Held Against my will by an Airbnb Host

During my checkout, the owner of the apartment held me against my will inside the bedroom of his apartment because I told him I wasn’t going to pay for the already faulty shower screen door.

During my stay, the shower screen door broke off from the hinges and fell on me. I then removed the door completely as it was dangerously hanging off its hinges, which I then placed aside. I sent a message to the host (the daughter of the owner of the apartment) and explained this to her.

During my check out – and just before this all kicked off – the owners of the property came to the front door and I invited them inside. I was running a little late during due to my packing, and they were kind enough to give me a later checkout. As I was in the bedroom zipping up my bags, they inspected the shower screen door. They came back to the bedroom and insisted I pay for it there and then.

When I declined this absurd request and told them to take it up with Airbnb, things got nasty. We went back and forth a few times on the matter until he lost his temper with me and he began raising his voice. I told him I was leaving the apartment which is when he locked the bedroom door with me inside. He told me that he was going to lock me in until the police came because I owed him money for the apartment.

When I tried to leave, he became physical with me and pushed me back into the bedroom. I ended up ripping the door from its hinges so I could escape. I made a run for the front door, where he tried to do the same thing. I forced my way out the front door and managed to get free. It wasn’t without injuries and damage to my property. I sustained a torn ligament to one shoulder and a dislocation to the other.

During the ordeal, irreparable damage was also done to some personal belongings inside my luggage. I am now trying to figure out what to do in terms seeking damages as a result of this experience. Any help in terms of being pointed in the right direction would really be appreciated.

Safety of Guests is not a Concern for Airbnb

We stayed at an Airbnb-hosted accommodation near Slough in Beaconsfield previously and were planning to visit again. It’s a clean budgeted accommodation, with CCTV only installed inside the premises. We had an incident on the host’s driveway, which was distressing as we felt quite unsafe.

The host herself confessed a spate of burglaries in the neighbourhood. When we asked the host about a CCTV on her premises, she immediately said it was not on the outside as if she knew something has happened. Moreover, we were surprised that the host, as well as the Airbnb staff, were unempathetic and unhelpful. No consideration was given to guests’ safety.

We have cancelled all our future bookings at this place. We have used Airbnb in the past for may years. This is the first time we have had an unfortunate incident, and Airbnb customer support was very unhelpful.

We asked the Airbnb staff about the host not mentioning the CCTV in her listing, but the customer support insisted that the host did. When I asked Airbnb staff to show evidence of this, no response was received. Also, I requested to check when the host last updated her listing, and there was again no response from the Airbnb team. The Airbnb team also refused to refund the booking amount in full despite cancelling the booking two weeks in advance.

We have also used many American products and services in the past, and their services have been very customer-oriented. Special circumstances are always given an extra bit of attention. We have used Airbnb for many years and recommended it to others.

However, after this incident, we felt that the safety of the guest was not a priority for Airbnb. For that reason will try to avoid using Airbnb whenever possible and would not recommend it to others. We also plan to write about this incident and the way the untrained Airbnb managers have handled the situation on various blogs and websites and discourage people from using it.

Faulty Electrical Appliance Nearly Caused a Fire

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We returned from a weeks trip to Trulli Margherita, a traditional Puglian villa located in Gorgofreddo, Puglia, Italy. We experienced a number of complaints and inconveniences, as well as one distressing, near fatal electrical fault, that unfortunately put a dampener on the rest of our stay.

Although Airbnb and the host were quick to handle most of the complaints we were certainly not happy with how our main complaint was handled. To summarise our complaints briefly:

  • The electrical plug-in fan caught fire, causing a plastic smelling smoke to fill the bedroom in which our 6-month old baby was sleeping.
  • There was no air-conditioning in the bedrooms.
  • ‘Trulli shaped’ wood-fired oven locked away, not for guest use.
  • Bedside lamps to the second bedroom were not working on arrival, maintenance had to be called to replace them.
  • The house bathroom shower valve broke, maintenance called again.
  • Maintenance again called to provide more wine glasses

Our main complaint about this listing would be about an electrical plug-in fan provided in one of the bedrooms. To our horror, it caught fire and filled the room with plastic-smelling smoke. Our 6-month baby was sleeping in this room, so you can understand our distress at having to rush him to A&E to check he was okay. Please note we were sat outside in the courtyard area, checking on him at regular intervals as well as keeping an eye on him via video monitor.

After a few hours in the hospital, trying to convey the issue with a major language barrier, he thankfully checked out okay, but on doctor’s orders we had to follow up with another hospital appointment the next day and a further GP’s appointment again once we were home to be certain. This added incredible stress and anxiety to us for the rest of the holiday.

The host, although quick to respond and apologise for the incident, only offered a mere 10% refund as an apology (a sum we would have expected for the misleading description about the wood-fired oven alone), and no explanation as to whether the appliance had been checked over beforehand. We felt rather insulted at this small offer and upset the matter had not been taken more seriously. If we hadn’t checked on our baby at that time, the situation could have been a lot worse, even fatal.

Please note there were no fire alarms in the property that would have alerted us to this incident. We were further insulted during a phone call with the host where they stated the 10% refund from the owner was offered so we didn’t write a negative review – a rather tactless remark to make about their own self interests, in light of the serious nature of the incident.

To add insult to injury, during further discussions with the host after we arrived home, they claimed the fan was only for decorative use, and that we shouldn’t have been using it in the first place. This was never stated in writing or conveyed verbally during check in. If this were the case, why would they place a functioning fan in a bedroom if it were not for use in the first place? Especially a room with no air-conditioning? Very misleading if true, but we feel they are now only saying this to relieve themselves of responsibility and to avoid a case of negligence in terms of electrical safety.

Our next complaint would be about the ‘Trulli shaped’ wood-fired oven that is listed in the description of the property. On arriving at the property, we noticed it was actually locked away. We enquired with the host about this and they apologised about the misleading description and offered for the owner to come around and light it. Although a kind gesture, this was inconvenient and inflexible for us – we did not particularly want to ‘book’ in a time with the owner.

Overall it was disappointing, as the amenities and features of the property were some of the reasons why we booked it in the first place. Air conditioning is listed as an amenity; however, it is only offered in living spaces, not bedrooms. Again, a rather misleading description of the property. We had a few restless nights’ sleep due to the heat as a result.

The other maintenance issues, although not serious in nature, were just more inconveniences to us during our stay. We certainly got to know the maintenance man very well. Aside from our complaints and credit where credit is due, the Trulli itself is very charming and cosy – maybe a little basic – but perfect for a family getaway.

The real seller, however, is the spacious external, covered seating area and poolside. It was a shame the wood-fired oven was not for use, as we were looking forward to making pizzas out there. Other than that, the area was very good for evening dinners and sunny days lazing around the pool, which is exactly what we were after.

The area itself is a bit off the beaten track (hire car a must), but this rural setting was exactly what we were after. Within walking distance there is a well stocked ‘corner-shop’ as well as a charming pizzeria. Alberobello and Castellana Grotte (amazing caves) are both a 10- to 15-minute drive and well worth a visit. Monopoli and the surrounding beaches around 20-25 minutes and again worth seeing.

Unfortunately as a conclusion, I cannot recommend this listing to anyone, not until the owners, the host or Airbnb confirm there has been some sort of electrical safety check to assure users it is safe to stay in. They also need to go back and accurately re-write the listing description about he wood-fired oven and air-conditioning. A real shame, as otherwise it would have been a good stay.

Female Guests Flee from Sex Stalking Host

I am trying to get this Airbnb shut down. I have emailed Airbnb several times. Now, I am sending a letter. This borders on criminal.

Four people were sexually harassed so badly, they fled. Guest #1 was a middle aged woman, alone. The host had loud, domineering sex in his room next to women. She fled, fearing that she might be raped. Guest #2 was very young girl, 18-21, traveling alone. The host walked her upstairs to the room. he said or did something so inappropriate, the girl got in her car and left, right then. Guest #3 was a young woman, staying two nights a week for work. The host texted her outside of the property, wanting her to “hang out/party.” The host wanted sex, harassing her. She found another place to stay.

The host is an alcoholic. He is drunk every single afternoon until 1:00-2:00 AM. He stumbles around his lawn naked, urinates naked on the front lawn, and has women perform sexual acts on him out front/underneath guests’ windows. He just got out of jail a few months ago for assault/domestic violence/breaking a restraining order.

He drives guests drunk. it is illegal for him to drive, unless a breathalyzer is installed in his car. The host drives his mother’s car, or guests’. The host had sex with a guest he just met. He let her run the Airbnb (his house with his 84-year-old mom), while he was in jail for over a year. He also had a homeless young couple run the Airbnb, his house, his mother, after his release, so he could fly and spend a month with a female guest he had sex with.

The couple stole, and called police about the host waving a gun in their faces. The gun was found in the living room drawer. The host lied, denied having one.

Guest #5 was male. He paid cash, an under the table deal. The host asked him to have sex with him and one other person. The guest had to find another place to stay. He worked in Vermont. The host will use guests for anything he can get: sex, drugs, alcohol, or to lure women in to take care of his mom, cook and clean, and have sex with him.

He is currently manipulating a middle age women, alone and starting over, to move in, cook, clean, and use her for sex. He does not care who he hurts, as long as he gets what he wants.

Pathological liar. Unstable sociopath/narcissist. I can’t believe Airbnb lets him host. Would they want their mom, sister, or daughter staying there?

Horny Hoarder Host Didn’t Make me Feel Safe

I arrived to the home in the rural south around 5:00 PM as planned. The host had messaged me letting me know that the door would be open, which seemed fine to me because the location was very remote. When I arrived, I saw three other welcome letters besides mine on the table, which was comforting because it was a single male host who stays on the property and I didn’t want to be the only person there.

Well, needless to say, those other letters were for people who were checking in way after I’d left. Within minutes of my arrival, the host told me about his marriage, about the girl he was dating and how that might not work out, and asked me if I wanted to go with him to dinner. I know a lot of hosts offer dinner but in combination with the talk of his relationship status and the fact that I was there alone and the remote location, I got nervous. I told him I was tired and just needed to relax to which he suggested I get in the hot tub. Um… no, and this was before I looked around.

All of the surfaces in the house were covered with stuff: dishes, trinkets, what have you. All of the cabinets were full of opened and unopened food. There was a piece of a condom wrapper on my bedside table and in the bathroom there was douche. Who would borrow that as a traveler? I decided to crash and just sleep this away. Of course, the bedroom door didn’t lock. I stood there in the dark in my room and seriously contemplated crawling out the window and never looking back.

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Fancy a Summer Holiday on a Building Site?

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I went on holiday with my two daughters in Senegal through Airbnb. The apartment was directly located above the host’s accommodation and we rented it for a month. In order to access our apartment we had to go through a garage and squeeze pass a dusty car as well as a bicycle and a motorbike. When we first arrived, the car was only an inconvenience in the evening but after five days the car never moved (please find the attached picture).

On our arrival we noticed a scaffolding at the same level as the terrace which we had direct access to. The host informed me then that they had started some renovation work such as the inside roof being repaired which were not quite finished. He informed me that it would take no longer than three days to finish.

At that point I asked the host to ensure that the dust on the terrace would be thoroughly cleaned as it was really bad upon our arrival. They did clean it after my request. The following day I rapidly noticed cockroaches in the kitchen, bathroom (cockroaches were coming out of my toiletry bag), in the living room, on the tables… everywhere.

In order to have access to the wifi we had to go downstairs in front of the host’s apartment, despite the fact the access to wifi was mentioned on the booking and there was allegedly a working connection inside our apartment. The TV was not working. When I mentioned it to the host his reply was “the previous guests did not watch it.”

I informed him that my children do watch some TV. He then told me he had to ask his wife to renew the TV connection, which took a week.

I hear you saying: “Why on earth did you stay there?”

Well, here I am in a foreign country with my two young daughters, having nowhere else to go with a limited budget as the hotels were extremely expensive. I took it upon myself to never cook in that filthy place; we always ate outside. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Thankfully we went away for four days to a secluded area.

This gateway gave me the chance to reflect on what I was experiencing as I did not inform anyone in my family in France. My husband was not aware nor was my mum or my siblings. I truly did not know what other options I had but to bear with it.

Upon my return and back to square one, i.e. my holiday from hell, the cherry on the cake was the host had started building work around the entrance and pool area. They were actually building a roof with poles and beams everywhere. We actually had to walk beneath it all with no head protection in order to get to our apartment.

At that point, the penny dropped and I realised for the safety of my children and indeed myself we had to get out of that place urgently. That is when I asked for help and informed my family in France. I told the host (her husband at that point was away in France). She told me the work had to be done as the wooden roof was becoming unstable and was an immediate danger to the occupants. Therefore it had to be fixed urgently, however she told other parties including her own husband (who confirmed it in writing to me) that his wife wanted to surprise him whilst his was away with a new roof.

I told the host I had to seek an alternative accommodation as not only was I exhausted, my children were suffering with the dust and the noise, but most importantly were living in an unsafe environment on all levels. We finally moved out, and found a place where we managed to get some rest and make the most of the holiday we had left.

I spoke to different people in Airbnb. However, the person in charge of my case is offering me 100 dollars for the inconvenience of not using the swimming pool. Please find my photos and hopefully my videos in relation to this case.

Major Fire Hazard at Airbnb Property in Medellin

There were major safety issues at an Airbnb-listed property. I was unable to leave a review of my last stay; the link sent me to a page that said I didn’t have access.

This “furnished studio” was actually a windowless (air vents onto a dirty courtyard, no natural light) single room with a double bed and a bar stool as furniture, linked by a corridor to a kitchenette and a bathroom with no hot water in sinks, but decent hot water from electric shower head. There was no microwave, no toaster oven, no coffeemaker or kettle, two very old pots and barely any dishes, and no dustbins except one in the bathroom for leaving used toilet paper.

The building in Laureles, Medellin is, like many buildings without doormen, locked from the inside and out. You need a key to leave. This one has two outer locks. The one on the outer gate hardly works; it takes five minutes of jiggling the key to open it. The lock on the front door of the building is slightly better.

The reason this is so dangerous – beyond the fact the exits should never be locked – is that the burner of the gas stove in the kitchen is very damaged and eight-inch flames shoot out when you try to use it. It is a miracle there has not been a fire in the building.

The building is old, the rooms are tiny, the hallways and the apartments themselves are dirty (I looked in to a neighboring one). The “Super Precio” of about $500 US/month is not a great deal in Colombia. Someone should do some sort of spot checking on the properties, most of all for safety issues.

Why Are Airbnb Services Even Allowed?

I just don’t understand why this type of service is even allowed. I moved into my neighborhood several years ago as a young family with plans to provide my son a happy and loving childhood. Now, because of the Airbnb that recently “opened” next door, that dream has been shattered.

I wanted my son to grow up in a community where everyone knows one another and neighbors watch out for the kids as they play. Instead, every few days, we have strangers living next door that have absolutely no respect or concern for our community. They are loud, disrespectful, and inconsiderate.

Last night, one of them parked in my driveway and attempted to enter my home while we were sitting in the living room watching TV. Do you know how terrifying it is for a four-year-old to have a couple of strangers attempt to walk inside your home? Neighborhoods should be focused on building a sense of trust and community, not utilized as a way to make money while jeopardized your neighbors.

These uncaring “guests” trash our local park, park in front of my driveway so we can’t get out, leave trash in my yard, and stay up causing commotion at all hours of the night. In a time where you can’t even feel safe going to the store, now I can’t even feel comfortable in my own home. This sense of entitlement to doing whatever you want with “your” house is ridiculous and completely defeats the purpose of living in a neighborhood.

If you want a short term stay, go to a motel or hotel; that is for what they were made. A house should be reserved for preserving a sense of community within those that live in the neighborhood and providing a sense of peace and comfort to raise a family. Thank you Airbnb for robbing people of this American dream.

This is a horrible concept and I hope cities crack down hard on how these services are managed. What a complete disappointment in those that have no respect for their neighbors (mostly because they don’t actually live there) and exposing us to a constant set of inconsiderate strangers that destroy our sense of community for a few extra bucks. What a shame that this is what has become more important to people.

Host Enters at Night, Scaring Family with Small Children

I am utterly lost as to what to do as I cannot get hold of anyone from Airbnb. Through Twitter they keep saying a case manager will get back to me, but no one ever does.

We booked a two-week stay at an apartment advertised as having two double and one single bedrooms plus an air mattress in living room. We arrived at night after a tiring 12-hour journey with our young children. It turned out that there was just one double bedroom and a small toddler bed available to us as the usual resident had hoarded so much stuff the other bedroom was completely inaccessible; it was a store room and there was no air mattress. It was already past our kids’ bedtime however, so we thought we should just get them to bed and see what we could do in the morning.

The apartment was utterly filthy: thick, black mold in the shower cubicle, by the windows and bed, blobs of something and pubes on the bathroom floor, the linen didn’t feel or smell fresh, piles and piles of stuff everywhere so we couldn’t unpack our suitcases, filthy kitchen facilities and caked-on food. As there wasn’t room as advertised, we had to make a makeshift bed on the floor for one of us.

We took photos straightaway, called Airbnb, and asked to move. They said that we had to give the host a chance to rectify it out of courtesy. I contacted him and he said that it was too late for him to come and clean. I said that we could go on a day trip and be out the whole day for him to clean but he declined, saying he was busy. I then suggested that if he was away, perhaps he could send a cleaner. He said no, but that we could clean it ourselves.

In between communications, I caught a severe bug and was taken to A&E. It was the biggest national holiday in the country so finding elsewhere that day was proving impossible and I wouldn’t have been well enough to move. Despite the host knowing this, he suggested I clean it. I had to clean some areas in the kitchen so that we could eat, but obviously wouldn’t scrub someone’s house on my only annual holiday and also when I was severely ill.

We asked for help from Airbnb who said on the phone and confirmed by email that as per their policy, they have asked the host to come and clean and that he will need to refund us for the nights affected and the paid period starts from when he has done so. That day we also found what looked like vermin feces in the kitchen and thought that was it – we had to get out.

The only Airbnb with enough room was one far more expensive and Airbnb did not help us with what would happen with the extra cost as it was over our budget. During calling Airbnb for advice, someone else snapped up the other apartment and I continued asking for Airbnb to help. The host was meant to come and clean the afternoon the next day, but instead, to our huge fright, he used his keys and barged in at night.

He was intoxicated, very tall and large, and had to be stopped from walking in closer to me and the children. He proceeded to shout, get aggressive to my husband, and said he wanted us out. He was angry about Airbnb’s instructions to him and our complaint. I was so frightened I called the police and would have been able to do nothing to him had my husband not been in as he was so large.

I called Airbnb’s security number, and all they did was take my number and ensured someone would ring me asap. I kept ringing and only got through some ten hours later; they still did nothing. The police came and so frightened he would return, I found the cheaper of only two available hotels. We packed, cleaned as not to affect our rating whilst the other watched the door, lifted our little ones into the car and moved to a hotel just before midnight.

We were traumatized and for a long time afterwards I had to still keep double checking the doors were locked at home. To this day, I check on our children at night to ensure they are okay and still there. The children were very unsettled and we had tears in our eyes by the time we went to the hotel. We did not want to move them again so incurred the unexpected cost of the hotel and had to get food out which was really expensive compared to cooking at home. Our son had also been struck by the bug so was laid out in the hotel room.

I spent rest of the holiday trying to sort out the situation with Airbnb and we feel like we had no holiday; we came back more worn out than when we left. The host also contacted me outside Airbnb messaging saying gross things like I have worn his partners underwear and shared my contact details with someone else to harass me to click “cancel” myself, which I didn’t as I assumed it would affect refunds.

Airbnb did not follow through on their email and I did not receive a full refund for the affected nights. I took the matter up with my bank, who made a decision that it was not as advertised and not fit for our purposes after reviewing my photo evidence and police report; they returned my money. However, the host left me a bad review to say he would not recommend our family to any host, which is unfair as despite all that happened, we left the apartment far cleaner than we found it and broke no rules.

Despite police involvement and misleading advertising and harassing messages, Airbnb is not banning him. I truly hope other travelers are safe in his rentals. We had to fork out for an unexpected hotel bill and all stay in one room for the remainder of our stay despite our whole holiday being ruined and us being left traumatized by the utterly frightening incident of a large man entering at night when we were putting our little ones to bed.

Airbnb closed my case, and the host continues hosting. They promised through Twitter to contact me but didn’t. I am still so shaken up. Had he come an hour earlier, I would have been upstairs in the shower with the children closest to the stairs and my husband out. He was in such a mood he would not have turned away. My son still has the infection he acquired whilst there, so it was the worst holiday we have ever endured.

What do I do about these issues I still have? Airbnb is impossible to get an answer from. All I get at best is that someone will get back to me, but they never do. I want to do my bit to keep other travelers safe out there, particularly people with children.

Bad Airbnb Service for Family in Slovenia

We are having a nightmare in a guest house located in Medvode, Ljubljana, Slovenia. The host provided only three rooms for nine people instead of our original request of four rooms under a charge of 1000 euro and insisted on charging an additional 200 euro for a fourth room. He immediately started to shout at us after we questioned his service. We tried our best to comply by paying for the extra fee to settle down, as there were old people and a small kid in our group and everyone was exhausted after a whole day’s travel.

The guest house is right beside a railway track two meters away and trains pass by every 30 minutes. There isn’t any security protection between the railway and the house. Inside the rooms, there isn’t any fire alarm and every room has a stinky smell mixed with some kind of cheap perfume.

We were really worried about the security issues and tried to contact Airbnb. There wasn’t any reply from them. We tried to find a customer service number to call directly but couldn’t find any. This is the worst traveling experience that we have had in Europe in the past 20 years. I would be very grateful if this feedback could reach Airbnb.