I own two La Jolla, CA beach area homes that I manage.I use HomeAway and also Airbnb. I’ve been hosting and managing the properties since early 2013 and haven’t had one negative review. I accepted an Instant Book – never again! – 65 days prior for Thanksgiving: November 22nd for 6 nights. During the summer, peak season dates require a minimum 60-day cancellation notice to receive a full refund. The guests were a family of six, the renter’s name Elizabeth Razanno from Franklin, Massachusetts. Hosts should make a note of this name and blacklist her; otherwise, you will have problems. She’s a true deceitful law bender. During our chat (after the booking was confirmed, thanks to Instant Book, I specifically asked her to confirm the total number of guests, and if they would have a pet dog; pets were open to discussion, but I wanted them to declare them first.
She skirted the question pertaining to the dog. Again, I stated: “Please answer the question regarding the dog or I will cancel your reservation.”
She replied “Oh, it’s just us.” I should have cancelled her reservation… A few days before their arrival, she contacted me and stated, “Our flight doesn’t get in until the 23rd, one day after our arrival date. My daughter who lives in San Diego will be staying the first night.” A bell went off… not a good vibe.
I said, “Well, okay, but you are the responsible guest and I don’t have a good feeling about having someone other than the responsible guest entering my $2,200,000 home.” I stated, “She must be at least 25 and she cannot have any guests with her as the rental agreement states.”
She replied “Yes, she is 25 and won’t have any other guests with her.”
At 7:00 PM my Cellular Controlled Electronic Front Door Lock notified me her access code was used. I waited until 8:00 PM and arrived to greet her and verify her ID as I do all guests. I walked up as a male was unloading a box of alcohol from the trunk; the gate was open and the front door was wide open. As I knocked on the outside front door before walking in, I verbally announced myself, saying “Hello, owner.” The young girl appeared quickly and attempted to close the door in my face. I said, “I’m the owner of this house and I need to speak with you please. I need to check you in as per the listing states and the rental agreement your mother signed, may I please see your photo ID?”
At that point, two large black dogs appeared. One jumped up and with its front paws almost pushed me down the front steps. The girl had to restrain the one dog while the second was hurling itself from one sofa to the other across the living room wooden table. I immediately saw scratches in the coffee table. I was pissed off… I asked the girl, “What are these dogs doing in my home? They are not authorized, nor discussed with your mother. They are not authorized. You have not paid the pet fee, and I never would allow these types of hyper-aggressive dogs.”
She responded, “Oh, these are my dogs, your listing says ‘pet friendly.’ What’s the problem?”
I responded, “Get these dogs off my property now, before I evict your mother before she even arrives. These dogs are not authorized and your mother failed to declare them and ask permission to have them.”
The girl then said, “Oh, and what if they were service animals?”
I responded, “You and god know neither of these aggressive dogs are service animals so don’t even attempt to go there. If one was a service animal you would have informed me as soon as I walked in, and even more likely, your mother would have made it clear when I vetted her. But she did not.” I told her to get the dogs off my property now: “You can stay, but your pet dogs are out now.”
The next day at approximately 5:00 PM (almost 19 hours later, Airbnb called me and said, “We are giving the guest a full refund and cancelling the reservation from you, the host.” I went home and all three beds’ white linens were stained with dirt marks from the damn dogs jumping on the beds. Every light, every ceiling fan, the central heating, and all four wall-mounted flat screen TVs were on. I argued with Airbnb and they basically told me to pound salt. They said, “The guests said they had a service animal and you forced them to remove it.”
I have eight future reservations booked on Airbnb (Christmas, New Year’s Eve, January, February). However, I am going to terminate my Airbnb account and tell the guests to find me on HomeAway. I would never suggest Airbnb to anyone, ever.