I’ve been at a reservation for over two months now in Washington. Recently the landlady tried to buy the entire house out of her contracts and everyone refused. She then proceeded to start construction which has resulted in utilities being cut off on a regular basis. I took pictures and videos of the construction and complained to Airbnb. Wanna know what they did?
They called me about a week later telling me I had to get out and I would be refunded for the time I haven’t stayed yet. I said “no”, that I wouldn’t be leaving, and any attempt to kick me out could be argued in a court of law as an illegal eviction. I told them because I was already there for over two months I qualified as a tenant I didn’t actually have to leave if they forced me out.
The Airbnb support person told me if I didn’t get out by the end of the day I would be trespassing and the police would get involved. I mentioned how I would be contacting the police and an attorney to sue them if they moved forward.
She responded: “This is our policy so it’s fine.”
Me: “If a policy is in violation of state law the state will just ignore it.”
Her: “You can contact your lawyers and do what you want. We are a 25 billion dollar company and this is our policy.”
Me: “What about the Airbnb policy that states that if a home is unlivable or there’s unnecessary construction the guest gets a refund? What about the Airbnb policy?”
Her: Makes a comment about my tone and says she will be looking at the pictures I sent.
She put me on hold and it became very clear she had no idea what she was doing. She offered me $100 and to pay me back for the nights I haven’t stayed yet. I told her, “No. I’m not going to accept that. You can’t force me to take compensation I don’t believe is adequate and if you’re going to move forward with these actions I would like an explicit email acknowledging the fact that I did not agree to your terms. I will be contacting the police and an attorney.”
She said, “Sure, whatever,” mentioned my tone again, and hung up.
In the meantime, I contacted the police non-emergency number and they said they would call me back. It had been about two minutes since I spoke with Airbnb and they called me back.
Same support woman: “Your host is thinking about changing her mind but she says construction will continue. You can stay if you’re okay with the construction.”
Me: “I’m not okay with construction but if you allow me to stay I will.”
Her: “Well, why do you want to stay if there’s construction? She said you can stay if you’re okay with it and she will continue to shut off the water.”
Me: “Because I believe what she is doing is illegal and if I stay I’ll be able to collect damages in a court of law. Additionally if you kick me out right now I’ll be thrown on the street so even if you allow me to stay I will be suing her at this point. You don’t have to mention how I’ll be suing her.”
She hung up again, and said she would tell the host I wanted to “continue my reservation.” What a nice way of saying I didn’t want to spend the night on the streets. How kind of her.
In the meantime I finally got in touch with the police and explained the situation: how she decided to kick me out once I complained about the construction, and how I’m a tenant due to the way I’ve rented. He asked if I’d received mail at the property. I explained I had received some mail there. He then got upset and said, “Okay, so who am I talking to? I need a phone number.”
I gave him the landlady’s phone number. He called me five minutes later and told me she was no longer evicting me and she “changed her mind.”
I’m going to be suing. At this point in considering suing Airbnb too. The dumbest part is I have pictures of all of the construction and even messages from the landlady confirming when I complained and that the construction is renovations and not repairs necessary to the property.