My Airbnb Neighbor Hell Begins Today

My Airbnb Hell season begins today. I live in a small 36-home community in Myrtle Beach, SC. We purchased a home here because we didn’t want to live around the tourists, but wanted to be close to the beach.

The short backstory is my neighbor’s wife left him last year around this time. She hastily signed a lease for an apartment and they reconciled in a few days, presenting their family with an issue of having an apartment that was unable to be sublet and a house in a residential only community. Our master deed states our homes are residential use only and the husband requested to rent his home on Airbnb.

Before we were able to have a Board of Directors meeting regarding his request, he had set up the account and had half the summer blocked off. We denied his request and had our attorney give an opinion in our case. Our attorney has sent two cease and desist letters but he has continued to book this year.

Last summer ended with Mustang Week: 22 Mustangs revving all night and day – fun times, right? Our homes are huge, so he fit more than 24 people in his home at times. The summer was full of riffraff in and out every three days that thought all the houses on my street were vacation rentals.

I have a pool so several renters tried telling me that my pool was the community pool and I had to let them use it because they were “paying for it”. A group of frat boys were catcalling at all the old ladies that walk the street for their workout. Several groups were so loud, I couldn’t let my children sleep in their own room.

Today, we have a new group in the house. It’s a small group but my children have school for a few more months and I’m worried about noise levels from vacationers, child molesters, and drunk people roaming my community again.

Single Female Stranded Day One in Rome

It was my first day in Italy. My Superhost dropped me at a train station to get the fast train to Pompeii and said he would send me directions to return to his home. He helped me book my ticket with my EU rail pass so he knew my return time.

He sent the train and the bus information but never mentioned what stop to get off at. An hour and a half later, now after 11:00 PM at night, I sent another text letting him know I was stranded. 35 minutes later he responded with his address that I already had from my pre-approved booking.

I finally found my way after almost two hours, two buses and walking around with very few people to help at that late hour at night. I never saw my Superhost again until the day of my departure. I stayed there five nights and six days.

The next day at the metro, the staff informed me the bus he had recommended was not the most direct route to get to his home. Where he suggested I catch the bus was a poorly lit area with vandalized cars and a construction area about a 5-minute walk from the train station he recommended. They advised me to get off one more stop, the last stop on the line, where there was a bus terminal, well lit and had both police and soldiers present.

The bus the metro staff suggested placed me, right around the corner, approximately a 10-minute walk from his home. The bus stop my Superhost recommended was on the main road with many different streets to navigate and approximately a 20-minute walk to his home.

After two weeks of emailing Brian Chesky and then Chip Conley with no reply, I filed a Resolution Case. A Senior Escalation Supervisor suggested “a Superhost is not required to help you navigate the city.” He also replied, “a Superhost has 24 hours to reply to a host.”

Let me get this straight: giving precise and complete directions to get back to a host’s home on the first day of your stay in a foreign country is “navigating the city.” Secondly, by being stranded at night on your first day in a foreign country, he is suggesting “wait 24 hours for your host to contact you”?

Folks as I read CEO Brian Chesky doesn’t care about guests, only hosts. Obviously his staff are trained to do the same. I tried calling, spoke to three staff members, and told my story three times until I requested a manager and refused to tell it again. The Senior Escalation Supervisor concluded “it seems like your Superhost tried to help.” He signed off and closed my case.

Airbnb can go to hell and burn there. Karma is a sure thing. Avoid Airbnb at all costs. Decrease guests booking means more hosts without reservations and hopefully then Airbnb will change their bottom line.

Trapped inside Airbnb Bedroom at Knifepoint

Almost a month ago, my boyfriend and I suffered a terrible experience in an Airbnb. On Sunday, September 1st, at 4:00 AM, while we were sleeping, two men entered our Airbnb. They broke the window lock, opened the window, and managed to open the door and get inside the apartment.

We woke up because of the noises, and when I turned on the light one of the men was at the entrance of our room. With much fear, my boyfriend tried to confront them, but he noticed that the second guy had a knife and that to do anything was too risky.

We shut the room door (that didn’t have a lock) and my boyfriend struggled with one of them to prevent him from entering the room and hurting us or stealing more things. We were inside the room for the duration of the robbery, the longest and most frightening six minutes ever. They stole everything but our phones that we managed to hide under the bed. Suspiciously, only our things were taken.

There was some kind of renovation in front of the apartment, and they saw us go in and out everyday. We are concerned that the information that hosts were in the property was passed to the criminals. I will never forget the face of the man, surprised that we were there. The night before we went partying, so at 4:00 AM we were not home.

To this day, the response from the hosts has been as follows:

• Reimbursement of the Airbnb reservation.

• Reimbursement of taxis and a meal.

I am really angry and wanted to share this situation. I accept any advice you can give to try to get compensation from Airbnb and the hosts.

Mentally Unbalanced Host Does Everything To Stop Me

blank

It started off as a decent listing on Airbnb with two good reviews. Since it was in the middle of downtown Toronto, a high-end neighborhood, I decided to book for 15 days.

The photos represented a photoshopped version of the real space, and the information about cleanliness was far from accurate. On the first night (check-in at 5:00-6:00 PM), the host arrived and immediately started talking about her interview and her concerns about not getting a job. I thought the condo was hers and she would have a room instead I found only one room and she says she sleeps on the couch.

She jumped right into a sexual harassment case she experienced at her university and I quote: “My professor tried to have sex with me in exchange of ideas.” She proceeded by stating, “This triggered bad memories of my father touching me…”

In one sitting, she also stated that this case at the university ended with her at the mental hospital. She said she was dumb because she was not that smart in school and had trouble with the English language when they moved from China (when she was in high school until she reached university).

She went on to mention that she was afraid that if she did get this government job, since the majority of employees in that department are men, she believed that they would think that it was “okay to have an orgy with her…”

She then mentioned that she attempted to take her own life a few times, and put out her wrists and showed me. I told her that government jobs are far from a certainty for having such things happening.

After trying to console her and encourage her to use good words, she stated that she got this interview because her other professor sent a recommendation and if it was not for her, she would not have gotten interviewed. Once again, I tried to help her by encouraging her and stated that the economy was not going well and that people in the city of Toronto are complaining about the rent hike, especially those with children and parents to take care of.

She stated that they shouldn’t have gotten married and had kids, instead they should’ve taken OSAP, studied, and ultimately focused on their careers. Obviously I disagreed and said that her comment was absurd. I mentioned that there are many like me who graduated with two degrees yet finding a decent paying job is difficult, especially as an immigrant. She disagreed and said everyone with a degree gets interviewed and gets a good job. Since she raised her voice and tried to force her opinions on me, I left the common area and went to my room.

Moving on, I started to find that the bathroom and other spaces were dirty. I looked for cleaning supplies but couldn’t find anything except dish soap. Hair was everywhere and even the toilet seat was dirty. The shower was so small. The water pressure is high, but the downside is that the water doesn’t drain and starts to rise. Hair and other things start floating… totally gross.

I asked her about cleaning supplies, and she told me to use the wet cloth. I tried to explain about different types of cleaning detergents, but it seemed she did not understand. Hygiene is extremely important, especially when sharing a space.

The next day, I contacted Airbnb and told them the whole story. I shared photos and explained in detail the mental issues that this host has and how it was definitely not safe for me. They told me that they would review the photos and then issue a refund for the rest of the time I booked.

After a few hours, they said that the apartment was not that dirty and therefore no refunds will be provided unless they inform the host about all the reasons why I am uncomfortable staying there. I suggested not to tell her all the reasons as I was afraid that since she was in a mental hospital and tried to take her own life, she might try to hurt me as well. I emphasized that the place was not clean but most importantly, it was not safe to spend 15 days with someone who is obviously mentally ill and does not have any friends.

On the third day, I spent the entire day out. The host messaged me every hour. At 11:00 PM, she sent her last text saying “it’s almost midnight, where are you?”

Airbnb informed her that I had to leave due to an emergency, so when I arrived, in a very condescending way she said that she did not believe me and would not issue a refund. We got into a heated argument and at the end of it she agreed that if I found someone else to take over the rest of the days she would issue the refund.

The next day I found a new guest who was interested, but she asked if the host was the owner of the condo. If she was not, she would ask me for a document that showed that the host had a lease and that she would not get kicked out if the condo management found out about her using Airbnb. The host confirmed to me that she only rents from the condo owner and since she cannot find a job due to her sexual harassment lawsuit, she makes money by renting the condo through Airbnb, which pays all her bills.

She continued to say that the lady who booked a two-month stay (before I booked) had cancelled early. She does not issue refunds because she uses the money to pay her rent and bills. After a few hours, she came into the room and interrogated me about the new guest. I informed her that I was not feeling well and that we had to wait until she sent a request on Airbnb to book.

She refused to listen and instead came in the room three times while I was trying to rest and refused to leave. She insisted that I was rude because I was not giving her my full attention and eye contact. I told her that I was not well enough to give her all my time and that she should leave because I wanted to rest. She refused to leave, so I raised my voice and freaked out, telling her to leave and to close the door.

She came back again and told me that she was not going to issue a refund if the next guest booked because now she was afraid I would inform condo management, which would result in her getting kicked out. She insisted that I tell her when I will be leaving the condo and when my flight will be. She also told me to turn the volume down (I was listening to a lecture on YouTube at low volume, but she wanted complete silence and insisted it was music). She finally left.

I then informed Airbnb that I would be leaving and my friend would come help me with my bags since I am afraid she will physically hurt me. My friend arrived around 11:00 PM. We got the bags out, when the host got up and followed us to the room and then to the door. She asked my friend if she would be spending the night and she replied by saying, “No, we are only getting the bags out.”

The host followed us to the door and said, “What’s this? You didn’t tell me of your plans. Where are you going? You can’t do this.”

I told her that I was uncomfortable staying there and thus I was going to stay at my friend’s for a couple of nights. She asked for the key but I repeated: “I will come back after a few days as I need a safe and sane space.”

Airbnb contacted me the following day after speaking to her, and they asked me to free up the dates I had booked and to return the key. I told them that I would only accept that if she sent me the refund, but somehow they kept insisting I free up the dates for other guests to book.

I finally agreed after a day, but it turned out that they were siding with her in order for her to get the keys back and to have the space all to herself while enjoying a free $700 + Airbnb fees. In addition, she filed a complaint to charge me an additional $300 for key replacement. I finally returned the keys and asked her to confirm with Airbnb.

Once I left the public place where we met, she followed me. She tried to take my photo and then kept asking when I would be flying. I told her that it did not concern her and to stop that behavior. In the end, the other guest sent a request to book but she rejected it because she wanted the guest to give up her ID. The new guest told her that she would only show her in person, but she declined.

Airbnb refuses to assist, stating it is the host’s choice to do as she pleases. They had already promised that they would assist in helping book the new guest I found and then help her issue a refund. The hosts now says that she will not issue a refund if the new guest cancels within 48 hours.

I informed Airbnb that this was a trend and it is unfair to bill people just to chase them away and keep their money. The host switched to contacting me via Airbnb to inform me that she rejected the new guest’s request. She said she would charge me for the stress I caused her if I reported her to the building management. I then told her that I will report her to the condo management and the police since she is trying to get more money from my card.

I am truly fed up and will not use Airbnb anymore. I am sick of the threats and attempts to extract more funds from me. How do I get my peace of mind back? How do I get a refund? How do I get Airbnb to ensure that the guests are protected from such fraud and aggressive psychotic behavior?

Hell Host, Hell Apartment, Terrifying Experience

I am shaking as I write this, as what I’m about to tell you about just happened. I have stayed in well over a dozen Airbnbs in countries around the world, both long term and short term. I have become friends with some of my hosts. I have had universally positive experiences until now.

I booked what was advertised as a “cozy apartment for a couple” in the center of an Eastern European capital. The flat in the photos had a small but cute white bed, a small two-burner stove, and nice lighting. It looked like a very small, modest, but stylish studio. The ad promised wifi. I booked the flat for one month, until after the New Year, because it becomes almost impossible to find a flat around that holiday in this city. I planned to use the month to look for better, cheaper long-term housing in the city, as I work in the region.

I arrived jetlagged and haggard, with several suitcases. The host did not meet me, but left the key under the mat. I opened the door, and was absolutely shocked. It was literally not an apartment. It was a modified space for storage, or holding reserves of food. A closet, really. Equally as shocking was that there was no bed. In its place was a brown, ratty, diseased looking mini sofa. The two-burner stove in the pictures was also missing; in its place was a single-burner glass stove from the seventies, which looked to be a fire hazard.

Shards of glass, large and dangerous enough to use as a very serious weapon, made up the plate of the stove. There were smaller shards of glass on the floor and in the sink. There was a small bathroom with a water boiler, but there was no shower. I looked around feverishly for a shower head. I had been traveling for 17 hours and desperately wanted – and needed – a shower. There was no shower.

I tried to login to the promised wifi network, but no such network could be found. I went down the street to a restaurant and proceeded to drink several shots of the local liquor. I wrote an angry, firm, message to the Airbnb host via the Airbnb messaging system. “Where is the bed? Where is the wifi? Where is the show? Where is the space? This is not an apartment but a closet. I didn’t know I’d be sleeping on a sofa for a month. I need a full refund.”

Thus began a 48-hour long adventure in communicating with the gaslighting host from hell, and (to their credit) much more helpful Airbnb support. The gaslighting (and I don’t toss that term around; that’s exactly what it was) began straight away: “The internet is working – your devices are the problem. The sofa is more comfortable than the bed, that’s why we switched it out – we did this for your comfort. Stop with your lies. Maybe the flat is small for you but we had two people living there as guests for five years and they were fine.”

She kept repeating that they’d had satisfied guests before – which is literally impossible – and I kept asking why there were no reviews if this was true… it’s not. I spent the first night with my legs cramped and back aching on a 1970s, fibrous sofa, feeling like the wall was closing in on me. The space was smaller than what I imagine a prison cell to be. Solitary confinement.

The shower, according to my host, is shared. It just so happens to be down the hall. The neighbors are all youngish men who look strung the hell out on all variety of drugs, and I’m a youngish woman alone. They stare at me in the hall. The shower has no shower curtain and looks like it has gangrene. There is no functioning light in the shower room; it’s pitch black. If you walked around barefoot you’d end up with fungi taking up residence in your toe nails.

I was so shocked at all of this, that all I could do was send messages every ten minutes to the host, mostly in all caps. Our dynamic was incredibly toxic. The more she denied that anything I was saying was true, flying in the face of all the very obvious and observable facts, the more my anger would escalate.

Meanwhile, I contacted Airbnb, irate. They asked for photo documentation. As soon as they saw images of the couch where the bed had been and the space and the shards of broken glass where the stovetop was supposed to be they said the host had many clear violations and gave me a small reimbursement.

That was not enough. I told them that I wanted a full refund and a new place. I could not be stranded with all of my luggage in this city at the most difficult time of year to find accommodation. Meanwhile, my host kept lying: “The internet is working. We know you are lying. You have a bed. It’s a sofa bed. We will replace the stove but the one you have is newer and better and that’s why we replaced it. The shower is cleaned daily. You have a huge bed.”

Just total, completely crazy lies. At the same time, she was telling me that I’ve “made a problem” for her with money, and ruined her financially because Airbnb has sided with me. She keeps asking me to “make a deal.” My messages to Airbnb grew more frantic and panicked. They told me that they would give me a full refund for all of the nights I didn’t stay there and a partial refund on the two nights I did, if they can rebook me at another property.

The problem is that everything is much more expensive and the listings are scarce this close to the holidays. I’m freaking out. The host starts saying that she’s been sending me text messages because she needs my personal documents to take to the police station to register me with the authorities because I’m staying at her property, even though she knows full well that I’m leaving. I tell her to only communicate with me through Airbnb, because that way the company can see our communication.

Airbnb saw how bad the situation was and said on top of the full refund they would give me a coupon for $200 off a rebooking. They finally found me another accommodation, and told me that the host will likely be suspended from the site forever. I was feeling somewhat relieved, and went to a cafe to use the internet before going back to pack up all my luggage and move to the new apartment.

I went back to the original property to pack and encountered a very disturbing surprise: the door to the flat had been locked from the inside with a chain. I was due at my new flat in an hour and a half but I couldn’t get in or access any of my things. A light was on and someone was inside the apartment, which had all of my belongings: computer, money, passport, jewelry, personal items.

I started panicking and banging on the door, yelling and asking what was going on. I had not agreed to let anyone in while I was away, let alone have them lock me out. The host opened the door. It was the first time I saw her. All of my suitcases were open and my passport was on the floor. I panicked. I started screaming that she was a thief and to get out.

I had no idea what was going on. I had hardly slept the previous two nights, I was jet lagged and stressed out, and had not expected to see this woman in the closet-sized flat with all of my personal items strewn all over the place. I told her that I was leaving in a little over an hour but needed to pack, and told her to leave me alone and get out. She stood in the doorway and refused to leave, saying that it wasn’t my apartment, and that she had every right to stay. I pushed a clothing rack towards her and told her to get the hell out, and that I needed to see if she’d stolen anything while going through my suitcases.

She said I had falsely accused her of stealing and that she was calling the police. I closed the door and started packing. I was shaking and had no idea what was going on, if the police were showing up. I was in a foreign country and realized I would likely have to speak to the police in a language I barely knew.

I heard them arrive, and listened to them speaking to the host. I asked if I could leave because I needed to go meet my new host at my new Airbnb and they said I needed to wait. I spoke with the police. They asked me if I had all of my things, and I said I thought I did. I said we had a disagreement and that I was moving to a new flat. The police decided I’d done nothing wrong, and helped me carry all of my luggage downstairs and called me a cab. I arrived at my new Airbnb, which is very lovely and relaxing, with a very kind host, where I am right now.

Prickly Airbnb Hosts Give One-Star Ratings

I got bashed by a host in Brooklyn because of one four-star rating in one category (everything else was a five), but I guess I cannot be truly honest nor give constructive criticism. Other guests I noticed who didn’t rave about the host also got a very heated response that implied the guest was somehow at fault or unfair. The host reply doesn’t show the original criticism so it is out of context. I also had a potential host turn on me quite suddenly when I asked for clarification on which unsafe areas to avoid in Harlem since I was advised by a neutral 3rd party NYC acquaintance that there were dodgy areas in that particular neighborhood.

As a woman traveling alone, I thought it was a legitimate and fair question but after a bit of a wait, the host asked me to cancel, which would’ve incurred a fee. I phoned Airbnb to discuss the matter. The customer service gal read all the emails and couldn’t understand the host’s sudden negative reaction either… maybe the area was dodgy. So far, only one out of three hosts have been honestly kind. The other two were just faking it apparently.

I’m now back to using hotels. Some aren’t that much more expensive and you get to deal with professional staff instead of a thin-skinned, petulant host. I have come across articles on how unsafe some venues/hosts can be since there’s not much vetting of hosts. A registered sex offender could be a host.

Stay Away from Airbnb Properties in Niagara

Niagara is not where you want to book an Airbnb to take your family to relax on vacation. I have seen combat videos from Kandahar that were filmed in better neighborhoods. The house was listed as “excellent” and I couldn’t get my husband and children to leave the car. There were burned out buildings and boarded up houses all along the street and the only indication that anyone lived in this neighborhood were the blue recycling bins randomly scattered about. I think they might roll the sidewalks up at night to stop them from being stolen.

Now, I have an adventurous personality and out of curiosity, I entered the residence with a flashlight because I couldn’t see the keypad on the doors; there was no hallway light. The good news was there was power and heat, though the derelict furnace that had been replaced was sitting in the downstairs hallway. The living area was cleaned, but really shabby and not in any kind of a “shabby chic” way. The spray painted clawfoot tub installed crookedly on the rotted sloping floor was the bathroom.

The rest of it was furnished like a college student’s apartment: mismatched single curtain panels stretched across the painted shut windows, old mattresses on metal bed frames, and a slouchy futon. We immediately left and contacted the host to tell her we were not staying the night. I could tell she’d had this conversation before. Her very best defense was that “many people” had stayed there and had never had a problem in this neighborhood. It was my choice to leave and she was not giving me my money back.

Of course she wasn’t; I’m sure it was my $200 she’d spent to furnish the place. I later looked up the address on Trulia and learned she bought that dump for $15k just recently. Since May of this year there have been six assaults, five shootings and a robbery in that very same blighted neighborhood. I should have looked for blood stains on the floor.

That’s right: she bought a whole duplex for $15,000. You’d think this would have tipped off Airbnb. Isn’t this their business? They don’t have some algorithm to compare and evaluate real estate listings? God bless the Canadian border agent that took pity on our shocked faces as we crossed the Rainbow Bridge twenty minutes after we had just left. He was empathetic and understanding and more than willing to help provide a safe passage into Canada for a family of Americans seeking refuge from what I have since come to learn is the most dangerous city per capita in the State of New York.

Airbnb has so far been pretty responsive to my complaint and they refunded me about $30 thus far. I wanted $200 to cover the cost of the hotel room I had to rent at the last minute but I’ll settle for them pulling all the listings in that zip code because it’s just not a safe place for anyone to visit after dark or leave their vehicle unattended. I would not be the least bit surprised if the police were afraid to patrol there.

Drugged and Assaulted at Airbnb in Denver

My first and last time using Airbnb was a complete and utter nightmare. I had just gotten the role I had been pursing in my career for two years. I flew out to Denver to take my drug test and start work that Monday. Everything was solid. I decided to stay at an Airbnb, thinking it would help save money. Little did I know the host has claimed to have been abducted by aliens, is on barbiturates and amphetamines, and was a former meth addict and who knows what else.

She seemed fine in the beginning but her stories got weirder as the days passed. I figured I was okay and I’d be gone soon enough. As for my own idiocy, I accepted a cup of tea from the host. She assured me it wasn’t weed tea or anything else funky; this was since I informed her I was supposed to get tested the next day.

I woke up a little fuzzy thinking it was the Denver altitude sickness. I went confidently and handed over my urine with not a worry in the world. I then woke up the next morning 5:00 AM to the host and her boyfriend beating the heck out of each other, then I was assaulted when trying to stop him from smashing her head into the floor any further. She climbed onto the roof, he ran, and the cops came. Maybe she was looking at aliens again…

Long story short, this was the most psychotic experience of my life. I failed my drug test, lost my job, and am now part of a criminal investigation. Airbnb has done nothing for me nor does it seem they care. I have other job offers and will stay in a homeless shelter until my first check comes in. My entire life has been turned upside down.

Airbnb sucks. Once I am back on my feet I am prepare to pursue and pay for a lawsuit until I regain my dignity and justice is served. This ordeal has ruined my name, upset my family and caused me to possibly have a breakdown.

Death Threats From Other Airbnb Tenants

blank

Emails between Airbnb customer support and myself:

“Hello, I was not able to stay here as the other boy living in the apartment harassed and abused me. It was so scary. I had to flee at 6:00 AM, taking my wet clothes out of the washing machine. I was going to call the police but I just wanted to get out. The host offered me alternative arrangements but it was so traumatic and awful I just want a refund. So bad. Worst Airbnb experience. I can provide more details of the harassment. The boy took a video of me and laughed as I was crying and begging him to leave me alone. I can easily get a police report if you need it.”

We are very much concerned about your current situation and we want to verify if you are now safe. We also want to know if you were able to find a secure place. Please let us know how we can help so we can call this to the attention of the other department.

“Yes. I left immediately and am staying in a hotel. The host was extremely apologetic (obviously) but the situation was really scary. The power in the unit had gone out when I got home from work and so I couldn’t have a shower; my washing hadn’t finished and there was no air conditioning. When I asked the boy if he knew where the fuse box was he became irate that I had used his washing powder (which I didn’t realise wasn’t communal) and was also very angry that I had gotten home so late and that I needed to leave so early in the morning (I work very long hours). The whole situation was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, definitely out of character for an Airbnb experience. I am completely fine now, just a little rattled and in need of finishing my washing.”

Thank you for confirming that you are now on a secured location. We really value our guest’s security and you were right in highlighting this concern. In relation to your recent reservation, I understand that you paid a total of $465.32 for four nights, but due to what happened, you were not able to fully utilize the reservation. I have escalated this concern to our of our case managers. Kindly expect a communication from them anytime from now. I am really sorry that you have experienced this; I know that this is not normally how things go with bookings. In case there is anything else I can assist you with, I’m entirely at your disposal.”

A short time later…

“Thanks for reaching out. I’m happy to help. We’re very sorry about your experience. We’re glad you feel safe now and that you’ve found an alternative place to continue your trip. I’ll talk to the host about your refund for the nights not stayed. I may also need to alter the check out date.

“I think I should be refunded for the whole time as I was put in a completely unreasonable position. I also don’t think this a good place for people to stay. The boy who lives there is aggressive and even after I locked myself in my room crying on the phone to my husband he stood outside banging on the door abusing me. He smoked inside. The power didn’t work. It was pretty much a bust. A total refund is basically the minimum I would expect. Thanks.”

I understand. I’ll inform the host. To set your expectations, though, in our refund policy, the guest is entitled to a maximum of 50% if they stayed despite the issue. This is to be fair to the host as the listing was used. We are generally in a much stronger position to assist any of our guests when we’re contacted within 24 hours of check-in so we could have helped you in arranging for a transfer to another suitable listing. I’ll talk to the host about the full refund. She is yet to respond.

Also, we need documentation for us to establish the issues so we can adjust the payment to the host accordingly. She agreed to refund you the last two nights. And she said the boy was disturbed by the noise late last night. Please send if you were able to take photos of the other issues. Once we establish a hosting violation, we can work out the additional refund. But as a courtesy from us, I’ve issued a discount coupon to help in your next payment should you book with us again.

“I feel as though as I should be extremely explicit about what occurred. It was my understanding, maybe misunderstanding, that I would be staying with my host and not an overseas student. When I first went to the house to get my key it was not what I was expecting at all and I was very apprehensive. However, I was on my dinner break with a taxi waiting downstairs so I chose not to bring it up. I also chose not to stay at the apartment and crashed on a friend’s couch instead as the apartment was a bit dirty and smelly. This meant last night was my first night in the apartment.

I arrived there at midnight. I did not make any noise but the boy (who I had never met) had his bedroom door open which opened onto the hallway. I apologised and closed his sliding door. I appreciate he probably wasn’t expecting me given we had never met and I hadn’t been there the night before. The house smelled intensely of smoke and there were empty bottles on the table and bench.

I put in a load of washing and while I was reading in bed the power went out. It was very late (2:00 AM) so I just went to sleep. In the morning when I woke up (6:00 AM) the power was still out, my washing was sitting in a pool of water trapped in the washing machine and the bathroom was too dark to have a shower. I messaged the host about the power and she told me to wake the boy, whom I assumed was her son, and ask him to check the fuse box. I knocked on his door and went in. I asked him about the power. He said “what the f#$k is wrong with you?”

I apologised and left the room. I messaged the host again. She messaged me back to ask what time I had to be at work. The boy got up and came to my room. He was shouting and getting too close to me. He kept saying “what the f#$k is wrong with you!?” and being aggressive. I was sort of flabbergasted and I asked him to leave my room. I also remember telling him to leave me alone. He left my room and I shut and locked the door.

I messaged the host to say the boy had been very rude to me. I got dressed for work and as I was doing my make up (by torchlight) he began banging on my door and shouting things like “what have you done to the power”, “you have ruined the house” and “how do you live?” – those sort of nonsensical things.

I opened the door to ask him to stop and also because I thought I could calm him down by explaining the power situation. Instead he stopped me from leaving the room, moved forward towards me, raised his fists. He laughed when I flinched. I thought he would punch me. I wanted to deescalate but I couldn’t work out what was happening. He said he wanted to kill me and some other threats I didn’t really understand.

I was very scared and I ducked down beside the bed. He left the room and went onto the balcony. I shut and locked the door again and sent the host a message saying “I am extremely scared for my safety. Please help.”

She replied saying the boy would not hurt me. It is sort of difficult to explain the way a woman feels when confronted with a violent man. We’ve been calling him “the boy” but he was in fact a strong young man. I thought he could do anything and I could not do anything. I began to cry. I called my husband to ask him what to do but he didn’t answer. I decided to just leave for work. I got completely ready and tired to leave even though I didn’t start work until 8:00.

The boy would not let me out the front door. He was mocking me for crying. He threw somethings at me. He took a video of me on his phone as I begged him to leave me alone. He got mad at me about the washing detergent, demanded I pay for it, held the box up to my face with his other hand behind my head. Pushing them together. Mock rubbing my face in it. He wasn’t aggressive, but more menacing and frightening.

My husband called me back distressed by the panicked voicemail I had left. He instructed me to pack my things and leave and if he wouldn’t let me leave to call the police. I told the boy I would call the police if he didn’t stop. He mocked me for over reacting but also seemed a bit nervous. He said a few more awful hurtful things. I was crying a lot by then. The power came back on. The boy got in the shower.

I quickly packed while he was in the shower. I put my wet clothes in a bin bag. I left my toiletries in the bathroom and my phone charger. As soon as the shower went off I ran out the door. I stayed on the phone with my husband until I was in the lift and it cut out. The left items are worth about $50. I had to get a taxi which cost $30. I was too upset to work today, which cost me $350. I had to go to the laundromat, which cost $6.

If you think what happened to me deserves a partial refund you have a very strange idea of customer service. While the host was not malicious she was culpable, neglectful and opportunistic. This is not a safe place for women or anyone really to stay. For documentation, you could check the hotel’s security tape of me running and crying for my life. You could ask the front desk who saw me terrified. I have the messages with the host which I sent you. I have the voicemail to my husband. I offered to get a police report. I’m still considering pressing charges.”

Again, we’re very sorry for what happened. Due to lack of documentation, we are unable to chase a full refund from the guest and also to be fair to her, you’ve stayed for two nights hence she has to be paid. If you were able to get a police report, we’d like to check this so we can also see if the listing is safe for future guests. It would be a great help from you. For the missing items, kindly open a resolutions tool for the host. 

“I can’t help but feel you’re not taking my report of physical and emotional abuse seriously. I don’t care about the money. I’m worried other single women will be harassed. I don’t feel like this is the political climate to ignore women’s reports of abuse.”

I hope you can believe me when I say safety precedes everything. The reason why we cannot chase the full refund from the host was because you stayed for two nights. The first and foremost best and first responders to an emergency are the police and I do hope you were able to report this to them. I also hope you understand our position to maintain our objectivity and our need for documentation.

“And I hope you appreciate that by putting the onus on me to prove what happened to me you have already made a decision to prioritize property over people. Is the host being asked to provide evidence I was safe? It seems clear that you care about your bottom line but I wonder how it might affect the bottom line if people no longer believed solo female travellers were safe in Airbnbs.”

That is exactly the reason why we ask if there is documentation you can provide that the property is not safe so we can present this to the host. I already mentioned the boy to the host and the host said he might have been disturbed with the noise about 1:00 AM when you got home. This was between the two tenants, you and the boy mentioned, so we are trying to establish the safety concern you raised to us. Were you able to take photos of the empty bottles you saw? Also, the host said the power was cut for a few minutes only. We are a third-party website not present during the reservation and we need to be objective in making our decisions. I may believe you, I truly do, but we need proof. Please advice if you are able to send that to us.

Afraid of Confronting Airbnb Host When I Leave

blankblank

Here I am sitting in my car, the night before I check out, and I’m afraid to go in to pack for fear of my host cornering me again. I feel like I can’t even complain to Airbnb because I let her behavior continue hoping it would stop. I also moved to communicating over WhatsApp as requested by my host – which I usually never do and definitely will not be doing again.

I arrived at my Airbnb in Cascais, Portugal three weeks ago. From the second I arrived here, I knew I was in for a bit of a wild ride. Firstly, we agreed at a check in time of 3:00 PM, very typical and normal. I had arrived to Cascais earlier than expected and told the host I was ready whenever she was but that I was with friends so there was no rush. I’m not sure what she understood from that but she told me she was at her father’s birthday lunch. She said she would leave immediately mid-meal to check me in. I thought it was a bit odd since I insisted there was no rush over the phone.

When we arrived the host showed us (my friend came along) the apartment, how things worked, the keys, etc. We expected her to leave quickly as she said she had to return to her father’s meal and I said I was also in a rush. However, she stayed for nearly 30 minutes talking to us about her life, her job, the history of the building, etc. Eventually she left and my friend and I were left perplexed by her complete inability to read the room. Anyhow I settled in and life went on.

The issues I raised over the month were:

1. No kettle – this was given upon request, which was great.

2. The front door entrance to my basement apartment was pitch black – I was told nothing will be done about this, to use the light on my phone. That was scary but I’m used to now.

3. I can quite literally hear a pin drop from from the upstairs apartment. It was so bad I have woken up thinking I am being broken into or haunted more time than I can count. Every single thing my neighbours do sounds like it is coming from inside my apartment. The host says it’s normal and if I really want she can tell them to stop wearing heels but it’s nothing to do with walking around; the key inside their door sounds like it in my door, their dog sounds like it in my apt. Again, I am used to it now; my dog is not though.

4. Then the wifi went down, and is still down two weeks later. She said it was my fault. I don’t know how it’s my fault as I barely used it but again there was nothing that could be done.

5. At check in, the host said there was no washing machine but to give her anything I need washed and when I wanted the place “serviced” to ask. When I asked, she only dropped off clean sheets for the bed. The second time she said to use the local self service laundry. The third time I asked she said it was not included as I’m not paying the cleaning fee, that she only offered the weekly service to me at check in because “I offered you that in case you read all the advertised amenities.” I have no idea what that means, but I had to buy a mop and sweeping brush.

6. Entering the apartment when I was not there. I had to specifically tell her not to go inside the apartment unless I have given permission or was there. Her response: “Besides, Airbnb is like a family where people should trust one another as if we were in one.” My mother was visiting and was asleep; she woke up to this host standing over her. What the actual ****?

Weirdly enough, all these issues haven’t bothered me as much as when she approaches me in person. She’s so odd and her English is really backwards. I don’t really know if she knows what she’s saying.

One time she woke me up to tell me the neighbors have been complaining about me for throwing my trash bags out the window. I asked to see the trash in question, so to claim my innocence but was denied. I was told it was definitely me, cause the lady next door said so. I had to literally close the front door on her face as she wouldn’t stop ranting at me. She just kept getting louder and more angry talking over me, so I left the conversation.

One time she knocked, just walked into the apartment uninvited and started a rant about me disrespecting her and her house and that the money I pay is going to her and not her neighbours. That I need to more respectful of her and her house. She then told me to move my clothes to a different part of the apartment that she doesn’t want to have to call over a builder to fix the damage I am causing by using that particular clothes rail.

Last week she cornered me in the hallway to tell me that my dog has been pooping in the neighbour’s yards – I quickly apologized and went to clean it up. All I found was cat poop. I picked it up as she was watching from her balcony, even though it was not my dog’s mess. I should have told her to shove it up her ***.

A couple days ago I told her I’m blocking her on WhatsApp and to only contact me via Airbnb so I have some proof of her madness. It’s a bit late now; I haven’t seen or heard from her since. I leave tomorrow and I think I would rather leave in the middle of the night than face her. She is tiny in size but is definitely psychotic.