AirCover: Pretty Webpage, No Substance or Truth

Airbnb’s “AirCover: Top-to-bottom protection” is a load of lies. Most of what is on the website is completely untrue. “Host damage protection covers you if your place or belongings ever get damaged by a guest during an Airbnb stay” — that’s the protection promised by Airbnb. The host damage protection Airbnb says it has is 90% of the reason I felt comfortable enough to list on Airbnb. But as I’m seeing from all the comments, it’s all completely untrue and just a scam from Airbnb to get us hosts to list with them.

I had a guest damage the washing machine making it completely inoperable. After submitting every single thing required as listed under the reimbursement process on the host damage protection page, I was told that wasn’t enough and they needed a “damage report from a reputable company.” They then told me that the first one submitted wasn’t good enough because it didn’t say with “certainty” how the guest broke it.

It took me almost a month of going through every repair company in the city to find one that was willing to guess with “certainty” how the guest might have broken it. Most companies either told me that wasn’t their job, or they didn’t want to guess in writing due to liability issues with the third parties involved. After getting a sufficient damage report submitted, I was told “we will proceed with the payout.”

“Oh great,” I thought.

Five days later I’m told because the washing machine was ten years old that it has no value and they will pay $0 for its repair or replacement. Why did they jerk me around for a month to get a damage report if they had no intention of paying in the first place? Then said they contacted their supervisor and will pay 20% of the repair.

Basically the fine print under host damage protection means for my listing that, with the exception of the new fridge and hotplate, the guest could destroy every other appliance and piece of furniture in my unit and Aircover would pay me $0 to repair or replace the damaged items because of the “proper deduction for obsolescence and physical depreciation.” This wouldn’t have bothered me so much if they were just honest up front about it, instead of telling hosts lies like “host damage protection covers you if your place or belongings ever get damaged by a guest during an Airbnb stay.”

In Canada I could not find a home insurance company that would cover anything to do with Airbnb. I had an almost impossible time trying to find insurance that would cover just me because of the Airbnb rental under the same roof. I finally did, but they won’t cover anything related to the rental. I foolishly thought that would be fine because Airbnb offers and brags about their “$1M damage protection,” which doesn’t actually exist for hosts.

Lesson learned. I will keep looking to find insurance to cover my listing. In the meantime I’ve taken down my listing and am trying to decide if I even keep using a company like this that lies up front to their hosts. I will probably end up switching to another company that is at least honest up front about what they cover and don’t cover.

SuperHost and Five-Star Property Being Banned due to Airbnb’s Policy

The guests I had the most problems with were from Airbnb. I was protecting my home, property, and neighborhood and there is no age discrimination where there is the potential for an increase to my risk and liability. I have rented to all races, ethnic groups, and religions. I would never discriminate in those case, but maturity and responsibility varies extremely in this age category and is a much different story. I’ve set a 30 year old minimum age for guests since I started four years ago and apparently even if state laws allow it I’m not permitted to do it any longer.

Message from Airbnb:

We received report of discrimination from a user about your listing. We wanted to let you know that after investigation, we have found claim to this report. As a company, we strive to exist to create a world where everyone can belong, we are reaching out to ensure that you are aware of both our nondiscrimination policy and your corresponding duties as a host. Our nondiscrimination policy states that hosts may not impose any different terms or conditions or decline a reservation based on the guest’s age or familial status, where prohibited by law.

After investigation, we, as Airbnb, have required that you go through two procedures: 1) we need your confirmation by reply to this email your acknowledgment of our NDP. 2) Remove the ‘Minimum age requirement: 30’ on your listing description. We have currently blocked you from making any reservations as we need to be assured that you understand our non-discrimination policies and have done the removal of age discrimination on your content.

We look forward to receiving your reply within the next 72 hours, as we will not be able to move forward without your reply. For more information related to the nondiscrimination policy, do not hesitate to familiarize yourself with some frequently asked questions.

My Response:

Good Afternoon. In response to your baseless age discrimination accusation, I am attaching Pennsylvania’s law where I am permitted to require a minimum age requirement at my home. I have been an outstanding host and have a five-star property. I will not permit Airbnb to determine that I may have “children rent my home.” This individual who filed the claim also claimed they lived in Vancouver, can yet claimed they were coming from DC and NY with six other friends. That was a huge red flag.

I will not allow Airbnb to tell me what age group I am permitted to rent my $400,000 home to which could potentially create an extraordinary amount of liability and risk to the property as well as my financial well-being. Please see PA’s laws because that is the law that I follow. A 28-year-old did not get their way and was extremely rude thereafter. I could only imagine how they would have treated my home had I allowed them to rent it. This is why I do not want parties in my home, I do not want underage (21 and under) drinking in my home, or college students throwing parties.

Airbnb needs to take a look at their policy and should be held responsible for all liability that comes along with renting to the majority within these age groups. It specifically states in PA laws that “you may not set age requirements or minimums over the age of 40.” My minimum age is 30 and I didn’t think protecting my home should be considered discrimination. I have never discriminated based on anything. I set a minimum age requirement to reduce risk and liability in my home — not your home — and am not comfortable permitting 18-year-olds rent my home nor college age kids in party mode. I refuse to destroy my home.

The Information on Fair Housing The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits discrimination in all housing transactions including but not limited to sales, rental, finance, providing reasonable accommodations or modifications to housing or commercial properties based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, and age (over 40 in housing Ancestry Pregnancy).

Huge Damages to Property After Guests’ Stay

Airbnb “vetted” a group of people to stay in our home for one month. When their stay was over, the cleaning people refused to clean after them. I went in to clean. I found bags of drugs (pot, etc.), broken lamps, broken bar stools, and broken chairs at the dining table. The furniture had been moved around and was broken (bed frame, book shelves). There were four 55-gallon trash bags full of liquor bottles and beer bottles in the house. The refrigerator had not been emptied. It was stuffed full which had to be thrown away by me. The inside lamps had been taken outside and plugged in. They were damaged from the rain, and could have caused a fire.

Airbnb’s response was that we would have to buy new stuff and turn in the receipt in 14 days, or we could not be reimbursed for our damages. How do you replace a bar stool in a matching set? How do you match a chair in a matching set, if it’s no longer made? I truly hope Airbnb reads this post. My lake home is special to me, and I just wanted to share it with others so they could have a positive experience.

These people (and many others who weren’t as bad) were not vetted. Animals would have been preferable to these “things” in my home. Also, Airbnb won’t allow you to charge an upfront deposit fee to take care of damages. Airbnb and I are about to be done. I hope Airbnb loses many customers, and I highly caution anyone thinking about doing this to consider other options. I’m about to. Thank you for allowing me to vent.

Peruvian Penthouse Sheet Stain Mystery

Bring your own pipe wrench and king-size sheets if you holiday with Airbnb. My recent vacation in Peru began with four chilly days in a flat in Cuzco with no central heat. Not to worry: on the 34-degree nights, there was a small space heater in each bedroom that you could carry to the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom. Speaking of bathrooms, there was an unfortunate seepage from the bottom of one toilet (if you have a toilet leak, this is definitely not the end to have it come out of).

Then there was the shower. On a cold Cuzco morning, I’m sure there is nothing like a hot shower to get you going. I wouldn’t know. My shower emitted a stream of hot water for the first one and a half minutes. After that you had to brace for a blast so cold it puckered you at both ends. If you’re hearty enough to tough it out you get rewarded with one cycle of lukewarm water for rinsing your bits and then you are on your own. This was The Good Place.

Next stop was the “penthouse” in Miraflores. This deluxe apartment had seen better days and the master suite won the award. Upon arrival, I set up my toiletries in the bathroom and went to wash my hands. No running water. I flushed the toilet. The tank did not refill. The water to the entire bathroom had to be manually switched on because the vanity plumbing was broken and constantly ran. So every shower, hand wash and toilet flush involved a two-step process. Plumbing was definitely not the priority because nearly every faucet in the house was loose. There was also another toilet leak on the first floor. What’s up with me and the toilets on this trip? This flat was the gift that kept on giving.

Upon my return home, I was greeted with a complaint from the owner with pictures of blue-stained sheets and an accusation that I must have worn wet jeans and sat on the bed and transferred dye. Since nobody on this site knows me, I feel compelled to let you know that I am that guy who leaves a note when I back into a parked car. I am also the type of guy who makes sure that he wears dry blue jeans. It’s kind of a thing for me. I am also not a Smurf.

Needless to say, I vehemently denied her crazy accusations, and let her know that there is no logical way that I could have put a stain on her sheets. I suggested that she speak with her cleaning crew, recommended washing whites with whites, and pointed out that the running water issue might be one to prioritize. This made her mad. After a few more exchanges I rejected her demand of $60 for a sheet.

By rejecting her damage claim, I went into Airbnb’s kangaroo court. What happens is that you get an opportunity to send Airbnb a private message to explain your situation anytime you electronically reject a claim. I told them that this was either a scam or a laundry mishap that I was wrongly blamed for. I gave them my cellphone number for them to reach out and offered up my traveling companions as witnesses.

Their response: A form-letterish email stating that they had reviewed the case and were siding with the owner since she reported the incident with a photo before renting to another party. You mean to tell me that is the standard of proof? Seriously? What about the cleaners? What about the owner herself trying to make an extra buck with a blue sheet scam? Who knows if that photo is even of a sheet that was in the house I stayed in?

Apparently that didn’t matter because Airbnb had already billed my credit card for $60. They made it very clear that I had already agreed to this in the fine print as a security deposit. I guess it is back to the Marriott for me. Airbnb and its total disregard for the customer has given me the blues. Literally.

Football Game Turned Disastrous for Host

What was supposed to be a routine family stay for one night with two adults and two children turned into a nightmare for me, the host. The guest booked was coming from out of town for the evening to attend a Monday night football game. He was supposed to be leaving early the next morning.

First of all, they could not follow check-in instructions and attempted to get in the wrong door, resulting in an angry phone call to me complaining that they could not get in. I realized they were at the wrong door and instructed them how to get in – no big deal really. The next day I went to change the bedding, towels, etc, and the first thing I noticed was water dripping off the counter in the kitchen, running into a cabinet and onto the floor. The entire counter was flooded and the coffee maker was plugged in and immersed in water. It was a Kuerig and was totally flooded with water. It was ruined and had tripped the circuit breaker.

Next I found all the bedding piled in the center of the bed. I removed it to find a peed up blanket, comforter, sheets, and mattress pad; even the mattress was soaked. I decided to tour the entire house at that point and found surprises in every room. My entire home had been ransacked and searched –
every room, every drawer, every cabinet and closet.

The heat upstairs was left on at nearly 80 degrees. An unfinished attic space was entered, ransacked, and the lights were left on. This was a room no one should have any reason to go into (I have now locked that room down). I went to get the vacuum out of the utility room, and it was broken. It looked like it was ridden as a toy – not used, but just abused. The plastic parts could not be repaired and it was now junk.

I opened the blinds on the patio door and noticed my awning was half extended. It wouldn’t operate anymore. The remote for it had been hanging on the wall behind a TV and it was laying on the counter. It was cold and dark out when the guest arrived and there would have been no reason to even use the awning. It appears to be ruined.

All the while, I have been trying to get an estimate to Airbnb for a resolution. I began taking pictures and documenting. Everything pointed to my final conclusion that the parents arrived with fast food and several canned and bottled alcoholic beverages, left their 12- and 6-year-olds unattended in my home, and headed for the game. What could possibly go wrong with that? Who takes their young children to a strange city, in a strange home, and leaves them alone?

All of the damages were done by the children, unknown to the parents. They later said they didn’t even know about a vacuum cleaner or an awning. Of course they didn’t – they weren’t even there. After finding several used K-cup pods, I also concluded that the kids had several cups of coffee before they broke it. Kids jacked up on coffee and left alone in a home…

I was emailed by Airbnb yesterday denying my claim in full even after providing proof, pictures, receipts, and the like. I have been in contact with them multiple times, the whole time thinking they would settle for something with their host guarantee. I originally asked for $2,500 and got nothing? It is evident that Airbnb will not honor their host guarantee even with unrefutable proof of loss. I am now working out of Airbnb Hell and looking for other options for my house so this doesn’t happen again.

Lacrosse Team of Twenty Trashes Airbnb Home

I hosted an Airbnb guest who booked our home for five people. He then had his entire club team from the Virginia Commonwealth University stay in our home. They did damage to our home by making holes in walls, smashing windows, breaking furniture, etc. Airbnb will not consider receipts we provided for the damage because they are not on company letterhead. We live in a small town of 6,000 people and our dry cleaners have no computers for this. They will not explain the process of documenting damage so our cleaning crew can be trained by vocational rehabilitation. Our professional crew is from Autism Enterprise and they hire adults living with autism. For example, damage to the sheets was photographed on the bed and someone from the Trust and Safety Team wanted all four sheet sets photographed in one photo over ten days after the issue with the guest. The Trust and Safety Team asked for links for replacement items and then used links that were nothing like the item that was damaged. They asked for reports and invoices from carpenters and then denied everything on report after the guest admitted to damaging our home. I’m still waiting for a response but Airbnb seems to be unethical and unaccommodating of people with disabilities.