Illegal Properties, Two Weeks of Waiting for Airbnb

I’m currently dealing with a case where the host is breaking Vancouver’s strict Airbnb laws. All four of her units use expired business licenses. I don’t understand how Airbnb can force their guests to stay at illegal rentals, let alone expect them to go forward with their international travel plans with no resolution to their issue.

I have contacted Airbnb customer support countless times over the last week with no one being of the “correct department” or training to actually just take the moment to call the city of Vancouver and verify their laws. The host is also deceptively listing the units as apartments rather than what it actually is: a house split up into four Airbnb properties. She has no exterior photos and you only find out once you book the unit.

This breaks Vancouver’s strict short term and long term rental laws as it’s not her principal residence. You also cannot rent multiple portions of one home at the same time on Airbnb. Also without a private entrance I don’t see how these units can be safe during COVID-19, especially for someone going through quarantine. Two weeks of waiting for someone to call me back and my trip is now three days away.

Under Investigation for False Privacy Claim from Guest

We are currently under investigation from Airbnb after a guest who stayed at our place for the last 40 days (into their 100-day stay) decided to make a false claim against my husband and I for “violating their privacy.” After the guest’s initial inquiry about staying at our cottage in northern Ontario, we told them that we were currently there doing renovations to the lower level to make it a duplex.

Our listing does state that they are renting the entire cottage, but we had called Airbnb and asked for guidance on what to do since we were doing renovations. They simply told us that as long as we had approval from the inquiring guests that we would be there, everything should be fine. We have all the documentation and emails and written consent from the inquiring guests that they were okay with us being there doing the renovations in the lower level. We kept up communications to make sure we weren’t bothering them with any excess noise and tried to only be there during the day when they were at work.

Their check in date was Jan. 11, and they were medium-term rentals staying until April 30/ All throughout the time from Jan. 11 until Feb. 9 everything was fine as far as we knew. We have text proving that they were fine and anytime we needed to enter their space to do something and we have written documentation of asking their permission.

We did expect the renovation to be complete as of mid-January, until the stay at home order that was in place on Jan. 14 obviously delayed our renovations by a couple of weeks. This is something that was completely out of our control.

On Feb. 9, the guest called my husband and said that they were feeling a little bit frustrated with how long this was going. We packed up that day and went home to avoid any conflict and prevent making our guest feel uncomfortable. My husband went back up on Valentine’s Day weekend to clean up his tools while they were not there because they didn’t stay there on the weekends. As of then, everything was fine: we hadn’t heard any other complaints and everything was communicated to the guests.

We then got a notification through Airbnb that the guests would like to change their check out date from April 30 to Feb. 25, which we declined because there was no reason for them to check out early. The renovation was now completed and no one would be in the lower level for the remainder of their stay (why they waited to complain until we were finally done is beyond me).

The next day we got an email from Airbnb stating that there has been a privacy claim against us and that our account will be suspended until the investigation was complete. We got a call on Feb. 20 asking for our side of the story. The claim was that my husband was there during their stay and that was a violation of their privacy.

We used completely separate entrances; we never even saw the guests more than maybe three times the entire five weeks we were there. We never once entered their space without permission and only three separate times: once to replace our modem for the Internet; once to replenish the soap and a broken spoon that the cleaner had told us was broken; and once for the plumber to check something on the washer. All visits were agreed upon and never were an issue when those things happened.

The Airbnb investigator was completely rude and interrupted us multiple times while we were trying to explain our side of the story. We have been Superhosts since the second month of hosting and I’ve had nothing but great reviews with the exception of one who was annoyed that the Internet wasn’t as fast as that in Toronto. I can’t believe that Airbnb is allowing one guest among 17 positive reviews to tarnish our entire reputation as hosts and potentially shut us down.

I guess my question is has anyone experienced something similar to this and what was the outcome? Our worry is that they are going to refund the guest for the time that they stayed there if they deem that we did indeed “violate their privacy“ even though we have proof that they knew the whole time we were there. If Airbnb does decide to cancel their reservation, is there a chance that we will need to refund them for the days that they have already stayed there and if so how is that legal?

Airbnb Host Posted Photos of a Different Apartment

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I rented a suite on Airbnb for 29 days. Upon check in, the entire place was filthy: hair on the floor, dirty sheets. Absolutely no towels were provided. We left immediately. The place was disgusting.

We messaged the host right away and he denied it, so I contacted Airbnb. We checked in at about 2:30 PM and didn’t hear back from Airbnb until the next day. We’ve been going back and forth with Airbnb for a month now. They are saying the apartment is exactly as described. However the host described it as a three-bedroom apartment when in fact it is a one bedroom with one bed and a couch.

The photos were 90% accurate but extremely misrepresented. It was photoshopped to remove all the rust and grime around all of the sink. Most deceiving is the living room the host advertised. He used an entirely different photo of another place with only a couch that somewhat looks similar. If you look at the photos of the windows, the sliding glass door, and the walls, it’s clearly not the same apartment.

I am out about $2,350 CDN as Airbnb is refusing to refund me. This host has also received similar scam reviews on his profile. The guests from his other listings are corroborating my claims. Yet Airbnb still has this host on their platform and refusing to refund me as a guest.

I have been using Airbnb for about eight years with over 77 excellent reviews as a host and a guest. I do not have a history of trying to cancel reservations. I’d like to sue this host in small claims court as I live in Vancouver as well but his information is not available to me and he did not give me a phone number (other guests have said the same). What are my options for getting my money back?

Airbnb Made My Move to Montreal Traumatic

In January 2017, I moved to Montreal, Quebec for work. I was a single woman moving from the west coast of the U.S. and was fearful and looking for a secure place to live for my first month while I looked for a more permanent place. I saw a listing that seemed nice and paid ahead of time for it. I was very poor at the time and so it was a difficult gamble to make but I did it because I trusted that such a big company like Airbnb would protect my best interests. Boy was I wrong.

The day I was to move into my Airbnb rental I brought along a new friend to help me carry my luggage and make sure I felt safe. I am so glad she came with me — I would’ve been in a horrible situation if it wasn’t for her. When we showed up to the building there was a different person waiting for our arrival than the one listed as the owner on Airbnb’s site. It was a young male who gave off very creepy vibes. He walked us up a small/crammed stairwell to my “apartment” and stood in the doorway while we looked around.

Right away I noticed there wasn’t a bed but a futon couch, which wasn’t mentioned in the listing. I also hadn’t gotten a new cell phone number and was relying on wifi. Well, this apartment shared a router with the entire building and so the wifi was non existent. As my friend and I were making these observations out loud, we heard the aforementioned creepy guy muttering to himself about how wrong we were about the apartment.

Feeling uncomfortable and unsafe, I called Airbnb on my friend’s phone and they advised me to leave the Airbnb and go somewhere safe. We took a taxi back to my friend’s place and Airbnb called me back on my phone this time via the wifi from her apartment. They asked if we had taken video or photos of the apartment and we said “No, your Airbnb customer service rep told us to leave immediately.” This new rep insisted I had to go back and take photos.

Of course the Airbnb host wouldn’t permit us back into the building and refused to refund me. Airbnb insisted that because we had no photo evidence that my only option was to ask the Airbnb host for a refund which of course wasn’t given. I cried and panicked. I was in a new city with no money for an apartment or hotel and only my new friend’s couch to sleep on.

Thankfully my new friend’s brother in law is a lawyer and he advised me to call my credit card company instead and make a fraud claim with them. They could undermine Airbnb and get me my money so I could find an apartment. My bank was immediately helpful and believed me. They refunded me the money while they investigated and a few weeks later I was told they did find what Airbnb did was fraudulent. Take that Airbnb.

I’ve never used the site again to book anything. If you do, be sure to take photos and videos especially if there’s a creepy property manager. I’m including the listing to the Airbnb rental.

Racist Host Cancelled Over Holiday Weekend

What was supposed to be a peaceful, relaxing weekend away with some of our closest friends for Thanksgiving weekend turned out to be a nightmare. Our group consisted of a total of six individuals, ethnically diverse (east Indian and Korean) professionals, a mix of women and men. One might wonder why is it important to mention a description of our ethnic background — why does that need to be stated on an Airbnb review?

With everything happening in the United States, racial profiling and discrimination is something I felt free of in Canada, especially in British Columbia where our communities are multicultural. However, we were all victims of discriminatory behaviour by the host.

We booked accommodations at Campbell River about a month prior to our arrival. The intent of our stay was to have a weekend away with our friends and enjoy what we named “friendsgiving.” We were all excited to share a meal around a table, play some board games and enjoy nature. Upon our search we came across a “luxurious log cabin” and the six of us decided the cabin was to our liking and suited our needs and interests for the weekend. We proceeded to book the accommodation, and the host and hostess accepted our payment.

We started planning. We are all honest individuals and have immense respect for others’ homes. We did not want to bring or do anything which was not okay with the host so we took the liberty to be honest and asked the host if it would be okay if we cooked dinner for thanksgiving at the cabin. In addition to this, we asked if it would be okay if we brought our lovely Luna (our dog) with us. The host was quick and kind to reply that the kitchen is fully stocked for cooking purposes and we are more than welcome to host our dinner. However, she was not okay with our pet.

We respected her wishes and decided to let our dog stay with family and were very thankful that she was okay with us using the kitchen. It does state on the listing that the kitchen is available for use and we do have proof of the host’s messages agreeing to the use of the kitchen.

Two days before we were to leave for the weekend, we got a message from the host asking to change our cabin and to consider making changes to our accommodation. They send us pictures of a different cabin, which looks absolutely nothing like the log cabin we had originally booked — not nearly as nice. We kindly asked the host if we could continue to keep our original log cabin accommodation as the entire group is more comfortable with our initial choice. We promised her our dog is not coming with us and that we are all professionals and will leave the place with no damage. The host agreed to allow us to continue our stay at the originally booked log cabin.

All of our ducks were in a row. Ferries from horseshoe bay were booked. It was the day of departure and the six of us make the six-hour commute to Campbell River. During the drive in the morning, we got bombarded with messages from the host saying we could not stay at the log cabin. She was going to cancel our booking unless we agreed to stay at the other cabin.

We took the liberty of calling Airbnb customer support and explained the entire situation to them. They mentioned that the host is in the wrong and should not be changing accommodations without getting approval from the booking customer. The hostess was strong arming us to stay somewhere we didn’t book. Considering we had already commuted almost four hours at this point and it was a long thanksgiving weekend with no other place to stay that could accommodate six people, we had to agree to changing the cabin. However, our condition was that we wanted to see the cabin first upon our arrival.

Once the first half of our group arrived, the host refused to open the gate and let them in. We called her and messaged her to let us in — we paid for the accommodation and travelled a long way to be here. At first, she refused until we called Airbnb and agreed to cancel our original booking and accepted the new cabin. We politely told her that we would like to see the cabin she was recommending before agreeing to her request.

This is where it gets really ugly. When she finally came out to open the gate and take the group to the new cabin, we noticed that the cabin had not been cleaned at all. There was dirt and leaves everywhere, the sheets looked slept in, there were coffee stains on the tables, and a horrible smell. The cabin looked completely lived in and had not been cleaned at all.

Immediately the group refused to stay there — this was not what we paid for and this was not what we travelled six hours to stay at. When asked why we could not stay at the log cabin we originally booked her words to us were: “People like you stayed there last time and the people like you all burned the stovetop.”

At first we were taken aback by the phrase “people like you” and then expressed to her we had no intention of damaging the place. She could take a larger cash deposit from us and hold onto it until our stay was over and return it once she was content that there was indeed no damage.

Her response? “No, I cant trust people like you, you asked about bringing a dog.”

We reassured her there was no dog. We left her back home. She could have checked our car, but she continued to accuse us of lying about hiding the dog. Repeatedly she used the phrase “people like you.” She never once addressed us by our names. She called us violent people when a friend of ours tried to walk towards the other cabin and threatened to call the police.

Eventually we noticed that there was someone already staying at the log cabin we had originally booked. She accepted our payment but gave the accommodation to a family member of hers to stay at for the weekend and was forcing us to stay at another cabin so she wouldn’t have to return our payment. The host then admitted that she gave the log cabin to a family member to stay at and that she forgot to tell us earlier.

We as a group have never been so humiliated, insulted, discriminated, and racially profiled before. We have never had someone threaten to call the police on us, to be treated so inhumanely and to be referred to as “people like you.”

My advice to anyone of ethnic origin or of colour: please save yourself the long journey and headache and do not book accommodations unless you are okay with your weekend being sabotaged. The six of us had to resort to booking a one-bedroom place which slept three people. 600 square feet for the weekend because there was no other place to stay due to the long weekend. We tried to make the most of our weekend, but the horrendous behaviour from the host and hostess was unforgettable.

Canada Closed but Airbnb Refuses to Refund

The Canadian Prime Minister closed the country’s cruise ports until July 1. All cruises until July 1 are cancelled, including ours. We were coming from the U.S. to Vancouver for one night at an Airbnb. It would have been our first time ever using Airbnb. Every other airline and hotel gave us a full refund the same day we called.

Not Airbnb: they have a COVID-19 policy until May 31 only. We were checking in June 1. Even with a ton of documentation, their “case managers” still denied us a refund because their policy is just until May 31.

The host is very difficult to work with and won’t budge on her strict policy even though we just booked it days before the shutdown in March and we’re two months away. What a selfish human being.

We have no control over this global pandemic and they have been a nightmare to deal with. We call everyday and get the runaround from customer service. Airbnb is a fraudulent company. I’m talking to a lawyer.

Charged for a Private Single Bedroom I Didn’t Book

I never completed confirmation for my booking and obviously did not stay at the property. However, I was charged almost $90 Canadian. There seems to be two hosts affiliated with this property and they seem to be playing tag with each other, claiming the “main” host is not getting back to the one that has responded to me.

It would appear that he has many positive reviews so I am not sure why there is such a delay or hesitation to resolve this matter. I’m sure many of you can relate when you are traveling on a budget and cannot deal with having nearly $90 CAD removed from your bank account without a reason.

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Bad Experience with Airbnb Host in Vancouver

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I made a reservation on Airbnb for a bedroom with a private bathroom and paid the full amount on November 23, 2019 to stay December 5-8, 2019. On the check-in day, December 5th, the host emailed me to change my bedroom with a private bathroom to a shared bathroom at 3:00 AM in my timezone. I didn’t check my email until a few hours before the check-in time. I never expected a change in the reservation on the check-in day.

I insisted to the host that I still wanted the bedroom with private bathroom which I reserved and had paid for since November 23rd. The host replied that he already sent me an email about the change. However, he did not clarify on compensating me for the difference between a private bathroom and a shared bathroom. The only thing he replied was that he could cancel my reservation if I wanted.

On the check-in day at 10:00 PM at night, if an Airbnb guest cancels his reservation that he made on November 23rd, where can the guest stay that late at night? Why should I deal with this host and this situation? It was a very bad experience for using Airbnb for the first time in Vancouver.

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False Advertising for Toronto Airbnb the First Time

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I was a first-time Airbnb user for a trip to Toronto in August for four people. The listing was advertised as a ‘2 bedroom luxury retreat’. While the location and view were great, the condo left much to be desired. It was definitely not luxury – more like shabby, and I don’t mean shabby chic.

I think the photos on the listing were probably the sales photos used to sell the unit to the host because nothing other than the view was like the photos. Not one single piece of furniture, all wall hangings, nor appliances were as in the photos.

In previous correspondence with the host, he had said that the unit had been painted and wouldn’t look like the listing photos. He never said the listing photos were a complete fabrication. The luxury condo looked like a poorly maintained frat house. No toilet paper or anything to dry a dish was anywhere to be found. The listing photos showed plush white towels; what we got was one small threadbare towel each.

To say we were disappointed was an understatement. The host who seemed so responsive prior to the final payment went completely dark once I contacted him about basic necessities and never followed up during our five-night stay. So, I wrote a negative review, and surprise – the host then immediately contacted me via phone calls and texts, saying he was taking the unit off Airbnb and moving in himself, that it was listed for more money than it should have been, etc.

He wanted me to change my review as it would affect the other unit he had listed with Airbnb. He offered a refund via e-transfer for our disappointing stay. I foolishly changed the review.

Guess what? That was a week ago and I never heard from him again, nor did I get any refund. Lesson learned and Airbnb may not ever see me using their service again. Only thing I’m sorry about is that I never took any photos of the actual condo to be able to post here alongside the fabricated one attached that I found in deleted emails. The listing is not online anymore.

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Airbnb Nightmare in Cottage Country, Ontario

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I sent photos below to Airbnb to show the unhygienic and gross hellhole that was misrepresented as Muskoka Rocks in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. It was filthy, unsafe and disgusting. It was impossible to stay and the host could not have improved our stay within hours. The house we stayed in was not the house in the picture on the website. It was a firetrap and was unlivable.

We have asked for a refund but got no response except for an offer of $200. This rental was $1600 for six nights. We went for a small getaway to celebrate one year of my companion being clear of Stage 4 cancer. I’m disappointed and disgusted by Airbnb’s lack of humanity and moral accountability. The host deliberately misrepresented the place and even put another gorgeous house on the site. Our one-star review has never appeared on the site. Any advice or help is welcome.