reach him, but we got back and he was gone, with the trash taken and a few weeds taken out in the front. We haven’t heard anything from anyone after that.

We still have no cleaning supplies and have gone through almost all the towels soaking up the water. We messaged the owner again that the priority is now to get us cleaning supplies, towels and to get the backyard cleaned up because it’s gotten so much worse since even two days ago and we can’t take the dogs out front. The couple that saw it said how dangerous it was too. They were blown away about how bad everything was as the wife was a caretaker here a year ago and said it’s just gone completely downhill fast.

The owner keeps saying he’s trying to find a new “co-host/property manager”. In the meantime I was able to get a quicker move-in date on the house being built, October 15th. I told the case manager at Airbnb who previously told me he would process the reservation so that I wouldn’t be charged anymore. I was hoping I’d be able to move out of this situation early.

Based on his information I moved forward and was really happy I managed to get that negotiated that morning. I messaged the case manager (the one who’d left me hanging for 2.5 days while things got even worse) and he said he made a mistake, since it’s long term I had to pay for all the reservation. He knew it was long term as he even mentioned it in the message thread before telling me I could do that and then said several times he hoped I’d be able to move early. That, fortunately was resolved, with a new end date: October 16th.

It continues… a new repair person came and seemed very reliable. There was finally a new person that came to do some things but there have been so many other problems in the meantime, I don’t even have time to write about them all. The owner told me that he “just found out” the lots on the property – all in a relatively small area that’s gated so it looks like it’s all one place – were sold and he can’t do anything about the woman in the trailer and her dogs.

Airbnb won’t do anything because the trailer is now not on the host’s property. I want to scream. I told the case manager it was unacceptable; he did admit his mistake and said he’d talk to his team, so I’m waiting on that. I am seriously baffled at how this is being handled. I was pretty much just trying to deal with it until the check-out time, but then this happened…

A bad situation got worse after we noticed water seeping through the bedroom wall of the house we’ve been staying in through Airbnb. It turned out there was a broken pipe that was leaking in the walls, with wiring… going through the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The repair person said it was dangerous (obviously, and we couldn’t use electricity there).

We couldn’t leave immediately; it was dark and you can’t drive in the dark here in Baja due to the bad roads and other problems. However, we did leave the following morning. Our case manager was, this time, on an extended weekend (he went on his weekend at the time the other issues were occurring and left no backup).

The owner finally realized how bad it was. A repair person is there now. He has to take out the whole wall and this is going to take a lot of time. The owner sent a couple of different payments to help with the hotel, and also for other expenses as we had to buy cleaning supplies. We received the payment he sent yesterday through Airbnb back in our bank account today. However, earlier payments were still not received, they’re missing somewhere with Airbnb. We’re covering most of the expenses on our own.

Airbnb has been totally unhelpful. They don’t care at all that we had to leave the place and get a hotel. In fact, with the case manager gone when I finally got someone else, he didn’t even read the message I sent asking about the missing payment, but instead called the owner and then messaged me that the owner was getting it repaired and had sent the payment. That had all been documented in several places, but the Airbnb case manager didn’t bother to read it and just made things worse for me with the owner.

I am extremely disappointed with Airbnb. What would have happened if I didn’t have the extra cash or credit cards to cover the hotel, when our house through Airbnb was already paid for? This is still not resolved. I am way behind on work because of all of this. I work online and extremely stressed out. We don’t know how long the repairs will take at this point so this may cost us a lot more than we can afford right now.

We tried contacting Airbnb on Twitter and got the response: “The team will look at it when they can.” The last case manager said he is looking into seeing where the money has gone but had initially said it can take 15 business days because of our bank – this is not the case since the other went through in a day. In addition, they should not be leaving us in this situation to deal with ourselves; ot’s insanity.

The case manager lied. He said it was a problem with my “payment method” but Airbnb never sent the payment. He had me set up a payout account, but then suddenly it was actually sent to my payment method. In the meantime, I’m at the hotel trying to figure out when we can get back. I told the owner we’re booked through Friday, October 5th several times.

On Thursday morning I reminded him I needed to know what was going on so I could extend if it was necessary, if we could get back Friday. I got a message from the new maintenance person that it would be ready at noon on Friday. I told him we’d be there at 3:00 to provide extra cushion time. He said that was okay, and I updated the owner.

Today after checking out of the hotel and starting to drive to the Airbnb (an hour away because it’s in a remote area), I got a message from the owner that the house wouldn’t be ready until tomorrow, asking if the maintenance person had told me that. I told him no, he had just confirmed we could go back today… we were on our way.

I was on the side of the road for 30 minutes trying to get a response from the owner or repair person. The repair person called and said friends of the host’s brother and the co-owner are painting the inside of the house tonight. They told him to redo the roof. No one bothered to inform us.

While Airbnb has asked for receipts for the previous part of the stay, they won’t respond to what to do now or when I’ll be reimbursed. I can’t keep paying for a hotel for the next 11 days, especially when I’ve paid for a house through Airbnb. We have to dine out as we don’t have a kitchen now so that’s more expensive too. It’s now 8:30 PM here on Friday, October 5th. Six hours and still no word. I’ve been sent in circles numerous times. The host hasn’t even apologized. I’m exhausted, super stressed… this is insanity.