To anyone looking to rent via Airbnb, please use caution. You cannot trust the reviews. A lot of people have their friends who write reviews for them. If a guest cancels before booking, Airbnb doesn’t allow them to leave reviews. I also believe they purposely delete bad reviews in the interest of keeping guests in the dark about the true conditions of some of the places listed on their site.
I have booked three places and all three had glowing reviews. Two of the three places were in deplorable condition. One of the places was in such bad condition that it had blatant health and safety violations: burned out electrical sockets, black mold, no working utilities, no heat in the dead of winter, etc.
The only way to be safe when using Airbnb is to only book with hosts who offer a full refund if you arrive and the place is not up to standards. If you are depending on Airbnb to back you up, forget about it. In fact, you could end up with nowhere to go. It happened to me. Thank god I was familiar with the area and had another option to stay for a few days. You might not be so lucky.
Airbnb has lately been hit or miss for me. Two out of three places that I have booked in the last month have had serious mold and other safety issues. The first place I booked and cancelled because I was afraid for my life and health looked like an abandoned house (dark, dirty, electrical wiring burned out, walls dirty with paint splattered on them, doors that didn’t lock, black mold and moldy smell throughout the place). I literally had to threaten to take legal action to get my money back and even so it took three days.
In the meantime, I was left with no money to even find another place to stay while I went back and forth with Airbnb trying to get a refund. Thank god I was able to find an alternative for a few days and then I ended up booking a hotel that cost me over three times as much for one day as I would have paid for a week at the Airbnb. The current place I booked a week ago I thought would be better because it was in a nice area and is owned by a doctor. I arrived to find that the place smelled like a public urinal and mold mixed together. Now I am having to find another place so I lost money. Thank god I had only booked for a few days.
As you can see, it’s hit or miss with Airbnb and you won’t know what you are getting until you arrive and open the door. Your best and only protection is to book with guests who offer a full refund if the place is not up to standards or avoid Airbnb all together, which is what I plan to do.