This experience taught me to never rent an Airbnb room ever again. I rented a place in downtown Taipei that’s close to a train station, high rated with a good price. The moment I arrived I was thrilled, everything seemed nice. The room was a bit smelly but since it was cheap I let it go.
After the first night of my stay my nose started to clog. Staying in a smelly room for hours made my breathing a bit difficult. After the second night of my stay, I was officially sick in the morning. I asked the owner if she had another room I could stay in, but she told me all her rooms were rented and there was nothing she could do.
That night I finally got the idea of checking the air conditioner and it was horrible. The surface seemed clean but if you looked inside it was filled with huge spots of black mold. I could not believe I had been breathing the air into my lungs all along.
I contacted the owner and she was trying to confuse me by saying “we started renting the place out for two months only and we never had any complaints”, but after I confronted her about the air conditioner again and again, she finally caved and said it was provided by the landlord and was ancient.
As I asked her to hire a professional to deep clean the air-con the next day, she refused and said she would only send a domestic helper to come clean the surface only. I refused to keep breathing in ancient black mold into my lungs as it could cause long term lung damage, so I then booked a hostel to stay and moved out immediately.
I was sick throughout the rest of the trip and I was still sick after I left Taipei. The neighbourhood was not safe either. The hallway was very old and damaged, and the air smelled of secondhand smoke. At night I could hear men talking loudly; it didn’t feel safe for a single girl to stay.
The experience taught me that since Airbnb is illegal, the owners simply won’t care about the guests’ safety and well-being. After I read others’ Airbnb Hell stories, I know my case isn’t exactly that bad, but now I know any of those stories could have happened to anyone, including myself.
If you want cheap stays, stay in hostels. If you want a nice room for yourself in a hotel, you gotta pay more. Either way, just make sure you pick a licensed regulated place to stay. Risking your life for a few cheap nights is just not worth it.