We are three girls and one boy from San Francisco, traveling to NYC this past weekend. The Airbnb nightmare in NYC resulted in two intrusions in the middle of the night that ended up with the police escorting the host out. Airbnb support “apologized for the inconvenience” and this guy is still renting on the platform.
The first red flag was that the host never gave us the address to the apartment after asking numerous times until right before our plane was going to take off. We had to call Airbnb support and we were not sure if we would have a place to stay that night. He called us after Airbnb support was involved and the first thing he said was “I am EXTREMELY BUSY”. Finally we got the address. He acknowledged his tone in the text.
The second red flag was after we saw how dirty, and not true to the description the apartment was (expectation vs reality here), the host cancelled the posting. We had to find the original images using a website cache. We called Airbnb support and they gave us a refund and a 60-dollar coupon to rebook a room. Since it was 5:00 PM on the last night we were staying in NYC, we confirmed with them if we could stay another night. They said yes, and that they would take care of the payout to the host.
On our last night, shit started going down. At around 11:30 PM a girl walked in with suitcases and keys. We were all shocked. She said she got the keys from a mutual friend and thought she could stay here. We were dumbfounded and said we are here for another night. She left after that. After that we were scared of another guest intrusion, so we propped a chair against the door.
At 12:09 AM we were awoken with loud banging and kicking on the door. An angry man’s voice shouted: “Get out of my fucking apartment! Open the fucking door!” on repeat. We cracked open the door. It waas our host and his girlfriend. He threatened us that he would get into the apartment “either nicely or not nicely.”
One of my friends (a licensed lawyer in NY), asked if we could have a civil discussion. He said yes, and we let him inside. He ordered us to sit down. He had a large duffel bag with him that made a huge thud when he let it down. I called 911 at the start of the break-in but I didn’t have pants on so I stayed in the room, only coming out after the 911 call ended and I found a pair of pants from one of my friend’s on the floor.
During the confrontation, he was very agitated and smoking the entire time. Apparently the large hole in the kitchen only happened Saturday morning (we arrived Saturday afternoon at 3:00 PM) and he just didn’t have time to take care of it. That’s some fast acting mold. He was very upset that he was “not getting a dime from us staying here,” plus he got fined on top of our stay.
He demanded to be paid either from Airbnb or us, right there right now. He called Airbnb support there, and demanded to talk to “the highest level staffed personnel there.” I don’t think they listened to him. He later hung up. He calmed down a bit after seeing the messages we showed him saying we are staying according to instructions and Airbnb will pay.
He threatened to call the cops. I told them not to worry; I already did. His girlfriend was trying to de-escalate the situation after this. It seemed like it was not the first time she had seen this happened. He works from 9:00 to 5:00 so that’s why he missed all the calls. However, he did not miss the phone call at midnight from the new tenant telling him we were in there.
We interrupted his $200 dinner with his girlfriend (I thought he worked from 9:00 to 5:00? Who is eating a fancy dinner at midnight?) He avoided questions on why the apartment was so dirty. The cleaning fee was $100 – what was that spent on?
The police then rang the doorbell. Thank you NYPD; you guys are the best. They arrived so fast. The host and his girlfriend left and never came back. The policeman came up and told us he would make sure he didn’t come back and the policeman would walk them out. He told us to barricade the door again in case they came back.
Two of my girlfriends suggested we book and move to another room and I said I would not let him win. We all slept there that night although not very well. This whole time, the host never bothered to respond to Airbnb support, or our messages, or reached out to us to let us know about the new tenant, or the fact that he was coming to kick down the door with a heavy duffel bag. He left it at our apartment and we did not look inside.
What was really surprising was Airbnb’s response. They just apologized for “the inconvenience” and told us to leave feedback on their website. This guy is still out there renting to people. What baffled me was this apartment had 100+ great reviews and the host said he has been renting for six years.
Airbnb asked us what else we wanted after the refund. We don’t care about the money. We don’t want any more people falling for his fake pictures and this crazy guy breaking into your apartment at night. Our full booking was only around $360 a night, so we care more about taking this guy off the platform than the actual refund.