Hosts and Airbnb: Perfect Partners in Crime

It was my first time using the Airbnb website to rent an apartment in Paris. I expected that I could get a better deal than hotel rooms; in the end, I had been forced to pay more than that for an IBIS or Holiday Inn.

Last month, I went to Paris with four of my friends. They were from Vietnam. They were very excited because it was their first time visiting Paris. All we needed was low cost accommodation for three nights. We decided to get an apartment for the five of us from the Airbnb website. After spending some time searching on the Airbnb website, we found a place in the north of Paris.

However, before three days we arrived, the host sent us a cancellation notice. We had to look for a different place on the Airbnb website; we did not like it very much but had no choice. Finally we found an apartment in the 18th District; it was in a good location, because it took no more than five minutes to walk from the underground station. The size of the apartment was large enough for the five of us, and it was not expensive – only £415.41.

I am living in London; it is very easy for me to get to Paris. I decided to arrive in Paris at lunchtime on Friday, September 8th. Before I left London, the host sent me an email to inform me his coworker would be there to give me the key. The host also told me if I did not keep everything in the apartment in the same condition as before I would have to pay 50 euro.

When I met his coworker, she asked me for 200 euro; she told me that she needed it for a deposit and this was stated in the contact. I thought that it was normal, so I gave it to her. I asked her if she would return it to me on Monday and she said she would. I did not think very much of it because we were over 50 years old, we had no children traveling with us, and we were not planning on making a mess or breaking anything in the apartment.

My friends could only stay in Paris for three days. I tried to take them around Paris as much as I could. Everyday we left the apartment before 9:00 AM and got back around 9:00 PM. Everybody was tired after a long day of walking and all we needed was sleep.

On Monday, September 11th, the host’s coworker came to collect the key. She went to the shower room to tell me it was wet. I did not clean it; I told her that I could not clean it because there were no amenities. The host did not write on the listing that guests had to clean the property before they left. After that, the coworker came straight to the thin worn out plastic folding door, which separated the first and second bedroom. She pulled it out – it was broken – and she said that we had to pay for it because we broke it.

This was impossible because we never touched it. We could not have broken it unless we intended to pull it out and push it back and continued to do it until it got broken. At this stage, I could see the coworker was trying to take away my 200 Euro deposit; she had it in her pocket, so what could I do? I knew I could not get the full amount back but I had to think to get something back. I told the coworker that we did not break the plastic folding door. It was not an expensive door, so how much did she want us to pay?

The coworker did not answer my question. She started to say she had four children to look after, she could not afford to pay the host, and she only worked for the host. She did not call the host to report what had happened. I could not tell her to talk to her host. So I told her to keep 100 euro and give me back 100 euro. She agreed to that. On the way back to London, I sent many messages to the host to report what the coworker did. The host responded with the following text: “Please tell me, how much did you pay?”

The next day I reported the problems to Airbnb. I hoped that they could determine the truth and get my 100 euros back. The Airbnb staff told me under their regulations no cash transaction were to be paid outside of the Airbnb website. After two weeks, I received an invoice from the host requesting me to pay an additional 810.05 euro; the host wanted me to pay for the broken door and the broken bed and said I did not clean the apartment.

The host had called a big decoration company to come to repair the plastic folding door and the wooden bed frame support, but when I looked at the invoice, I could tell it was a fake invoice; there was no company logo or letterhead, and it was designed on A4 paper by using Microsoft Word. There was no cost break down including the materials cost for each item.

After that, I sent an email to the decoration company to ask about this invoice. They said that they never produced it and they never came to this property to repair anything. I contacted Airbnb to prove it was a fabrication. I also told them that my friends were a doctor, a teacher, a finance officer, and a homecare manager. We had no reason to come to this apartment to break a worn out plastic door or jump up and down to break the bed. I sent Airbnb a link to show how much the plastic folding door would cost on Amazon: around 25 euro. I only wanted my 100 euro back.

After one week, the Airbnb returned with the following decision:

“After careful review of all documentation, we do believe that your host should be compensated for the damages caused during this stay. With that being said, we have concluded to charge you 468 EUR for the following:

– Cost to replace the damaged bed frame (labor fee included): 290 EUR
– Cost to replace the broken door (labor fee included): 378 EUR

As you have paid your host an off-site Security Deposit (200 EUR), we have deducted this amount from the final decision. As of today, we have charged and transferred to your host 250 EUR (237 GBP) of the Security Deposit originally authorized with this reservation.”

I did not know about this 250-euro security deposit; Airbnb took it straight away from my PayPal account after they sent this email. They did not allow me to read their email or to ask them why I had to pay compensation. I also wanted to see the invoice of these repairs. Airbnb was not allowed to tell me these costs without evidence.

– First the host sent me an invoice for 810.05 euro. Airbnb’s decision? 668 Euro
– The Host took my offsite security deposit: 200 Euro
– Airbnb deducted this to make 468 Euro
– The Airbnb security deposit: 250 euro
– Finally, I still owed them: 218 Euro, which I had to pay in 48 hours.

If I did not pay Airbnb, they would remove my account. Airbnb always said no cash transactions outside Airbnb. I asked them why they talked about offsite security deposit in their decision; this was a cash transaction, but the host returned 100 euro to me. If the host didn’t take 200 euro, why did you include a deduction of 200 euro in their decision? How could they take 250 euro from my credit card when we had not finished reaching a decision?

I provided a lot of information about the fake invoice from the host and Airbnb did not bother to talk about it. The host broke Airbnb regulations – cash transactions – so how could the host still be allowed to ask for compensation? I requested to talk to a manager. I also told them to please take me to the court because I would not pay 218 Euro. It was my first and last time I used Airbnb. I will find a way to contact the press or TV to tell them about my Airbnb story. I did not receive any more responses from Airbnb. The Airbnb manager never called me. I am a victim. The host got my 100 euro and Airbnb got my 250 euro. Both of them were a good team for stealing money from guests. Please see the 810.05-euro invoice from the host. Was it fake? Other photos are from the worn out plastic folding door and the wooden support bed frame.

Scammed out of my Pension in Airbnb Nightmare

I am retired, and I have six children who live abroad so I don’t get to see them that often. We planned a family vacation in September, and since we are a big family, I looked for a listing that could accommodate us all. I found the perfect listing on Airbnb – a nice house in the city, a verified host – so I booked it for three nights.

After a few days, I realized we would need an additional night, so I asked the host to add one more night. She told me we would need to cancel the reservation and do the process again, and that she would send me a new invoice through Airbnb. I received this invoice, from “Airbnb” (rooms@airbnb.com) instructing me to send payment to Airbnb Holdings.

Once the payment was done, I got a confirmation from Airbnb stating “pack your bags, you’re going to Germany” – the text you see in the regular emails with links to the Airbnb website, policy, etc. In other words, I got an Airbnb email from an Airbnb address, and because I was sure Airbnb is building “a trusted community”, I did not doubt for a second that something could be wrong.

The day before the trip, as the host wasn’t answering my emails, I called Airbnb, who told me it was a scam, and there was no booking. However, the listing was still online, on the Airbnb website, waiting for people like myself to fall for it. I had to find a last minute booking (at twice the price) to accommodate all my family, because we were all on our way from all over the place, with nowhere to stay. Airbnb declined responsibility for scams they advertise, even though we paid for the service. They did not do the simple verification steps to check that the listings actually exist (not that complicated – just ask the host to send an invoice or official paper with the address). You had one job, Airbnb.

I lost a lot of my pension money, not counting the stress, frustration, sadness of being robbed when you feel secure on such a well known website. Airbnb refuses to refund anything, not even the fees they took for the reservation, which is the minimum they could do in that situation. The truth is, I am sad and disappointed that Airbnb takes so little responsibility towards the community they claim to be building. It’s easy to take fees on our transactions, to encourage us to open our doors and trust their users, and then they disappear when something goes wrong.

Host Charging me for a TV that was Already Broken

A couple of months ago, my wife, my parents, and I booked an Airbnb in San Antonio. The pictures looked nice and the place was in a central location. When we got there, the place was disgusting, with mold and dust everywhere. The fridge hadn’t been cleaned in ages, and there were dirty sheets on the beds and dirty towels tucked away in the closets. In addition, the TV wasn’t working.

We contacted the host by phone (our mistake – we should have done it on the Airbnb app, but at the time it seemed more convenient by phone). The guy said he didn’t care and wasn’t going to do anything about it, so he would just give us a full refund. I contacted Airbnb for them to find us a new place and they said they wouldn’t (first time something like this happened to us, and it was definitely alarming to see how Airbnb didn’t give a crap about us not having a place to sleep).

Anyway, we managed to find another place, and left this problem behind us. A month later I get a message from Airbnb saying that our host (even though we didn’t stay there) was charging us $2300 because we broke the TV. At first I thought this was a joke, and replied directly saying that we didn’t break anything so I wasn’t paying anything. The host then involved the resolution center. A month later I get an email from the resolution center saying they “feel” that the fair thing to do is for me to pay $1000 (why it went down from $2300 to $1000, I have no idea). I replied saying that I didn’t do anything; I wasn’t paying anything, and that I didn’t give them authorization to charge my card. If they did that, I would consider it fraud, since I am explicitly not giving my consent. I can’t believe that a host can just say that something’s broken and charge it to the guest. Sufficed to say I won’t ever use Airbnb again.

Fraudulent Listing in Moscow Leaves Guest at Hotel

At the end of July 2017, I rented a room for two nights with Airbnb in Moscow, Russia. I sent text messages to the host of the apartment a couple of times asking him about his apartment number. Not getting any answers led me to believe there was an international communications problem.

When I got there, I called him many times but still got no answer. I went to the address which was centrally located and like many other apartment buildings in Moscow, it had security personal at the entrance. I asked the security guy about this listing and he answered me that the building had eight apartments. He had never seen the host in the picture I provided nor did he know any resident who rented an apartment in that building. He also contacted his partner who worked the same shift but he got a negative answer as well. That was about 3:30 in the afternoon.

I tried to contact Airbnb but I was unsuccessful. They had no help nor support from the website. I tried until around midnight by browsing with my luggage from one restaurant to another with no luck. I spent that night in a nearby hotel, paying around $100. The next day, after many hours of trying to rent a different apartment, I gave up and changed my return ticket to the earliest date, which happened to be on August 21st. That date was almost ten days earlier than my originally planned return date of September 2nd.

After changing my ticket, I rented a different place with Airbnb after many hours where I could spend the time enjoying my vacation. The place that I rented was not centrally located. Finally I contacted Airbnb, and told them that the listing was fraudulent. Because of that fraudulent listing, my entire trip was derailed and I was very much depressed.

When I returned to the states, I contacted Airbnb and spoke with a person at customer service who sent me an email earlier, presenting herself as a help/support department manager and promising to compensate me $300. According to her, this was the maximum amount that Airbnb could pay. I asked her whether this conversation was being recorded and she responded that it was. After speaking with her back and forth, she promised to compensate me with $400 plus my refund of $81 for a rental. I received an email today from a representative at Airbnb, stating that their company will not compensate me the amount that had been promised. I don’t like companies that don’t understand how to calculate their costs and benefits. In my case, if I don’t rent with Airbnb for three or four times, they lose me as a costumer and the amount that they had to compensate me.

No Protection Against Deceptive Guests Breaking Rules

I had a group of five people book the minimum stay in my house for three nights and they ended up staying only one night, getting a refund for the others. I received a snotty email the next morning with a list of unbelievable reasons why they left. This was planned. They must have had another booking somewhere and needed just one night as a filler. My house is immaculate. I work very hard to make sure it is always so, but they managed to get a refund from Airbnb, because Airbnb does not care. My “case manager” never got back to me or answered any emails. They just let me get cheated by some rotten people who even were so low as to give me a one-star review, when everything was provided and spotless. I did everything I could: sent maps, was there to greet them… I told them if they needed me to just let me know. Never did they look me in the eye. They were fishy, because something was up. Had they communicated any problem whatsoever – there were no problems – I would have been able to act and would have done so immediately. Airbnb will not ever provide any means to contact them, so basically it’s a one-sided system. I am very upset about the fact that there is no protection against assholes.

Airbnb Fraud: Someone Cancelled the Reservation For Host

We were contacted after midnight by a guest asking if we could take him and his family on such short notice and check in at 3:30 AM. We worked our butts off to get the house ready for him and his family and accommodate them on short notice. My husband was in the backyard cleaning up the pool at 3:30 when they arrived. We greeted them and welcomed them to Dallas; they checked in and then out at 11:00 AM. In the morning I discovered someone on Airbnb had posed as me, canceled the reservation, and without even so much as a phone call or message, the payment had been removed from our account.

We have a strict cancellation policy which doesn’t allow cancellation without 24 hours’ notice and at 50% of the cost. The guest had concerns about the Internet and TV, which he just needed to contact us to get access. Instead he went around our backs to Airbnb and then committed fraud by logging in as me and cancelling the reservation. Airbnb sent me a message three days later telling me that our Airbnb host status was in jeopardy due to the cancellation. We want our money back and the cancellation removed. This is not the first time Airbnb has interfered with payments in the past. A guest was looking for a cheaper stay and they refunded the reservation, even though they didn’t give us notice and broke Airbnb rules by having a friend make the reservation and not stay there. Third party reservations are against policy. They took money out of our future reservations to refund them.

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.

Unauthorized Credit Charge Out of Nowhere from Airbnb

Never leave your credit card saved on the Airbnb app or website. My card was fraudulently charged for over $200 but promptly credited back, as shown on my statement. I did not even log in to the website or app for more than eight months. I lost out on more than $10 due to currency exchange differences. Airbnb refused to credit me back, and refused to say why my card was charged without authorization. It took them more than two weeks to even reply to me. My bank can’t do anything because Airbnb returned the amount they scammed from me. My big question is how can Airbnb charge a credit card without approval or authorization? This amounts to a scam and should be considered criminal. I thought my case was isolated, but a quick search on Google turned up similar stories.

Airbnb Colludes with Host to Fraudulently Charge Guest

A few months ago I rented a large property on Airbnb in Cape Town, South Africa. During our stay we accidentally caused minor scratch damage to one of the interior walls whilst moving our belongings up a stairwell. I notified the host via email of the damage to his wall (including attaching a photo of the wall) and offered to immediately arrange for repair work to be done (i.e. a refill/replaster of the scratch and repaint of the affected wall in the existing wall colour).

After no response from the host, I decided to go ahead and call a local contractor to do the repairs on our last day at the property and then sent a picture to the host of the repaired wall and asked him to confirm if he was satisfied. A couple of weeks later, the host sent me an email demanding to be paid R4000 (USD 300) for the cost of repair of the wall damage and the replacement cost for a couple of broken wine glasses. I naturally queried this, as the wall had already been repaired by a professional for half this cost claimed by the host, and at my own expense. I therefore asked the host to provide photos of any additional repairs he had allegedly done and invoices for those expenses.

He refused but instead sent a formal complaint and damages claim to Airbnb more than a month after my stay at his property (which according to Airbnb policy is not permitted beyond two weeks following a stay). I then sent several emails to the relevant Airbnb consultant, disputing this claim. Airbnb never responded to any of my emails. Several calls to their call center/”help centre” also proved fruitless. A month or so later, without warning, Airbnb summarily deducted USD 400 from my credit card account (claiming those funds would then be transferred to the host for damages.

The host has yet to provide a single shred of evidence that any such expenses were ever incurred and why his damages claim suddenly jumped by a further USD 100 from the initial USD 300 the host had first claimed to me directly. Should you ever find yourself in such an unresolved dispute , I recommend you cancel or block your credit card before Airbnb can make such fraudulent deductions on your card.

Dublin Landlord with the Tenant from Airbnb Hell

I own a house in a “regeneration” area of Dublin. Regeneration is a kind word; this street is clearly not suitable for unsuspecting elderly tourists. Think Little Red Riding Hood surrounded by wolves. I arrived last week from overseas to show the house to an estate agent to let it out. I was greeted on the doorstep by an elderly retired nurse from Canada who had booked it for four nights and paid about 400 euros. I’m not sure who was more surprised, this lady or me. I took pics of her reservation. It appeared the previous “tenant”, who I finally got to leave the month prior, had been using the house for Airbnb. Heaven knows how many bookings she took and how many other unfortunate tourists will have the same experience. The elderly lady took fright – actually she was in shock. I sat her down in the house – which was quite clearly unoccupied. I offered to get bedding so she could stay, but she was very anxious and no longer felt safe in Dublin. Eventually I dropped her back at the train station to return to the West of Ireland.

I contacted Airbnb. I got a call centre. Then I got a nonsense email. At this stage I went to the police and showed them the details of the reservation. This was a very unpleasant experience, which might have had an even more unpleasant outcome had I not turned up that day. If Airbnb does not already do it, they need to have hosts confirm they have permission to use the property. In circumstances where a property owner like me calls, they need to transfer callers immediately to a fraud/security department. They need to confirm to house owners immediately their properties have been removed from the site. They also seriously need to improve their interactions. In all future lettings I will include a clause in the contract to state subletting on Airbnb will nullify the lease and result in immediate expulsion from the property. I would recommend guests confirm that the host actually has the right to sublet on Airbnb.