Had to call the police to get insane Airbnb host out of rental

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This is a very important story because the person involved has been sharing fake information around social media about my boyfriend and me. Basically my boyfriend and I are moving to Lisbon. He’s Brazilian and I’m French.

We booked an Airbnb for ten days so we could visit and find an apartment. Before we arrived we had communicated with the host in English, but when we arrived and she found out my boyfriend speaks Portuguese, she completely ignored me and did a 30-minute speech on transport (though my boyfriend told her several times we would find our way with Google).

The apartment was kind of alright. There were a few problems like the shower being cold and the wifi not working but I started getting bitten by something on the bed at night. The next night I got bitten again and my boyfriend messaged the host to tell her about it. We were getting ready, as we had loads of administrative meetings during the day. I got out of my shower, my boyfriend was taking his and as I was dressing up the bell of the apartment rang and someone banged on the window.

Surprised and undressed, I quickly put a towel around me and opened the door. It was the host who had already unlocked the entrance door and was waiting in front of ours. She had not sent a message, or called to tell us she was coming. I asked her nicely to wait two minutes so I could put some clothes on and tell my boyfriend to get out since she still refused to speak English to me.

When we opened the door she was in a fury, shouting because we had made her wait outside (I don’t think it was rude of me to ask her to wait two minutes to put clothes on). She ran to the kitchen to look at the boiler and said we had touched it and this was the reason why the showers were cold. We obviously had not touched her boiler and the showers were getting cold for the second person.

She also went into the bedroom and took pictures of my suitcase and blamed us for being the cause of the bedbugs. Obviously she was not going to take responsibility for any of the problems in her apartment. We had a busy day planned, so we asked her to leave because we did not feel confortable leaving our belongings (two Macbooks, a PS4, etc.) with her. She replied that she would not leave because she owned the place.

We told her we were renting the place and she was not allowed to do this. She said the laws in Portugal were not the same as those in Brazil or France and she was allowed to do whatever she wanted. We told her we would call the police and ask Airbnb to pay us back if she did not leave. She started looking at something in her purse and said things like “You have no idea who I am; don’t you think I know what Brazilians like you are coming to do here?”

She was being weird about not speaking English and this comment just confirmed how racist she was and implying we were some sort of illegal refugees. Once the police answered and were on their way she finally decided to leave the apartment and camp in front. After a long time and a lost afternoon, the police arrived and said they were not able to do anything since she was not inside. She tried to talk to them about water and bedbugs but the police left due to the lack of criminal offence from us.

We packed our stuff and left quickly since we were so stressed and afraid she would come back. She came unannounced and is now posting about my boyfriend and me on social media, saying we are scammers and we were only trying to get a free trip. She referred to me as a small blond who only speaks English. Another sign of her racism.

My only question: why make money off tourists if you don’t like them? She also kept making Airbnb call us, saying we had not dropped off the keys in the letter box. Airbnb told us to do so from her instructions. What I think is that this lady has issues, cannot deal with being wrong, will do anything to impose her version of events, and go to crazy lengths to make sure people will believe her.

TL;DR The host of my Airbnb came unannounced due to some problems we messaged her about. We had a busy day so we asked her to leave but she shouted that it was her place and she did not have to leave. After ten minutes of arguments we called the police so she left. Now she has been sharing fake information about my boyfriend and me on social media. She acted insane; she kept shouting, blaming us for the problems in the apartment, and refusing to leave the place we paid for. Now she’s posting about us being scammers in Lisbon.

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Late Cancellation? Travel Insurance is a Must!

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A good friend and I – both disabled vets – booked an apartment in Miami South Beach with an Airbnb host two months before our vacation days when prices were still affordable. We then booked cheap airfares – we both live on modest incomes – that could not be refunded.

Three weeks before our arrival date our reservation was cancelled by Airbnb with no reasons given. They offered us $129 as compensation for our inconvenience and invited us to re-book. We then looked at available bookings with the same amenities for January and they were now 50-200% more expensive than our original booking, which priced us out of the market.

With the $129 they attempted to fob off on us, one would be lucky to pay for one day of accommodations on South Beach; it wouldn’t cover our lost money for non-reimbursable airfares. This debacle occurred after yet another earlier booking was cancelled because the dates advertised as being available were not in fact available (or the host got a better deal with some other customer through another third party booking agency; or still yet, the host was perhaps racist and by tracking our emails on social media discovered that my veteran friend was African American).

We began to think that Airbnb is less a booking agent than an auctioneer. If hosts can cancel reservations a month after they are made without explanation to the customer one wonders if the room was rented to someone willing to pay more. In popular locations like Miami South Beach in January that is not an unreasonable suspicion.

I complained vociferously to the very polite Airbnb customer service representatives who duly commiserated with us over our misfortune at first, yet rendered no resolution. I was told to call back the next day, which is not what one wants to hear when someone has your money and has just cancelled your reservation a few weeks before arrival. Only after sending emails to their corporate headquarters in San Francisco threatening to file a breach of contract claim in Colorado courts did I finally receive a phone call from a manager of what appeared to be their customer service center in Idaho. She was a competent problem solver and she immediately offered to help with the increased cost of re-booking.

We luckily found a venue with similar amenities that cost $340 or about 30% more than our original booking. Airbnb covered the additional cost without making me jump through any hoops and we were satisfied. My warning to all is that a “confirmed reservation” with Airbnb is not the same as a confirmed reservation at a Motel 6 or a Holiday Inn. If you think you have a confirmed reservation and then feel safe to go and book an El Cheapo non-reimbursable air fare you are at risk of losing your accommodations and being stuck with a ticket to a destination without a room waiting for you. In peak travel season when the reasonably priced accommodations fill up fast your re-booking could be quite costly. Bottom line: reduce the risk by getting travel insurance.

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Airbnb’s Policy on Holding Payment is Dangerous

I applied to stay at an Airbnb property in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The host completely ignored my request, and did not respond in any way. Fair enough… although this behaviour is very disrespectful and rude in my opinion. Anyway, that’s not really my issue with Airbnb. I did not realise that even though the host ignores your request and you don’t actually fully book, the funds are restricted and frozen for whatever the amount is. In other words, even with no contact from the host after requesting to book their space, your money is being frozen until it is deemed suitable for release. This affects my ability to live whilst alone abroad… even though the money appears to be in my account. In other words, if a host decides to be inhospitable, or covertly racist they could ignore your request merely based on what you look like. What other reason could there be if the space is showing availability and your reviews are totally positive? It’s not rocket science. Be very careful not to request any booking unless you have more than sufficient funds in your account. This aspect needs to be revised ASAP.

Airbnb Host has a Problem with Service Animals

Here’s what happened to myself and my group in Charleston, SC with an Airbnb host. When we first booked the place, we disclosed that we had a service animal with us. He was not an “emotional support dog” or “therapy dog” or “doggie” as the host called him. This is a dog trained specifically to help someone with a disability. She first asked us if the guest was blind; this was a little rude, but okay…

Our guest does not look disabled, but you do not have to look disabled to have a service animal. It’s like asking someone in a wheelchair why they can’t just walk. I have manners, so I would never ask something like that. She then told us to keep the dog off of every surface in the house and to keep him in the garden. The garden was a junkyard shared with two other random dogs. Mind you, the dog isn’t “well behaved” but literally trained to provide a medical service.

We had the dog with us at every point during the trip and he was in the house only when we slept. He has to sleep with his person so this was non-negotiable due to the nature of the disability. He didn’t get on the couch or on the other beds. While I understand ignorance, this is what followed.

The owner had us followed by her brother who lives on the property. We saw strange people staring at us out of windows and hiding behind cars. We are normal professionals and never once got rowdy at the house. I personally got rowdy and didn’t come back to the house one night, but that’s besides the point. We left the house in pretty normal condition, the only exception being the towels. I put them in the washer and next to it because I didn’t want to ruin the floors or leave them on the beds.

Apparently the single bite of dog food left on the floor and the fact that there was a dog present was enough evidence to charge us $300. We also lost a fork? She then went through the house and itemized everything we did wrong. This included ruining her towels, moving a plant, sleeping in the fourth bed (perfect for midday naps), ruining her sheets, ruining her blinds, and letting the dog poop in the garden. None of these things happened, including us letting the dog poop on the property because we were too scared of the garden. We are also respectful people with access to bags.

After having us followed, being incredibly invasive and rude, and discriminating against a legitimately disabled person, the host had the gall to write this review. This is what I have to say to her. We spent $1000 to stay in a subpar illegal rental in downtown Charleston. Her sheets were uncomfortable, her house was dingy, the floors gave me a splinter, and the only redeemable aspect of this stay was the location. Additionally, I spent two years learning a thing or two about special education and every aspect of her questioning guests violates the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as a basic right to privacy. Sorry about the dog kibble that was “disgusting” but it was clearly an accident. Also, our four legged working professional is a hard working man on the clock and a good boy off the clock.

Guest From Hell Tries to Stay Even Longer

Based on this experience I won’t ever be hosting through Airbnb again. First, we never know who will be staying in our home: their character, cleanliness, attitude, or past. This lady I hosted for few months in my beautiful little flat was a true nightmare.

The very first day she stayed she emailed me several times and took pictures of my belongings that I had left for my guests, such as shampoo, soap, a blow dryer, etc. Then she took pictures of the cabinets in my kitchen with the dry food and canned goods I also leave for my guests if they are hungry; there was also gourmet tea. She took pictures of all of this nice stuff I left for her and then claimed my flat was dirty.

I kept all of her insulting emails, as clearly she had never stayed in an Airbnb which in this case was someone’s home with belongings inside. As I kept getting these insulting emails, I told her that this was not a hotel. It is the flat where I live, and if she didn’t like my home then she was more than free to leave and find somewhere else to stay for the next two months. She agreed and asked to give her one night to think about it.

The next day she emailed me back and said she wanted to stay. I was hesitant at first because she had been super rude and already complained over nothing. I knew this was not a normal person. A few weeks went by and she complained about the internet and TV not working. She left me another email telling me that she called my carrier and they said I had an unpaid bill. Immediately after she told me this I knew she read and opened my mail in order to have this private information, which is illegal.

I personally almost fainted because I knew this person was literally wanting to know all of my information for some odd reason. The cable and Internet service was resolved that very day. I did ask her how and why she called my carrier and how the hell she got my personal account information. She lied to me and said she just used my phone number. After that I decided to keep calm but felt uneasy.

Weeks later she texted me about the Internet, claiming it was off once again. I explained to her that was impossible – she just needed to reset the TV. She had warned me on how the Internet was vital and it “needed to be fixed now”. Again, very rudely. Several hours later the Internet happened to be working after she decided to reset the TV; it was caused by a storm that previous day.

The day she was supposed to check out at a specific time in the morning on the last day of her stay, I had my partner go over to the flat to clean and check on everything before I flew in. Lo and behold, a half hour after her checkout time, she told me she had to go to work, she would leave my flat late in the afternoon, and she hoped I could wait.

My partner went over to the flat at 3:00 PM and she was still there. Not packed. She asked for his ID and said that he was “trespassing” and there to “kick her out”. She and her so-called “lawyer friend” were in my flat trying to stay longer. They used everything against my partner by threatening to call the police, and saying that he was in Europe illegally. I tried to call her on her cell phone but she wouldn’t answer. Then I was furious.

I came to find out she finally left but wouldn’t leave the keys with my partner. Instead she made a huge scene in front of my neighbors in my building and guardian and said that I “didn’t live here – she can’t be renting her flat out if she does not own it!”

Clearly what this evil person was simply trying to do was to dig into all of my personal business to try to stay in my flat long term. She had issues with people of color and always called my flat dirty, always spoke down to me as if I were some sort of slave to her. On top of that, she opened my mail, which is highly illegal. She ruined my flat with the smell from the pets that stayed there with her based on a bad call I made.

Please get to know the person to whom you rent your home, because not all of the guests are honest. They may see your flat as a place as an opportunity to somehow stay longer. Never leave your personal stuff around so they can snoop. Know your country’s laws and make sure you establish a checkout time that they follow and respect.

How Does Airbnb Handle Accusations of Racism?

I had traumatising and frustrating experiences with Airbnb. I had been a successful guest many times then a host started persecuting me. She had mental health issues. Dealing with Airbnb’s overseas call centre led to extreme frustration and going around in circles with promises to escalate my calls, but ending up circling back to the same useless agent refusing to address the bizarre and inappropriate behaviour and actions. The host started leaving parcels at my door and ringing me after I had left, and it was all super scary and odd. Airbnb showed zero interest.

My second issue was as a host I complained about extremely poor customer service with Airbnb. Rather than actually investigate my complaint, I received an email from Airbnb accusing me of racism. It took twenty emails for them to even begin to provide information on this accusation.

This was my very first potential hosting experience. A prospective guest only wrote to me in a Chinese script and in very incomprehensible and confusing English. Airbnb said they would translate, and did nothing. I was falsely accused of saying if someone comes to Australia they need to speak English. I was also accused of expressing frustration about an agent. None of the language was racist; I complained about the ignorance, aggression, and stupidity of the agent. If I’m complaining about the agent that is different from abusing an agent.

Thirdly, the comment that I said that someone needs to speak English in an English-speaking country is absolute rubbish. Airbnb repeatedly said “it’s an international platform”, I had no right to expect English correspondence or communication, and I was going to lose my Superhost privileges. It was then that I said that if someone is staying with a host in their private residence in Australia then they need to write to the host in English. I was receiving correspondence in a Chinese script and in incoherent English that made no sense. This was vital information such as when they would arrive, who was staying, etc. I said I should not be penalised as a host if I have not received any comprehensive communication.

What I said was not racist. I said I would host the guest when Airbnb finally agreed to provide translation, which they never did. I only finally refused the guest when they rang me and made loud strange noises and hung up – and it was a third party booking.

Airbnb offered to terminate their stay as they broke the rules then turned around and accused me of racism. My housemates are Taiwanese. One of them speaks minimal English but his partner speaks well enough so there are no issues communicating – so to accuse me of racism is completely bizarre. Airbnb has proven that nothing I said is racist.

This is on top of glitches fixing my DOB on the app. I still can’t do it, which has resulted in the miscalculation of my payout from a guest, issues uploading pictures, and issues getting a photographer. Airbnb insists that I haven’t verified my email despite having had an active guest account for years. My complaints against Airbnb remain uninvestigated.

I spoke to an Airbnb representative from the USA office. He refused to try to pronounce my name correctly. I asked him to try again as it’s six letters and two syllables; I shouldn’t have to repeat my name to people who insist on not even reading it. This led to a huge exhausting stand off whereby he repeatedly refused to give it a go. I said he was able to employ his reading skills in any name even a “foreign” one, which he twisted into me saying he couldn’t read.

I ended up speaking to his supervisor about the experience of being accused of racism. She was extremely cold hearted, aggressive, and just a very deeply unpleasant person. She spoke over me in a monotone the whole time. She told me that the email that was sent to me was a warning based on a customer report. She told me that the terms and conditions meant that any customer could make any allegation and Airbnb would back them up and send out warnings. I said to her that every correspondence and interaction I’ve had with the customer has been through the Airbnb messenger platform so they can have a look at that and advise whether I have actually been racist or not. She told me it doesn’t matter – if the customer feels that I have been racist, it doesn’t matter if the messages back that up or not.

She continued to speak over me repeatedly when I asked her why I did not receive this explanation from Airbnb earlier. She refused to answer and just cited fine print in terms and conditions. She was cold and aggressive, just spoke over me, and dominated the whole conversation. When I asked her why this was not investigated by looking at the messages she said it doesn’t matter what the messages say – if the customer says you’re being racist, we will send you out a warning. I said I never once spoke to the customer or even met her. Therefore the customer could only have been basing allegations based on what I wrote; why didn’t Airbnb investigate that?

She kept going around in circles, telling me that Airbnb can send out official warnings no matter what the investigation says and then she circled around and said that it had been investigated. That’s why I wasn’t kicked off the site. I asked why I didn’t receive an email saying that to me and retracting the warning. She refused to answer the question but would just aggressively change the subject and speak over me.

I asked her to put in a racist complaint against the customer then – she said she “didn’t have a problem doing that” but she didn’t say that she would. I don’t believe she would’ve done that. I then asked her to put in a racist complaint against her and the other representation to whom I had spoken, and she said that she would put something on my file. I said “no, I want you guys to be sent an official warning based on my feelings just as you sent me an official warning. I want the official warning to be on your file the way you have an official warning on my file.”

She just spoke over me and started throwing terms and conditions at me. She was very aggressive, very dominating, and domineering in the conversation. She spoke over me the whole time in a cold, almost sociopathic monotone. When I asked her to get a supervisor to call me she point-blank refused to guarantee that and said she would ask her to try to call me – but I don’t believe she will. There has been no response from the founders or the supposed customer service chief.

Service Dog Rejected from Airbnb Reservation

My host was lovely at first. She simply reached out to me to confirm that I was traveling alone, a non-smoker and had no pets. I confirmed that I did not smoke, but let her know that I did have a well-trained, quiet and calm service dog. Then things started to go south.

First, she indicated that she would have to confirm with the “owner” whether my service dog would be admitted. I’m a lawyer, and when I calmly pointed out that it was technically a violation of federal law and clearly a violation of Airbnb policy not to admit Huck (my dog), she started to argue. She told me that no private owner could be required to admit pets. I responded that Huck was not, in fact, a “pet.”

Next, she told me I’d likely be charged a cleaning fee – another blatant violation of Airbnb policy. Then, she switched channels on me and claimed that “some owners” have severe allergies. I said of course I would understand if the owner had a bad allergy, but I was confused since the listing was for a building entirely separate from the main house, with granite floors. I encouraged her to review Airbnb’s newly-minted non-discrimination policies, although her responses repeatedly demonstrated complete ignorance of her responsibilities as a host.

Finally, I posted the full text of the policies in a message – to up her odds of bothering to read them – at which point she interrogated me about my disability. She was rude, inconsiderate and ignorant. Ultimately, she allowed my request to expire, even though our conversation took place over the course of four hours. I reported her to Airbnb and the Virginia Fair Housing Office, although I’m not hopeful that any mitigating action will be taken.

Poor Huck and I were just looking for a quiet spot for a couple weeks – on a horse farm in Virginia, no less. No such luck. If you have respect for the rights of the disabled, stay away from this host.

Incredibly Rude Host, Perhaps Because I’m a Senior?

I needed a room in Seattle for one night, while I picked up my 30-year-old daughter who lives there but doesn’t have an extra bed. I found a room near her, but the Airbnb post asked for a $1500 security deposit on a $90 basic room. I had the following exchange with the host:

Me: I’m interested in staying for one night while I visit my daughter, who lives in Seward Park. I read that you want a $1500 security deposit. I’ve never been asked such a thing before. I’m a 65+ year old woman, visiting a 30-year old daughter, and not about to trash your home! Promise. Do you really need that much up front?

Host: You may be interested in learning that the minimum wage in Seattle is now $15/hour

(She then declined me, saying the room was booked, but it remains posted as free.)

Me: I think that’s great that you have a $15 minimum wage. But did you decline me because I questioned the security deposit?

Host: Yes, in part. I’m not looking to get into any arguments with fussy guests. I’m sure plenty of hosts would be delighted to host you, I’m just not one of them.

Me: I wasn’t arguing. I was asking. Respectfully.

Host: You’re asking why I have a high security deposit? Why do you think? Anyway, I am not going to book you. I suggest writing or calling Airbnb or doing research on Airbnb Hell for further questions on the topic.

Me: Wow! This just feels rude, and no, there aren’t a lot of choices for one night near my daughter, who is in southeast Seattle. Her fiance unexpectedly returned from a trip abroad, or I wouldn’t be looking at the last minute. And I assumed you wanted $1500 because most of your guests are young, stay for longer, and are potentially unreliable. But I have excellent reviews, and think of myself as quite low risk. So this all feels rather harsh as a response to a reasonable query. But you are definitely wrong about there being a multitude of choices near her. And you’re losing a very easy guest.

I found her response to be unbelievably rude, and I wonder if this is actually age discrimination, because I did tell her I’m over 65. I can find no other host who asks for $1500 security on a one-night stay in a $90 room. I am really annoyed at her treatment of me. She runs these two properties.

Nazis Kicked us out of Airbnb and onto the Street

I want to tell you a humiliating story about me and my six friends. From June 7-11 we went to celebrate a bachelor party in Berlin. We are seven men from Israel, so we wanted privacy. We decided to take an apartment through Airbnb, sadly only after we discovered that it was illegal in Germany. Anyway, we decided to go for an apartment because we wanted privacy and to celebrate a little. In the photos we saw a two-story villa; in retrospect, it was only the upstairs area. In addition, the owner insisted that some of the payment be made in cash. I assume that because of tax matters, she prefers black money.

When we arrived we saw that the neighborhood was very exclusive. Then we discovered from the cab driver that the neighborhood was not sympathetic to strangers; he was surprised that we were staying there because it is on the east side. Anyway, we got there and the host’s daughter welcomed us. She was nice, told us we could have our party; to repeat, she told us we could celebrate. I asked her – because the Middle Eastern mentality is different – if it was okay to make some noise. She was all smiles and explained that her parents were away for two weeks. Then she walked away.

The day the nightmare began, the host’s son came into the picture and decided to be our surprise visitor. He arrived at 7:00 AM when everyone was asleep. When I woke up, I saw messages saying that he wanted to kick us out because we drank a little that evening and celebrated, as the host told us we could. I told the host that from now on, I would make sure everything was to her satisfaction… and indeed it was.

On the third day we went for a walk. Since it was a very hot morning and there was no air conditioner in the apartment, I opened the windows in the rooms to get some air. Because of an open window, they tried to kick us out. What kind of a joke is it to kick seven guys out on the street in a foreign country?

When we got to the apartment, we tried to talk to him but after half an hour of persuasion I saw that he really enjoyed lording his authority over us. He stood with a smile on his face. I decided to tell him that I think that if we were from Sweden or Denmark, this situation wouldn’t have happened. At the height of his stupidity, he agreed and told us he was a Nazi and did not care about us at all.

We asked him to call the police. Instead he called his criminal friends to come and threaten us. One of them even wanted to escort us to our car. When we did, the entire neighborhood came to see us humiliated and even enjoyed it. We asked him why he was doing this, and he said because men like us cannot be in such an area. I filmed the host’s son and my friends and decided that we would not be silent about this humiliation.

Video file of the incident