Do Not Stay in Airbnb Houses When the Amenities Differ

My niece booked our Airbnb house in Potsdam, New York. We had six adults and an infant, so we were looking for somewhere with two bathrooms. A couple of days before we arrived, the host texted my niece to say that they were remodeling the second bathroom, so there would only be one bathroom available. As it turns out, even if both bathrooms were available it wouldn’t have helped much as the water pressure was so low that only one shower could be used at a time and if a toilet was flushed during a shower… well, just imagine.

The dishwasher had a note posted on it not to use it. After being there we assumed that was also because of the low water pressure. The water tasted quite bad and we bought bottled water. There was no mention of this in the description. The instructions asked that only cold water be used for laundry, so that’s what we used. Unfortunately, there was also no mention that the water would stain whites and two of my shirts were ruined.

The working shower control had to be turned “just so” to obtain a comfortable temperature and maintain enough pressure to shower. A fraction of an inch to the left of that magic spot and the water was scalding. A fraction of an inch to the right and water pressure was not sufficient. The water pressure continued to decrease and on the last night and day we were unable to shower at all. The toilet wouldn’t flush on the last day either.

The property is posted as being able to sleep seven people. There is a two-person size bed in one bedroom and a twin bed in each of the other bedrooms. The couch in the living room folds out, so I’m assuming two people could sleep on that. That adds up to six people. I’m not sure where number seven would fit.

I should mention that the host did refund $150.00 for having only one bathroom at the last minute. My niece has emailed him since, explaining the problems as he may want to remedy them before he rents it out again, but he has not responded. I will mention that it was clean and the air conditioning worked fine. Personally, I would like to have a large bit of what we paid to stay there refunded as it certainly was neither convenient nor pleasant and my shirts were ruined.

This experience makes me very reluctant to use or recommend Airbnb in the future. In fact, I have already told the story to quite a few people, some of whom were specifically inquiring about Airbnbs.

Traumatic Airbnb Experience in Philadelphia

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I stayed in an apartment that Airbnb found for me in Philadelphia. It is in the Rittenhouse area and is listed by Andrea. I requested to stay with my wife and three children, ages 6, 4, and 5 months, for five weeks. I traveled all the way from Europe. I was in constant contact with the host before arriving and read all the comments about the location. I am a Veteran in the US forces and have been overseas for 10+ years. I wanted to show my family where I am from because they have never been here. My parents left the city a long time ago. After an eight and a half hour plane ride we arrived to a dirty apartment. We told the host there was leftover food in the cabinets and refrigerator and she suggested we eat it. My wife and I decided to clean the apartment because, where else were we going to go?

Cleaning consisted of swiping down the microwave, and finding bedsheets with human hair all over them. After vacuuming everything, we found more things wrong within the first 24 hours of staying. The apartment was infested with ants and large roaches, the kind that are as large as your thumb. One flew across the room onto my daughter’s bed. The host said, “we are in the city and you should expect roaches and mice.” The host did offer to spray the place with pesticides but told me I had to find out if they would be safe for children as the problem occurred after the first 24 hours. I spoke with the exterminator and he sent me a write-up of his poisons. It said that if any were inhaled to go to the emergency room. Needless to say, I told them they could not use it around my children. I was told that was all they could do. My 4-year-old daughter stepped on a piece of glass in the apartment and punctured her foot. The roaches are a constant problem. I brushed my teeth and found ants in my mouth because I forgot to check my tooth brush.

The listed washer and dryer was coin operated next door, shared between the tenants of two fully occupied buildings. The host does not supply quarters and I was told to go to a bank and get them (not mentioned in the listing). The ceiling began to leak on the outlet in the living room where the air conditioner is plugged in. The host never came by to check and told me if I wanted to move, I should contact Airbnb, as she is not responsible for the problems. I contacted Airbnb several times and the people I spoke with sympathized with me and my family. Airbnb offered me these options: refund what is left of my money from the stay and send me on my way; or refund what is left of my money and coordinate a stay somewhere else that is smaller, has fewer amenities than this place was supposed to have, and costs over $1000 dollars more.

They also sent me a $75 gift certificate for a five-star restaurant that would cost over $100 for the evening. I didn’t have the money to move out or buy a ticket home, so my family and I were stuck in an apartment with roaches, ants, and a ceiling leaking on electrical outlets. The apartment smelled of sewage because of the water leak, and more rain was projected. The host, Andrea, has her money, Airbnb has their money, and my family and I were stuck. Airbnb did send a cleaning crew by, which helped. Then less than 24 hours later it rained again so the place still smelled like sewage. The bugs never left. If anyone would like to see pictures I would be happy to provide them.

Be aware if you are in a situation where Airbnb cannot find something for the price they deem is appropriate they will let you rot in a location that has been proven to be vermin infested and dangerous. Because I could not leave I was told I wouldn’t be reimbursed for anything when we left. God help you if you have children and use Airbnb.

UPDATE: After posting this on Facebook Airbnb did pay to move me for my last eight days out of a 38-day stay (all it took was me letting the world know what was going on). Both Airbnb and Andrea refuse to discuss or pay for the damage to my property that occurred during the stay. They also told me if I wanted to write a review of the property I had to send them the review so they could screen it first. The property still listed on their site. They never pulled it.

Arrived in London with No Way to Enter Flat!

We booked a week in London at a flat in Fitzrovia section. By the pictures we weren’t expecting any great shakes, but still, what a disappointment once we were there in person! But that’s not the worst of it. We had been in communication with the host all along that we’d be arriving by noontime from USA and were assured a key would be waiting for us. Well, guess what: no key. So now we’re sitting on a London side street pub bench in the cold wondering what to do next because the host would not answer text, calls or email! We sat there for over an hour without any kind of response from the host about the key situation. This was a Saturday so why wasn’t he answering! We had reservations for a show and wanted to get settled, rested and changed and here we were sitting outside a pub with luggage. I was blowing a gasket. Finally, we decided to go knock on the door hoping someone would answer and have an extra key. Fortunately, one of the tenants answered and was a relative of the host and had an extra key. 90 min wasted in the cold! If we hadn’t thought of blinding knocking on the outside door (5 apartments in the building), we’d have wasted even more time. The host NEVER got back to us with an apology nor to even a reply to our many calls, texts and emails –not the entire week. I’m pretty boiling mad! Now, the flat. Worn, old furniture, saggy bed, one toilet refused to flush right, the other bathroom’s shower head came totally off the wall (!), there was mold on the ceiling, dim lighting and barely any glasses to drink of in the cupboard. Towels were frayed and scratchy. Oh and the best was the 3 story flight of stairs that we had to drag our luggage up. On the upside, it had cable tv and wifi. This was my first Airbnb experience. It will probably be my last, especially overseas! Now I would be forever worried the host wouldn’t leave the key or be accessible to let me in in the future. No thanks, hotel from now on.