Airbnb Guest from Hell Lies About Everything

On July 27th – only last week – I hosted a guest from the UK at my apartment in Spain who arrived with wife and two children at 4:00 PM. He was met by my third party meet and greet lady (who also cleans and looks after apartment for me). Within two hours he was sending me emails complaining, first about a gas bottle in the kitchen. He quoted health and safety and demanded that it be removed immediately. He also complained about cleanliness, a standing fan in the bedroom, and various other issues including he couldn’t work the TV.

I responded to each and every issue and explained that it was common practice to have gas bottles in Spain as there was no main gas line. However, if it worried him, I would get it moved the next day. He continued to complain all evening just about everything, sending pictures of a few grains of sand on the floor (we are next to the beach), hats that are there for guests, and other really petty issues, e.g. one toilet was not working.

The next day my third party went around there to address all issues and apparently he had all the china out of the cupboards and the pillows uncovered, taking pictures. Any solution to appease him did not seem to satisfy him. Later in the evening I discovered that he had called Airbnb and told them there was a gas leak and the second toilet had broken (two in 24 hours).

The booking was cancelled but instead of leaving he asked could he stay an extra night as it would be more convenient for him. I said yes and he sent me a very polite message saying how grateful he was and appreciated my generosity. If there was a gas leak who would put their children at risk?

I explained this to Airbnb, that there couldn’t be a gas leak as there was no main gas line and the bottle had been removed. However, they cancelled all subsequent bookings without even informing me. I received several emails from guests asking why. They explained that it is now being dealt with a case manager from the resolution center and the health and safety team is investigating.

That was six days ago. Until this point I had never had a complaint. Previously the rental I used was well below average and I think this guest was expecting a five-star hotel for a two-star price. Prior to booking, he did not ask me anything regarding the apartment. However, the photos are accurate so it should not have been a surprise. It is a private family apartment used for holidays, not a hotel.

I do not believe this is the first time this man has done this to get a free or upgraded holiday. The thing that has upset me the most was he frightened neighbours on the block that there was a gas leak, which obviously scared several residents. This has since been confirmed to be completely untrue and I am now seeking compensation through Airbnb’s host guarantee for £2400 in lost bookings as a direct result of this guest’s lies, not to mention the distress it has caused both myself and the lady who looks after the apartment for me. She said she looks after over 20 apartments in Spain for over 20 years and never encountered a guest like him. As for telling everyone there was a gas leak I think he should be prosecuted.

Airbnb is Craigslist with Nicer Window Dressing

I am a landlord. Before you jump down my throat, because I know Airbnb likes to foment class resentment in their advertising (i.e. we just help the little people pay their housing costs), let me tell you what kind of landlord I was.

I never raised the rent more than 2%. I would ask my tenant (my only tenant of 5.5 years) if his financial situation could withstand a rent increase before raising the rent. Any time there was an issue with an appliance or utility, I responded immediately. There was an antique stove with a burner that wasn’t lighting, so I bought a new $2000 stove. The LG dishwasher, which was brand new, didn’t handle hard water well, so I bought a new KitchenAid one. There was a pipe to the washer/dryer that would freeze on the coldest days, so I paid for a plumber to come put pipe tape on it.

I loved this house like my own, because it had been my own. I lived there for five years after a gut renovation. Everything was new and beautiful, and yet I charged rent that was 25% below market at least. I just wanted a stable and happy tenant to love my home too.

My tenant, let’s call him Jack, was a real estate broker. When he moved to my house, he had just gotten a divorce, and had three kids in high school. I figured he would live there while his last kid finished up school, and maybe a few years thereafter, but that he would surely move somewhere cheaper or more fun for a bachelor after a few years.

Two years ago, I decided I probably wanted to sell the house, because I had gotten pregnant with my own child, and my husband and I were buying a different house; we didn’t want or need two houses. When you’re young, maybe you don’t mind losing money every year on an emotional investment, but as soon as you have your own babies, you think about making more money for a college fund one day.

I told Jack that I wanted to sell the house, and I asked him whether he may want to buy it himself or move out first, as I did not want to disturb him with constant showing appointments. Jack told me that he was working on getting his broker certification in New York State (previously he was licensed in Connecticut only), and he could list the house for me. I thought that would be a great idea.

Most tenants have nothing to gain when you sell your house, so they are notorious for trying to scuttle a sale; but in this case, a tenant with a commission to gain might be incentivized to keep the house clean and tidy, and sing its praises. I thought Jack was at a phase in his life where I would lose him as a tenant soon anyway. His youngest child was in her last year of college… I felt now would be a good time to get a sale done, rather than search for a new tenant.

I told Jack I would wait for him to pass his NYS broker examination, which took him several tries ultimately, and I waited for about nine months. Finally, we went to list the house for sale. I asked him around that time whether there was anything pressing that he thought I should alter or repair to improve the chances of a sale. The house is from 1780, and the upstairs has original door frames that are only 6′ tall; he said that these door-frames are charming, but they could limit the pool of buyers.

He also told me he though the roof might be leaking in a studio, which is attached to the garage. I paid for a carpenter to take a look, and he actually said the leak had been going on for years perhaps and it was bad. I paid him to tear out the sheetrock and insulation, and reroof. This delayed the listing by about six weeks, and I thought it was odd that Jack never mentioned this in the  nine months that I waited for him.

When the carpenter came to do the work, Jack had not moved any of his items stored in that studio, which I found to be a little non-cooperative, but maybe he was busy. After the roof repairs, we listed the house. Jack sent me pictures that he staged. The pictures looked great. He hosted a brokers open house, and he said the open house went well. However, he didn’t send me any questions, comments or negative feedback from the brokers.

Months went by. Jack forwarded me an email from a buyer who was going to make an offer. The buyer’s agent said the buyer loved the house, but was concerned about water in the basement. Jack told me he lost the sale. In hindsight, that email was maybe an inducement for a credit or for a proposed solution, but Jack didn’t suggest either.

More months passed. A buyer made a cash offer, which I accepted. After an inspection, the buyer wanted a credit for water in the basement. I thought this was very odd, because in the five years that I lived there, water only entered the basement during torrential hurricane rains or heavy snow melting. I told Jack to tell the buyer that I am going to fix the water issue myself and sell to someone else. I didn’t hear from this buyer again.

While storm drainage in a basement isn’t ideal, I experienced it as a minor nuisance that occurred a few times a year, and the sump pump would eventually take care of. I decided to take a look and get some quotes from masons to fix the drainage. When I got to the house, the basement looked like a horror movie. There were cobwebs absolutely everywhere. Jack had removed the smoke detector down there and thrown it on the floor. The battery was next to it.

I found that the water pressure tank valve was leaking. It’s a steady leak. There’s a blanket on the floor and a bunch of junk scattered about. Jack never mentioned that the basement was consistently wet. He claimed that he “never goes down there,” which the smoke detector on the floor seems to belie.

I vaguely remember that years ago he told me that every time one smoke detector went off, they all went off. I tell him this was intentional, as the system is a modern system and all the detectors are wired together. I told him that when the battery dies, the detector has a specific alarm. I told him how to replace the battery and to hold down the test button. I realize that he must have ripped the detector off in frustration at some point because it was chirping to notify him the back-up battery was low. I would have bought him an endless supply of batteries, but he never asked.

In any case, I paid for a plumber to replace the water pressure tank. I inspected the house soon thereafter. The basement was dry, but still looked like crap because of the cobwebs. At least the issue was contained. I continued to get quotes from masons to fix the storm drainage. I asked Jack whether I shouldn’t just take the listing down until the storm drainage is fixed. Jack started talking about a spring in the driveway, where he thought the water was coming from.

I was like, “What?”

“Yes,” Jack said, “Didn’t you say there was a spring in the driveway?”

I said, “No, what I said was the bedrock formation around the house creates a dry stream in the basement, which just means that rain water flows into the basement during a storm.”

Jack continued to adhere to the idea that there was a spring. I told him that the driveway, which is paved with stone, is dry except after heavy rain. If there were a spring, there would be a little lake there. I asked him to desist from telling people about his spring theory, because it’s crazy, though I tried to be more amicable.

Then I spoke to the real estate attorney, who was helping my husband and me with the purchase of another home (as I mentioned). My attorney told me that storm drainage is like oil tanks. It’s a basic problem that any agent worth his credentials would advise a seller to resolve prior to listing the property. I started to get a sick feeling about Jack.

I got various quotes back for the storm drainage, and decided that the original cash buyer was actually not a bad offer. It was a bit low, but it would save me the headache of managing a $20,000 waterproofing and excavation job. I know the buyer’s name because he had reached out to my father on LinkedIn around the time he made his offer. My father is on the title but is a minority stakeholder, so he didn’t really respond in detail to the buyer except to congratulate him for the accepted offer.

I found the guy on LinkedIn and told him that we were fine with paying him the credit. At this time, the buyer told me he was super disappointed because he was in contract for a house that he didn’t like as much as my house. He told me that Jack was very reluctant to admit that he lived at the house. He told me Jack had a weird theory about a spring in the driveway, that Jack stonewalled him for information about the house, and that when the inspection was conducted, the bathrooms and kitchen were beyond disgusting, and that he found my house as a listing on Airbnb.

I was appalled. I immediately contacted Airbnb. I told them that I could furnish a copy of my deed, and I would like the rental records for Jack’s rentals. There were two reviews on Jack’s profile for rentals of several months-long guests, during prime selling months, during our listing agreement. Jack’s tenancy also prevented long term guests (over two weeks) without expressed written consent.

I told Airbnb I could furnish a copy of Jack’s lease as well. Airbnb simply told me that I should work things out with Jack. At this point, I was considering suing Jack; I was definitely evicting him, so I wanted proof of how long he rented out the place. It’s my freaking house, so I felt I was entitled to a rent roll for my house. Airbnb told me they will release this information with a court order. Meaning, it’s incumbent upon me to sue Jack.

I ask Airbnb whether they require hosts to upload their deed or lease agreement, and they said “We care to the utmost and we require hosts to represent that they are legally entitled to list the property.” I asked the child attorney writing me this email from Airbnb whether HR called their law school to verify their law degree, or whether they were allowed to simply “represent” that they had a law degree.

Then I realized that Airbnb isn’t a real service. From a legal standpoint, they don’t care whether they are facilitating fraud and theft. They don’t care, and their response will always be “just sue me.” Eventually they will be sued by enough people, because what they do is wrong. My tenant would never have been able to violate his lease/listing agreement like this without the ready infrastructure that Airbnb provides. Section 230 means that Airbnb doesn’t have to care about fraudulent listings.

They are, after all, merely selling individuals the ability to publish, and they have no interest in the content, right? Except that they collect a fee. Except that they have “customer service” to make people feel good and comfortable about listing, when in fact their customer service, from a legal standpoint, is just a goodwill gesture, and not a regulated activity that can be held to any standards. People need to stop thinking about Airbnb as a housing service. It is not. It is Craigslist with window dressing.

Case Closed, Reopened, and Cleaning Fees Deducted

My Airbnb guest arrived and found the house to be “beautiful.” Three days later she decided to leave. She complained about crumbs in the toaster. I offered eight separate times to send up the housekeeper but she refused. She stayed another four days. She wanted a refund for the last three days. A claim was made and the cleanliness issue was not found in favour of the guest as under the guest refund policy it states very clearly that the guest must try to resolve the problem. She refused to have the kitchen re-cleaned so under no circumstances did she try to do this. The case was closed. Two weeks later it was reopened and £500 was deducted from my account for a “cleanliness issue”. Airbnb meanwhile paid $900 to the guest. I sent in all of the texts with the guest as additional proof that she failed to comply. There has been no response from the case manager. The case has been closed. Four other Airbnb case managers have failed to provide an independent review. I suspect fraud.

Account Cancelled After Guest Makes False Claims

I have been an Airbnb Host for about five years. My reviews were mostly five stars. Even when they were less they were always good to outstanding reviews. I made Superhost twice. About two months ago I was warned that my listing was not conforming to discrimination rules. I was not permitted to limit single women to a maximum of three nights (or lose my girlfriend). I was not permitted to limit people who were heavily medicated or using drugs. I was not permitted to state that my place was not a good fit for handicapped people. I fixed all that and then they reactivated my listing. I was also warned that if I had one more violation that I would be barred from using Airbnb and never be able to reactivate or list again. I booked several guest and had five-star reviews from all in the next two months.

Then I booked three guests, two of which I had booked at an earlier date for three or four nights and had given them a very good review, stating they were trustworthy and clean. The three guests were booked for four nights. They did smoke (often in their car). They tried to hook up the living room TV with the HDMI for a PlayStation. Before I went out for the evening I noted that they left the TV on with unknown source. I turned it off for them and went out for the evening. The next morning the TV was in internet mode. The guest had tried to pull the TV off the wall which is not possible because of the custom mounting. The cables for the sound bar and TV were in wrong places. Of course the TV and sound bar would not work. I could not find the controllers and so pulled the power plug to turn it off until I could get help to remove the TV, check it out, and cable it properly and then do the required setups. After two hours it was working fine.

The guests violated house rules by not closing their window and turning off their intake fan in the daytime. They could have been violating the no-smoking house rule. On the third day I was out and about most of the day and returned to find the house unlocked. A short while later, the guest returned and parked in my neighbor’s parking space. I called them to move the car. I was then confronted with one of the guests. He said that my place was full of rodents and insects. I said that was impossible unless they brought them.

He then screamed racial slurs at me. I asked them to leave and he stated that they were on the way out. I called the police who arrived shortly after they left. The officer and I checked the room for rodents. There was something on the sink and a few leaves and sticky spots on the floor. Nothing had been stolen. I noticed that a computer desk caster was broken and called the next day to make a claim.

Airbnb told me that the guest had submitted images of rodents and insects everywhere. I wanted to see the pictures since I said they had to be planted by the guests. I lived here since 2004 and my sister was here ten years before that. There was never a single mouse. Insects were not welcome and well under control. I noted that several extra washcloths were used. Probably to catch all the mice and remove them from the house. They were all gone.

I purchased glue traps and other traps to make sure since I had a guest coming in two days. That guest was an Airbnb host. I told her about the three guests and the rodent pictures. She had never placed a claim with Airbnb. I tried to place a claim and had pictures taken of the broken desk; they kept up a non-response procedure.

They refunded one day’s stay to the guest. I questioned that and then the fee was restored since the first Airbnb person had not consulted with me. A second Airbnb person had overruled the first since they had not followed Airbnb procedures. Then the broken desk claim still needed to be processed. That became impossible, since about five days after the guest left, my account was cancelled.

I was able to book one guest on another site. He emailed me to say his stay had been cancelled. I had not recorded the contact information of the other guests – my mistake. At one time in the past Airbnb had cancelled one of my guest for some issue. When he showed up, he wanted his money back and called his friend for help. The friend burst out laughing.

However, if I had not been home, that guest who had the keypad code could have been in my house. Then what? My general feeling with Airbnb over the years is that they tend to keep changing their rules. Sometimes, I feel that they tend to be very nasty. I have listed my place on VBRO and had my first booking within five days. It seems like most of the places are higher priced. Not so with Airbnb.

Generally, hosts should not expect too much from Airbnb if you ever have to file a claim. Airbnb prevents you from writing a bad review for a guest when your account is cancelled. The fraudulent guest at my place had three okay reviews and one was from me. Any guest can do the same fraud or similar schemes. They do it against many companies. It’s a lot to consider if you host. I think the best thing is to raise your prices high enough for any strangers that you are willing to host. Don’t expect Airbnb, who got too big too fast, to really care about losing you as a host.

She Reserved for Two but Eight Showed up…

I do like children. They are cute… like puppies, you know. However, I am allergic to pets, so needless to say I don’t have the kid-friendly option selected on my Airbnb listings. I prefer adults; that works best for me.

A lady intending to reserve my space wanted to know if she could reserve for her and her eight-month-old “baby boy”. I said to myself: “Okay, I can make a exception since the thing doesn’t walk….”

I went downstairs to open the door (I always meet folks outside of the house ) and saw a car full of people, some sitting on others’ laps and the “baby boy” was a little girl instead, about 6-7 years old. I said, “Oh f&*king s#$t. Let me play it cool. I am going to be home too, so this is going to be good.”

Two guys helped her with one piece of luggage up to the house. One guy was easily about 450 lbs and the other was an older male. I followed them in and they just stared right back at me. In the house, she said, “So who is going to be here?” Red flags went up.

I said, “Just you, me, and your baby.” I went to sit down. All the people that were in the car were let inside by the fat guy and they all tried to hide in the bedroom. Their problem was I did not have a lock on the bedroom and they couldn’t fit at all. They could not hide; I could open the door any time and see seven folks in one room.

Ten minutes later, they finally left. The noise of a herd of elephants was minimal compared to that foot traffic storming out my house. In the end I got to keep the money. It was only a miracle it ended with just the biggest scare of my life, instead of well… my life.

Airbnb Believes Lying Guests With No Proof

I am a Superhost and have 12 properties on Airbnb. I had a couple arrive one hour late and so they had to wait for me for 15 minutes because I was fixing a plumbing leak. I greeted them and offered to help them carry their bags but they were nasty. I usually go in and walk them through the entire place. I sat down and opened up my instruction book and they made it clear they wanted me out of there. The husband was rude and negative about anything I tried to say.

I left and sent them an email apologizing, asked if the place was okay, and to let me know if they needed anything. I was in a condo on the same property two minutes away. I never heard from them. If they saw me and I said hello, they said nothing. Now I have asked if anything is wrong and they didn’t care to tell me.

The couch has an old sofa bed and I don’t advertise it as a sofa bed. I say the unit comes with a queen bed. Well, as I suspected, they reviewed me on Airbnb saying that the dishes were dirty, the floors were dirty, the sofa bed was uncomfortable (they were husband and wife), and there was pee by the toilet. When I walked in with them none of this was there that I was aware of. The same day I asked if there were any issues and they didn’t respond.

How does Airbnb allow reviews like this when I clearly communicated with them the very first day but they refused to talk to me? There needs to be a policy where Airbnb tells the guests that they must first communicate with the host immediately with any issues. Allowing them to post lies should actually be considered slander. Airbnb is ruining our reputation and eventually this will be a big problem. They also had the nerve to send out these automated messages telling me that my place has been rated a 3.5 which could be a problem for me.

Airbnb Guests Can Lie About Noise, Damages

Out of 30+ rentals I have had two issues with guests. The first issue was when a guest did some minor damage to the property and left an extraordinary mess for me to clean up and organize professionals to come to the house with cleaning equipment. For the extra four hours of work, I decided to charge $65. If this was a regular rental situation that money would have come out of the security deposit, no questions asked. Airbnb decided to modify the contract and I ended up getting $5, plus $165 which was reimbursed against the receipts of repairs made supported by pictures of damages.

The second guest had sent Airbnb eight videos about “my house” because they were complaining about a train noise and not being able to sleep. They also claimed the train went by every 30 minutes during the night (easy to check, not true). Three of those videos were not from my house. Out of the remaining five, one was at night time and the rest were during the day with the windows open because you could hear birds and the neighbor’s dog. Out of 30+ guests nobody has ever complained about the train before.

Airbnb decided to give the guests a refund against the contract when they would have only been entitled to 50%. If they would have spent any time checking the facts or called me prior to making a decision the facts could have been set straight. Airbnb is habitually taking money out of hosts’ pockets and expects them to work for free based on the decisions of some teenager in a call center. The first guest was a first time Airbnb user and the second guest had two prior reviews.

Airbnb Unfairly Listens to Guests Over Superhosts

I rent out a room and have never had a bad review until these guests arrived. We had a typhoon hitting the island the day before, causing some damage to the roof. It was December 24th, 2017. The guests arrived angry because the airline lost their bags. They were well informed about the small hole in the cogoon roof (grass roof) because of the typhoon. We didnt notice a problem and the next day we had someone fixing it.

Consider: it was December 25th. We were lucky enough to find someone. In the evening of the second day, I found a message on Airbnb, stating that they cancelled the reservation on the guests’ behalf because of an outstanding situation. I called Airbnb and asked to speak to someone. I just wanted to understand what happened as I had no idea. The guests were gone too.

Basically Airbnb made the decision to cancel without even consulting the host and see what we could have done, and I had no idea what was the outstanding situation was. I lost all the money from their stay, and was not even consulted. I am also a Superhost.

I called Airbnb five times and wrote emails but no one took care of my case. After a few requests, someone forwarded me the guests’ photos. There were towels on the floor to collect water, mouse shit, and dirty corners… clearly orchestrated by the guests. The worst part is that Airbnb never consulted with me or asked me anything.