Airbnb Host Refuses to Post Exterior Photos

Must just be me but we get into the strangest situations. We are planning to visit grandchildren in California this September. We had been looking for an Airbnb place to stay. The one in which we usually stay was booked long term until January 2022. We thought we found one; it was a mini farm with small animals, and thought it would be fun for the kids. With the pictures online, the inside looked clean and nice and the reviews were good.

Since we spend so much time outdoors, we wondered why there were no outside photos. Most places show the deck, porch, yard, etc. We emailed her and asked if we could see the outside.

She replied:

We appreciate your interest in the [house]. Airbnb does not allow pictures to be sent before booking. I assume to prevent people from booking outside of Airbnb? Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions that will help you determine if you would like to book a stay with us.

We could understand that, so we replied:

How kind of you for responding so quickly. We were thinking maybe you had photos of the outside that you could post on your listing. Have a great day.

She replied:

The [house] is a guest house on our property, so the outside area guests have access to is limited to the immediate surrounding area. We don’t have pictures of the outside for our own privacy, and security of our own home. If you could please explain why such interest in the outside and deck? We may be better able to answer your question or advise if we have what you’re looking for or not. Stay well!

We decided at $200 a day this was not the place for us when she would not even let us see the outside until we got there. Meanwhile we noticed they have their photos on the listing and even their child’s photo — so much for their privacy.

Airbnb Guests Wanted Champagne Holiday on Beer Budget

This guest and their family arrived very late and then proceeded to cook outside of the designated hours. They booked for three people and four people arrived. Just about every rule was broken by the family. There was not supposed to be eating in the bedrooms; the extra guest did so. We have a policy of no air conditioning on in the daytime and these are specifically written in a set of do’s and don’ts in each room. The option is to pay additional money during the daytime if air conditioning is required. We did not charge despite the violations.

What alarmed us most was the number of cartons of beers that were brought into the property, filling my spare fridge completely. I could tell we were in for a champagne holiday on a beer budget. We are a no-smoking home. The guest’s parents said they only smoke a couple a day, so I allowed them to smoke on the deck. Biggest mistake ever because a couple means two packs a day where they are from and I spent days trying to rid the house of the awful smell.

The rental was for two rooms, a bathroom, and toilet. They received use of the kitchen and other areas at our discretion. The problem was the guest’s party considered the whole house their domain: like I said, champagne holiday on a beer budget. This culminated on the next to last night when the guests decided to turn my entertainment deck area into their very own ‘footie pub.’ This started at 5:00 PM and went on well past midnight. No consideration was given as to whether I wanted to use the deck or watch anything myself. They were watching footie and b*** the rest was the attitude. By now they must have thought they owned the deck.

There I was thinking my home had been invaded; these people are unreal. They went out the following day and upon their return, they expected a repeat performance of Footie Pub 2. I told them that the deck was for my and our family friends’ exclusive use that night. This outraged them and they said “but you haven’t booked the deck!”

I almost fell over laughing and informed them that I don’t book any areas of my home ever and that as guests they fit in around what we are doing, not vice versa. Undeterred, a contingent of them marched out onto the deck and sparked up the ciggies and glared at me. They then asked that I watch something different outside so that they could watch their footie inside in the lounge. I said they had individual TV’s in their rooms they could use to watch there.

This did not fit the Footie Pub 2 mentalities of booze and ciggies. Realising they were on a losing wicket they staged a walkout (just like small children stomping their feet) at 10:00 PM at night with the mum staying on to say “if you had just let us watch our Footie and use the deck then things would have been fine. Things have been great up until now.” Well of course they had been great because they had full use of the house for a third of what they would have paid for a full house.

I am starting to think the expectations of some Airbnb guests have moved beyond a sharing experience and wanting a full-service hotel or apartment. If you want exclusive time and space then book with the corresponding prices would be my suggestion. I hope people don’t make the same mistake of allowing these people into their home. I tripled my prices and we have a nicer quality of guest staying now.

Under Investigation for False Privacy Claim from Guest

We are currently under investigation from Airbnb after a guest who stayed at our place for the last 40 days (into their 100-day stay) decided to make a false claim against my husband and I for “violating their privacy.” After the guest’s initial inquiry about staying at our cottage in northern Ontario, we told them that we were currently there doing renovations to the lower level to make it a duplex.

Our listing does state that they are renting the entire cottage, but we had called Airbnb and asked for guidance on what to do since we were doing renovations. They simply told us that as long as we had approval from the inquiring guests that we would be there, everything should be fine. We have all the documentation and emails and written consent from the inquiring guests that they were okay with us being there doing the renovations in the lower level. We kept up communications to make sure we weren’t bothering them with any excess noise and tried to only be there during the day when they were at work.

Their check in date was Jan. 11, and they were medium-term rentals staying until April 30/ All throughout the time from Jan. 11 until Feb. 9 everything was fine as far as we knew. We have text proving that they were fine and anytime we needed to enter their space to do something and we have written documentation of asking their permission.

We did expect the renovation to be complete as of mid-January, until the stay at home order that was in place on Jan. 14 obviously delayed our renovations by a couple of weeks. This is something that was completely out of our control.

On Feb. 9, the guest called my husband and said that they were feeling a little bit frustrated with how long this was going. We packed up that day and went home to avoid any conflict and prevent making our guest feel uncomfortable. My husband went back up on Valentine’s Day weekend to clean up his tools while they were not there because they didn’t stay there on the weekends. As of then, everything was fine: we hadn’t heard any other complaints and everything was communicated to the guests.

We then got a notification through Airbnb that the guests would like to change their check out date from April 30 to Feb. 25, which we declined because there was no reason for them to check out early. The renovation was now completed and no one would be in the lower level for the remainder of their stay (why they waited to complain until we were finally done is beyond me).

The next day we got an email from Airbnb stating that there has been a privacy claim against us and that our account will be suspended until the investigation was complete. We got a call on Feb. 20 asking for our side of the story. The claim was that my husband was there during their stay and that was a violation of their privacy.

We used completely separate entrances; we never even saw the guests more than maybe three times the entire five weeks we were there. We never once entered their space without permission and only three separate times: once to replace our modem for the Internet; once to replenish the soap and a broken spoon that the cleaner had told us was broken; and once for the plumber to check something on the washer. All visits were agreed upon and never were an issue when those things happened.

The Airbnb investigator was completely rude and interrupted us multiple times while we were trying to explain our side of the story. We have been Superhosts since the second month of hosting and I’ve had nothing but great reviews with the exception of one who was annoyed that the Internet wasn’t as fast as that in Toronto. I can’t believe that Airbnb is allowing one guest among 17 positive reviews to tarnish our entire reputation as hosts and potentially shut us down.

I guess my question is has anyone experienced something similar to this and what was the outcome? Our worry is that they are going to refund the guest for the time that they stayed there if they deem that we did indeed “violate their privacy“ even though we have proof that they knew the whole time we were there. If Airbnb does decide to cancel their reservation, is there a chance that we will need to refund them for the days that they have already stayed there and if so how is that legal?

Warning to Hosts Allowing Renters Who Smoke Marijuana

If you are a host potentially housing federal employees, you need to be aware of Airbnb’s tolerance of marijuana use by guests. Federal employees are randomly tested for drugs to maintain security clearances, which will terminate their employment if they fail. This includes marijuana as it is a Schedule I controlled substance.

Despite this, Airbnb policy cites that “many states” legalized marijuana, and therefore they allow its use by guests. As a host, you need to realize the potential for cross-contamination of guests, and your potential liability if you’re the cause. After over four years of solid five-star ratings and excellent guests, our number came up. We had the guest from hell.

The 21-year-old arrived on a “one-year break” from college, and claimed to have a job telecommuting and a full ride to a good school. When we showed her around the room, and the amenities, it was as if she wasn’t even listening.

A few weeks later she asked to turn the heat up at night. We had to point out that she had a heated bed. She often didn’t clean up after herself in the common area kitchen. Once, we asked her to remove dishes from the sink. She removed some and promptly added more. She routinely woke us up at 5:00 AM singing or talking loudly on the phone, and had to be reminded of the rules numerous times.

When her time was up on Airbnb, she asked to extend four months, and promised to follow the rules. One night at 4:00 AM, she woke us up yelling vulgarities. We texted her, “haha, quiet time please.” She later tried explaining it away as her watching and commenting on a documentary, as unbelievable as that was.

Two days later, in retaliation, she sent a text complaining of loud sex noises from our room, saying she had an interview to attend and asking us to keep it down. Then she texted that she needed to talk, setting up an appointment to meet in the kitchen. We set up a different time and she didn’t reply or show.

Later that night, she said that she needed to talk to us “about boundaries.” I texted her back the rules of the house, emphasizing the ones that she was breaking. She texted that she felt “uncomfortable” and made up a story about her catching us having sex in a common area within plain sight. We refused to give it credence and told her she had a week to leave.

Upon leaving, she demanded her money back for the rent, prior to room inspection, and sent harassing and threatening texts. We inspected the room and it reeked of marijuana. Servpro inspected it, found receipts for pot, spent vials, and paraphernalia. Their estimate was $1,500 to clean the room, contents, and high-touch common areas.

That night, her mom called and asks why we hadn’t returned her money. We told her the situation, and that she was liable to pay for cleaning to decontaminate. She wasn’t aware of her daughter smoking pot, and she wasn’t aware of the daughter’s promiscuity. We felt bad having to be the one to tell her.

Within a week, we got a call from Airbnb. The guest filed a complaint. We told our side of the story and sent pictures of solid evidence of pot use, spent containers, receipts, notes to herself with a daily schedule beginning with “smoke” at 6:00 AM. It didn’t matter. Airbnb removed our accounts, citing a violation of their safety policy and providing no other evidence. They refused to pay for the cleaning, saying that their policy does not prohibit marijuana use, although we explained that there were many federal facilities in the area, and workers are subjected to drug testing, including marijuana as it’s a Schedule I federally controlled substance.

The guest was using oils as well, and it was all over the place. Future guests, mostly professionals, could test positive on random drug tests and lose their security clearances and jobs by coming into contact with the residues in the room. Regardless, Airbnb refused to pay, and we were banned with no explanation other than the vague violation of the safety policy.

Other than the cleaning costs not being refunded, we were glad to be done with Airbnb, as it was an eye-opening experience. Reading other experiences of hosts here cemented this decision. Again, beware of Airbnb’s tolerance of federally illegal drug use by their guests, and let these hosts’ experiences here be a lesson to those thinking of doing business with Airbnb.

Host Violated My Privacy, Had Access to Room

On July 31, I spent one night in Provincetown, MA. The host reeked of cigarette smoke. The room was dirty, there was hair on the pillow, and there were locks on the bathroom and bedroom doors that did not work. I didn’t feel comfortable taking a shower and I couldn’t lock my door when I left to go back downtown for the night.

I always put my zipper on my backpack or suitcase in a certain position. It had moved. He didn’t take anything, because I took all my valuables with me in a second backpack. But that’s a huge violation. The only lock that worked on the bedroom door was a keypad lock that he said didn’t work, but I didn’t know if he could put in a battery from the outside and try to get in. When I came in the doorknob was loose and I couldn’t turn it to get back into my room. I kept turning until it tightened and I was able to get in. Because of the lock, I had to put a table against the door and sleep in my clothes, all packed in case I had to leave in a moment’s notice.

I have PTSD to begin with and then to experience this compounded it. I wrote Airbnb on Aug. 2. I’m still waiting. I also filed a report with both Attorney Generals in MA and CA and a dispute with Paypal.

Are Some Host Reviews an Invasion of Privacy?

We spent a few nights in Kelowna in an Airbnb accommodation. We are a couple with some dietary restrictions, so we were specifically looking for a unit with a kitchen.

Our tw0-day stay at this unit was okay. We didn’t have any problem except that we had to deal with cheap dollar store pans, pots and utensils, which we kind of ignored because we were there for just two nights. Upon finishing the trip, we were unpleasantly surprised to see the host posted a review that among other things said “the guests spent whole two nights cooking in the unit kitchen provided.”

I personally took it as invasion of privacy as it is none of the host’s business to see what we were doing. I found it creepy as it also raised questions on whether the host was keeping an eye on what we were doing. I reached out to Airbnb with this concern and they brought the review down first. Upon pushing further, they assigned someone to this case who claimed that they had spoken to the host and that the hosts had assured them that they were not spying on us and checking out what we were doing.

To my utter anguish Airbnb decided to bring back the review and publish it again for some reason best known to them. Upon following up, they said that the review had been taken down due to some error earlier. This all begets the question — how seriously does Airbnb take privacy-related complaints?

In my case, I still do not know why someone would care what guests were doing in their basement unit, proudly boast about it in their reviews, and Airbnb would still not take it down. Any host could tell the whole world what you have been doing during your stay and Airbnb doesn’t think it’s inappropriate to post such personal stuff. No issues with breach of privacy.

Airbnb Doesn’t Delete Confidential User Data

I wanted to unsubscribe from Airbnb emails but they have no unsubscribe function as required under Australian law (Spam Act 2003). To unsubscribe, Airbnb’s terms state only to “send us an email” to terminate the agreement. An email was sent as requested with the subject and body “cancel my account” for two accounts (i.e. Germany and Australia).

For the first account, Airbnb advised me with three reply emails sent from a third party (zendesk.com) that the requested account was cancelled. I conducted a test five days later to confirm the cancellation had failed. Access was granted to the cancelled account on login with the last password. Confidential account and profile information including my date of birth and phone number were still accessible, able to be updated, and obviously still held by Airbnb.

Airbnb refused to cancel my second account unless a “government ID” was provided, in spite of the request being sent from the same email address used to login. Airbnb was advised that the email reply was indistinguishable from a “phishing” scam. Airbnb was asked to state what legal authority Airbnb relied on to demand a government ID from me to cancel my account.

Airbnb simply continued to demand proof of identity to cancel the account without stating the legal authority for their demand other than suggesting it was merely an Airbnb policy. After replying to all further Airbnb responses with automatic resending of the original “cancel my account” request, Airbnb finally advised that the account had been cancelled but the data would not be deleted due to my failure to provide ID.

Airbnb has demonstrated their: failure to provide an unsubscribe facility as required by the Australian Spam Act 2003; failure to terminate (AKA “cancel my account”) the agreement while claiming to have done so; failure to give physical effect to the termination of the agreement granting Airbnb the right to hold confidential personal information necessary for service delivery by not deleting that information on termination.

The above evidence shows blatant breaches of Airbnb’s own policy, the Australian Spam Act 2003, and the German GDPR, which proves Airbnb’s intention not to protect consumer information.

Birthday at New York Airbnb Gone Wrong

I got about five friends together for my birthday at a park in upstate New York, then it started raining. I found an Airbnb that seemed large enough for my friends and since none of us were from the town we just wanted a place to chill and wait out the rain for an hour or two. For $125 it was fine.

We arrived and brought up our coolers. Not even five minutes after we arrived, we got a knock on the door and this tall man counted us out. There were six of us and I said six on the reservation. He left and was very rude.

Then about ten minutes after that I got a call from Airbnb saying I was breaking the rules with having too many people and having alcohol in the apartment. We were all obviously over 21 and there was no rule against having alcohol.

At this point I was very annoyed. Luckily I had “I Love Lucy” on DVD and brought that into the room. We were all on the couch watching it. We didn’t even finish an episode when we got another knock on the door with a different woman bursting into the room, and saying that we unplugged their camera in the living room.

Now we knew we were being filmed in the apartment and decided to leave within 45 minutes. I’m starting to think they did it on purpose to take my money and get us out asap.

Solution to Airbnb Guests Damaging Properties

To hosts or those who are thinking of opening their own Airbnb. I have been hosting for over three years with 67 properties, and had over 50,000 guests stay with me. I met many other hosts and the biggest issues they all run into are with negligent guests. In my units alone I have had over 10% (5,000) of my guests violate my house rules.

Airbnb is based on trust. A guest, AKA a stranger, is entering your home and you have no idea who they are or their intentions. When violations occur, you must be able to prove them, and Airbnb always sides with guests. How do you prove smell over the phone? It’s rare, but few times, I was able to prove that a guest violated my house rules, threw a party, and thanks for my live notification system – AKA neighbors – I was able to keep the $250 damage deposit, remove the guest, and reopen my calendar for new bookings. I realized that I just made $600 of a violation.

Three major common and costly issues I face on daily basis along with other hosts:

Indoor cigarette and marijuana smoking – causes smoke to get into the walls and ventilation making it hard to remove. This cost me cancellations or horrible guest reviews.

Theft – There is new scam going around. Airbnb guests used fake IDs to book my unit for three days, and while you are gone they list all your valuables on Craigslist, etc., and basically have a garage sale in your unit without you being aware. By the time my cleaners got to the room, the only thing that was left was the lock and forks. It cost me about $5K to replace everything and a $500 cancellation. Airbnb ignored the claim.

Parties – Some of our properties are in Florida, AKA party towns. We have guests who threw parties, smoked, drank, caused major damages to the furniture and walls, and destroyed neighbors’ pools… the list is long. Which again, cost me time and money and many police reports.

I figured out a way to fix these issues, using technology, by building it myself. I want to protect all 680,000 hosts, and that’s why I have built and developed a patented, smart smoke detector designed to protect and prove violations. It is federally illegal to tamper with, and has a built-in tamper-proof sensor. But it does so much more: it has a real-time notification system that monitors your guests for violations, from the moment the guest enters to the moment they leave.

It’s able to detect and notify live:

• Indoor Smoking (Cigarette and Marijuana Detection)

• Fire and Carbon Monoxide

• Unauthorized Guests

• Break Ins

• Theft

• Excessive noise levels

• Humidity level (Mold Detection)

• Air Quality

• Bluetooth and Z-Wave Compatible with Smart Locks and Security Systems

• Guest Check-In Notification

As as bonus, it also comes with a built-in Property Management System that syncs with Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and many others. This system is non invasive, has no cameras, and even mandatory in some cities. It’s plug and play, all you have to do is swap it with your existing smoke detector. I would love to hear your comments and questions.

Waking up to a Stranger in my Airbnb Room

I booked a place with Airbnb last night. It was a pretty neat place, nice and cozy. I had planned to go out but it was raining and cold. I was tired, so I decided to stay in. I watched lots of movies. It was pretty cool. Then I went to sleep.

I’ve been dealing with an itch due to dermatitis, so it was better for me to be naked after applying some anti-itch lotion. In the morning, I was woken up by the sound of snoring. I was like: what is that sound? How loud are the neighbours? I remember that there was this creepy video I watched online where a guy who claimed his house was haunted said he heard noises of someone snoring next to his bed, but I was like… nah… most likely the neighbours.

I tried to ignore it, but was trying to figure out where the sound was coming from. It sounded like it was coming from a wall where there was no room, so that was strange. Then I opened my eyes.

There was no ghost next to me, but there was a mass at the foot of my bed; some guy was sleeping there. Some random Korean dude… snoring at the foot of the bed… I was like wtf? So I woke him up and was like… what are you doing in my room? Get the f%$# out!

He’s like “Oh, it’s a double room. I thought it was booked for two people?”

I was like wtf? I didn’t even make sense. It was just a single room with a single bed. So I told him to get out. I couldn’t believe this… I was ready to leave. He called the host and gave me the phone. It turned out the host gave us both the same instructions to go to the same room. I promptly requested a refund.