Monster Airbnb Next Door Ruining my Family’s Life

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Seven years ago my husband and I built our dream home in a nice neighborhood in Austin. When two large homes began construction on a single lot next door, we were bummed by how huge and close to us they were, but looked forward to having new neighbors in any case.

Once the homes were finished, we realized with horror that both were being used illegally as Airbnbs. Each home is nearly 3,000 square feet, five bedrooms, and hosts up to 14 people. Each unit has a hot tub that sits directly under our windows, less than twenty feet away from our home.

As soon as they began operating in October 2019, our lives were shattered. Groups of party goers began rotating through both units every weekend. Music, laughter, shouting and cursing came from both hot tubs at least once a week, usually more. A bachelor party brought prostitutes over and took turns having sex in the hot tub until 7:00 AM. Another group casually chatted at full volume about buying some cocaine for their party.

One of the units has two giant second-floor windows that directly overlook our property, including our outdoor spaces, and guests like to stand at those windows and watch us like we’re animals in a pen. If I were to list every instance of a disturbance, this post would be longer than the Old Testament.

Since October, we’ve filed 17 Code complaints, and called the police on five different occasions (though our police department is so understaffed, and noise complaints are so low-priority, they responded only once). We’ve written to our council member, neighborhood association, and exchanged several dozen emails with the Code Department.

After receiving multiple violations for operating illegally, and having their guests confronted by code officers, the investors applied for a license granted only to owner-occupied STRs, by claiming the units as their “primary residence”, and actually received them (for one). The Code Department admitted in an in-person meeting that they did not want to grant the license to these operators, and tried to find a way to deny it, but were forced to issue it according to regulations.

Today our nightmare continues. We can’t sleep in peace. Our privacy, comfort, health, and safety are completely compromised. I’m suffering anxiety-related health effects. We are at a point where either they stop hosting, or we will need to move. It’s terrifying to consider that we might actually lose our home over this, but the stress of living next to this nightmare is just not worth it.

I’ve been carpet-bombing Airbnb “neighbors” with complaints for months, but have received zero support. This week Airbnb actually “temporarily suspended” the listing, but the host just turned it back on immediately. When I asked Airbnb how this can qualify as a suspension, they said they can’t release details due to privacy reasons. We finally filed a case at the municipal court, and hope whatever comes of that succeeds in finally bringing us some relief.

The Worst Airbnb Customer Service Experience

Hey everyone, here is my story. We’ve been using Airbnb for two years and rented about 15 places around the world. The big issue came on our last reservation in Hawaii that we booked seven months in advance. We made a booking on July 30, 2019 for our stay for January 17-24, 2020.

On August 1st, the state of Hawaii had a bill passed that prevents short-term rentals to rent with no license for less than 30 days. It’s becoming a common practice around the US and the world. However, our host waited until the last minute to cancel on us and advised that their listing on Airbnb was flagged by local authorities, who advised them if they kept renting illegally they would get fined a lot of money.

While I appreciate the host’s honesty, I don’t appreciate that host was well informed about the upcoming laws and technically was running their own business illegally while Airbnb was paid – also illegally. The host cancelled four weeks before our check in. I reached out to Airbnb and they advised us that they don’t have any responsibility at all regarding local regulations; it’s up to the host to decide if they want to do business legally or illegally.

We decided to re-book a similar place but it was more costly since we only have four weeks left before check in. According to the bill, any short-term rental agent must provide their license or advise the customer if the property is listed legally. When I asked this question to my new host, the host ignored me and kept silent. I followed up on the next day asking the same question. The host then reached out, saying that they wouldn’t rent this place to us and wished me good luck. With a strict cancellation policy allowing no refund and refusing to cancel the reservation, this host told us we had to cancel. Well, this sounded like a scam to us.

We reached out to Airbnb with this situation and they also refused to do anything on their part. After multiple hours of calling them and asking for a manger they rudely advised us that they were denying my request to talk to a manager and we on our own. My first thought was, “Wow, we just got scammed by Airbnb in real life.”

Within twenty minutes of this disaster, the manager called me. I explained the situation to him, then he told me that he would reach out the host for clarification. Ten minutes later, the reservation was cancelled with a full refund that we still have not received. We were quite shocked about what actually happened and we probably would never use Airbnb anymore. We actually did some research and ended up booking a better option with a hotel.

It also looks like that price-wise, Airbnb and hotels are not that far apart, but if something goes wrong with Airbnb, you will regret any business with them. It’s actually a disaster dealing with Airbnb customer service.

Trying to Get Around Local Airbnb Laws

I just got back from a trip to Barcelona, where I rented an Airbnb apartment. Check-in was a nightmare, but that was the least of it. My first morning there, I was woken by a touristic inspector who wanted to enter the apartment and take a photo of my reservation. Apparently, some hosts in the building (including my own) were breaking Barcelona city law by renting for less than 30 days without a license to do so.

Two days later, my host started pestering me with mysterious WhatsApp messages asking me to meet him. I was like, “What the heck for?”

After much back and forth, he finally admitted that he would like me to do him a “favor” by signing a fake contract extending my lease to 30 days. I several times indicated my discomfort with this situation, but he kept pushing. Eventually I said, “NO! I just don’t feel comfortable being dishonest.”

The host then showed up at my place while I was getting ready to leave and came in without knocking. I said “Please leave!!! I’m packing!”

When I left the apartment, the host was waiting for me outside – supposedly to help me carry my luggage, but it seemed that really he was still hoping to get me to sign a fake contract. I texted him subsequently telling him I had not been pleased with his behavior, and posted a negative review on Airbnb. The host texted me back calling me a “crushed whore.”

I also complained to Airbnb. They nicely refunded my money for the stay, calling and texting me with many consolations for how badly I’d been treated by this guy, and promising they would look into it. However, I just checked this guy’s listing on Airbnb. Not only is Airbnb still allowing him to advertise on their site, despite the fact that he’d tried to pressure me into to criminal fraud, they erased my negative review.

Showed up to apartment, was told it’s not available

My first and last Airbnb experience. I reserved an apartment for 30 days. Heard nothing from the host. I contacted him and he told me to pick up the keys at the desk when I arrived.

I showed up, the hotel management said there were no keys for me. They called the host who had forgotten to make the reservation and they told me to try again some other time. I dragged my suitcase through the streets of Bogota, Colombia at night looking for another place to stay. I contacted Airbnb and they refused to honor their refund policy.

Sure some people have had good experiences and maybe I just had bad luck. But ask yourself: do you really want your travel plans hooked up to a wheel-of-chance? Do you want to arrive and find you have no place to say and you’re out all the money you spent? Do yourself a favor: pay the extra 25-30% to stay in a real hotel where they do guest lodging as a profession. Don’t chance it on some random idiot. They guy had all five-star reviews so you can’t count on that either.

Airbnb still has a house listed that conned me out of money

I had a horrible experience with a home owner who was listed all over the place. You would think Airbnb would recognize that someone is a thief or con artist, but they don’t care. They “as you can see on their terms and conditions,” are not responsible for anything. They have literally washed their hands of what is happening in the world of home ownership.

This guy in Turks and Caicos rented our families an illegally listed rental, not posted with the country, not legally for rent, not registered as a rental, yet still renting. After the hurricane in 2017 the house was destroyed. The owner said that he would refund us and he did not.

Our agent continued to go after him but he and his family are crooks. All you have to do is google the host in Ontario to see he’s been shot at and he’s been a crook from the get go. Yet the country of Turks and Caicos allowed this criminal to rent his home, all while collecting taxes illegally and never remitting them (per the tourism board and their management).

I asked them for help and they told me I needed to go after him even though this guy had stolen my money. The guy continued to lie and say he was going to give me back my money but did not. He then had his attorney write me to try and say that I would get it back as soon as the insurance paid out. Guess what? Insurance paid out and he didn’t pay me back. He kept not only the insurance money (millions) but left a whole line of people that needed to be paid.

We used attorney after attorney and are still fighting for our funds. If you go to his site it’s still up, and he will pretend to be someone else, send you a contract, and take your money even though the house is not rentable. He has yet to finish fixing it, and it’s not even legal. To top that off, his attorney was then arrested for money laundering. Like something out of a horror story. I called, wrote, emailed, and nothing.

Then I went through all the websites and saw it was still on Airbnb. I wrote to tell them and they never replied. Here is the house, my proof. This con artist is still listing it and people are none the wiser. The police and tourism department will not help me. They continue to make it more and more difficult.

He took over 100K from my family and he gets to live his life out with millions from insurance fraud and vacation rental fraud. It’s all nonsense. This is all unbelievable. I hope everyone sees that these people do not care and are not a real travel company. They list things that other people list and they don’t care whose home it is or where or what.

Now that they have purchased Luxury Retreats they are now one and the same. I fear people are too quick to think they can get a deal which is not true. They are not giving you a deal and you pay to use them. I just hope this company takes down that fraudulent rental. I’ve also seen a home listed on their site that I know is not the right rate, listing completely strange information and under a company I’ve never heard of. So how can they even police such a big site? They cannot…

Be weary everyone. Call real people; don’t book online – it’s a nightmare. If you book through click it sites you’ll see nothing but more of the same. Be wise: ask for licenses, tax identifications, all of it. If they are not licensed to rent, run the other way.

Property Listed on Airbnb without Knowledge of Owner

I recently found out, as the owner of a building, that the first floor (two bedrooms with bathroom) and the second floor (condominium with two bedrooms) in Cebu City are being listed for rent by a certain Airbnb host.

I have informed Airbnb about it and asked them:

1. To remove my property from the website

2. To cancel all reservations

3. To provide the total amount already paid out in order to be able to claim it back

4. To have the exact name and coordinates of this so-called host

I know someone is squatting in the house and there is already a case in court in order to recuperate my building and personal belongings. After one week, the support service decided to pass my case on to a special service; they closed the file and said all communication would now be done by email. I received an email that I had to send a scanned letter with my complaints and location, and that they would pass it on to the host.

Three days later, after not seeing any reaction, they replied to my email stating that I had to contact the host myself. I answered that this was impossible as I did not have the location of the host.

These are my complaints now:

1. Even there is proof that she cannot put those rooms up for rent as she is not the owner, Airbnb still has them on their website.

2. There is no location listed for this host

3. Nobody contacted my lawyers even though this is a case in court and they should be willing to provide any information

4. Airbnb support refuses to give me the name of the person who is in charge of my complaint and gives no real answers.

5. There has been no reaction at all to the fact that it is against the rules that a property is being rented without the authorization of the landlord.

The only thing I can say that it would be better to have no support staff than having one that is not even capable of giving answers. At least you could expect that they should take immediate action against violation of the rules. Regards and I hope somebody with authorization at Airbnb is looking into my complaint.

Airbnb Allows Fake Account to Let Felon Host

I was preparing for an extended work assignment in a northern state. After viewing several places, I came across an Airbnb that was in my price and location. I messaged the host and introduced myself to “Debbie”. She said that her retired brother and daughter lived in the home and she was traveling for work. Good enough.

I made the 12 hour drive and finally arrived at the house. I was greeted by a woman – not “Debbie” – and was shown around. There were more people than I thought staying there. The following week I met the homeowner. I inquire as to who “Debbie” was and he changed the subject rather quickly. I began to become suspicious as to what was really going on after he said that all communication could go through him via text.

I compared the number that I was given to me by Debbie and it was the owner’s. I decided to Google him and get more information. I found that Debbie had passed away the previous year and that he was a convicted felon (burglary). Apparently either she made the account for him or he used her information to open an account. I would have confronted him but quickly found out that he was currently doing a short stay in the local lockup for another DUI.

I packed my things and hit the door running. Nothing felt right about the stay there and situations like this are how people end up in an ice bath, missing a kidney. I’m currently in the process of trying to get some sort of refund from Airbnb and he should be out of jail at the end of this week. It should be an interesting conversation if he tries to contact me.

Owner Rented Airbnb Against HOA Rules

I rented a condo in Miami for a few days. After coming back from dinner one night, security asked us if we were residents. We explained that we had rented a unit through Airbnb. Security then explained to us that it was against HOA rules to rent for anything less than 90 days and all tenants needed a full background screening.

Security then told us we could not go back in at all. Even after we explained that our luggage and dog were in the unit, they refused. Eventually they did let us through just to grab everything and leave. After talking with the owner, he promised us a full refund. The next day he reneged on the offer.

I then called Airbnb, explained the story, and provided them a copy of the HOA bylaws. The best they would offer was a refund for the booking fees and nothing else. The owner kept listing that same unit immediately afterwards. I really thought Airbnb would be a company that does legitimate business. Not only are they enabling scams but they are ruining residential communities throughout the world.

Airbnb Does Nothing to Remove Illegal Listings

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I owned a property that has been posted without my permission. After reporting to Airbnb about this fraud, their response was that they cannot help because of their obligation to privacy of the host’s account. Clearly there’s no screening process to ensure that the host and property are legitimate. The humor is I found out because the person putting this ad has contacted me about the reservation. I have changed the locks and informed security at the property. I do not know how long my property has been advertised on Airbnb and of any damages from this fraud. My point is it’s not safe to rent from Airbnb, and I hope this is a reminder for guests of Airbnb to be careful booking with them. Simply irresponsible.

Evicted by Owners Illegally Converting to Airbnb Hotel

In June 2017, my apartment building was sold to new owners. Within two weeks, the new owners converted one full apartment in the building into an Airbnb, which is illegal if the host is not present in NYC. Day and night, guests cycled in and out of the building. They were loud, rude, and unneighborly. By the first week of July, the owners served my family, who have lived in the building for seven years, with an eviction notice, as well as the other long-time tenants of the building. It is September and our former apartment is now listed on Airbnb. Rather than being a year-round apartment for a family, it allows visitors to treat a place where people live and work as a playground. Airbnb has allowed building owners to turn apartments into hotels, destroying neighborhoods, communities, and worsening housing availability and affordability in a city with a 2% vacancy rate.