I’ve been hosting for three years. The last guest turned up at my house drunk, took his shoes off to release a cheesy foot odor that I could taste but still declined a shower and drank another bottle of wine while I sat with him. Then within one hour after I went out, he broke my ceramic toilet lid, left his light on, went out, and wouldn’t respond to calls. Unfortunately, I have to say, though this person was a little extreme, most guests lately are just rude and horrible. Is it because Airbnb encourages through their advertising that people ‘make themselves at home’ at another person’s house (read, hog the bathroom and splash water everywhere, sit around in the open-plan kitchen all day, help themselves to condiments from the cupboard, get packages delivered that hosts have to pick up because it’s their address, get drunk in their room, slam doors while people are sleeping, etc)? What is the solution? My house rules are comprehensive. Should Airbnb politely ask guests to mind their manners while they are in another person’s home?
I was full of joy and hopes for the future when I booked Nadia’s apartment that she offers as “Schöne und helle Wohnung – Ideal gelegen“. I was moving to Germany for a new amazing job and made a one-month booking to have a place at the start of my contract. We had chats over the telephone and WhatsApp weeks before my trip. We talked about my new job, about holidays destinations, and about the carnivals. I was even thinking I might have found my first friend in town. How lucky!
On the first night at her place she told me I had to keep secret that I came using Airbnb. I found it fishy. During the following ten days I realised, and Nadia confirmed, that she doesn’t own the apartment and that she isn’t allowed to list it on Airbnb. Subletting and having hosts is forbidden in her tenancy agreement with the landlord. I guess Nadia loves risk, and also loves to put others at risk. To make things even more exciting, her landlord is a real estate agency that owns the whole block and whose office is in the same building. Their front door, a full see-through glass door, is located at the ground level and you have to literally walk just centimeters away from it when you go to take out the trash.
I wonder if Nadia really thinks there is a chance they won’t discover there is someone unknown living for a month there. Even though it was inevitable that I be caught by the landlord, the need to make my situation legal in Germany speeded up that process. The lovely German bureaucracy requires paperwork from hosts that have guests. Failure to complete the registration costs up to 1000€ for the party that doesn’t cooperate with the administration, whether you’re a host or guest. The landlord finally discovered the truth.
I contacted Airbnb multiple times during my registration nightmare, which lasted for twelve long days. I got answers ranging from “we only put hosts and guests in touch, and that’s it” to “here is the invoice, try to register with it.” I asked to be relocated to another place where it was legal. They said if Nadia wanted to cancel, then I could take the money and get something else. But it didn’t seem to be a problem for them that she had a listing she wasn’t allowed to have. And of course Nadia didn’t want to cancel just like that! The only moment when she wanted to cancel it and refund me, was the morning when she realised I could register providing the invoice.
The chance of a confrontation with Nadia increased exponentially. By contrast, the relationship with her landlord and neighbor was smooth and cordial. She accused me of not following the rules of the house because she says I told her landlord. In fact, it was the German bureaucracy who did, but I am happy I could have the chance to meet the real estate employee, a really nice woman. The landlord didn’t ask me to leave the apartment, but the trust had been broken with Nadia.
The impossibility to get my correspondence and the discovery that multiple keys were spread among her friends was the last thing I needed to realise Airbnb should have done something about it. A case was open and I requested to be relocated once more. All that Airbnb offered was to refund half the cost of the rest of the days not consumed. I actually only needed relocation for six nights. I had already figured a solution for later. They said with that money I could get something in Airbnb for six nights for sure. Well, this wasn’t true. The cheapest price for a night was 50% higher than my booking price. With my booking cancelled at 8:00 PM, just a morning to pack and go, and no reasonable price options at Airbnb I ended up in a hotel. It was cheaper, easier and provided warranty.
I live in a penthouse in central London and I was renting out my room; I mistakenly allowed guests for just one night. Someone decided to book at midnight for the next day and I accepted. As soon as I accepted she sent me a message asking me to light up the balcony with candles, organise a charcuterie board and have champagne on ice (attached image) – this was after I accepted and this set off massive alarm bells, (Also cheddar? Honestly, she really is that basic if she can’t ask for any other cheese). She was a total nut job. I am not a concierge.
I couldn’t cancel because of the last-minute issue. I met her and her partner; she was about 28 years old, looked nothing like her picture, and frankly was so chavy. Her partner was a middle aged man. I suspected they were getting away from the wife. Anyway, she failed to read that it was a private room and was shocked when I didn’t leave my own home. Totally ridiculous – although she looked illiterate. She got over it; they left to go out for their dinner and got home late. I was stressing out, decided not to go into work tomorrow morning, and agreed that they could check out late at 2:00 PM. In the morning, they didn’t come out of the room at all apart from one time when she came out in just a towel asking for more cold water bottles. I obliged and they went into the room, closed the door, and just kept moaning from the sex they were having. It was so grim.
I knocked on the door at around 1:00 PM because it seemed like they still hadn’t even gotten ready to leave. They left at 2:00 and told me they had left some water bottles and the keys in the room. It specifically says on my listing that there is no food or drink to be kept in the room other than water. In the room were about ten half drunk water bottles (so odd) and half a bottle of champagne that had been left over night and absolutely stunk up the whole room; it smelt like a booze den. There was mud all over the wardrobe, weird black flecks on my white walls and brown stains on the Egyptian cotton sheets from the kilos of makeup that freak uses. Worst of all, there were other stains on my very expensive sheets. I hired a professional cleaner to come in to steam the carpets and bed, threw away the sheets, bumped up the price, made the house rules clearer, and put a two-night minimum stay on my listing. I bloody hate those scumbag chavy disrespectful weirdos. The worst part is, because I’ve only been doing this for a short time, I want to keep the good reviews that I have so I’m too nervous to give her the super negative review that she deserves.