Got Bitten by a Rat in my Sleep at this Airbnb

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I stayed at a goat farm in North Carolina. The house was rustic but seemed pretty clean and the hosts were nice. So my friend goes to work very early in the morning around 4:00 AM. My friend lives in the area and has a car. She was staying at the Airbnb with me since it seemed like a nice getaway.

I woke up around 4:30 in the morning to a pain in my hand. I jerked away and heard something scurry off. When I turned on the light, my pinky was covered in blood. I woke the host up to let her know. She made me a cup of tea and basically told me I did not need to go to the ER because her husband did not want to wake up to drive me.

When my friend got back from work she insisted that we go to the ER. I got antibiotics and am not awaiting a bill which I’m sure will be very expensive. Airbnb took over two weeks to get back to me and offered me nothing. Finally, after back and forth for a month they offered me $50 which is about what the antibiotics cost. Still in a standstill with them but wow I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable at an Airbnb ever again.

Do You Know Who You’re Sharing an Airbnb With?

I was traveling up the Pacific Coast Highway as part of a road trip that had been planned pre-pandemic. Finally, after a year of lockdowns, my summer trip began in Los Angeles with the bustling city and the colorful people setting the tone for a great journey ahead. After a packed day and a quick nightcap, I headed to the Airbnb reservation in a quiet, suburban neighborhood.

Allow me to set the scene: there are five rooms in the house designated for Airbnb reservations. There is only one shared bathroom. I was awoken to a loud conversation at six in the morning in the room directly to the left of ours. Mildly annoyed, I figured that most of everyone in the house was up and about. Gathering my toiletries and towel, I made my way to the dark bathroom just across the hall. The water was scathing hot against my skin as I washed the shampoo from my hair.

Suddenly, a knock on the door. A voice mumbling as the door handle was jostled. My stomach in my throat. The door opened.

“I don’t know who you are, but you need to leave now,” he said.

The support team at Airbnb would question whether he had been too senile to realize what he was doing. The man who was repeatedly asked to leave, who left and shortly returned before verbally refusing to leave and attempting to open the shower curtain as I screamed for help? No, he was not too senile to realize what was happening. The illusion of safety is easy to grasp onto.

After all, you trusted a stranger to open their home to you. Why would anything bad happen if Airbnb tells you otherwise? It becomes easy to blame yourself. Did I lock the bathroom door enough? Did I not speak loud enough the first time? Reality sinks in hard when you need to prepare yourself for the possibility of these questions being thrown back to you by a stranger’s voice on the other end of the phone, telling you that you can trust them. Trusting another stranger to handle your traumatic ordeal with a stranger? How strange.

We were told that we would receive a refund, but the lingering trauma replaying in my head would stick with me for the rest of the trip. Our final reservation in northern California held four rooms designated for Airbnb with one shared bathroom between all of them. The illusion of safety was shattered.

The affordability and convenience of Airbnb will always be a draw. There’s no doubting that. Yet, the veil that serves as your safety while inside a stranger’s home is razor thin. Airbnb would never have known that the lock on the bathroom door was never going to function properly, or that the man in the room next to mine was never going to acknowledge a locked door to begin with.

For women to truly feel safe while booking with Airbnb, the shared bathroom would need to disappear. There is no way to guarantee a guest’s safety otherwise. All guests on a reservation should have an Airbnb account and receive a background check, not just the guest who booked the reservation. There is no way to guarantee a guest’s safety otherwise. Small steps towards something much larger.

As we checked in to our hotel in San Francisco, a wave of relief washed over me. A dead bolt on the door and the bathroom being located within our room meant a solid wall of safety, a brief interlude between the next dark bathroom down the hall of a stranger’s home.

Airbnb Host Tries Bait and Switch Over Memorial Day Weekend

This is the letter I wrote to Airbnb about my experience:

I am writing to tell you about my horrible Airbnb experience in the hopes of getting some resolution. My family and I have used Airbnb several times and never had a bad experience before now. We are so devastated by what has happened to us that we will never use Airbnb or VRBO again.

I have reached out to customer service three times with no result. I get the impression that I am calling a call center in another country and that the people that are answering the phone are just telling me that my issue is being investigated with no result. I have reached out to the Better Business Bureau, the Virginia Beach Police Department, and the Virginia Beach Housing Authority. I will be seeking the advice of my attorney. I have also discussed the situation with my bank’s fraud department and they are conducting their own investigation.

We booked a condo on May 13, 2021. We planned to take our 16-year-old daughter to Virginia Beach to see the beach, aquarium, and Norfolk Botanical Gardens. As we were leaving around 8:00 AM on May 28 I looked at the listing to see what the check-in procedure was and it said there was a lockbox. I messaged the host on the Airbnb app and she asked me to let her know when we were an hour away.

I messaged her again at noon to tell her we were an hour away. She said the house wasn’t ready and check in was at 3:00 PM. I told her no problem, I was just letting her know when we would be arriving in the area. Then she called my cell phone and said something about how she was waiting for a delivery but she would try to get the house ready for an early check in.

We arrived at the condo at 2:30 PM. We called the host and let her know. She sounded flustered and said that the toilets were broken at the condo and that she was waiting for a couch to be delivered. She told us she wanted us to stay at her other property, that it was brand new and we would be the first guests. She gave us the address. It was 15 minutes away.

When we arrived we were shocked and disturbed. The apartment was in an unsafe looking neighborhood in what looked like Section 8 housing. When we walked into the apartment it was hot, there were boxes of her personal belongings in the middle of the floor, the furniture was unplaced and still had tags on it. There was only one bed and only one bedroom was furnished. There was no TV.

She offered to blow up an air mattress for us. She said that she was waiting for a bed and mattress to be delivered. She called the delivery company and put them on speaker phone. They told her they didn’t know when they would arrive. She instructed us not to tell people that this was an Airbnb and to tell people that we were her friends. We told her that we were going to get a cold drink and called Airbnb and spoke to a young lady and told her what was going on. She said someone would email us.

We went back and told the host we were uncomfortable and asked her to cancel. She said she didn’t know how and suggested that we call and lie and say that we were cancelling due to COVID. At one point she handed me her phone and asked me to help her figure out how to cancel. When I cancelled the trip on her account it said that the trip had been referred to a support team. She then said that the toilets were fixed and that we could go back to the original condo if we wanted to. We didn’t believe her and didn’t feel safe interacting with her anymore.

We left and as it was a holiday weekend it took us two hours to find a hotel. I called Airbnb again that night and spoke to a young man who informed me that he may not be able to help me because we didn’t take pictures, but that he would try to help me. He said he would contact me with updates. I never heard from him again. I called and spoke to someone the next day and she said that she would investigate and update me. I have not heard from anyone.

I am a social worker in private practice and my husband is a mechanic. We cannot afford to lose $828. This has been an incredibly upsetting experience for us, particularly as the whole thing happened in front of our 16-year-old daughter. This trip was a treat for her as she has been cooped up in the house for a year doing online learning. I am appalled at the customer service I have received from Airbnb. I implore you to help us resolve this issue.

Airbnb Protects Neither the Hosts, Guests, nor Community

Due to my experiences as a host, it is my opinion Airbnb is very derelict in creating a safe platform. I recently had a guest get booked without my usual radar. He arrived with four guests instead of two and lied about the extra people not actually staying. He broke rules about staying up later and partying outside until 5:00 AM.

On the day of checkout, he wouldn’t leave — he finally did 1.5 hours late. I called Airbnb about the checkout as my cleaning people needed to get in and clean. They didn’t respond to my call until three hours later. As I watched all four of them finally check out, the booking individual took a gun out of the trunk of the car and aimed it towards my property. I have pictures of him doing this.

When I finally spoke with Airbnb about this, their agent who handles misconduct cases like this took my information. I basically requested that the platform remove this individual from the platform so that other hosts would not have to deal with his dangerous antics. This employee assured me he would protect my identity in this situation and process my complaint. Bear in mind he had a picture of this individual with the gun. He did not need testimony from this person as he had a picture, dated and time stamped. This agent of Airbnb assured me he would protect my identity.

Within hours of expressing my concern about this experience I received an angry text from this guest stating he was angry I told Airbnb about his actions with the gun, an offense that is illegal on so many levels. In my opinion Airbnb has now created a direct grudge with this individual against me and my family. He knows where I live and the activities of this property. This agent assured me that he did not reveal my name when he questioned this individual, which is all he is required to do. Well, this person had only ever booked once with Airbnb and that was with me.

This has unnecessarily created a very dangerous situation for me and I have because of this, I left the platform. I do not recommend it.

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Kicked Out of Airbnb After Accidental Slip

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In February, I booked a room in Barcelona for five weeks to attend a language school. The hostess fought to give me a different room than the one I had booked. I didn’t accept that. When I later asked to prolong maybe the time of rental she said she just accepted cash. I didn’t accept that either.

Shortly afterwards I received the message that my father was very ill. I phoned a lot in my room. At that night I had to go to the toilet with the floor wet and I slipped. The hostess called the police and an ambulance. The police left but I was driven to a hospital. There was nothing badly found and I drove back to my room. The hostess did not open the door. So I now had to call the police to get to my things.

The hostess said a lot in Spanish, kicked me out, and reported something to Airbnb. A neighbor girl who was interested in my room because she had a smaller one put my things in a sack without being asked. I was that upset and helpless. I flew home and tried to contact Airbnb. The platform banned me without ever listening to me.

I am deeply sad about this behavior by Airbnb. I’ve had so many years of outstanding good experiences with that platform. I wish somebody could help me open my account or look at my story again.

Airbnb No Longer Reimbursing Hosts for Material Damages

Two guests booked two days for our 35-foot motorhome during a local Renaissance fair. We’ve been hosting 3.5 years. I should have been suspicious when three guests showed up. The guests were drunk when in residence — a bit loud, but tolerable because the motorhome is remote.

Then we went to clean for the next guests. What a mess. They had been cutting and sewing costumes for the fair, both inside and outside the coach. Strings and pins/needles were everywhere in the carpet. They ruined one set of sheets and towels with black goop that my wife couldn’t get out, so we had to order new ones for $65. They spilled coffee with creamer on the fabric couch and dribbled it on floor.

Normally takes about 2.5 hours to clean the unit. My wife spent five hours cleaning and I spent three extra hours spotting the carpet and steam cleaning the couch. I had to crawl around on my hands and knees to remove all the tiny threads, and pins/needles so the next guests would not injure themselves. I’m an an old guy but we got it cleaned.

The three guests left just after a noon check out, and new guests arrived at 4:30 PM and had to wait until we were finished. This was the first time this has happened in 3.5 years.

Here is the clincher. When we contacted Airbnb for reimbursement for the sheets and towels (not for our extra five hours of cleaning) we were denied because we didn’t meet their “complaint before next guest arrives” time frame. The next guests arrived before we had finished cleaning. Did I mention the extra time Airbnb demands to meet their COVID-19 cleaning requirements?

What have we learned from this lesson? Airbnb does not cover hosts’ damages even through they require a damage deposit from guests. Do not allow new guests to check in until you have made any claims, even if it means cancelling the new guests. We are rural and must drive to town to upload pictures due to our slow internet. We have no cell signal here. We increased our price 25% to cover any material losses because Airbnb will not charge guests for them.

When our “weird-s–t-O-meter” goes up for new guests…. we go with it and deny them access to the property. Don’t get me wrong: we have had good results with listings from Airbnb. Their fees are more expensive than most other platforms and our guests in the past have been top notch. I find that it is Airbnb, not the poor guests, that are the problem. Airbnb has always paid us the $50 per night on time and correctly.

If you cannot “personally” manage your rental check in and after rental inspection then I would not recommend them, as I do not believe you will be reimbursed for any property damage. Talking to a large number of Airbnb guests has convinced me that “hosts” are not cleaning to the Airbnb standards on the website as we do. But I must admit when we have traveled using Airbnb we have gotten very clean and tidy places to stay.

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Host Violates Texas Property Code, Airbnb Doesn’t Care

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On Oct. 4th we moved into an Airbnb for a four-month stay for a military temporary duty travel. We noticed that the back door had water damage to the frame and the property did not have a strike plate for the locking deadbolt. The host was notified of this issue and said they would fix it.

The host told me two days later to reduce the length of my stay to end on Dec. 4, and then from there I could pay them directly to stay for the rest of my time. On Oct. 24, the problem was still not fixed. There was no action at all by the host.

I contacted Airbnb for assistance. Airbnb said the host would send a handyman to fix the issue. The handyman came and replaced the doorknob and deadbolt, but did not install a strike plate due to the water damage and rot to the frame. He said the frame and door needed to be replaced and he would come back later to do it. He later said it would take another week to fix the issue.

Airbnb closed the case on Oct. 31. By Nov. 12 the issue had still not been fixed. I opened a new case with Airbnb, requesting to end my stay early since I found a new place to stay. Airbnb closed the case on Nov. 19 without resolution, so I opened a new case.

During my call with Airbnb, they told me my case was an “urgent priority” and someone would contact me. The support ticket chat tikd me that they couldn’t get a response from the host, so they could not do anything. They said: “Well, it seems that you can lock the door and the door opens and closes. I wish you a great rest of your day. Kind regards.”

I told them to elevate the case to someone above them. They did and said “He’ll be in contact within 24 to 48 hours.” 48 hours later, and there was still no contact. I called Airbnb again, and was told by the “catch and dispatch” person that answered that they would elevate my ticket to urgent and the case manager would contact me shortly. I demanded they let me talk to someone above them, and they forwarded me to a case manager.

The case manager, who had a thick accent, said that they could not do anything for me since the ticket has been elevated. They said that the supervisor should get back to me within 72 hours of the elevation and might call me in a few hours. I said I would call back tomorrow if I did not hear anything.

Texas Property Code, chapter 92, sections 92.154 and 92.164 state that all rentals must have a locking deadbolt with a strike plate. If the issue is not repaired within 7 days, the tenant can unilaterally nullify any agreement, leave the property, and be refunded a prorated amount for payments made. Airbnb and the host do not seem to care at all about this.

What are my options? A chargeback on the credit card?

In a Country Experiencing Political Unrest Near My Airbnb

I’m in an African country that is having current political unrest because of upcoming elections — sort of like the U.S. After a day or two at the location, I started hearing shooting and what sounded like bombs going off, as well as tear gas right outside of the Airbnb I’m staying in. It sounded like a war zone outside the door and I was told by security not to try to go to the main road because the police were arresting people.

I contacted Airbnb support (while there were loud explosions going on in the background that the agent heard for herself) and they assured me they would try to help me find other accommodations (full disclosure: I do not want to spend any money to book another accommodation as I still have more than three weeks left on this one).

What I requested is that Airbnb make an exception under their Extenuating Circumstances Policy as part of the “political unrest, riots” clause. I don’t think it’s unreasonable. Airbnb is a multi-million dollar company and I have just recently booked two other places in another city. Apparently, their concern for guests is superficial, at best.

I also believe that if I had been a Caucasian woman fearing for my safety in an African country, Airbnb would have acted with much more of a sense of urgency. I think because I am not, they figured I would be fine and didn’t seem to be that concerned. There is no other explanation I can come to since I’ve provided video of smoke and police converging on the area outside my Airbnb location and also a U.S. embassy security warning sent to my email the day after the first protests started. And yet, I still haven’t heard anything from Airbnb and my supposed case manager.

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Thanksgiving Not Happening at This Airbnb

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I’m grateful to find this site to post on and I hope that it is read and saves others from being put in an unsafe environment.

I made my reservation in Austin, Texas for my family to spend Thanksgiving together. The host’s home sleeps 16, has a pool, and is in walking distance to great restaurants and shops downtown. He just left out that the home is surrounded by homeless people, tents, trash and the walk might be one of a life time. This is devastating to see and a horrible situation for many reasons. I don’t think it’s right be able to have an Airbnb surrounded by this issue without stating it somehow.

I recently moved to Austin and was going to be downtown. I was excited to look up the address disclosed after I reserved it, to check it out. When I was getting close I’m not sure if my eyes or mouth were opened bigger from the shock of what I was going into. The pictures were taken in the daytime (couldn’t imagine it at night) I also felt horrible taking these pictures; they aren’t great because I was driving by but explain why I cancelled with no refund.

The host kept $1,000 with over three months’ notice for canceling because I didn’t want my family to be uncomfortable and be safe surrounded by the homeless situation. All I could think about was my nieces and nephews and putting them in such a devastating environment for the holidays. Great way to introduce them to my new hometown Austin so they look forward to visiting Aunt Angela never again.

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.