Sexually Assaulted at Owner-Occupied Airbnb

Has anyone else been sexually accosted and verbally harassed in an Airbnb by their hosts? I am a single, professional executive female who travels domestically (US) and internationally extensively. I recently stayed in an owner-occupied Airbnb in Denver. This was my first time sharing a residence, though have been renting “entire place” Airbnbs for 5-6 years now.

In Denver, it’s now apparently illegal to short-term rent your space (it’s a felony) unless you – the owner – live inside the home as your primary residence. This made me a bit nervous, to share a residence with a stranger, as a single woman traveling alone, so I specifically looked for either woman-owned or couple-owned places. I found one owned by a male and female together. I was able to Google them based on their info on Airbnb and discovered the woman was an elected official in Denver, so felt even more comfortable renting a room there.

The first night I showed up, only the male owner and his male nephew were there. I arrived about 7:30 PM on a weeknight, only to find the owner seemingly very drunk (8-10 beer bottles on the kitchen counter). He showed me to my private room (note: in the listing, they do not say that they rent out up to three bedrooms at a time in their home, and all guests – so up to six – share one small bathroom) and when I came back downstairs to make some food in the shared kitchen, found the owner smoking pot (which is legal here in CO, and they do note in their listing that they are “420-friendly.”)

He began asking me about my kids, asked to see photos of my gay sons and said he’d like to “eat something as delicious as your boys sound.” Sadly, things got much worse from there. The female owner was out of town for the first half of my stay, and when I mentioned on my second day there that I needed to do a load of laundry (access to W/D is in their listing), I was told I “better hurry and get it done before [female owner] gets back home – she doesn’t like people in the basement and doesn’t like people using her things. Just do the laundry now and don’t tell her you did it.”

The female owner did return from her travels. I barely met her for a few minutes as I was not comfortable in the home, so was staying in my rented bedroom with the door locked most of the time (there were huge festivals and conventions in Denver that week, so nowhere else to move/rent).

One night when I knew the owners were out, I came downstairs to make some food and work on my laptop. The female owner came home while I was cooking, and had clearly been drinking. She continued to drink, began insulting me for being a single mother, asked why I had so many kids, how I got so many gay kids (implying I’d done something “wrong” to have this outcome), etc.

I was doing my best to exit the conversation and go back to my bedroom when the female owner got into my personal space, said “I’m going to kiss you now,” and before anything even registered, she grabbed my face with both her hands and kissed me full-on on the lips, then began crying. I made an escape to my room, very shaken.

I left their property less than 36 hours later for good (as soon as I could), but not before the male owner (fiance of the female owner) apologized for her behavior, asked if I’d sit and talk with her and said she had just begun trauma counseling – that was why she was blackout drunk, put her hands (and lips) on me and had said so many inappropriate, discriminatory things.

I did report them to Airbnb as soon as I left. They assigned a case manager to me, and I explained how traumatizing the whole experience is, as I am a sexual assault survivor from an incident with a work colleague in 2015. All Airbnb did was to refund my stay, say they’d look into it, and then cut off all communications with me. Both my attorney and I have repeatedly tried to reach Airbnb via email and phone and cannot get anyone to address my continued issues. It’s been two months now since the incident. If anyone has any advice based on similar experiences with Airbnb, please do share.

A Laundry Room is not a “Private Room”

Due to being desperate to find affordable housing in LA during the summer, I settled for the next best thing: Airbnb. At the time it seemed like a huge step up from where I had previously stayed (a six-person dorm in what seemed like a large renovated tool shed with no windows and sketchy guests). Now it’s just getting ridiculous.

Again, I had decided to stay in this Airbnb because I was literally desperate for some peace of mind, and I thought, “Hey, considering how many people potentially live in this Airbnb, they’re not going to do laundry every day“… except they basically are.

It seems that the hosts/property managers clean for other houses (what I am assuming other Airbnbs that they own), so they basically use this laundry room pretty consistently. There are usually two days at most in the week where they aren’t? If they aren’t using the room, then other guests usually need to wash their laundry. I rarely have privacy.

There seem to be a slew of other questionable things the “hosts” do. I have noticed the roommate of the host has spammed positive reviews on every listing they’ve put on Airbnb. I put “hosts” in quotation marks because the whole thing is confusing in of itself. I’ve never met the actual hosts in person; I’ve only met the property manager, who has access to the hosts’ account.

Another guest and I often wondered if said property manager and host are the same person but under a different name. Not to mention how the property manager thought I voted for Trump for some reason when I first got there. It became like a hyperfixation for them. They would always mention it as like a “gotcha” moment, but I never did. It always just came off as confusing at first but then got annoying when I was just trying to get on with my day.

They once used my contact information to even text me a picture of Trump. They also did the text thing to a former guest I roomed with at around the same time we stayed, and when said guest replied with ‘lol’, the property manager asked him who he voted for. I feel like there are a lot of other things that I have forgotten to mention, but it would take a while to remember what other stuff I tolerated.

I am not entirely sure what I can do at this point to be honest. If there is anything you can take from this just please don’t support these hosts’ listings. They’re weird, and kinda sketchy. I am also genuinely tired of Airbnb as a platform. I have never had a good experience with Airbnb, and considering how it has proven to be one of the major factors for how messed up the housing situation has become in the US, I wish it would get trashed as a whole.

Airbnb Host Nightmare: Cancellation Penalty for Hosts

A few days ago I relisted my two properties on Airbnb. I was not able to link my channel manager to Airbnb and had issues logging in to the Airbnb system. I kept requesting a password reset and never got any reset link. I contacted my channel manager and they were not helpful, saying I had to log in to Airbnb to sort the problem.

I finally logged in. To my horror, I had 14 booking received within a few days, all confirmed with dates and availability that were not correct. I had the nightmare of contacting all these people and be ashamed to say we had technical issues. To my horror, for each booking that I cancelled, I had to pay a penalty of 50 dollars. Do the math for 14 booking and see how much I had to pay Airbnb for cancelling.

I had no email confirmation for any of these bookings and no notification or any chance to accept or deny any of these bookings. Some of the guests were very helpful and some just pain and unhelpful. Airbnb technical issues turned into nightmare and Airbnb has no compassion to not change the penalty when you have a genuine problem. I had no idea about any booking or how to fix the problem. Not happy at all.

How Can an Airbnb Host Control Mother Nature?

Being relatively new to hosting, I am very proud of my five-star rating. Then on my last guest for the year, everything went wrong. The guest texted me that the internet was down. With this being the day before Thanksgiving, a repairman was not happening. Neither the guest nor Airbnb could understand. I was told it was my responsibility that all amenities should work on check-in; therefore, I was breaking a policy.

I pleaded, “How can I control Mother Nature?”

I went to the newspapers and found proof of the storm. 3700 peoples’ electricity was still down smack in the middle of where my house was. In the meantime, the security system which also controls the furnace and door adjacent kept sending me messages that the thermostat was at 80 degrees, and multiple doors were open. I again asked Airbnb for support and there was nothing.

After I could get into the home for inspection, I found tremendous damage. The router had been unplugged and affected the security system so the outside security cameras were off. I found locked areas broken into and rummaged through: two broken door handles, a door that was sealed shut, broken open. I had cabinets zip-tied that were off limits. They removed all the ties and used all the dishes. My fresh painted walls were scuffed so much, I have to repaint. Canned goods gotten into that were locked up.

I call this vandalism. I cannot get Airbnb to help me with making the guest responsible for their actions. I came to find out the router was unplugged. These people were looking for a free ride. Perks were already handed out like one free night as a gift at a lowered rate.

Airbnb Host Falsely Accuses Guest of Theft

I stayed at a place in Lyon, France I booked on Airbnb. The host was in fact not an individual but representative of a company called Flat Fish, which manages a bunch of apartments in Lyon. I left the apartment in great shape, following all the checkout instructions.

The host wrote to me the next day (about 24 hours later) saying a radio was missing. I wrote back that I am not responsible (I did not even turn it on during my stay; I don’t know if it was working or not).

The host later filed a claim for 700 euros through the Airbnb resolution center. Doesn’t this sound like a scam? The evidence they presented was a photo of a table with nothing on it, saying “the radio was there.” I think it’s likely that other people (cleaners, property owners) entered the apartment after I left and before the host entered, but for some reason they accused me.

The host may not be in on this, but still she’s becoming an accessory. I am a model citizen, with a great career, no criminal record, no financial problems, and zero debt. Still, Airbnb took this seriously and are investigating it. This is not like I spilled coffee on their white sofa, what they are accusing me of is a crime, a serious theft. Shouldn’t they have gone to the police instead?

I really enjoyed using Airbnb in the last 4-5 years on more than ten occasions, but if they side with the host here then I would definitely not like to take such a risk again. What do you guys think?

Airbnb Apartment on Active Building Site

I booked an apartment on Airbnb in Bugibba, Malta based on the description and location. The location was given to me by Google Maps coordinates and I was instructed to meet a rep there who would take me to the apartment. However, when she picked me up she took me to an entirely different area. The apartment was unfinished and in the middle of an active building site with workers carrying out work in front of the apartment.

I told the rep that this was not acceptable and to contact the host, which I did. He told me that he may have an alternative. As it was getting dark, I had to use the apartment as I had no alternative accommodations.

That evening as my wife and I attempted to go out for a meal we found it was impossible as there was builder rubble strewn about the area and no street lighting. We had not eaten since breakfast but it was impossible to leave the area. My wife and I are both in our 80s and diabetic so going without food was dangerous.

The next morning I contacted the host and told him we were moving out as it was dangerous to walk in the area, Explaining that the previous evening we had not been able to walk in the area. His response was “What can I do? Do you want me to come with a torch?”

This apartment should not have been rented out and giving an incorrect location is fraudulent. I am now in a different apartment at considerable expense to myself and when I requested my money back was just told no.

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Shooting Inside and Outside my Airbnb Home

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On June 28th, my Airbnb was vandalized by a customers’ boyfriend and friends, who had no permission to stay at my home. The customer rented my Airbnb, and to my dismay, a wild party was thrown. I was alerted by my house manager that the house wasn’t fit for the guests who were supposed to check in at 4:00 PM, because it had been vandalized.

When I saw the damage on FaceTime, I was appalled. The house was riddled with bullet holes in the walls, broken furniture, feces and urine on the walls and floors, and old food in a majority of the rooms. The sink and tub were backed up. I used an upstairs attic as storage for my electronics, including televisions, house wares, food and cleaning supplies, linens, etc. Unfortunately, all of those items were stolen as well. That attic was off limits as it was written in my contract.

After watching outside video of the party, I was shocked to see the violent gunshots, and physical confrontations that took place throughout their stay. I contacted Airbnb, and I waited patiently for them to reach a resolution; I was ignored so I turned to social media, with hopes of gaining exposure for this ill treatment.

Finally, I received an email on August 19th that stated that an adjuster would come out to assess the damage. I decided to sell the home because of the negative connotations attached to it, fearing that the perpetrators may try to come back again especially since they’ve been sighted on more than one occasion driving by the home.

Airbnb never contacted me via phone. I received an email on October 19th, nearly a month after the insurance adjuster showed up on September 30th. By that time, I had fixed the walls, plumbing and some of the furniture that was salvageable, and the rest had to be discarded.

I feel as if Airbnb didn’t execute the situation in a timely or professional manner. They lack compassion for their customers, and instead of finding a resolution, they kept sending my case to a new customer agent instead of paying me for my huge loss.

Almost left stranded in California with nowhere to stay

I strongly suggest anyone who has also had terrible experiences with Airbnb to file complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and the Attorney General of your own state or California. Trying to contact Airbnb has been the single worst customer service experience ever in my entire life. Their poor service is creating danger for individuals both in the state of California, nationwide, and worldwide.

This business poses a threat to the safety of citizens because they do not respond to clients who book with them in a timely manner, their customer service agents hang up calls, and they refuse to resolve issues with locked accounts/verification even when people are stranded with nowhere to stay at night because of their poor processes and poor technology. I can only provide my story here, but there are countless others accumulating online from people who have been left out of luck, stranded, and in some cases have come to personal harm and dangerous situations due to Airbnb’s procedures and their horrendous customer service.

On October 31st, I moved out of an Airbnb which my friend had booked for us. I have stayed at two Airbnb’s: one near Temecula, CA and another at Big Bear Lake, CA. Trying to book one for myself, I immediately ran into issues in which their system could not verify my phone number and locked me out even when I had service.

I tried calling them and explained I was a customer and unable to book with their service due to technical issues. If they didn’t get their issue of my phone number being verified fixed then I would need to book a hotel for the night and incur an unnecessary expense.

The agent was unable to do anything to help me get my phone number verified so that I could book an Airbnb. Despite a manager saying that hopefully I would not have to book a hotel room and it would not come to this, I never heard back and ended up incurring an expense of around $82 to book a room at a cheap motel, which was the last option I could find because they never got back to me as promised.

The next day I tried contacting someone again and was told by an agent that she would work on it and send me an email. Lo and behold, the next day without receiving any followup from anyone from Airbnb I suddenly found out I could verify my phone number successfully with Airbnb, and I went to book a reservation. The host I stayed at was great and I got a good night’s rest for two nights with the first Airbnb I booked myself, but I thought it was poor service that no one followed up with me and that I was left to deal with their faulty systems on my own.

My main issues with Airbnb which entails my primary formal complaint I filed with the BBB began today, November 3rd. I am currently booking a place to stay for a month near Corona, CA, I found a listing on their website and contacted the host, who said he would get back to me. The host would not be ready for me in the evening, so in the meantime I booked another Airbnb at a nearby location in Chino, CA for the evening, and for the next day in case the first host could not accommodate me and I would need to find another living situation.

Later the same day, the host of the other Airbnb got back to me and let me know I could come tomorrow. My reservation for the night also messaged me and said I could check myself in with a door code through the Airbnb app. Thirty minutes after this message, around approximately 7:30 PM PST I became mysteriously locked out of the Airbnb app and website due to “security reasons.”

Because I was locked out of the app I could no longer message the host or see the door code to get in to my reservation to stay for the evening. I tried calling Airbnb’s customer service and the first person hung up on me/the call dropped. The second person said she would mark it as “urgent” and it would be handled by a proper team.

I explained this issue needed a resolution tonight so that I would be able to message the host I had already paid for, a sum of $95 in order to get into the room I had booked and paid for. The agent said someone would be contacting me shortly by phone/email and hung up the call. Thirty minutes later I had no response and was standing outside in the cold with no way to get into my booking because the code to enter my reservation was inside their app which they had locked me out of for “security reasons.”

I tried calling back to which another agent I asked for help. She stated she would look into it, placed me on hold for five minutes, got me back on the line, and said she could not do anything. I asked to talk to somebody else. She said she had one more thing to look into, then she placed me on hold, and after five minutes of hold time, the call was dropped.

Because I knew the address I was able to find the host’s phone number and contact them directly so that I would have a place to stay tonight. However, my Airbnb account is still locked and I am unable to use their service which I have paid for. I have never in my life been treated so poorly from call center agents, and I saw it all because I used to work in customer service.

This is not how you treat people, Airbnb. We demand justice.

Another Person Staying in my Booked Airbnb

My worst Airbnb experience happened in Tours, France. I arrived around 21:00 to pick up the key from the box to the apartment just to find out there was no key from it and there was already someone staying in the same apartment. The other guest was surprised too. It happened that this other guest had a cousin living in the same town, so she left the apartment for me.

At first I was happy that I didn’t have to look for another place to stay… until I entered the dirty apartment. There was hair on the sheet, wet towels, and crumbs on the table. The host promised me clean sheets just the next day, but she gave me a refund for a one-night stay. The most ironic part is I got a bad review stating that I left the apartment dirty. I left it the same as I found it and a cleaning fee was included. Not recommended.

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Locked in Small, Disgusting Airbnb Room

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I rented a small room through Airbnb. It certainly was the stay from hell. The sheets were filthy. The room was filthy. There was a safety issue with the keys; I was locked in my room for three hours and unable to get out. I was terrified. All attempts to contact the owners – phone calls, texts – were ignored.

Although there may be many good reviews on the property this was not my experience. The owner attempted to bribe me with a cheap bottle of champagne to not write a negative review on Airbnb, stating he was a politician in Brugge and didn’t want any negative reviews attached to his name.

Shortly after arriving at the Airbnb, I went to sleep before heading out for the evening. Pulling back the sheets, it was obvious they had not been changed: the pillows had hair on them, and the sheets were crushed and filthy. I guess someone had slept in them with shoes on, bits of grass, dirt, gravel.

I called the owners. They promised to come over and change sheets immediately. Three hours later I called the host to ask why she had not arrived as promised. She rudely stated, “I have more important things to do. I have to pick up my child from school.”

If you can’t manage to juggle your business and your family life, then don’t become an Airbnb host, and certainly don’t lie to guests. When I said I would not sleep in filthy sheets she rudely said she would send a cleaner over to change the sheets, which she could have done in the first place.

The cleaner arrived an hour later, four hours from my initial call. The cleaner was shocked when she viewed the sheets and promised to inform the owners. She also agreed that the floors had not been vacuumed, the toilet had certainly not been cleaned or flushed, and the basin had not been wiped – it was disgusting, with old soap and toothpaste left. The shower had not been wiped clean. This room had obviously been missed.

The following morning I had planned to head out for a walk early but was unable to unlock the door after trying numerous times. I called both owners for help and sent texts but they were ignored. Three hours later, the cleaning staff arrived. I had to yell from my room for help. The staff acknowledged that this was an ongoing issue and both owners were fully aware of the safety issue regarding the key and had done nothing. The cleaning staff told me they had had previous issues with guests being locked in this room before.

Shortly later as I was packing my bag to leave, I could hear the host speaking with a staff member in the garden/courtyard below my room chastising the staff member for not cleaning the room or changing the sheets. He spoke to her at length and I heard all of this conversation. Yet the host stated the sheets had been changed and I was overreacting and not staying calm regarding the keys. Instead of taking responsibility and simply apologising for the mistake, they chose to shame me in an attempt to make themselves look better.

Later as I was leaving the property the host approached me and attempted to tell me why the room had not been cleaned. He offered no apology, just “My wife is a very busy person and doesn’t always have time to clean the room between guests.” He then went on to hand me a bottle of champagne -which I refused – as a bribe to stay quiet, begging me to not put a negative review on Airbnb as he was a local politician in Brugge and did not want any negative reviews against his name.

Their review on me was completely dishonest in an attempt to protect themselves and their tardiness and deflect any responsibility. I was disgusted and disappointed by these hosts: unprofessional, dishonest and simply low-lifes. Do not stay at here. Absolutely the room and hosts from hell.