Airbnb has no Standards for Hosts and their Homes

This was my second time going through a dirty Airbnb experience. I guess one time wasn’t enough for me to learn the lesson. In the heat of the moment I have decided to go to Honolulu for quick getaway. I was on a budget and decided to go with Airbnb instead of a hotel. I had booked a condo that got my attention with its very colorful wall paintings and warm atmosphere (how far that was from the truth).

Upon arriving, I first noticed that the place had nothing to do with the pictures. The colorful wall was gone; it looked very empty and out of order. That turned on my warning signs. It didn’t take too long for me to spot the filth in the place: cabinets, walls, mirrors, windows… you name it. The only thing I could say that truly felt clean were the bed sheets. I am a very clean and detail oriented person and very sensitive to dirty environments.

However, that was not the end. The place felt like someone donated already “used to the limits” stuff and placed it in there for the guests, including towels, pans, and furniture. The wallpaper was coming off and the toilet was scratched and stained indicating the long years of use.

I contacted the host and he did agree to refund the money. The problem was that I didn’t know the rules and the process of getting a refund. I filed a complaint with Airbnb, attaching pictures. The next day I got a notification that the host was refunding my money. So I was very satisfied, and moved on with my vacation.

The day after that I saw there was a message from Airbnb. I opened it and noticed that I had to accept the refund. So I pressed the button, and because it was one day too late they couldn’t process the refund. I called Airbnb and they said they had not received any complaint from me (I am very sure they did but had a reason to pretend not to), and promised to fix the refund.

They halfway did: instead of $300 I got $178 out of the $502 I originally paid. I am not that mad with happened to the money but mostly that those stressful situations even occur. There is a lack of competence on the part of Airbnb in any apartment’s quality control. There is a 50/50 chance you will come a across great place or hellish crib. It is messing up our vacations and plans we make. We lose money and get more stressed than relaxed.

It looks as if everyone who has an empty corner in their house think he/she can be a host. The truth is to be a host is a bit more difficult than just putting a blanket on a mattress. It involves time and dedication. I personally believe that we should not put the total blame on the hosts but mostly on Airbnb for not putting any restrictions and control on the hosts to follow and to apply in their apartments.

Stay away from Airbnb Properties Managed by Oasis

Do not book any Chicago property managed by Oasis unless you want to be nauseated by smoke. Even the host smelled of smoke when he greeted us in the lobby. I’m still waiting for them to refund three nights because they admitted it had smoke odors even though they advertised it as non-smoking. We had to get a hotel.

After conversations with Oasis staff, they offered to refund one night while they “deep cleaned”. (After we left for a hotel, I received an email at 11:00 PM that we could come back the next day to “check it out” as it had now been deep cleaned). By now we had checked in and unpacked at a new hotel. We were traveling on business with meetings all day and it wasn’t possible for us to check out of the hotel and go inspect the apartment (smoke odors don’t typically go away that quickly).

As a side note, they advertised their property as able to sleep three people; we assumed the sofa would be a place to sleep but there was no bedding provided for it except a blanket that was in the closet. I was very disappointed and hope they will do the right thing and refund our $600+. We have been trying every angle to get in touch with someone but they have gone silent.

I am a rental property owner and list my property on Airbnb, and we have used the service traveling internationally. This is the first bad experience. Oasis (the supposedly global property management company) presents themselves as only representing highest quality properties and that was certainly not the case. On top of it, they have completely refused to reply or deal with me to bring this situation to a satisfactory close. Even the partial refund they offered has not been granted. Thankfully American Express also has my back and is working through the situation.

Filth and Infestations at New York Airbnb Home

No more Airbnb-hosted homes for us. Although there are good clean places out there, we’ve had two ghastly experiences in two months. Airbnb refuses to post honest reviews, only five-star reviews. Avoid this Airbnb in Wynantskill, NY at all costs. We found the bedroom and bathroom filthy and extremely bug infested.

Food scraps, hair, bugs, and dirt were on both the floors and walls. Grime was on the door handles, toothpaste was splattered on the sink, counter, and bathroom mirror, and stains were on the carpet. The pillow cases and bed sheets were terribly stained and even had holes worn through them. The bath towels and washcloths were also badly stained. They looked as though they had been rags taken from a trash can. The place had the odor of a men’s locker room. I wouldn’t let my dog stay in such a filthy place.

Had it not been late and storming when we arrived, we would have never stayed. As it was, we found some Lysol cleaner and wiped down the tub and other bathroom fixtures. Then we went about trying to kill as many of the bugs on the walls, curtains, floor, and bed as we could. The host was not there. Her father let us in. He said that his daughter was renting out the bedroom just long enough to pay for her new Jeep. This is our second bad experience with renting through Airbnb in two months. When we spoke to their representatives the last time, we got nowhere. Never again.

Airbnb Experience Different for Older Guests

We experienced our first Airbnb in the US this past week. How we came to be there is that my husband’s nephew stayed at this same place. He is 30. Our tastes in accommodations and his are dramatically different. In his review he gave them seven stars.

Anyway, he said they would give us a deal if we went directly to the hosts. We weren’t sure but that may have been a bad sight. The rate on the advertised room was $35 a night. Even with cleaning costs, that was still overcharging for seven days; we paid $400.

On arrival we met them. They seemed like an okay but aloof couple. After three days our towels start to smell. We texted a request for fresh ones. The host replied Airbnb required us to provide one set… Later on in the day I got a text from her about which towels I wanted replaced. I replied the ones in the bath which was exactly what I got: one damn towel. My husband missed out.

The host advertised on their page that they had European and American coffee pots. She never said or showed how to make espresso. When I asked for the American coffee pot what I got was a pot that was full of mold; it looked like it hadn’t ever been cleaned. It was disgusting.

They advertised they had a balcony. It was there all right… if you could forage through the crap laying all over it. Cigarette butts overflowing in the ashtray, and glasses and cups had been sitting there for days. As far as cleanliness, there were always dishes in the sink and a pot of food on the stove.

This takes the cake. They had a shoe rack outside the hallway and asked us to remove our shoes… no joke. I know there are better places out there and I will give Airbnb one more chance but this was an eyeopener. There was a TV in our room; however, it didn’t work. There were no mirrors and the pillows were as flat as pancakes.

They advertised they were students as their occupation line… this is their way of making a living? I’m not sure. They seem to be living in the bedroom opposite ours. The host mentioned she has a degree in international business and the husband in entrepreneurship. I think they missed a class or two in hospitality. The bottom line is don’t expect a 30-something to know what your expectations are. He tried to do well and we appreciated it. However, it was a lesson learned by us. Too bad, so sad.

Fraud Alert: Host Fakes Damages to Remodel Bathroom?

I need some help. I am writing this letter regarding my Airbnb stay in Paris, France. This letter is about the review and the money that the host requested due to damages. Before I begin, I would like to state that I contacted Airbnb five to six times for this issue and each time no one called me back. I was the one that contacted them. After they “resolved the issue” I asked to talk to the representative that made the resolution but he told me I couldn’t talk to him and they made the final decision; that was it. Note that I did not feel comfortable to talk to the host due to her treatment of me.

The first time I called Airbnb I got a reference number. I contacted customer service right after I got home from the trip, after the host asked for money. I called to make a complaint about her. I was told several things: I didn’t have to answer to her request or talk to her and only pay for what was broken. Airbnb would negotiate and I didn’t have to contact her. I also asked about the reviews and the representative assured me that it will not post until I submitted my review. I was waiting for them to get back to me.

They failed to mention two things to me. First, if Airbnb negotiates, their ruling is final and second after 14 days the review will show up on my profile. I did not receive any communication from a representative. I asked one to have someone contact me ASAP because I didn’t want this to drag on. He mentioned that they were high volume calls and someone would get back to me soon. However, four calls and three weeks later was unacceptable.

The second time I called, 2-3 days later, was after I saw her review, which was full of inaccuracies. The representative told me that they took the information and asked if I had any other items to add to the response. I told them that I first needed to talk to someone and that I would not enter anything until I did.

The third time, I contacted Airbnb again because the host wrote to me. I told them I needed to talk to someone. Again, I was told to write my side of the events. I finally did that. A few days later when she emailed me for the fourth or fifth time, I saw that she asked Airbnb to intervene and that someone contacted me asking for my documents and my account of the issue. After a day of “deliberation”, I was told I owed the host $1,012. They actually tried to take money from account. They did not notify me at all. They were going to take the money out without telling me how they came to that conclusion.

I contacted Airbnb and asked if the manager could call me back. They told me that he was in another call and he would get back to me. That day at noon I sent an email to him asking him to contact me and that I was waiting for his call. He emailed me back stating: “In addition, please be advised, due to the sensitive nature of our work, the Trust and Safety department is unable to receive and inbound or make any outbound calls at any given time. 100% of our work is carried out using emails only.” I guess they expect people to just take what they say at their word. I called Airbnb the same night. I was told that was the final resolution and there was nothing I could do about it. I also asked for a manager but was told that the managers couldn’t do anything about it.

I called again the next morning, asked for a manager and got one. He said that he only took care of minor issues. When I told him that I would be taking the necessary steps for the case, he told me that they would not take my calls again because the case was closed. They were going to put a note in my file to say not to engage with me next time I called. I didn’t spout any profanity or yell at anyone that I talked to. This host is a fraud and I am not going to pay her a dime.

Regarding the review: I was under the assumption that I wouldn’t see her review until I reviewed her. However, three days later I saw her review. It was not on my profile but it was in my email. I read it. I did contact Airbnb that day and they asked me to send my comments through online. I didn’t do that due to the previous conversation. I was waiting for someone to get back to me. The next day I saw that her review of my stay was posted on my profile. The fact that I did not review the host and the fact that it was posted on my profile is appalling. In addition, I couldn’t write my reviews about her. No one told me that there was a timeframe to write a review and that was misleading on Airbnb’s part.

I did have two extra guests come and they only stayed for two nights. I was celebrating my birthday; I didn’t know they were coming. Two days before I was in the hospital and I had forgotten to inform the host. I took responsibility for that. Due the hospital stay and my excitement I forgot to mention that to her and I apologized. I told her I would pay for the extra people. However, the way she approached the situation was rude and charged me way too much. The host was not in town that week and she had her friend be the point of contact, the person to reach out to if we had any issues. I went to him to get more towels and bed covers. She claimed she left five towels but only four were big enough for grown adults and the other was really small. The towels were not good either. They were really old and dingy. This guy was the one that mentioned we had extra people.

The host messaged me:

I do not want to sound disagreeable with you but I rent my apartment via a platform governed by rules. It is at the time of the reservation that we agree the number of people who will be at the place. I am not obliged to accept the presence of additional guests. I would be entitled to demand that the entire stay be billed for seven people. The manager, who is fortunately my friend, does not hold me accountable for the inconvenience (I had planned everything for five people). I let you consult the price of hotels to give you an idea. I ask you to add 160 euro, which seems reasonable. Have a excellent day!

She asked that I pay her the total amount for all the days for the seven people. The additional people stayed only for two nights (I can provide some documents). I don’t believe I need to pay her that much money (Saturday night – two people, Sunday night – two people, Monday night – four people,  Tuesday night – seven people, Wednesday night seven people, Thursday night – five people, Friday night – four people, and Saturday night – four people). The reason they stayed for those two nights was because the sofa couch was dirty. She also told me not to inconvenience her friend. Now, that is not right. She told me to contact him if I needed anything related to the stay and then went and told me not contact him. That was not right on her part.

From that message I did not feel comfortable staying at her place. I almost called Airbnb to move us but I didn’t and I regret that now. I also did not feel comfortable contacting her manager. He was smoking weed when I went to ask him for assistance with the towels and the bed sheets. That put me and my guests in a compromising position. The person that was supposed to be our contact was high and that made me feel unsafe in the apartment and in the building as well, especially in a different country where I did not know the rules and laws.

I had to contact him due to the shower drain not going down. I noticed that on the day we arrived but I thought I wouldn’t need to make a big deal about it. However, as more people used it, it became apparent that it was not going away. He came and unclogged the drain for us, pulling out hair that didn’t belong to any of my guests and a piece of plastic from the drain (identical to the one that she had a picture of). I do not know where that came from; when we checked the bathroom the first day neither of us saw that. He told me he would notify her about that. I am not sure how it got there.

The host messaged me later and vaguely talked about it. I mentioned it to her but she did not respond. The next time she contacted me was about the checkout time. I told her it would be around 8:30 AM. Instead of her coming up to check the apartment it was her husband and property manager. I did not see her until we left the apartment, when she waived at four people leaving from the balcony. I had to return the bed sheet that she loaned us when her husband came up (I had a contract with her and not her husband; she should have gone up herself). Her husband spent a good 15 minutes in the apartment with me looking at everything, checking if everything was good. He saw the place, said it was clean, and I was good to go. I gave him the key and 20 minutes after that we left.

We did clean the apartment, as much as we could. She also asked me to water her plant while I was staying there per her instructions, and I did. Every other day in the morning, I woke up early those days before my friends and I left to go sightseeing to water her plant. I do not think that as a guest she had the right to ask me to do that but I did. The first thing her husband said to me when he got inside the apartment was “my plants are still alive”.

I do not speak or understand French that well. Luckily I have friends that do and thanks to Google translate I was about to translate her request and review of my stay. I didn’t think that it was fair and frankly rude that the last two communications with her were in French and not English. Our communication started in English and she wrote to me in French. That put a burden on me as a guest and seemed that she was trying to scam me.

She said we did not clean the apartment. We did. We might have missed some spots but she claimed that we destroyed her apartment. I also paid a $40 cleaning fee for the apt which meant she could have easily cleaned it as well. The last Airbnb I stayed at, the host mentioned that I left the place clean. I also went with people that had used Airbnb in the past and their hosts said they were clean. Furthermore, that morning we had three people cleaning the floor. We swept all the floors. Her husband saw us sweeping the floor. The picture she showed of dirt on the floor is a misrepresentative; there was too much dirt on the floor after three people cleaned it.

She claimed we dirtied her couch on the patio. That was not us; that stain was already there. We barely used the patio; we were out the majority of the time and had no time to use it. In her pictures there is a flower on the chair. She has flowers all over her patio and if you look very closely there is a small stain.

She claimed we broke her shower, which was a total lie. My friend used it that earlier that morning and it was not broken. When I checked it with her husband, the shower doors slid easily. The string was not pulled out as she showed in her pictures. The piece that she had in her pictures was similar to the one that her friend pulled out of the drain. This caused the shower to not drain earlier that week. Also in the picture she had the shower head on the floor. When we left, the shower head was in the right place. If you look at one of her pictures of the shower it looks like a piece is missing from the picture on the bottom. Now, if I look at my picture, that piece is there. This is 100% fraud and I will not pay for that. That picture was staged to look like my party and I broke her shower.

She claimed we left the oven dirty. We did not use the oven. We used the two fridges and the stove and we left those clean (pictures are provided). We only cooked one day and we ate out after that. That is either from her or her other guests. She said that we broke her glasses.. that could have happened; however, when I was cleaning them I didn’t see any type of damage to them. She almost made it seem that we destroyed and broke two of her glasses. I admit breaking her wine opener. I felt bad for breaking it. I was also under the impression that I didn’t have to worry about it. Even her husband told me not to worry about it and that it was an old one.

She claimed we “degraded the room of my son”. I think it was something that was there before. No luggage was anywhere near her son’s drawers. No dirty items were left on them. She also lied about me not contacting her. If you see our messages, I contacted her right away after she sent me a message.

Overall, I think she is scamming me for more money for her shower, the patio furniture. While her apartment was good for my stay, I think it needed some upgrading, especially the bathroom; that’s why she is asking for more money. I am a reasonable person and I tried to work with Airbnb to resolve this issue. However, it seems that I can’t get someone to talk to. The communication has been severed due to them not answering my calls.

Airbnb has Standards for Hosts? What Standards…?

Let me start with the link to the luxurious, custom and tastefully decorated house we rented in Union City, California. Whatever you do, don’t believe anything you read concerning this house on Airbnb and don’t rent this house. If you do, you won’t be able to say I didn’t warn you.

We rented this house because it was big (for seven people), it seemed nice, it was well situated for us, and the comments of past renters were all good. The stay started with the host saying that the house was not ready for us when we got there, one hour and a half after the check in time. The host then told me that he was told by the last renter that she might have heard a mouse during the night. We later learned that this was a lie because when the comments of the previous renter was posted, after our arrival, the mouse traps were already there before she got there.

The next morning we went away early for the day. We had time to see that the place was not very clean. We ate out that night and got home around 10:00. To our disgust, we killed two roaches in the kitchen. That was when we first contacted Airbnb. To our surprise, Airbnb replied immediately. We said we were disgusted and we wanted out. They told us we had 24 hours upon our arrival to file a complaint so we could get out of there with a refund. We had been there 28 hours.

To make a story short, here is a list of all the issues we experienced with the house and Airbnb:

1. We saw a mouse, we killed two roaches and we found many other bugs in the house.

2. The stove was out of order, the BBQ grill was disgusting, and there was supposed to be a gaming room with pinball machines, foosball, and pingpong table.

3. The house was not very clean: curtains were stained, the BBQ grill was disgusting, the doors to the bathrooms were dirty, the windows were filthy we could barely see through, and on the side of the house we found a dozen empty old paint containers.

Attached you will find a few pictures to show some of the nice things we had to live with. You should also know that these three points contradict two of Airbnb’s standards and regulations. However, Airbnb doesn’t care about their own standards and regulations and their customers. Like I said earlier, Airbnb were very quick to respond and seemed very helpful. We had constant contacts everyday. I was on vacation and the last thing I wanted to do during my vacation was run after Airbnb customer service.

In fact, they were not helpful at all and they were all but productive. I had seven case managers involved in my case, all seemed very understanding of my situation but none of them answered my questions. When our trip was finally over, I asked for a refund. After a few exchanges I was told that I could get a partial refund by one of the case managers involved. He changed his mind because the host sent him a copy of the invoice of a pest control company that supposedly visited the house during our stay and it said there weren’t any traces of vermin in the house.

I didn’t believe a pest control company came to the house so I asked to see the invoice or the name of the pest company, but Airbnb told me the host didn’t want them to share that information with me. Talk about transparency. If you have nothing to hide, show me the invoice, right? Not with Airbnb. The host did not want them to share it with me. I didn’t believe that a pest control company came because the host told me that when it came it didn’t find traces of vermin.

That same night we found traces of mice in two different places in the house. Then the host told me that the bag in which we found different bugs under the fridge were long dead according to the ‘pest control company’. In fact, I had killed the bugs myself the night before their visit. Lastly, we found rolled up paper coming from the mouse traps on the counter after their ‘presence’. It is not very professional for a company to leave their trash on the counter after they left, isn’t it. One last thing: my reviews, that were very negative, were never posted on the site. Maybe that is why we see few negative comments concerning the houses we can rent on Airbnb. Transparency…

Avoid Airbnb If Their Properties Are Like This

We booked a condo in downtown Toronto through Airbnb. On arrival the condo was filthy; even though we were tired from traveling, I decided to clean it anyway. Not only was it filthy, the extra bedding was rolled up, stunk, and had been thrown in the cupboard. The blinds were broken and missing, the bed had cigarette burns on it, and to top it off the window was broken and would not close. We were on top of a bar, so we could not sleep. There was no toilet roll, no washing liquid, and no shower gel as was stated in the listing. There was also a door that could be accessed through the office downstairs to our condo.

We contacted the host by email from my son’s phone who lives in the area. The host had no interest at all and said he would send in a cleaner. He did not want to know about the other problems. The pillows also looked like a dog had urinated all over them; they were so bad. We vacated the property after a week since then getting in contact with Airbnb has been a nightmare. I sent all the photos in of the problems several times and telephoned nearly every day. The case got accidentally closed a few times and now they are saying I can’t have a week’s refund as I did not contact them within 24 hours. Our phones did not work in Canada. The host was contacted, so after all the calls, why did they not tell me that after the first phone call?

I will never use Airbnb again and will tell everyone I know not to use them. The host must be laughing being allowed to take people’s money like that.

Airbnb Tilghman Island – Where Guests Are Housemaids

Welcome to your Airbnb rental! Your host knows you love doing housework. That’s why he didn’t bother to have the place cleaned before your arrival. I hope you like dirt and grass clippings all over the floors, food dropped on the stairs, globs of toothpaste in the bathroom sink, dishes in the kitchen sink, unmade beds, and wet towels in the washer. That was the experience we wound up with when we chose to rent an Airbnb property for a weekend getaway on April 22 -23, 2017. The rental fee was $554 for the two nights, which included $395 for the property, plus (laughably) a $100 cleaning fee and a $59 service charge. The check-in time was at 3:00 pm, but when we arrived, we found the place was left unlocked by the previous tenants and we actually entered and saw it between 1:30 and 2:00 PM.

I immediately called the owner to complain, but naturally, he didn’t pick up. I left a voice mail message describing the condition of the house and stating that we did not want to stay there under those conditions and requested a full refund. The owner didn’t respond, so I followed up with a text message at 3:30 PM. Hearing nothing, we located and rented a hotel room (another $143 apiece) for the night. Finally, just before 6:00 PM, the owner sent a text message with an apology but no solution to the problem. When I told him we were staying elsewhere and asked about the refund, he replied that he couldn’t process a refund without proof, so I sent several photos I’d taken at the house documenting the conditions (see attached). He responded saying the previous tenant denied having left the house as I described it. When I pointed out that I had the photos as proof and a picture of the note they left to the “housekeeper” as evidence that they fully expected that the house to be cleaned upon their departure, he texted back that he would come to see the place the next day to verify my story.

The next day, we waited for the owner to get back to us throughout the day but heard nothing from him. Finally, around 5:00 PM, we decided to cut our trip short and return home a day early. Around 8:00 PM that night, I finally texted him myself to ask if he’d visited the house to verify the conditions I described. Surprise – he had not. A day later, he sent a message stating that he would refund $400, which he characterized as “very fair given the facts. I would have gladly worked with you to make this right on the day of your arrival.” Since he didn’t even respond until 6:00 PM on Saturday night, it’s safe to say there was no way he was going to “make it right” on the day of our arrival, especially since he lives in another state at least a 2.5-hour drive away from the property. Given that this dispute stems from the place not being clean, it’s somewhat amusing (but nevertheless galling) that the refund he offered is essentially the amount of the two-night rental cost less the “cleaning fee” and “service charge”. My advice to potential customers: do not rent from Airbnb. There’s no third party resolution support if anything goes wrong (hence my writing on this website). This is my first and last rental through Airbnb.

Airbnb Subcontractors Promise More Than They Can Deliver

Have you noticed there are some companies that will book your Airbnb property and guests for you? Steer clear: they help Airbnb by keeping you from getting paid and getting guests to rent a lousy place to stay. This comes from both ends of the spectrum – host hell and guest hell – where a third party is in the middle preventing either from reaching a resolution.

How it works: Airbnb is using start-up companies that only book with Airbnb, promising they will communicate with both hosts and guests, provide property maintenance, cleaning before and after each rental, let guests in (and secure the rental when they leave), help with any issues both hosts and guests have at any time of the day or night, collect any rental and damage fees, pay the hosts directly, and have a customer support line 24/7. I answered a local ad through Craigslist out of curiosity to apply as a “licensed cleaner” for Airbnb properties. After spending an hour or so clicking through a basic “do you know how to clean” on my computer, you are not given a background checked at all. You are signed up immediately and can take ‘tasks’ from your smart phone, including cleaning and stocking rentals. So first off, neither the host nor guest has any guarantee the rental will be damage free, clean and maintained. For someone like myself who is certified in the cleaning industry with over 20 years’ experience, state licensed and bonded, in one day I could tell this was a huge scam and mistake, but wanted to see what was up on how all this worked.

The first “claim job” day was a Sunday. There were three rentals that needed cleaning, clean bedding, and linens and a mini-stay pack (like hotels). Everything was sent to a storage unit. All jobs needed to be finished by 3:00 PM, so I got to the storage unit at 10:00 AM. I needed time to find what I needed since I’d never been to this storage place before which was in downtown Seattle, right off the most notorious intersection the city has. At least it was Sunday, so I had that going for me. Right off the bat, I couldn’t get into the unit from the code they gave me. I waited an hour and a half for someone to send me the proper information. This was after calling their “worker support line” which no one answered, and their customer support line, finding not one person knew I worked for them. So much for being listed as a cleaner – and I had full access codes to three properties. Eventually I got a single text and entered the storage unit, which was a mess: Cintas was supposed to be supplying linens but they were out of just about everything. It was disorganized, so I had to hunt to find enough supplies for three rentals.

I tried to find the first unit; the address was wrong and again, I spent almost an hour trying to get a response from anyone at this company. Then I found the unit and just about fell over: my son had rented an apartment right next to the building years before. He left because of two problems: there was a small fire station you couldn’t really see but hear go off at least every two hours round the clock, and crime was high in that area. I entered the unit which was a three story, two master bath, two bedroom plus skinny, and very trashed rental. They had a kid who loved peanut butter, which was stuck solid to the windows, walls, furniture, floors and all over the kitchen. The upstairs master bath didn’t drain at all, which is why the downstairs one was used so heavily.

This unit had been booked for a two-hour cleaning. It was already 1:00 PM when I arrived. Panic set in and I notified the company there was no way I could get all three properties finished in time. They assured me this wasn’t a problem so I set to work running up and down stairs, and unclogging drains. Thankfully I had brought my steam machine to get the peanut butter off everything. It took 3.5 hours to make everything clean and presentable. The company charged the guests an additional $300 for cleaning. This was exorbitant for an additional 1.5 hours more than they quoted, though the guests had been there a full month. I’m not sure what they expected but I am sure the guest and host both got screwed on that one.

Off to another property that had an address that did not exist on any map, and more calling the company to receive a text to find the property. I should mention in between these visits my phone kept going off from SMS messages received. They turned out to be from one of the company’s employees – the one giving me the proper information –  on who his pick was for the NFL super dream team. It couldn’t have been less professional.

Next was a 2700 square foot home in the older part of Seattle, which meant uneven climbing up zigzag steps where the cement was old and broken. The guests had arrived and the wife was furious. The place was trashed from a frat party on Friday night (the guests had to do a two-night minimum booking). I hauled all my cleaning stuff up, asked them where would be best to start (the bathroom, they wanted to shower), and got on it. I then moved to the kitchen where I found broken plates, glasses, a broken microwave plate, and no less than 27 empty bottles of liquor. The guests had a concert to attend so I was able to clean like mad without running into anyone but again, had to reach customer service to figure out where to put the duvet cover that had an entire bottle of cologne spilled on it. The entire upstairs smelled of this horrific men’s cologne and it was the host’s duvet cover. “Bag it and drop it off when you are done” is what I was told but no one would know to whom or where it belonged. I pinned a note to it, bagged it, and wrote the host’s address and last name on the bag.

Once that was finished at 8:00 PM, it was dark with no lighting to see the steps. I eventually tripped on the last one hitting the cement sidewalk. Still, I got up and headed off to the third rental. The week-long guests were compensated for three days and the host had to go over to the property to see the damage. It wasn’t fun for anyone and later I learned the guests were charged $1,200, with the host getting $200 after a month of fighting with Airbnb and the middleman company with which I signed up. I arrived at the third property greeted by some kids on skateboards who glared at me, circling my truck. I decided to take in all my cleaning stuff (Miele vacuum and steam cleaners are expensive).

This place was creepy and not well marked on how to access the basement rental as the top is the house with no lighting on either side indicating the “entrance in the back”. I walked through some bushes, a spider web, and some rocks and found the door. However, I couldn’t find the lock box for the key which had been buried under a planter, not beside the bench. It was pitch black and I was using a military grade flashlight. Still, it took half an hour to find the key. Luckily there was no one there as they were out for dinner and it was small, and not heavily used. I sighed in relief and went to work getting all the linens changed. I cleaned the entire unit and was almost done when the guests arrived. It was an awkward moment to say the least but I was very apologetic and polite. We struck up a conversation, I gave them additional towels (marked in my phone for reporting later to the company), bid them good night, and headed to the storage unit to drop off the dirty linens – which of course, was closed. I hauled them back home.

The next day they had one rental that needed an early clean and since I still had some clean linens, I headed to that home, arriving at 11:00 AM. The guests were from England and their flight didn’t leave for awhile so they were told not to worry, and they could check out before 1:00 PM. I was not notified of this and got a coffee, sent pictures from the day before to the main office of this middleman company, and also told them to get me off the SMS football list. That home was supposed to be two hours of cleaning and while the guests had done a great job of keeping it clean, it was just under 2500 square feet of brand new high-end home space: two stories with the entire downstairs hardwood, upstairs two master baths, four bedrooms. I took my time, disregarding the set pay for the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Given how the company paid me, it worked out to under $8 an hour on each house.

Here is the kicker for hosts and guests: guests leave a 1-5 star rating on their stay, cleanliness, and amenities which is reported to Airbnb. Since all but one of four rentals was trashed in one way or another, and I was way behind due to the company not having all information handy, those ratings went against the host and some didn’t make it against the guests. Airbnb found a way to really screw over everyone by using a middleman booking company that does very little for the additional cost both hosts and guests pay for, up to 17% more per booking with a monthly cleaning cost of $500-$700 for each property no matter the size or bookings.

The really scary part for everyone else is I told this booking company I could not work for them in such a manner. I’m a professional and it costs money to pay my insurance, license, bond, gas, and cleaning supplies. So even after I told them “no, thank you”, they started emailing me bookings for other clients. I had all the information of the host, guest, payment type, link to both host and guest, plus access information. Because I was still curious, I didn’t tell Airbnb nor the booking company about this; I wanted to see how long it would take before they figured it out. After a week of getting booking notices to my email account for six days, I called Airbnb.

Airbnb had no one single person that I could talk to about the booking company or emails. I was put on hold until the line was dropped twice, transferred to nonexistent extensions, and muddled through why I was calling with agents who did not speak English as their first and possibly second language. Eventually I sent an email to every Airbnb address I could find along with a text and email to the booking company who by the way, were operating in Seattle from San Francisco with no one here at all from their office. In fact, I couldn’t find anyone who’d even been here before which explains the terrible access to things they want you to use for each rental.

About two hours after sending a text message to the booking company, someone called me back and apologized for “the mix up” though I had to let that person know that I wasn’t going to continue working for them. If you are wondering how I knew about the “Frat Party House” and how that shook out, it’s because the guests lived closer to me, hired me on a regular basis to clean their home, and told me what hell they’d been put through to prove the previous guests left such a mess… as if my pictures didn’t already show that? They were almost on the hook for the extra clean up and damage and only Airbnb would deal with them, not the booking company. Luckily I did two things: take a ton of pictures and use a stopwatch for the exact time which can be uploaded to show the date and time. Hopefully this will help some hosts and guests at the same time. I won’t be a part of it for the rest of my career.

Filthy Bed, Soiled Bed Linen = Airbnb Unfit for Use

This was my first experience at using Airbnb for accommodation in Sydney, Australia near Elizabeth Bay because so many places were booked solid. This will probably be my last time too. The place looked cute in the pictures, but when I arrived it was completely unclean. It was an old 1960’s apartment that was tidy, but so dirty. I did know that I would have to make up the bed myself and was fine with this, but I was not expecting to have to clean the whole place before I used it.

The previous guests had left four bags of garbage, even though they could have disposed of them; there were plenty of bins in the street. They also had left their soiled bed linen and towels on a pile on the carpet. If I could have vacated and found another place I would have. There was thick dust on the TV and stand. The bathroom floor was dirty – and I mean really dirty. Under the basin there was dust and debris, used cotton buds, and hair pins.

The toilet was not sanitary. In the bowl were fecal stains and the deodoriser was empty and soiled. The shower base was cracked, crazed, and dirty. On top of the toilet cistern was sitting a huge gilded mirror with years of dust on the top and mould on the air vent. The carpet stank of dog – the hostess did not disclose in her ad that a dog lived on the premises – and was dirty and gritty.

The mini refrigerator was dirty. The ice box was completely frozen over with a piece of fish in a plastic sachet completely “cemented” into the ice. The ice trays were mouldy and there was half-eaten food still in the fridge. The stove elements and rings were encrusted with baked-on food.

Now for the worst.: the bed. The mattress had many large stains. It also stank of dog. The sheets were not fresh smelling nor clean. The quilt that I had to go searching for was ancient, stained, and torn. So was the cover, which was also flecked with red paint which matched the colour of one of her walls. When I contacted the hostess she asked me to please “excuse the holes and tears”. I was horrified to learn that she herself sleeps with the same quilt that she supplies to her guests.

The next morning I purchased my own quilt and sheets. The hostess agreed to reimbursing me for these, but never did. Underneath the sofa cushions were years of dust, crumbs, and debris. I doubt whether it had ever been vacuumed. I found the vacuum cleaner shoved in the totally messy wardrobe. I switched it on to clean the carpet then quickly switched it off because it stank of dog. I took it all apart and scrubbed every component. It was clogged with matted hair and all kinds of filth. The filters had never been washed or replaced. I spent six hours cleaning and trying to make the place livable.

The large black-out curtain was folded underneath a sofa. At nighttime I had to hang this curtain on nails on a pelment. The curtain had a terribly cheesy odour. No amount of eucalyptus spray that I purchased could eradicate the stench. The other window had no covering at all. Fortunately I brought an eye mask, otherwise I would have awoken at dawn with sunlight streaming through the window.

The hostess gave me all sorts of excuses: “the cleaners were away”; “the previous tenants must have left the place dirty.” She even said that the carpet (which I vacuumed three times because the barrel filled up) had been cleaned with an “industrial cleaner” only three days prior to my arrival. This was a total fabrication. The woman who lives here is not one who has tidy habits. Just one look at her cupboards and you would know. I suspect that she relies on the kindness of her guests to clean up after the last. When I vacated, no cleaning was required, except to replace the linens. No basic amenities like tea, coffee, sugar or milk were provided. Fortunately, I brought my own. I was expected to go rummaging around in her dirty pantry. No garbage bags or cleaning cloths were anywhere to be seen. The only things that were clean were the towels. All this for a place that charges similar to hotel rates.

The hostess said that “my expectations were more than most.” Is it too much to expect a clean bed? I don’t think so. This hostess makes no attempt whatsoever to provide a clean environment for herself or her guests. I wish I could show you the photographs. The most puzzling thing of all is that my review was the only negative one.

Anyway, my advice: there are plenty of other lovely places listed on Airbnb and much cheaper ones too. Some even in the same building. Here is the link to the dirty dump I stayed in.