I decided to rent out my property for the Christmas holiday. I was selective as some people had too many in their party, or had large dogs — I accept animals under 25 lbs. I rented to a woman who said there would be her and two dogs. I usually only accept one pet but since she had no partner I thought it only fair to let her stay with both animals. We agreed on a $100 non-refundable pet fee just to allow her pets to stay, not for damages.
When I was leaving the property after prepping it for her arrival, I noticed two large commercial trucks pulling up. I doubled back as I thought they were at the wrong house. The boom truck drivers were dropping off the pick up driver’s stuff, then left. I said, “you are not Crissi?” She said no and called her husband who in turn gave me her number. Only then did she inform me that it was her employee staying there. The dogs she had stated were 25 lbs. were bull terriers weighing between 45-65 lbs and one was in heat according to the employee.
Crissi was supposed to provide a pet deposit of $100 and said she would give it to the employee to pass on to me the following day. He wasn’t there the next day (a wasted trip for me) but the next day he was home and said he knew nothing about the deposit. I reached out to her again and she said she would be there at the property in 10 minutes. I told her I was running an errand but to leave it under the mat so I wouldn’t disturb her employee staying there.
I wasn’t happy that she deceived me and actually looked up online (since I couldn’t find a customer service number to reach out) to see how Airbnb handles these situations. I read that different reps have given different advice to hosts. Some say to let it go and just see how it plays out, while another said to cancel the reservation because they put a “third party guest” on the property and Airbnb doesn’t cover damages for third party guests. I decided to leave it alone as the gentlemen seemed polite enough.
Following that, we had an unexpected storm with hurricane winds which required a lot of cleanup. I left a notice on the exterior door that I would be by the following day (24 hours’ notice) to do a cleanup of the exterior grounds, even soffits from a nearby home had blown onto the property. When I went to the property the front yard was littered with large piles of dog feces. I reached out to “Crissi” and said that her employee needed to pick up the dog mess as my lawn guy won’t drive through dog feces with his equipment. I immediately got slammed with a return message saying, “that’s what dogs do” and I and my neighbors were harassing them and peeking in the windows.
That came out of left field. She basically said that he would pick it up when he was good and ready. I explained that my lawn care guy would not cut the lawn if he had to roll his equipment through dog feces, he makes that clear. She said it will get picked up tonight. I said, no, it needs to be cleaned up now as my guy is coming to cut the lawn today. She said I didn’t tell her that and I said, I don’t have to tell you that, he is on a set schedule that he makes. Do you stay at a hotel and expect to be told when they cut the lawn? And do you let your dog crap all over the hotel/motel lawn and tell them, sorry we will pick it up when we get around to it?
I called her out for deceiving me as to who was staying there. I later noticed that one of her reviews read, “I can’t give a review as she wasn’t there.” Now it made sense. This woman was dumping employees in Airbnb’s who were using it as a crash pad. Seems harmless right? Wrong. I can’t give a proper review because I am basing my opinion on her and her reputation of other stays she has had on Airbnb. Most importantly, Airbnb will not cover damages if a third party stays on the property.
The employee she had staying there left his dogs in a guest bedroom during the day while he worked and the expensive thick mattress cover, expensive bedsheets, and high end comforter set were all covered in blood from his dog in heat. He could have easily left them in the kitchen area during the day with the baby gate provided to keep pets on tile vs. carpet when owners step out. He apparently left the dogs in one guest bedroom during the day while he worked, hence the blood everywhere. The beds are there for guests, not for dogs in heat.
What happened next blew me away. I received an email saying that the guest has closed out their stay. When I reached out to Airbnb asking if I could go by to make sure they didn’t damage the property on purpose on their way out, they suggested I reach out to Crissi to see if they vacated the premises. She snapped back to stop harassing her and to contact Airbnb, that she filed a complaint against me for harassment and I will be investigated. I told her Airbnb told me to reach out to her, and all I want to know is if there is someone still at the property, that’s on you. She chose to ignore me, that she herself said she would have her employee pass on to me. It wasn’t until I stated the dog feces needed to be cleaned up as the lawn guy would be coming to cut that she started the harassment complaints.
The outcome? You will love this: they took her recorded statement and my recorded statement. I thought they would back me as to her deception as to who would be staying there, and damages were incurred. Since the employee had no direct concern as to what happens in the property, I am only left with dealing with Airbnb. They told me to reach out to this Crissi and explain the damages. I told them, “I am not reaching out to her as she is already saying I am harassing her and this will only add to the problem.”
After a short investigation they decided to block me — temporarily, they said — then two days later made it permanent, saying I could appeal. However you can’t go on their site and appeal once they have blocked you. So they run you in circles telling you to appeal within a certain amount of time knowing you can’t. They sent me emails from five different reps saying do this or that, only adding to the confusion. I asked to deal with one person and they said no, that different departments handle different issues, e.g. claims for damages, or to file an appeal against closing my listing.
They contradict their emails. One rep told me I had 72 hours to provide further information about my case and four hours later told me they had permanently cancelled me off their site. When they told me I could appeal, I asked what specific issues were they concerned about so I could address them. Airbnb would not tell me, so I had no idea what I was defending myself against. They wouldn’t tell me if they had shut her down also for deception of who was staying there, for lying about the size of the animals staying, and for putting company vehicles on the property where it is a violation of city ordinance. Airbnb is judge and jury.
At last stand, I asked if the department that handles damages is still reviewing my claims and nobody has gotten back to me. They basically shut me down, affected me financially and turned their back on me after years of listing on their site. I have rented for over 40 years, long term and short term, in more than one state and have letters of recommendation from guests, and often these people became good friends. I take pride in giving people a place I would want to rent myself. I work hard to provide a nice experience for the guests that Airbnb tells me I am renting to. To shut me down shows how little value they see in their hosts when a problem arises from a guest and we are their bread and butter.