There’s Rude, There’s Extremely Rude, Then There’s This Host

There’s rude, there’s extremely rude and then there’s being told to “f$#@ off” by your host. That’s what happened when I phoned my Airbnb host about the TV not working (aerial feed had been torn out; bare wire remained). “I don’t see it as a problem,” he assured me. He suggested I repair it myself.

“Okay, but how would you feel about it if this happened to you?” I asked. “Get another place. Find another room.” he said. “What?” I asked, shocked. “F$#@ OFF” he shouted. Then the phone went dead. I was on another man’s property. I was with my wife and my daughter. I was now uncertain as to whether or not we could stay. I felt very unwelcome. How can I write a good review after that?

After Bed Bugs, Airbnb Cancelled Reservation

This has been the worst Airbnb experience of my life. We just checked out of a Lisbon Airbnb where bed bugs ate us alive. Please see the attached photos of the painful welts all over my body, face and neck. After complaining to Airbnb, the resolution manager proceeded to cancel the rest of our trip. We are now standing in the airport about to board a flight to Seville with no accommodations to go to when we land at midnight. Two girls alone in a foreign city. Three different resolution managers we initially spoke to told us that we would receive a refund and that we would also be rebooked in a hotel for this evening at Airbnb’s own cost (the least they could do). We did receive the refund and were trying to retrieve the hotel information when a new manager informed us that they would not be creating a reservation for us because they already went ahead and processed the refund. She claimed it was one or the other – which is not what three prior managers told us. We are now standing stranded in the airport with nowhere to go when we land. This was the most disgusting, unsafe experience I have ever encountered and I will be spreading this story publicly as far as I can so that other young women traveling don’t get put it the same unsafe and frightening situation.

Host Lied About Practically Everything at Airbnb in Gloucester

This Airbnb host lied about what she is offering and although Airbnb has been notified and provided with documentation, they still run her listing which is unchanged on the crucial points I will mention. Although I got a full refund and half the cost of staying at a hotel for the first night from Airbnb, I found dealing with Airbnb support to be quite challenging. It took a great deal of time and aggravation. It unnecessarily became the focus of things for me during the first 24 hours of my vacation, when I was exhausted and uncertain where I would be able to spend the night far from home.

Please note that Airbnb will encourage you to write a review and to put lots of detail into it, but not inform you that they will only post a certain number of words of it, whether that means they cut you off mid-sentence, making you look like a lunatic or not. They will not inform you that you only have 48 hours to edit your review. If most people are like me, they will write the review and spend the first 48 hours checking the host’s listing to see it if has been posted yet. Then, when it is too late, they will check further and see that by that point Airbnb will not allow editing of the review. Airbnb are terrible in many ways and I would be hesitant to consider booking using their site again.

The best part of the whole experience was the people of Gloucester who were unfailingly kind and helpful when they saw I was in trouble. I initially planned to stay in the room on my own, looking forward to several days of relaxing on the beach and catching up with cousins in the area. Although I didn’t need a second bed when I first asked for permission to book, it had stuck in my head that the listing said there were two beds. I looked at the listing again and confirmed that there were when a cousin from a bit outside the area said she’d like she’d like to join me. I was a bit confused, though, since the photograph of the room clearly showed just one bed. Maybe it was a bed that could be split into two? My cousin told me she had an air mattress she could bring if necessary.

I messaged the host through Airbnb to ask what the story was. Suddenly the lightning fast responses I’d gotten previously when asking if I could book dramatically slowed down. I tried calling her at the number provided by the site. A text came in from her while the phone was ringing that said “I can’t talk now”. Okay… I’d called during business hours and she was busy. Later I received a text back from her saying “who is this?” If she had to know who was phoning her, wasn’t there a more polite way to ask? I texted her back identifying myself and apologized for bothering her. No response. I received a message from her through the Airbnb system that said I should “bring the air mattress just in case”. Just in case she wasn’t being honest about her listing, which clearly stated two beds?

In retrospect, I wish I had cancelled then and paid the cost of the hotel I eventually went to instead. I should have known further trouble awaited. I arrived half an hour early in front of the house, where there was street parking, not “private parking” as was listed in the amenities section of her listing. I texted the host to ask if I should come back, or if she could possibly check me in a little early, since it was very hot in the car, but received no response. After a little while, I phoned and left the same message on her voicemail.

A few minutes after the agreed upon time, she pulled up. She made no indication that she’d received either of my messages. She took me inside and we chatted a bit. I mentioned that one of the reasons I’d been interested in getting away is that the air conditioning at home had been on the blink. It wasn’t until she took me downstairs to the room that she revealed the room had no air conditioning, only a small fan. The “private” room also had no door between it and the rest of the house, being at the bottom of a flight of stairs from the living area. It had its own door to the outside on the opposite wall. Only a baby gate stood between the rest of the apartment and your “privacy”.

The biggest problem came while we were still upstairs in the kitchen and I asked her about a key. She told me that she “never locks” the apartment. She must have seen the utter shock on my face, because she then told me that if I expected her to lock the place all the time she would give me a key. There was quite a bit of hostility in her voice when she said this. Having just had a very long drive and being exhausted, I said nothing while I decided what to do about the situation. I certainly didn’t want to stay in an unlocked space, nor was I comfortable asking for the key, given the hostility expressed towards me just for mentioning it (I should note that this was in a small apartment where the host herself lives). Given that there was already bad blood and I was overpaying for an air conditioned room that didn’t exist, the best I could do was get out of there as soon as possible.

Airbnb support did assist, but they also failed to express a shred of empathy for me in the situation, demanding that I take photos as evidence and repeatedly asking if I had addressed the problems with the host. As pointed out on this site, not all problems are photographable, and not all problems can be rectified instantly. In those cases, it is ridiculous to repeatedly interrogate the guest as to whether they have “brought the problem to the host’s attention”. Why would I need to bring something to her attention that clearly is not as she stated and that she obviously knows about? After all, she lives in the space.

Please also note the importance of acting quickly when you first find a problem with Airbnb accommodation. The amount of support I received would certainly not have been there if I had waited until the next day, not fully adequate as it was. One of the ironies of the experience was that I was on the phone with Airbnb at the time I left the apartment to get my iPad from the car and shut the front door behind me… and found myself locked out. A door knob lock must have been engaged. Having the phone in my hand, I called the host and left a message on her voicemail saying I was locked out. She pulled up in her car soon afterwards, but gave no indication that I’d left her an emergency message.

After taking the necessary photos, I exited the apartment with my belongings. I was certain she knew that I was gone, but began sending messages to me through the Airbnb system. She seemed to be trying to make it look like I was still there. She sent one saying she just wanted to let me know the door upstairs was unlocked, and another saying she’d left a key for me on a table. Completely weird. Checking her listing currently shows she is still lying about the number of beds, the lack of air conditioning, and the “private parking”. She fails to mention the room has no door between it and the rest of the apartment. She does go into a long explanation about leaving one of the doors to the place unlocked all the time (I wonder how her landlord would feel about that if they knew?) and about the easy availability of street parking. Why lie and say there is private parking?

Construction Airbnb Nightmare in Napa, No Refund Given

I initially booked a home in Napa for the weekend of April 6 through April 9, 2017, through Airbnb. The home was advertised as recently renovated. The pictures provided on the website displayed what appeared to be a clean home in reasonably good condition. Upon arriving at the home late on the evening of Thursday, April 6th we found that the driveway was inaccessible due to heavy construction equipment (a skip loader to be precise). A portable lavatory and run-off barriers blocked the driveway entrance which was still in the process of having a roadbed installed for what must be assumed as subsequent paving and surfacing. It was evident that the property was still undergoing construction as another home was under construction in the back of the property.

The entryway leading to the front steps of the home was laden in mud and debris from the construction and lack of any ground cover to absorb the recent rains. Little if any illumination made it treacherous to maneuver to the front steps of the home late at night and several of the guests stepped in deep puddles of mud, ruining their shoes.

The beds had no sheets and linens and towels were piled near the washing machine in the laundry area. It was very evident that the home had not been prepared for the arrival of new guests that evening. I immediately sent the owner an email expressing my displeasure with the condition of the home and received no response. The following morning, Friday, April 7, I attempted to take a shower only to find out that there was no hot water. I called the owner but was unsuccessful in reaching him. Shortly thereafter he returned my call and explained that his cleaning woman had gotten into an accident that same Thursday and did not show up to clean and prep the home for arrival of new guest. I also mentioned the lack of hot water and he indicated that he would have his plumber come by immediately to inspect the situation.

When I asked how long that would be the owner indicated that his plumber would be arriving within 30 minutes. I did impress upon the owner that this was unacceptable and that we had a very tight schedule that morning and may not be able to wait around. The plumber did arrive and I personally accompanied him to the basement to review the hot water heater, which was dated 1990, yet the listing for the home clearly stated that the home was recently remodeled with new plumbing. I stood by and watched the plumber attempt to get the pilot to the hot water heater ignited, which after several attempts he was successful in doing so.

I along with my guest waited for over twenty minutes for the hot water to begin flowing so that we could take our showers but the hot water never did come on. In addition, we noted several GFI receptacles in the kitchen had been tripped, suggesting that there may have been a short somewhere along that electrical line, which I was quick to point out to the plumber. He offered no suggestions, which meant that several of the electrical receptacles in the kitchen were inoperable.

We left for our morning appointments and later that day I contacted the owner to inquire as to the status of the cleaning of the home, changing of the linens and towels, and most importantly the status of hot water. The owner assured me that all issues had been rectified to our satisfaction. Upon returning to the home later that evening, the ladies wanted to shower prior to dinner only to find out that of the four guests only two were successful in taking a warm shower as once again the hot water heater shut off.

The following morning, Saturday, April 8th, I again contacted the owner but this time he did not respond to my calls or text messages. I was successful on my own in getting the pilot lit for the hot water tank but the hot water stayed on only long enough for two of the four guests to get a shower. That evening and the following morning we had no success in getting hot water in spite of my numerous attempts to contact the owner.

From all accounts, the property was not ready for placement on Airbnb and was grossly misrepresented. Although there was clear evidence of some significant remodeling to the kitchen, the simple amenities that travelers expect (e.g. hot water on demand, a mud-free entry to the premises, clean linens, towels, soap and toilet tissue) were all lacking. Upon my personal inspection of the crawlspace below the home there was no evidence of new plumbing but instead, a patchwork of some replacement pipes. Advertisement for the home clearly indicated the home had recently received new plumbing yet the owner had failed to upgrade a hot water heater that dated back to 1990; this was an egregious misrepresentation of the condition of the home.

Having stayed at Airbnb homes all over the world this was unquestionably the worst facility I had ever had the misfortune of renting, not to mention the embarrassment of having another couple endure this hardship with us. The Tuesday following my return home, I made one last attempt to contact the owner to give him a chance to make some reasonable accommodation for the terrible hardship we endured at his home. Again my outreach fell on deaf ears as he never returned my calls.

One most interesting lesson learned from this ordeal was you need to choose your credit card company carefully. I have been an American Express Card holder for over 37 years and my attempt to obtain a refund through American Express would not have posed any difficulty for me. However, this is not the case with Chase and the Mileage Plus Visa Card, which unfortunately I chose to use to secure the property with. I initially disputed the charge with Chase but with each volume of documentation provided to them as requested, was met with another ridiculous request for further documentation.

From the outset, Chase contended that the charges were valid and sided with the merchant (in this case, the host). Never once did Chase speak or receive any documentation from the host to refute my claims but nevertheless, they were reluctant to resolve the matter yet provided a phone number to contact them to discuss. Needless to say, each attempt to contact a human at Chase was met with “the person you are trying to reach is away from their office right now”.

I did finally seek assistance from Airbnb who attempted to reach out to the host but was also unsuccessful in receiving any return call from him. Airbnb did post a small credit (just under $300) to my account but I felt considering the gross misrepresentation of the property by the owner that a more meaningful adjustment was required. I am currently still pursuing the matter and seeking a further adjustment through Airbnb. I have since cut up my Chase Mileage Plus Visa Card and the other Chase Card and returned them to Chase with a stern directive as to where they now can place their cards.

Moral of the story: there is a reason why I have held the Amex card all these years and have no problem paying the annual fee. Had I used the Amex card for the this trip I would have had this resolved back in April. Further, Airbnb needs to do a far better job at screening their hosts and protecting their customers.

Your Personal Safety Comes First With Airbnb

I have heard hundreds of horror stories from neighbors, guests and hosts alike. First of all, I cannot believe the number of people who give total strangers the keys to their home. Unless these hosts are changing the locks after each guest, they are asking for huge problems. A guest could easily have a copy of the key made and come back to the home at any time. Since guests book online, you have absolutely no idea who these people are who are staying in your home. It could be another Ted Bundy who may rape and kill your daughters. It could be another Jeffrey Dahmer who may rape and kill your sons. It could be a serial killer who could return in the middle of the night at some future date and kill your entire family. Or, in a less violent scenario, the guest may return sometime while you are away and rob your home. If you are going to allow strangers into your home:

1) Get a copy of the driver’s license of any guest who will be staying at your home.

2) Get an electronic front door lock and change the code after each guest departs.

3) Be sure you have dead bolt locks on all bedroom doors where your family members are sleeping.

In the US there are all sorts of online sites where you can check people’s backgrounds. Sign up for a membership to one of these sites and do a preliminary background check on each guest who will be staying in your home. There are actually a lot of very nice people in the world and you may be lucky enough to host some of these people in your home. However, there are also some very unethical, sick and violent people out there. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your family.

Superhost Gets Super Bad Treatment From Airbnb

On July 11th, 2017, I received an award from Airbnb for being a Superhost for four quarters, something I have consistently achieved over two years and seventy guests. I have since received appalling ‘service’ from Airbnb. There are two types of Airbnb hosts: the rich landlords who own multiple properties and offer nothing but a bed and a coffee machine and make a fortune. Then there are people like me for whom this is an important living in a depressed economy. I pay tax on Airbnb earnings. I go out of my way to offer five-star service, gourmet breakfasts, quality linens, and thoughtful, discreet care.

I have just had someone flounce out swearing abuse – while I was doing online teaching – after a week here. She booked for a month. In that time she clogged the plumbing so a plumber had to be called; I didn’t charge her. She broke the kettle, claimed it was my elderly cat who can barely get onto a sofa, never mind leap onto a kitchen shelf. The kettle was fused to its base and could not be turned on, heaven knows how the guest did that. She broke an antique bookend; I asked her to superglue it. This was something precious to me that I’ve had for two decades and from my gran. She claimed she needed an alarm and I must buy her one – this from a Luxembourg citizen who had lived in Boston for six years and recently flunked out of college. I looked at IKEA, couldn’t find one and suggested she try CVS or Target.

She managed to break the cupboard door – not sure how – and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. The damages exceeded $600 and when I tried and load claims onto Airbnb it refused to accept pictures. I’ve sent in two queries about this no response. The Airbnb person tasked with this case has treated me with disrespect and contempt. He promised to take this matter higher early last week. Nothing.

The guest said the room was not cool enough for her. In three years I have received no similar complaints; the house has air conditioning, is surrounded by trees, and there is a spare fan in the room. I bought another high-end fan – for $67 – and she managed to break that one too. I have no idea how. She was only paying $100 a night (in exclusive Wellesley) and got breakfast each day: a poached egg, two chorizo, avocado with supergreens, rye toast, wild honey, raspberry yoghurt (organic), herb tea, and orange juice.

She went through five toilet rolls, two boxes of tissues, and two boxes of candies in addition to finishing two new containers of body wash in a week. I did two loads of laundry for her on Saturday – washed, dried, folded, and put it in her room – and there was not a word of thanks. On Sunday she demanded I do another two loads: a bra and two panties for one load (whites), then for colors a towel (her own – I gave her three fresh towels on Saturday and fresh bed linen). I said such a small load was environmentally unfriendly. She freaked and was verbally abusive, shouting and bullying me.

I was in such a state afterwards I locked myself in my room and sat on the phone for forty minutes trying to get help from Airbnb. There was no answer, so I emailed them and went to their host forums. No help. Airbnb phoned me last week on the guest’s behalf and only when I mentioned my email did the representative say: “Oh yes, it is here. I haven’t read it.”

I told him everything I listed above. He called me back and said I must refund the guest, despite a strict cancelation policy saying I don’t give refunds and even though I was not in the wrong. He says the guest was complaining that she was too warm in her room (she’s also over 6 feet, overweight and on multiple medications – by her own account – for anxiety, so that might be a contributor. I’m 5’2″). I noted how I tried to help her, including two long sessions of unpaid counseling (I’m a trained trauma counselor). I recommended she go to an acupuncturist to assist with her nerves; she went twice.

I told Airbnb after incessant bullying from him I was prepared to give the guest half of her payment back. The representative from Airbnb started yelling at me; I twice had to ask him not to yell at me… this to a Superhost who has just received a rare award from them and who has 70 glowing reviews.

When I was teaching over the internet on the guest’s last evening – which she knew – she came in the room, music blaring, shouted at me, and began banging doors. Really bad conduct. I later audiotaped her ongoing abuse. I was so frightened of her that I stayed in the living room, curtains open, lights on, hand near the phone in case I had to call the cops.

I apologize for this story being so long but if you have the time, read it all the way through. Someone also tried to book with me then refused – the second person in a row because there are so many verifications now loaded onto my profile that a guest has to supply a passport (which most Americans don’t have), a drivers license, and two other forms of ID. This person declined to book – and frankly I would not give my passport details either.

I wrote querying this last week. That too has been ignored. Many hosts are like me: ordinary folk, trying to make ends meet. We are the bedrock of Airbnb. We do right by everyone, our mostly wonderful guests, and we pay tax. We buy superior foods and linen for our guests that we deny ourselves and yet there is still no support from Airbnb and sometimes frightening situations.

Know What You’re Getting Into Before You Book

In the city center of Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands of Spain, there was a cozy and quiet Airbnb apartment for rent in a building over 100 years old. It was newly renovated and in the historic center of Palma, located 150 meters from City Hall Square (Cort), 300 meters from the cathedral, and just 70 meters from the Plaza Mayor.

I would like to share my experience with you about this Airbnb host. I heard that Airbnb will start doing inspections and I am very glad for this. My last experience at Palma was not very good for a few reasons. I don’t want to make this story very long but I want it to convey what you are getting into if you are thinking about renting this apartment. The only good thing I can say about this apartment is that it was a good location if you like to be downtown. The rest I will be honest with you about; not a word of this is a lie. I have pictures and recordings to document my stay.

The stairs (she mentioned that there was no lift) are a nightmare. They aren’t meant to be used by older people; this should be mentioned in the listing. What she forgot to mention was that the building right beside the apartment (I mean less than two feet away) is under construction. The sound of drilling is still in my head. We had to leave from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The noise seemed like they were actually in our bedroom. It was really terrible and extremely loud.

On a previous trip to Palma, we went to the beach and came back around 3:00 PM to take a nap. Not this time. One day we arrived at the apartment early and it was impossible even to talk because of the noise. I wrote a private letter to the host and the answer I received was not very good. He gave a very poor apology, saying that it was not noisy. I have this recorded.

There was also a very bad kitchen. It said on the listing that the kitchen was fully equipped, but there was not even a kettle to heat water. One knife that barely cuts.

The most important aspect for me was the safety. There was no fire escape, only two fire extinguishers in the second floor (people could be fighting over using them). I don’t know the rules in Spain, but this is unacceptable. An accident can happen when people smoke everywhere. There was no place to go in the event of a fire. There were also ants everywhere; the host was so “kind” that he left an ant killer spray.

Mykonos Villa Robbed, But Airbnb Nightmare Did Not End

My objective here is to raise awareness about how unsafe any vacation rental can be if you don’t ask the right questions early enough in the process. This is especially true if the owner has not taken even basic security measures, which Airbnb either does not require or does not concern themselves with. It is your responsibility as guests to ask.

This was our first and last Airbnb experience. Airbnb allowed us to walk straight into a mine field. Airbnb did not respond to our emails for help for 11 days. When they did, it was a form email requesting that we (1) get a police report; (2) document what was stolen; (3) prove our ownership of those items. For parents, if your children are the “guests” and you are not travelling with them, then a little forethought about what to do if trouble occurs would be good planning. If you are still going to use Airbnb, here are the top ten questions we did not ask but should have:

1. Is the villa an actual home or an investment rental property overseen by a management company?

2. Where does the villa owner reside? Are they in the country? What will be their physical proximity to the villa while you are renting?

3. Does the villa have a security system? Does it work? Are there instructions for use in the event one exists?

4. Is there a home safe in the villa? Is it operational?

5. Does the villa have external lighting or motion detectors?

6. Who has keys to the villa other than the owner? Have any keys been given to maintenance personnel or former contractors? Are all owner’s keys accounted for?

7. What is Airbnb’s policy for refunds for robberies/evacuation? While their refund terms and conditions state that you must report any dissatisfaction within 24 hours of arrival, why did Airbnb pay the owner when a complaint was already sent via email within 12 hours of our arrival? By the way: no one answers a phone at Airbnb. Do they even have customer support? Who takes priority, guests or owners, or neither?

8. What is Airbnb’s advertised response time to a serious matter such as a robbery? We arrived at the villa at 5:00 PM local time June 7th; the robbery was reported to them June 8th at 5:00 AM local/10:00 PM PST June 7th. We received an email response June 18th.

9. Does Airbnb know that their online availability calendars are excellent for determining when units are occupied and precise arrival dates? I’m guessing the best day for a robbery is the first night.

10. Does Airbnb know that their interior and exterior photographs are useful for would-be robbers to study floor plans and access points?

We were robbed on our first night in an Airbnb at 4:00 AM. We interrupted the thief (in a ski mask) in the third bedroom after he had already ransacked the first two (all the bedrooms were occupied). We chased him out of the house. The adjoining villa was also robbed where the thief knew exactly how to enter (broken door that was not obvious to guests) and had a key to our villa (from a former contractor). Thief took mostly cash.

The real terror occurred when the thief returned later that same day in broad daylight. The adjoining villa guest engaged him (slashed his tires, etc.). In retaliation, the thief called “friends” and within minutes a half dozen of his buddies arrived. Outnumbered and seeing no positive outcome, we reached out to local friends who found us another accommodation.

Robberies are not uncommon on Mykonos; it is a high-end island, with lots of private expensive villas and plenty of opportunities to steal. The police are not equipped to deal with the massive influx of people during high season; when they finally arrived at the behest of the villa owner’s management company we had alerted, they arrested the thief for drug possession. No cash or possessions were recovered. Knowing his “buddies” were still on the loose, not knowing his intent for returning, and knowing he had a key, we could not stay.

Sound security measures are available on Mykonos for those owners using common sense. At our next villa we found: external cameras throughout the property; external lighting and motion detectors; management residing across the street who lives on the island; home safes in villa that were functioning. These are basic security measures. The Greek people who helped us at the next villa were extraordinary. They too were upset that guests on their beautiful island were victimized. They value having guests and depend on tourism for their livelihood.

What is Airbnb’s responsibility? Is security ever mentioned in an Airbnb listing? Do they deliberately avoid the topic? It’s probably not good for business. Airbnb leaves it to you to address the security/safety topic. If you arrive at a villa and see that basic securities measures are lacking, it is not grounds for a refund. It should be. In one respect we were lucky: the owner was so appalled by our experience she refunded our payment directly to us that day. Ironically, the owner was afraid Airbnb would not be forthcoming or helpful. Mykonos is an amazing island, but you must use common sense and take responsibility for your own safety if you are using Airbnb. At every other accommodation we did not book through Airbnb (Santorini, Kefalonia, Zakynthos) we found all the standard security measures one would expect to find in a high-end property. Shame on Airbnb.

Renting Outside Airbnb Leaves Guest with Mud, Mice, and Ants

My hubby got a job in Tennessee and needed a quick place to stay, reasonably priced. The host I found on Airbnb texted me and told me to call her. She gave me her number in three different messages so that it could get through, i.e. first text or call XXX, second call XXX, third call XXXX to beat the ‘no sending phone numbers’ rule from Airbnb. We discussed prices and she said if I paid three months in advance she would take money off the price. She also canceled my reservation on Airbnb and told me to send her money via PayPal since we are now friends… she asked me to send it to friends and family so there are no fees for her on PayPal.

The hubby showed up at her house November 11th to stay for three months. The house was obviously in need of repair. There was mold in the shower, the toilet didn’t flush properly, and the sink didn’t drain. If there was water running anywhere the pressure in his room (a converted garage) trickled. There couldn’t have been more than dripping from the shower head. This is not a problem if the rest of the house knows you are taking a shower and doesn’t use water anywhere, but since there are four roommates that keep to themselves, the water pressure is a problem.

The owner does not lock the doors to the house. It is always unlocked. Although she did provide a key it was a bad one and didn’t unlock the doors; the house was never secured. The parking is not very good. If you are not the first two people home you have to park in the dirt. This was a problem since my husband was in a car accident that left him walking with a cane for the last four years. There were always slippery leaves on the porch. I wrote to the host and asked if I could stay for a few days when I came to visit. She agreed if I provided a few hours of housecleaning. I understood why when I got there.

The entire house was dusty; it had not been vacuumed for a long time (several months at my best guess). I sat down with her and shared only a few of my concerns. I told her that since my husband had a cane and needed it to be safe for him, she needed to get the wet leaves off the porch. She told me where a broom was and that I could do it myself. She also was not happy when I complained about the toilet not working properly. She said to me, “Perhaps the Morningstar House is not best for your husband. Maybe he needs to be moved to a treatment facility.” Really? because we didn’t like the dangerous slippery leaves?

There were mice in the house and mice feces in the closet. I told her about it and she said, “Yeah, but those are like a year old.” Oh, so that makes it okay? Obviously she knew there were mice because she admitted the feces were old. She told me that since she provided stuff (electricity, singly-ply toilet paper, and dish soap) that the price my husband was paying for what he got was a good deal… in other words, don’t complain.

After he was there for two months she asked for the next month’s rent. Even though we had paid three months in advance, she ‘required’ (didn’t tell us until he got there) that rent be paid 45 days in advance. She also wanted a cashier’s check. I told her that she’d have to wait until Monday for me to go to the bank so she said to pay with a credit card and that we’d have to pay the credit card fees. I told her she was going to have to wait then because I was not paying the credit card fees. Finally she said she’d take the payment and lose the fees herself, like it was killing her to pay the fees. She already had been paid in advance… this was just another way to get money fast.

There were cockroaches in the house, and ants in every room. Other roommates complained about ants in their rooms as well. The next month the host asked my husband to leave so she could rent the room to two female nurses (most likely to get more rent). She told my husband she would gladly refund him anything he had overpaid for. The following month she said that he could stay because it didn’t work out with the nurses. Basically, whatever was best for her was what she was going to do.

The last straw was the third time she went into my husband’s room and removed furniture that was suppose to be included in the room. When I texted her about it she said, “Sorry, I just wanted to paint my wicker.” When one of his roommates moved out she came to the room and asked for her table back. Apparently the host just gave him someone else’s table to use without asking the owner’s permission.

There was supposed to be an Apple TV box but it was password protected and could not be used. There was no cable, but she did provide wifi. When my husband moved out, the host refunded (in payments) $950. There is a balance due of $138.34 which she refused to repay, stating that she doesn’t rent rooms for partial months (it is a daily rental listed on Airbnb). I gave her ample time to refund the money amicably but she has refused and will not return my texts or calls. She doesn’t live in the property but she does have ‘circles’ with music and peace pipes, and weird religious stuff. She also has a library of books about goddesses and other religious media at her home. If this sounds like the place for you, feel free to rent it out.

How Safe is Airbnb Really if Guests Can Copy Keys?

Last weekend my girlfriends and I rented a super pimped out, amazing three-bedroom house near old Montreal. We’re talking high roller kind of place… after all, it was my bachelorette party, so we figured we would splurge a bit. The reviews were great, the host was nice, and the place was amazing. Everything was great until we got home at 3:00 AM on Saturday night to find everything ransacked, and all our stuff stolen. Not just a few things, but a lot of things: $20,000 worth of iPads, diamonds, purses, sunglasses… all gone. They even took one of my wedding shoes. That’s right, just one.

After dealing with the police, filing a report, doing all the things we had to do we were finally able to contact the host. He came the next morning, and as he was inspecting the place he told me that someone had rented his place a few weeks ago, under a false name and stolen credit card, and stole a bunch of his stuff. Why didn’t he tell us that before? The buggers probably copied the key to the place and just came back a few weeks later.

Which leads me to ask: how safe is Airbnb? Keys can be easily copied. A quick trip to a convenience store or home depot – that’s all it takes. You can’t tell me that every host changes their locks after every guest. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen. So really, how safe are you sleeping in a house that could have hundreds of copied keys to the front door? We were just lucky that none of us stayed in that night. The night prior, one of my girlfriends stayed in. If they came in on Friday things could have been much worse. All of this tell us Airbnb is not safe unless the host has a pin pad lock and changes the code after ever guest. Always ask, and really it should be mandatory by Airbnb. By the way, none of the host’s stuff was stolen, not a thing.