Finished Dealing with Amateurs at Airbnb

Although I have never had a horror story with Airbnb as some people have, in the six or so years that I have been using it, this is what I have found:

90% of the time, there is some significant issue. Either it is in trying to find the place, or in trying to gain entry. Or the place is dilapidated or has many maintenance issues. I have found the reviews to be unreliable as well. In contrast, when I book a hotel, there are only significant issues around 10% of the time, plus the reviews are much more reliable.

In using Airbnb, I am relying on amateurs. The problem is that when a person travels, they are more vulnerable and insecure because they likely have no network of friends in the area. Traveling is generally stressful enough without unpleasant surprises. I find that in using Airbnb, I really save little money and its just not worth the hassle. In the future, I will be using hotels and other alternatives.

Seems That People’s Expectations Were Too High

Airbnb is not a walk in the park, nor is it easy money; anyone who wants to host should not expect this. My wife and I have been running an Airbnb – private room in our house, sharing the kitchen, bathroom, amenities – since May 2015. Although the income isn’t that significant we have the advantage of meeting people from all corners of the globe and have hosted at least one guest from each continent. However, most have come from our home country of Australia or East Asia. For the purposes of this web page though I will give our best and worst stories as a host. I have also changed the names. Despite their picture on Airbnb, Dianne and her friend Angela were not fragile young ladies but a couple of girls from North America who could hold their own. They arrived in early 2016 (a relatively hot time with smoke from nearby fires) staying for five nights, spending the day touring around the local attractions and the night sleeping. One evening we all went to see the local fairy penguin parade. In terms of enjoyment of company these two were great to have around. The worst was a gentleman from France (one of their small Pacific island colonies). He was ‘bad’ but his lack of organization skills cost us a little. He arrived by taxi and was surprised that he could not easily hire a car (in the height of summer and the tourist season). It meant we had to give him lifts to various places and for him changing his plans. It wasn’t a disaster but we were glad to see him go.

Red Wine Damages in Beautiful Penthouse

We checked in the late morning on April 4th. On April 8th, we checked out early as we all had morning flights. We called the housekeeper to collect the keys from us as the owners were not available. We left everything as we found it but did not take out the rubbish as we weren’t provided with refuse bags or instructions on where it should be left. We personally didn’t think that this was an issue as the property was quite dirty on arrival with sanitary rubbish in the bathroom dustbins, dirt under the beds, old food in the fridge, etc. We left some leftover food and drinks in the fridge and left all the dishes and kitchen clean.

On my return to the office on the 8th I sent a message through Airbnb to the owner, as follows:

Hi Lasse! Thank you very much for having us stay in the penthouse. One of the girls tripped over the sliding door rail when coming in from outside and fell onto the couch with a glass of red wine. Please let us know what the charges are for the cleaning of the couch. I apologize for any inconvenience caused.

The accident happened on the evening of April 7th when we were locking up after dinner, before retiring to bed. Our manager entered from the balcony with a glass of wine in her hand, tripped over the rail of the glass sliding door and fell onto the floor and partially over the couch, spilling her wine on the floor and couch. There is a difference in the height from the floor outside to the inside creating a step, which in the dark is difficult to see. The couch is against the glass door so was in the immediate path to the kitchen from the balcony. We immediately offered to pay for cleaning the couch. If it was immediately handed in for cleaning there may have been a chance of removing the stain but the owner decided to wait almost a month before attending to the stain. I followed up via text messages on a couple of occasions and Lasse claimed that he didn’t have time to look into the cleaning of the couch and that he would do it between the times the penthouse was occupied.

It had been two months since we reported the spill on the couch when we were made aware of the fact that the dry cleaning had been unsuccessful and therefore recovering the couch was required at our expense (close to $1000). Whilst I understand that Lasse feels that the replacement of the fabric is required, I don’t understand that he feels that we should be held responsible for the charges. It was an accident and accidents happen. I would have thought that anybody with expensive furniture or appliances carry enough insurance to be covered for any incidents that could potentially damage or destroy their property. I was surprised at the request for the payment in total of the damages. I feel that Lasse only acknowledged the damages five days after I reported it. If something had been done about the spill immediately, the outcome may have been very different. A dispute was supposedly logged with Airbnb who found in favour of the host, leaving us with a massive bill (deducted off my credit card without my permission).

Be careful staying with Airbnb. Their terms clearly state that no matter what you do you are liable. Even if a property causes your death it is still in some way your own fault!

Hosts Get no Protection from Airbnb

I am currently with my very first guest from Airbnb. I have been renting my two units successfully for four years but on a monthly basis, from 35 days to 8 months at the time. I had established procedures on checking on my tenants and being very careful to whom I rent. I even learned how conmen work and could recognize them immediately. This first guest of mine was very disrespectful from the very beginning. Due to a mistake on Airbnb’s part they did not charge her the entire amount she owed, and now I cannot collect the balance. I called customer service twice and the second time, the girl said they had no record of my first call. I don’t want to go through the whole story, but after careful review of the posted terms and conditions, hosts need to understand that Airbnb does not protect their interests. Their platform is that they are only an advertising agency and the contract is between guests and hosts. They are not obligated to take care of claims on damages, payment issues, or similar problems. This is not hotel management. You are on your own. Of course, I am very experienced in knowing what my rights and obligations are under the law in my state, and I have no problems filing claims with the court. However, as a host, I don’t vet the tenants and I don’t have their billing information. So, it is almost impossible to file a claim in court against problematic tenants. Airbnb policies are not acceptable. You need to understand that they will not provide any help and they are not obligated to provide protection to hosts. Simply find another place to advertise.

A Word of Caution to Airbnb Guests

Just as a caution, when using an airbnb property, you never know how many people “out there” have keys and access to the place where you are staying. I usually opt for the entire property, and have tended to be a fan of airbnb, but I think that is going to change. In my last two rentals, people have come in unannounced, not a pleasant experience. One person came to get the host’s mail and another had his property for sale – and didn’t inform me – and a real estate agent came unannounced and without my permission. My family and I also needed to depart early from a property because it turned out to be an unsafe neighborhood. When we requested a refund, our hosts damaged their own property and photographed it, and it was our word against theirs. I had never experienced anything like that. In fairness to airbnb they gave us a $100 credit. It just seems like there are a lot of risks associated with airbnb, in principle it should work well, but from now in I will look at alternatives. When it works well, it is a great alternative to hotels but that is not always the case.


About a year ago, an Airbnb guest stayed for 2 weeks and left us with bedbugs that bit my daughter multiple times.  We exterminated them and everything was fine for a while.

When another guest got bitten this summer, Airbnb refunded the guest more than 50% of her rent, even though I had a strict refund policy and denied their request for a refund since I know they started the new infestation!

If you can avoid it, do not host with Airbnb.  Work with Craigslist, Zillow or other agencies or sites who let you make your own rules for when bad things happen.

Unexpected Airbnb Guests

When we went away last month for an engagement party, we got a few friends together and booked an entire house through AirBNB for three days.

The hosts were in another country so we were pretty shocked to see someone else there when we arrived. Apparently, the son of the hosts decided that him and his mates needed a place to crash and used a spare key to get in.

There was plenty of room but that’s not the point. We paid for an entire house we should have gotten it. It was awkward staying there with complete strangers!

AirBNB were called and they told us they would contact the hosts but we didn’t hear back from them until we got home which was useless. And then they denied our refund. I won’t be making that mistake again.