If you’re going to need a place to stay in the Lincoln-Omaha, Nebraska area, stay clear of this host. This greedy bastard tried to squeeze every dime he could out of me.
I was traveling as an essential worker. I needed a long term stay in Lincoln for me, my disabled wife and our two dogs. I saw the listing and the price was reasonable.
After about a month, he started raising the weekly rate. When the rate doubled, we decided to leave. We stayed there 83 nights and paid $8,000 for a dingy basement apartment. Then that’s when the real nightmare began.
He sent me texts threatening me and calling me a criminal, demanding $400 for carpet cleaning, $250 for extra cleaning fees, $700 for a stained shower, $220 for lost revenue, $120 for a urine-stained mattress (we never used it), $250 for a broken mirror frame, $60 for a dirty microwave, $60 for dirty towels, and $100 for torn comforters.
Here is my response to the host’s complaint with Airbnb:
I have rented Airbnbs all over the country and Mexico. This host was by far the worst host I ever had. He priced gauged me every chance he got. I messaged him letting him know I need a long-term stay as I am a traveling essential worker. When I first moved in I was paying around $550 a week. Then after about a month he raised it to over $700 a week.
I went ahead and paid it because my wife is disabled and it’s hard to up and move at a moment’s notice. Then he raised the rent to over $900 a week. That’s insane. He was taking advantage of us. I can’t afford that. He waited until we were good and settled and then surprised us with the higher rates without notice.
Had I known the rates would go up like that, I would have never booked this place to begin with. That’s something a con artist would do. Very deceptive of him. He was charging me more than he was charging for the four-bedroom house above us. I believe that after 30 days I have tenancy rights. That would mean that he would have to give me a 30-day written notice before he raised the rent. He owes me money for every week I was charged more than $550 a week.
We had to deal with bats. He did not respond when I informed him about it. He did not properly remove snow from the property and my wife fell and sprained her ankle. We had to duct tape a window to keep the cold out. The heaters were not adequate to keep the apartment warm. Now he is being greedy and is trying to extort more money from me. Instead of contacting me and talking to me like an adult, he sent me threatening texts privately, not on Airbnb, trying to bully me in paying him a bunch of money.
He was threatening to call and get me thrown out of my current Airbnb, call my job and call the police if I didn’t pay him by the end of the day. He also called me a criminal. If he would have talked to me like a human being, I would have worked with him to find a solution. I would have come back and cleaned the carpet, the microwave, and the shower basin and wash and bleach the towels. But instead, he wanted money. He wanted me to pay the full retail value, not the actual depreciated value. No one peed on that mattress. That was there before. Also, it is twin mattress, not a full.
I know that this is not the first time he found a urine stained mattress and it won’t be the last time. He should be prepared for it. Hotels have ways of cleaning mattresses. If I had an Airbnb, I would have had a mattress cover on it to protect it.
The carpet is old and dingy. It needs to be replaced. There were already stains all over it. It’s not worth the $400 he wants to clean it. Also, I found $79 carpet cleaning service for five rooms on Groupon. I’m not responsible for cleaning all the carpet in the apartment. I’m only responsible for for the three stains caused by my dogs, not the yeas of neglect this carpet has had.
The comforters were not ripped to shreds. If you pulled the comforters from the bottom of the bed, they would sometimes catch on the bed frame. That’s how they got ripped. Anyone with a sewing machine could easily repair them. I’m not paying him to get all new bed in a bag like he wants.
The mirror frame was already broken when we moved in. If we broke it, the mirror would also be cracked. He mounted the mirror right above a heater. Over time, the heat probably caused the wood to delaminate from the glue holding it to the mirror. You can go to Home Depot and find a piece for the mirror fairly cheap.
The microwave was not burnt. It just needs to be cleaned. Only one towel was ruined when my wife colored her hair. The rest were just dirty and need to be washed and bleached. The towels were dingy to begin with. The shower basin can be cleaned with Comet, CLR and some scrubbing. It’s not permanently stained. You have to do more than just pour bleach on it.. He’s trying to get a new shower out of me.
I don’t owe him for lost revenue because no one is trying to reserve the place. He is charging too much. He has it listed for $250 a night. I don’t owe him the extra cleaning fee. He is not paying for extra cleaning if he is having professional carpet cleaners come over and providing tub cleaner that he is already charging me for.
He acts like we ransacked the place. That’s not true. My wife scrubbed and disinfected the place from top to bottom. She made the beds and wiped everything down. We don’t owe him anything. He did not give me the opportunity to fix anything. He is greedy and trying to extort everything he can out of me.
He is mad because he thought he could keep raising the rent and I would keep staying there. I asked him the last time the rent went up he said he had no control over the rate and it was based on an algorithm. Most places would cut a deal with their long term renters to keep them there.
This was Airbnb’s reply:
After careful review of all photos, documentation, and related communication provided by both parties, we determined your host should be reimbursed for the damage caused during your stay. Thank you for your patience throughout this process.
As a guest, you’re responsible for leaving the property in the same condition that your host provided. These responsibilities are detailed in Airbnb’s Terms of Service. Based on the information available, we have determined that your host should be compensated $822.76 for their loss. The host timely reported the damage and was able to provide valid documentation of the loss and the cost to repair or replace the damage.
The total amount of the loss is $822.76, which breaks down as: 1) Mattress : $104.80 2) Shower repair/cleaning : $385 3) Mirror frame repair : $250 4) Lock safe: $33.08 5) Microwave : $49.88. Please submit the $822.76 using the below secure manual payment link. You must be logged into your account to access these links. We request that you complete payment within 24 hours.
Once payment is complete, please let us know by responding directly to this message.
I gave the host a $150 deposit after I booked the place. He requested through the Airbnb app. Also, I did not agree with the amount Airbnb said I owed. So, I sent this reply:
This amount does not reflect the $150 deposit that the host stated in his claim I already gave him. Also, the mirror is not worth $250. I did not break the frame. It is old. Years from being in a hot moist environment from the shower steam and being mounted over a heater caused the frame to break.
However, since I’m being held responsible for its damage, I’m going to prove that it can be repaired for a grand total of $14.74. At Lowes you can get an eight-foot strip to cut out the small piece of the frame that needs to be replaced for $3.46. Then you can a 1-qt can of paint that you can color match to the rest of the frame for $10.28. Add Lincoln sales tax of 7.25% for a total of $14.74.
This is very minor damage to an old mirror. If it’s going to cost $250 to fix it, then show me an estimate. I also attached a picture from the host’s rental page of the shower. It clearly shows permanent stains on the wall and the basin. It is not white like the rest of the shower. What I left was dirt, not tar. No effort was used to clean it. The host said in his statement that he let it soak in bleach for two hours. That is not going to clean it. He does not mention anything about scrubbing the shower. Comet cleanser and a scouring pad would clean that up. The host is trying to scam me and Airbnb.
A few days later I got this reply from airbnb:
Thanks for your reply and after a full review of the incident, we have decided to remove you from the Airbnb community. This means you can no longer access your account and cannot create a new one. We determined that you violated the Security section of the Airbnb Community Standards, which you agreed to in the Terms of Service.
The violation involving property damage was reported on Feb. 27, 2021. Any upcoming reservations have been cancelled and you’ve been fully refunded. We consider this decision final. You can read more about removal from the Airbnb community.
Now I’m banned from Airbnb. All because I stood up for myself. Airbnb will always be on the host’s side.