Two Last Minute Cancellations and a Noisy Apartment

Six weeks ahead of our family Christmas vacation to Peru, we booked two Airbnb listings. One was to be the same place twice for a total of five nights (with a short excursion to another place in between) and the others for a single night in Lima before leaving to go home. Fortunately, I had the sense to book a hotel for our first night in the country after getting off our international flight late at night and the hotels for our excursion were handled by our local guide.

Four days before our trip, our first reservation was cancelled. The host messaged me and said that he is new to Airbnb and didn’t know how the system worked, that he shouldn’t have confirmed the booking in the first place because he would be away leading a tour that week. Four days before our trip, we had no place for our family of seven to stay in a popular tourist destination during the holidays. The host was very unsympathetic to our situation.

We managed to find two separate bookings for the stay on either end of our stay, both at a higher rate than we’d originally had, and neither was an entire apartment like we had booked before. There were not any places left that were a single unit for a family. The first booking turned out to be a small local B&B that was nice and friendly, but not what we’d been planning on originally and at a higher cost.

While we were packing up to leave for our excursion, I got a message from our next host on the other end of the excursion that just said, “I’m sorry. Family emergency,” and the booking was cancelled. When this second one canceled for New Year’s weekend, I began to believe that they had found other folks willing to pay more or were giving the space to family or friends instead. I could be wrong. Maybe I’m just that unlucky. However, it was highly suspect.

Fortunately, the little B&B we were just preparing to leave had room for us and we were able to book privately with them and just take a refund from Airbnb on that second reservation, even though on their Airbnb page, it didn’t look like they had space that weekend. When we arrived to our last night’s location, I was very gun-shy about the whole Airbnb thing after the last minute cancellations. I had a little more hope for this place because the host was a “superhost”.

The host (who was listed as speaking English and Spanish and with whom I’d had conversations in English on Airbnb messaging) had informed me that he would be out of town while we were there and his sister would meet us and let us in. I called the sister immediately when we landed to confirm that were weren’t going to be left high and dry again. Both the host and his sister were very sweet, but his sister’s English was about as good as my Spanish, so we had a difficult time communicating.

The apartment was neat and clean, and we even had one more bed than expected. The neighborhood was a little sketchier than we expected and we had trouble finding a restaurant or grocery store because of our communication gap with the host’s sister. (Again, not her fault, but if the listing says the host speaks English, the host’s representative should too.) We managed to figure that all out, but our kids were shot by the end of the day and walking around trying to find food with three cranky kids in a foreign country is not exactly relaxing, to say the least.

That night, we decided to turn in early to reset for our last day in Lima. And at around 8:30 PM, a party started in the apartment downstairs. It seemed to be a child’s birthday party or something. There was little to no sound protection between apartments, and there were no fewer than a dozen loud voices loudly shouting and talking, including small children running around and screaming until just before midnight. I can certainly understand and tolerate some amount of kid noise. We knew there was a family downstairs in the apartment below us. But after spending the whole trip reminding my own kids about manners when there are other people in the building, the screaming children downstairs until midnight was inexcusable.

Our kids were crying because they were tired and couldn’t sleep with the noise. Our host was out of town, so I couldn’t communicate through messenger. My only recourse would be to call his sister at night and try to explain to her in my terrible Spanish what was happening and ask what to do about it. Since we were, admittedly, trying to turn in early that day, I figured I’d give them a little time. By around 10:30 PM, they quieted and we all breathed a sigh of relief… until a half hour later when they started back up. At this point, I didn’t want to call the host’s sister that late at night, so I went to Airbnb customer service who basically said, “Sorry. Should have video taped it. Hope you have a better experience next time.”

Next time? That’s cute, guys. After two last-minute cancellations on a family of seven over a holiday and a night of no sleep because of noisy neighbors at what was listed as a “quiet apartment”, there is no chance of there being a “next time”. In my tired, sleep deprived state, trying to comfort my kids to get them to sleep, video taping a party downstairs wasn’t exactly something that occurred to me to do.

There is no way Airbnb was worth the few dollars we saved. Save yourself the trouble and the headache of trying to book things last minute or the chance of getting super noisy neighbors and just book a hotel. Buy a Lonely Planet Guide for where you are headed, and check out TripAdvisor. That is how we always traveled in the past and that is how we will always travel in the future.

Bad Experience at Noisy Airbnb in Hong Kong

I booked a one-bedroom apartment for a three-night stay in Hong Kong. The reviews were good, and although it was somewhat pricey (the equivalent of £100 a night), I knew that prices would be high in HK, and ‘sucked it up’.

The flat consisted of a bedroom, a small living room with an open kitchenette and a small bathroom. I assumed the owner rented it out all the time. It dawned on me later that she actually lived there, and moved elsewhere when she had a booking. The street, described as ‘quiet’ though with a little noise from a restaurant downstairs, was actually a party street with bars and restaurants open until the early hours every night. People would stand outside, smoking, laughing, and shouting.

Worse than this noise though, was the racket made by the ancient window-mounted air conditioner. The owner said it was a little noisy and needed servicing. That was an understatement – it was like a diesel engine rumbling away making enough noise to wake the dead. At times it started to pulsate and make the whole room vibrate. If the owner knew it was problematic, why didn’t she have it fixed before I arrived and paid £2,100 up front for my stay? Not using the aircon was not an option since it was so darn hot. I managed to sleep with the aid of earplugs.

I am a vegan, so wanted to cook my own food. Impossible – there were no pots and pans. There was no connected stove (a non-working gas ring). Even the microwave was useless since the power cord would not reach the plug socket. The windows were also filthy; you could barely see outside. The owner cleaned them one day, after I complained. I left after five nights and asked for a refund, but guess what? They only refund 50% of your rental fee. I wrote a damning review which Airbnb edited. All they posted was ‘amenities need improving’.

Is Airbnb really that selective that they censor renters’ reviews? I checked in to a serviced apartment. For an extra £10 a night I get a lovely serviced room and use of the residents’ gym and laundry room. Never again, Airbnb. Never again.

Can I Give a Negative Rating for this Airbnb?

If I could have put zero stars I would have. My partner was staying in this particular Airbnb home (Eccles, Manchester) for what should’ve been a month. We asked the host (who wasn’t living with us) if it would be okay for me to visit. She agreed it was fine – no more money would need to be paid as long as we asked the tenants. She had asked them and said it was fine.

I came to stay for the planned two weeks, bought advance train tickets, and planned what we were going to do as I was primarily there to support her. I usually work from home via a Ltd company which is great for me as I’m disabled. One night – I think it was a Wednesday – my partner invited her cousin and best friend over for a meal and to hang out for no longer than an hour. As usual, the noise got a little loud but no louder than a group of three girls usually get; they thought nothing of it as they believed no one else was there. One of the tenants flung open his bedroom door and started swearing and shouting, claiming we were taking the piss and he had to be at work early the next day.

After that we all moved into the small double bedroom. Realising that wasn’t going to work, her cousin and best friend left. After that the atmosphere in the house became passively hostile and unpleasant. The tenants refused to talk to us about what happened, claiming we had no respect and that I was staying there illegally. They told the host that either we would have to go or they would… it was awkward the whole time we stayed. They didn’t say a word to us when we did our best to apologize and just be pleasant.

The room itself was damp. It smelt of dampness. The heating, which we couldn’t control, wasn’t on long enough to dry clothes. We’re moving to another Airbnb in Manchester this evening however we don’t have much hope that it’ll be any better than this (and we’ve confirmed with the host in writing that I’ll be staying too).

I urge anyone who is thinking of using Airbnb anywhere to just not do it. It’s cheap for a reason. The rooms are poor quality and if you happen to live with tenants they will make your life miserable. Don’t use Airbnb; you’d be happier sleeping on the street.

Airbnb Party Houses Are Out of Control

“I’m in hell. This is hell and I’m in it.”

That was the second to last complaint I left with Airbnb about the McMansion next door. The last one I just left a few minutes ago, at three o’clock in the morning on a Friday. I have to get to work in a few hours. I live in a residential area of Los Angeles. There’s a high school nearby, lots of homes and apartments, and it’s comfortably far from noisy areas and nightclubs. Within the past couple years, one of the properties right behind our apartment complex underwent construction, and when it was completed there was a massive open-plan mansion there. Just kind of wedged in among the other houses. It’s a quaint little neighborhood just off of Melrose.

Walled off, it’s like a fortress that you can’t see into, but you can certainly hear everything happening within. There’s a large pool area and a patio in the back, about ten or fifteen feet from the bedroom windows of every rear-facing apartment in our building, and you can hear the rushing of the swimming pool’s water feature with your windows closed. That’s actually quite nice… it’s like camping near a tiny, douchebag waterfall.

When there are guests staying there, you can hear the water feature and literally everything else, and that’s why I’m in hell. The property owner rents this property out at $600 a night. That attracts two types of clientele: people pooling their cash and looking for a place to party, and rich douchebags. The difference between the two groups is negligible. No matter who the guest is, it always results in some form of party, with shouting, blaring music, and general assholery until around four o’clock in the morning on any given night. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Saturday or a Tuesday.

These people paid $600 to party in a mansion in our back yard and – by god – they’re going to make the most of it. We can close all of our windows and crank up the volume if we want to watch a movie and it makes no difference; the noise carries so well and so aggressively that any music or shouting drowns us out in our own home. It’s like they’re bringing the party into our apartment, into our living room, into our laps, sitting right down and screaming in our faces.

To escape the noise, I’ve devised a lot of tactics, mostly involving a variety of white-noise devices and noise-cancelling headphones. What a future we live in. Several people in my apartment building have complained, either to the police or to Airbnb. It’s not like we were expecting much, but Airbnb somehow exceeded our expectations in not giving a single f#$k about us or our complaints. The police – I was told the last time I called – are generally putting up with too high a volume of calls to deal with noise complaints.

The property owner, who lives (I think) in France most of the year, is the kind of guy who charges $600 a night for strangers to party in his party mansion, so his capacity for caring about whether or not his neighbors sleep at night is buried away somewhere in the wretched cavity of his decomposing soul. One of our neighbors was talking about going to the local courthouse, but as of yet, nothing has materialized there.

I spent an hour one night just trying to make contact with the guests who were having the world’s loudest bachelorette party. Or maybe it was a birthday party. Or maybe I don’t give a f#$k what it was. All I really care about was the five hours of shrill screaming that started at 7:00 PM and somehow lasted throughout the entire night. I discovered that the wall surrounding the mansion is apparently very good at letting noise escape, but also very good at keeping noise out. I shouted, I pounded, I shouted some more. The front gate was locked, of course, and it wasn’t until the next day and I was speaking to a neighbor that I discovered the property owner had disconnected the front gate’s buzzer, so that if you buzz it for an hour in the middle of the night, no one inside the mansion can hear it. Ultimately, I wound up scaling one of the property’s walls in order to get the attention of the guests so they might be so kind as to shut up. Great times, all around.

The long and the short of the matter is, the poor suckers who live in my apartment complex – all of whom have jobs we need to be rested for, some of us having children who definitely do not manage well when they don’t sleep – are living within ten feet of a nightclub. A shitty, horrible nightclub. For me, the ordeal will be over on the 15th of December. That’s when I can move into a new place in a different part of town, where I’ll be able to sleep at night. My roommate is moving out on the 8th. For a moment we entertained the notion of sticking out the rest of the month, like normal people living in a normal apartment, but there’s nothing normal about this. There’s nothing normal at all about this. This is hell. I’m in hell.

Airbnb Considers a Loud Air Conditioner an Extenuating Circumstance

About six months ago I had a six-month reservation that was cancelled because we didn’t reply to Airbnb within one hour. Our listing was listed with a strict cancelation policy which states that we don’t offer refunds if the guest chooses to cancel. However, our guest was sensitive to the noise of the air conditioner in our apartment and there was a cockroach (we live in New York). Airbnb determined this to be extenuating circumstance and canceled on our behalf.

Since then we’ve been having issues because apparently, we owe Airbnb the one month’s rent that was paid out after the first night. We actually ended up losing over $20,000 with this reservation, considering we had to cancel our lease, forfeit our security deposit, and hire last minute help to vacate our apartment in just three days before leaving for our six-month trip around Asia which we planned during the rental.

Airbnb has been our main source of accommodations. In fact, just three days ago we were not allowed into Taiwan because our visa got declined and even in these circumstances, when we contacted Airbnb they said we needed to give the host 24 hours to reply and explained that it’s up to the host whether to give us a refund. This was indeed an extenuating circumstance listed on Airbnb’s policy (as we literally were not allowed into the country), but Airbnb still stood by the host’s cancellation policy.

Every time we had issues over the course of our travels, Airbnb gave the hosts 24 hours to fix them and placed us in a hotel for the night while the problems were resolved. In our case, Airbnb canceled our six-month strict cancelation policy reservation because we didn’t answer them within one hour while the guest did confirm we were in contact with her, trying to fix the issue – which seems extremely wrong.

All problems aside, last month we booked a place in the Philippines for three weeks and the apartment had multiple electricity issues for many of the days we were there: meaning we couldn’t cook, there was no internet, no lights, no hot water, etc. We contacted Airbnb and they placed us in a hotel for three days which they said would be refunded. However, now they are saying we owe them the first month’s rent that was paid out for the 6-month reservation in June (which they cancelled without our consent) and that they won’t refund us for the hotel stays. We think this is completely wrong and we wanted to hear anyone’s thoughts.

According to Airbnb’s policy, it’s up to the host to set their cancellation policy; we had set ours to Strict, which meant that the guest does not get a refund unless we decide to give them one. There’s also another policy that applies for 28 nights or more, the long-term cancellation policy. If a guest changes or cancels a long-term reservation their first payment is non-refundable. If they cancel after the trip has started, the remaining nights in their reservation are non-refundable. If they have more than 30 nights left in their reservation, only the next 30 nights are non-refundable.

Looking into the extenuating circumstances policy established by Airbnb, it states that deaths, illness, injury to the guests, ability to travel, natural disaster, urgent travel restrictions, endemic diseases, severe proper damage and government-mandated obligations are the reasons why Airbnb would be able to cancel a reservation without the host’s approval. The reasons why this was canceled does not fall into this scenario at all. A loud air conditioner and a cockroach does not sound life threatening to me.

Keep in mind, this guest actually came to the apartment prior to booking it on two separate occasions to determine if it was suitable for their stay and heard and saw the air conditioner. We gave them a full tour and walk through and even rearranged some decorations after their request, which says a lot about our commitment and quality provided to our guests. We have hosted many people before and maintain a 4.8 rating, whereas this person was a completely new user with no reviews. Not only that, none of our past guests (some of which stayed just a week prior to this guest) mentioned any of the problems which she claimed made our apartment uninhabitable.

That being said, the cancellation of this reservation violates Airbnb’s policy as none of her reasons fell into the extenuating circumstances clause and we were not given the standard 24 hours to seek a resolution for the issues. After consulting with our legal team, it seems we have very strong grounds to sue Airbnb up for these losses. We did in fact let it go at the time but considering it is being raised again as an issue of us owning money to Airbnb I think it is worth pointing out that this cancellation was not done by the book in any means.

Regardless, it’s completely unprofessional to have an agent email us confirming they would refund three nights in a hotel and then be told after the stay that the refund would not be granted because of a balance owed for a reservation six months ago, which we were never informed of. I’m sure this is against their policies as well. At the very least, it’s an extremely disorganized an unprofessional way to treat loyal Airbnb users as hosts and guests.

How would you handle this? What would you do in our shoes?

Airbnb Hosts Not Always Truthful if it Makes Them Money

I worked for a while for someone who permanently rents out about eight rooms on Airbnb. It appears it is not clear to the guests that the host has many rooms that are perpetually rented out through Airbnb, as some of them complain about this after their stay. I think they expect to get just the one room that would be rented out and more interaction with the host, but that isn’t the case.

Some of the rooms do not have locks on the door; this is also something that isn’t communicated to the guests before they arrive. The host doesn’t leave honest reviews about guests if they’ve been bad because the host doesn’t want to receive bad reviews either; this throws a monkey wrench in the review system which, in this case, is bad for other hosts because they might accept a booking from someone who’s been a terrible guest elsewhere without knowing it.

Some of the rooms are very old and noisy, or the window might be permanently shut. The building is old which is the reason for some of these defects but the rooms are still quite pricey in my opinion. Some of the guests that have been there during the time I was working for my boss behaved badly, so as a host, you need to be wary as well. I believe hosts and guests need to be honest about the quality and condition of the room and the nature of the household in addition to leaving honest reviews about their stay.

I’ve had some bad experience as an Airbnb guest myself with hosts not accepting my booking even though the days I wanted were available (this wastes my time), and a host accepting my booking but telling me that not all days of my booking were available after she had already accepted it. This meant I had to cancel and find something else (Airbnb was good in giving me money back though).

This host had no reviews and made me never book with someone with no reviews again. I personally stopped using Airbnb as a guest (I never hosted) when they demanded I upload a scan of my ID. I had nothing but positive reviews from hosts so I do not see the need for me to prove my identity.

I think Airbnb is ruining many inner cities. For instance, my former boss used to rent out the rooms on a longer term basis to students, but with Airbnb, they are able to make more money. This means desperately needed housing for students and young people is taken out of the pool because students would not be able to pay the much higher rent if they would want to rent these rooms on a long-term basis at their current price (in the Airbnb settings).

I also think Airbnb is unfair competition. Hotels are expensive and I think it’s good if the industry is shaken up a bit, but Airbnb is something else altogether. I believe Airbnb should be banned altogether or limited to 90 non-consecutive days per year (which are the rules now in London; maybe even fewer days is more suitable). If you are going to run a hotel, you should meet the same requirements as official hotels, and I am willing to bet that virtually no Airbnb premises or hosts meet these.

What to do if your Neighbors are Airbnb Guests

Whether it’s legal in your area or not, Airbnb has done a horrible job cracking down on listings that shouldn’t be there. As a result, many residents in big cities have been complaining about guests moving in and out at all hours, throwing parties, and generally just disrupting life in the building or neighborhood. While it’s tempting to think neighbors can just calmly walk next door and say “please, stop it,” there are a number of issues to overcome, not the first of which may be a language barrier by international guests. Other more pressing ones may include the entitlement guests feel at having paid for a vacation home, then being told to shush. What are some of the actions you can take when you discover your neighbors are Airbnb guests?

1. Alert the Owner and Homeowner’s Association
Some homeowners and hosts are completely absent from properties they rent out, save a visit or two every month to ensure the building isn’t on fire. Though this can make them difficult to contact, it’s far from impossible; as a resident, you should have the contact information for the Homeowner’s Association for your home, and reporting an illegal sublet isn’t taken lightly.

Certain hosts may be blissfully unaware of the negative impact of their Airbnb business on the community; they just want to raise a little income. Alerting them that things are not all sunshine and lollipops in the area may get them to reconsider, or at least be more selective in guests.

2. Call the police
If things get bad enough – shouting at 2 AM, violence, theft, property damage – the homeowner is probably the last one you should call. Calling the police won’t necessarily result in the guests getting evicted that day or stop the Airbnb from being rented, but a report will establish a paperwork trail that can be used down the line.

3. Just for fun: the passive aggressive approach
If you’ve ever had an annoying roommate or neighbor and didn’t respond to their petty infractions because you wanted to be the bigger person, there’s no better time to live out your passive aggressive fantasy than with Airbnb guests. If all else has failed and you don’t have any hope of removing them from the property or preventing the host from renting again, you might as well enjoy yourself at their expense (assuming they deserve it).

There are few repercussions to such actions – the police won’t get involved because you should have already tried to get them to do the same to the guests – other than making the guests’ Airbnb experience a bad once, resulting in the host getting a bad review, and reducing the likelihood of future guests. As the real residents in the neighborhood, you’re morally justified in annoying the Airbnb Hell out of disruptive guests… just be careful of your safety and well-being.

What’s the Worst That Can Happen After a Stay?

Our group of 18 rented out a cottage this weekend. Our stay was great. Our host was great. We had no complaints about the property. After checking out, I wrote a great review and our host left us a great review as well. We left the place immaculately clean (especially since there were 18 of us). Later that evening, I got a message from our host (through text) that their neighbour was very unhappy and that there had been a lot of noise, excessive partying and loud music playing. During our stay, we did not have a complaint by the neighbours even once and we were very respectful about turning down the noise after 10:00 PM. I only remember us getting loud while playing card games since we get competitive, but that was way before 10:00 in the evening. Anyway, I told our host that wasn’t the case with regards to the neighbours’ complaint and that we were very respectful and apologized for troubling their neighbour. They seemed very understanding and thanked me for clarifying what really happened. I was wondering if there will be any repercussions on our end since we’ve already submitted reviews? What’s the worst that can happen if they don’t believe us?

Quiet Escape for Motorcyclist Writer is Anything But

I’m done with Airbnb. I’ve done two extended stay vacation trips, one to New Mexico and, now, one to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Three of the five places I’ve stayed were excellent. Two were disasters; both of the awful “hosts” were older, single women. Both places were somewhat honestly described and priced about normal for equivalent facilities (including hotels) in the area. Honestly, I could have found decent, downtown hotel rooms with about the same accommodations for the price I paid for the Airbnb rentals. Looking at Hotels.com, I discovered I could have done as well in Thunder Bay and been walking distance from Lake Superior, downtown, and had a window.

After extracting ourselves from our New Mexico Airbnb disaster, I did find a really nice one-bedroom apartment for about 2/3rds of the Airbnb monthly rental price. It had a far better location and came with an all-access pass to a hot springs spa. I am a motorcycle rider and I’ve travelled all over North America and a good bit of western Mexico on a variety of motorcycles for the last 50 years. I have taught motorcycle safety classes for the last 17 years. I’ve owned motorcycles for most of my 70 years and have parked motorcycles on about every kind of surface imaginable without ever having a problem.

When I arrived in Thunder Bay for a week’s stay, I met the owner in her driveway. She suggested I park my motorcycle in an area to the side of her driveway so she could get her car out in the morning for work. I moved it to where she suggested. I’d ridden about 450 miles from home to Thunder Bay that day and was beat. So, I parked the bike, unloaded my stuff, and settled into the room for the night. Thanks to the plastic covered mattress, I got about two hours of uncomfortable sleep before I gave up and moved to the couch.

The next day, I loafed in the apartment and backyard for most of the day and hiked about a mile to a grocery store and to check out the immediate area. When I got back, I put away the groceries, made a late lunch for myself, and a little later I went out to the motorcycle to make it more secure for the next evening. I discovered that the side-stand had sunk about an inch into her driveway. The bike was leaning precariously, so I moved it a little and put the bike up on the center stand. This isn’t a big or a heavy motorcycle: 450 pounds, wet and loaded. It was late, almost dark, and I planned to talk to the host about the driveway damage in the morning.

I went back to the apartment to do some work. About 10:00 PM, the following exchange showed up via email: “Your bike has damaged my new driveway. Can you please put the plywood under your bike stands. It cost me $7000.00 for new driveway and don’t have funds to repair it.” This was followed by: “The asphalt is new… still sensation [sic] to weight and sharp objects. I am upset that you would ignore not telling me it happened and when I knocked on door to address the issue you ignored my knock. I leaned a plywood sheet against your bike so you can either put the sheet under the kick stands or possibly park it on the street. I will call the contractor tomorrow to provide an estimate on repairing. Hopefully he can reheat and level again. But I know there will be an expense to it. Please refrain from doing bike repairs on the driveway. As I said the asphalt is new and still very soft.”

I replied: “I’m sorry I missed you at the door. I’m trying to do that writing thing I mentioned when I got here and had headphones on, so I didn’t hear you. I wouldn’t ignore you and I’m sorry you think that’s who I am. Maybe this week isn’t going to work for either of us. I didn’t want to bother you with the driveway until I saw you next. If you had told me the driveway was new I might have thought to suggest a better place for me to park. It’s not like making it into an emergency would change either of our evenings. I apologize for the trouble. I have a lot of experience parking motorcycles and I have never seen a new or old driveway fail like that at 75 F. I had no way to predict it would happen.”

I dressed and went out in a rain storm to move the bike to the ¼” plywood she had leaned against my motorcycle. The next day, she seemed apologetic and I thought the weirdness had passed. She asked me how I’d slept and I told her the plastic-covered mattress was uncomfortable and I’d spent most of the night on the couch. She allowed that I could remove the plastic, which made the next night tolerable.

The “suite” she advertised was a small basement apartment, with the bathroom in a shared hallway. There were two tiny windows, one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom, but neither will open. Cooking smells stayed in the room for hours. The kitchen was well-equipped and functional. The backyard had a nice semi-private area, which could have been an excellent place to write during the day. However, there were nearby neighbors who eliminate any feeling of privacy. My first day out there, I answered the “whatcha doin’?” question four times, when someone looked over the fence after hearing me typing on my computer. I quit and read a book for the rest of the afternoon.

Three days later, at about 9:00 PM, I received the following email, via Airbnb’s server: “I had the paving company come by to give me estimate on heating and leveling the kick stand hole and it will cost $250.00. We need to discuss in person on payment options for repair. He will drop off a written quote tomorrow in mailbox.”

My reply to that was: “Julie, I’m in the apartment now, if you want to discuss this. However, I parked where you suggested. You did not warn me that the asphalt was either new or soft when I arrived. I had no way of knowing that your drive way would be different than any of the thousands of places I’ve parked a motorcycle over the last 50 years. Personally, I suspect your contractor used less aggregate than ideal for a strong surface. I’m no expert, but it’s pretty obvious that there isn’t much aggregate showing in the drive. The other side of not knowing the drive was not a stable place to park is that the failure of the surface integrity was about to allow my motorcycle to fall into your pavers, which would have caused a lot more damage to the motorcycle than $250. Monday’s high temperature was 24 C/75 F, hardly high enough to expect that sort of pavement failure under anything resembling normal conditions. The important aggregate qualities for your asphalt paving project are durability and angularity (fractured faces). To get the strongest pavement structure, larger aggregates are used for the base, with successively smaller dating sites reviews aggregates used for upper layers in the pavement. However, it’s also true that new asphalt driveways are supposed to be kept from everything from bicycle kickstands to high heeled shoes for as long as a year [I didn’t know that until I looked it up yesterday]. You’ll need to put a sign where anyone using that driveway can see it if you want to avoid future damage.”

Of course, she did not take me up on my offer to discuss her driveway problem in person. That evening, I’d decided my Airbnb experiences were a draw. Three out of five decent experiences is not good enough. If I were to use Airbnb again, I feel that I’d have to use what are obviously sexist filters for any hosts I’d consider renting from. It’s not worth the hassle or the moral issues. After discussing this experience with my wife over the phone, she decided that we’re just going to avoid the whole experience by cancelling our Airbnb account, which she did that evening. As for the Thunder Bay rental, I’d paid for Sunday to Sunday, seven days, but when we had a plumbing emergency at home Thursday night, I decided to pack it up either Friday morning and call it a wash. I’m a big believe in avoiding the Sunk Cost Fallacy and that writing getaway turned into a general gumption trap. In three days, I managed one good day of writing and two days of agonizing over BS with the host. I’d rather be home, wrestling with figuring out how to negotiate quiet periods with my wife or finding an office to rent than fooling with this stuff. Airbnb proved to be more of an unreliable hassle than a viable alternative to hotels and motels.

Domestic Horror at Airbnb Forces Guests to Call 911

My husband and I decided to use Airbnb for the first time because we were looking to spend a romantic weekend in the Poconos area of Pennsylvania. When we got to the house we were greeted by the hostess’ husband who informed us that his wife was delayed by a flight coming from Texas and he would go pick her up at midnight. My husband and I were offered beer and later this man asked my husband to go fishing. It all seemed wonderful and when they returned from their fishing trip we went to bed expecting that the man would go out around midnight to pick his wife up at the airport.

Sleep was difficult because the mattresses thrown on the floor were uncomfortable and squeaked at every turn. Nevertheless we had agreed to make the best of the one-night stay. Well, around 1:00 AM, I was awakened by loud cursing and yelling by a male voice, which I tied to ignore. Soon I heard more yelling and now a female voice was involved. I figured the hostess had been picked up from the airport and was settling home to go to bed. However, the voices got louder as did the cursing and it all seemed to be outside.

I looked outside our window and saw the hostess’ husband yelling at another man and later as the other man got back into his car the hostess’ husband kicked his car, which angered the man in the car (I later found out he was a taxi driver the hostess had used to get home). The man got out and the two men began to argue again, but eventually the taxi driver got in his vehicle and left. The issue did not end there as the hostess’ husband continue to argue with her, to the point of smashing her fingers on the door. This caused her to scream which caused us to come down.

We offered the hostess to call 911 as she told us that he smashed her fingers and also poured beer all over her luggage which was still outside the house in the driveway. We offered to assist bringing it in, but her husband would not allow it. When she tried to go get it, he tried to lock her out of the home. He escalated in his loud verbal attacks and threats to the point where we had to call 911 at around 2:00 AM. Once police arrived we waited to get the okay from them to be allowed to leave. We left around 3:30 AM and had to sleep in our car. While this ordeal was going on, we found out that the husband was never consulted by the hostess about her plan to make their home into an Airbnb, which he disagreed with. He informed us that he had assaulted another guest who arrived at the house around 10:00 PM on a night when the hostess’ husband was expected to work the next day. We found out from the hostess that her husband was on parole and has a criminal record. What a night.