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.

Nightmare at Mexico Airbnb Makes Us Leave Early

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A misrepresented listing led us to find serious issues with listing in Cholula Puebla, Mexico: three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, three-story house, two years old. It was not only dirty but there was no PPE or COVID-19 sanitizing protocols or cleaning supplies even though the host is a dentist. The host said they only cleaned once a month; there were no cleaning supplies at all, so guess we missed that window, right?

We walked all over the house. There was no gas or internet. We were told to wait for the gas truck and cable company to do installs, while the hosts left. The workmen took 7.5 hrs to finish (no PPE while going up and down the three floors) you can see the installation on the photos I will include. The gas people finally showed up and the pilot was lit, immediately there was a strong gas odor. The host said it was nothing and “just leave the boiler door open” except that the gas leak was very strong all over especially in the kitchen. I should say the boiler temperature never increased from the pilot level so the gas couldn’t get worse which meant no hot water.

We called the host several times about the gas leak, and they finally said a plumber would arrive right away. They never did. I opened the rear sliding door only to be met with all types of flies and mosquitoes. We had to keep it closed. I should add the home was very hot, with no window coverings. We were told the internet would work the following day but it only worked on the first floor due to the installation plus this was an old issue they were aware of.

We gave them benefit of the doubt but couldn’t sleep due to the gas situation and being bit by fleas or bedbugs as soon as we lay on top of the bed. Add to this house wasn’t as advertised — new, modern house completely outfitted — the living room furniture was badly stained, dirty and full of dust plus broken (they were same style as listing but different fabric), and the same for the dining room and kitchen.

The upper floors were stifling hot so they had small fans everywhere. Everything had serious calcium deposits which affected the use of any water, the microwave was dirty and greasy, and everything was old and mistreated. There wasn’t one pan for cooking, just old beat up pots but no spoons, spatulas, coffeemaker, blender, even where you drain dishes didn’t have base on it so couldn’t be used.

They say they’re set up for long-term stays? Definitely not. They also gave us limits for utility use: 500 MX for gas, 500 MX every two months, (roughly $25). You pay for anything over. The host made a abig deal of utility conservation yet with a gas leak, only multiple ceiling lights, no small table lamps available so you’d use much more electricity, plus a very hot house requiring fans everywhere gives the reason for their utility limits.

We left the very next day after seeing had odor was worse, there was no plumber and the internet was still not working properly. We notified Airbnb about getting a refund. It’s been over a week and even though they replied, there has been no resolution yet.

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Host Lied About Cleaning Filthy Airbnb During Pandemic

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I have used Airbnb for years but never again. My pictures will show that this new host had no concept of what was clean and had not cleaned let alone touched high contact areas. It appears a long-term renter had been there as we were unfortunately the first guests in what they say was a newly refurbished property. They had painted bedrooms but left the kitchen and washing machine cupboard untouched: door handles were sticky, light switches filthy, dirt built up deep and when you opened the fridge door you could see the dirt build up.

The kitchen stank so badly of cat spraying and wee, it also smelt like something dead like a mouse. I told them and sent pictures. They blamed a cleaner but wouldn’t tell me who that was so I could raise a complaint and they said they would clean the next day, a day into our trip. We stayed out all day in the hole so they could do a deep clean. We couldn’t find anywhere else to stay.

We got there late the first night with our son who has Crohn’s and is a higher risk. We couldn’t get anywhere else as everything was booked and we were complying with Airbnb and giving them and the host a right to respond. Airbnb said not to cancel — it had to be done by the host. Anyway, we got back and found that only superficial cleaning had been done: no hoovering the dirt in cupboards, no cleaning next to the washing machine or the machine.

I had such a bad night with my severe cat allergy and knew something was really bad in the kitchen so I tried to find the issue. The photos of the fridge, floors, washing machine, and cupboard are after they had the chance to clean. I was fuming and told the host I sent photos to Airbnb. The host said they would refund me but are now refusing and changing their story because I left an honest review. I am still waiting for Airbnb and I will be taking legal action. The host has now posted defamatory statements about me in their reply to my feedback.

I am at a loss how people can be like this and rip people off and lie so blatantly. I have photos, I have their emails admitting they didn’t clean, admitting it’s wrong, admitting they would refund me and now because I didn’t play the game and lie on my feedback they are refusing. Had I lied I think they would have still refused, and they would have said my feedback showed I’m happy. The biggest issue for me is Airbnb and this is not fit for an enhanced cleaning program. A host gets a badge and is shown to be COVID safe when they are not even doing basic cleaning. I would love to do a class action on Airbnb to look at this and the facts.

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On My Way to Arbitration After Airbnb Assault

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I was an Airbnb host for several years. In December, I was assaulted by Airbnb guests from Canada overstaying at my rental home. I called 911, and police officers photographed my injuries at the station. My Airbnb account was closed, and the reservations were canceled.

The guest contacted me via text message about my account being closed before Airbnb sent me an email deactivating my account. I was coping with my husband’s loss and to be attacked inside of my own home was very difficult for me. Airbnb indicated that they would open a claim for my property damage loss. To this date, no such claim has been opened.

The sheriff’s investigator contacted Airbnb’s Law Enforcement Department, who refused her request for the guests’ identity. She indicated that she attempted to search for the guest’s name using department resources and did not get a return. She noted that the Airbnb guests used false information to make the booking.

Airbnb denied me the right to seek justice with my claim by refusing to provide the guests’ identity to law enforcement, who would have conducted a proper investigation. It seems Airbnb was afraid of an impartial third-party investigation. I am on my way to arbitration, and you will hear about this matter in the press very soon.

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.

Robbed, Threatened, and Still Can’t Get in Touch

My son and girlfriend rented a room in Ft. Lauderdale. The room was not as presented, but they tried to deal with it. They were supposed to have a two double bedroom. There seemed to be some type of human trafficking going on… I can’t go into much detail on that. My son was robbed, threatened to be shot, and left the property.

They tried to reach Airbnb since arriving at the unit and could not get through to a person due to misrepresentation of the room. Police were called to the hotel. The hotel clerk told my son and his girlfriend they needed to leave before something happened. Again there was no help from Airbnb. They left the unit at 1:00 AM and had nowhere to go. Their money was tied up in this unit and Airbnb would not give them their money back.

We got a frantic phone call at 2:00 AM that the kids were on the streets. Still nothing from Airbnb. We got on the phone and still nothing. I bet if it was their kid something would have been done. I posted their story to social media and suddenly I got a call. They actually put me through the whole process three more times, telling same story, promises to do something, and promises to call back. They sent me an email asking me to state it all over again, and then after I did, they told me “because of my lack of response, they were ending the dispute.”

Every time you call they mention how the calls are being recorded. Airbnb should check their recordings and email history. I have called at least 15 times. The problem is, they know that this happened to young adults juggling jobs and school that could wear them down. But Mom won’t be worn down.

How can a company allow this? They know it happened; there are police reports. They removed this stay from their listings and they think telling me that it has been handled internally helps those kids in any way? They deserve their money back for a place they couldn’t even stay.

Airbnb Not Allowing Some Guests to Book?

A guest who is trying to book my listing is getting the following message from Airbnb when she reaches the stage of entering credit card information in the booking process:

“Choose another place to stay. Airbnb prevents reservations for entire homes when a pattern of factors (like location or reservation time) suggests the booking may be unsafe. This restriction is not related to the coronavirus. For resources on coronavirus, see airbnb.com/covid. Please try a hotel room instead.”

My listing is not unsafe. It is perfectly clean and safe. I called Airbnb Support and they told me that this is some issue with the guest’s account. But then, the guest’s co-staying guest tried booking my listing using their Airbnb account and their credit card. The Airbnb system responded with the exact same message.

I’m not sure I really believe that this is a problem with the guest’s account. Is anyone else experiencing this phenomenon? If so, please share any information with me that you can.

Not Impressed with Airbnb Experiences Overall

I stayed in a few Airbnbs over the world in 2016. I decided to try Airbnb because I wanted the experience of living as a local would. I wanted the experience of getting to know the culture and lifestyle of the places I was visiting on an authentic level.

I wanted to stay in places that had some character and didn’t look like generic corporate beige. I wanted to stay in residential neighborhoods rather than in the middle of a tourist trap. More importantly, I wanted to save money on staying in hotels/motels and also on food by being able to have access to a kitchen and prepare my own meals. These are all things Airbnb advertised at the time and I was very interested in being able to travel that way.

The first thing that I was struck by when deciding to rent an Airbnb was how expensive they were, even in comparison to local motel rates; many were the same and some even more. The second thing that I was struck by was how inaccurate the descriptions were on the majority of the listings. The third thing that I was struck by was that many of these listings were places other people lived most of the time but were just renting out when they were not there, and were not designed with the guest’s comfort and enjoyment in mind.

The first place I stayed at was in the U.S. and it consisted of a bedroom in a house with half a bathroom. Again, the price was about the same as a local motel. The washer and dryer didn’t work, the floor was chipped and cracked and the window screen was broken. The floor was stained and dirty. It wasn’t like I had access to the entire house — just the room. The owner was not available most of the time and didn’t answer or address any of my needs the entire time, even though they got paid.

The second place I stayed was a room in another house. The lady who owned it was actually super nice. I went to an ecstatic dance event with her and we had a great time. She had children and one of her kids was in camp, so I was staying in her son’s room. Again, she was a lovely woman but it was weird sleeping in a kid’s room with kid’s sheets. It was clear she was a struggling single mom who was trying to make some money for her mortgage, so I felt like overall it was something I didn’t have a problem with. However, I wouldn’t ever stay there again.

The third place I stayed in was in Denmark. That was the only Airbnb where I had access to the entire apartment that was clean, orderly, and as described on the listing. The owner was helpful in helping me rent a bike. The price was also reasonable and I was able to actually save money with food because all the kitchen equipment actually worked. That was the only place that I would ever stay again.

The last place was in Germany and that was the last time I ever rented an Airbnb. The description was completely inaccurate; the apartment was located way on the other side of town. I had to walk two miles to with my luggage. The owner met me and he seemed nice. He gave me the key and talked about the town for a few minutes before he left.

The apartment didn’t have much working in the kitchen and not even a working microwave. The bathroom was filthy, with a piece of dirty duct tape on the floor holding it all together. The sheets I’m pretty sure had not been washed and the only appliance that worked was the TV.

The day that I left I got locked into the building and wasn’t able to leave since I had given him back the key. I knocked on some random apartment for someone to let me out. After that experience, I checked the local hotel and motel rates in the city itself and found that they were comparable and in some cases even less than what the Airbnb host was charging.

For the same price, you can get a hotel room with clean sheets, clean towels, a clean bathroom, a safe, and someone to clean your room. A hotel will generally be up to standards and have good customer service, but this is not the case with Airbnb.

You just get the feeling that many of these Airbnb hosts are far more interested in making additional income to pay their bills than they are in providing a valuable, guest and customer service oriented, hospitable experience. They aren’t obligated like hotels are to abide by certain hospitality industry standards. They aren’t even obligated to abide by certain safety codes and are not subject to inspection.

According to some of the reviews I have read on this website, many Airbnb listings are not even required to actually exist. Many of them are fake or are dishonest in their listing description.

I’m posting this because everyone talks about how great Airbnb is, but that has not been my experience overall. You really are not saving any money and you’re really taking a gamble on whether or not the place you are renting from even exists. If it does, will it be up to code, or is it a fire trap? Is it going to be clean? Will your host cancel your reservation right before you arrive? Is the host an ex-con, a rapist or murderer? Of course, this can go for the guests too.

Airbnb has some potential but it needs much more oversight. The listings should be subject to certain local laws to ensure they are complying with safety standards. They should be subject to inspections and paying fees to local governments so that they do not displace local residents.

As it is practiced today, it is a bad idea and really should be banned. Many people can’t access affordable housing and it is largely due to Airbnb being turned into short term rentals which can charge a higher rate. Guests coming in and out of the neighborhoods are not required to register their status if they are ex-convicts or sex offenders.

Is it really worth any of the savings if you don’t know if your valuables will be safe or if the host is safe? If the kitchen equipment doesn’t work, and you have to dine out anyway? Are you really “living as a local” if the place you are renting is on the other side of town?

In short, think about it before renting an Airbnb. Is it really worth the risk? Maybe have a back up plan like a hotel booked which has a 24-hour cancellation policy just in case. Or just stay in the hotel and forget Airbnb.

Host Tries to Charge Guest $6,000 for Fake Damages

Last November I was traveling with a friend from Tennessee to Delaware. We stopped several places along the way and our first stop was actually in Alabama. We got there and the Airbnb was difficult to find and seemed like it was in a sketchy area. Once we found the place, it wasn’t so bad.

The next morning we wanted to do a load of laundry and there had been a washer and dryer listed for usage. Well, in order to use the washer, I had to get the host’s stuff out and load it into the dryer. I thought I was being helpful anyway.

After a few minutes, my friend and I smelled something burning. I went over there and sure enough there was something wrong with the cord. We were not told that this was the case, but I had to make sure to unplug the dryer. I had to move the dryer to make sure I could unplug it which was difficult since it was hot to the touch.

We opened windows and the door. We even called 911 to get the fire department out even though there wasn’t a fire just yet. We knew we needed to leave, but needed to make sure nothing happened. We stayed until the smoke cleared, but from a distance so we wouldn’t inhale the fumes. We also called the host and told her exactly what happened and she was cordial and okay with us when we were on the phone and thanked us for letting her know.

That night I got a call from the host screaming at me for ruining her stuff and that I had caused significant damage. I let her know it was due to her error in not letting us know the dryer had faulty wiring, but she insisted that it was on us. She went ahead and complained to Airbnb and said we did that as well as stole some stuff. We are not thieves.

We got a call from Airbnb letting us know the complaints and we let them know the real issue. They told us, “Yeah, it is a little ridiculous what she’s saying and it’s way more than could happen in one night.” So they said that we would be okay and that they would eliminate this complaint.

About three days later I got an email trying to charge me $6,000 for the damages. I called about it and once again they apologized and said they would remove the charges. However, a few days later I got an email saying that my account had been disabled due to not following the terms and conditions in accordance with Airbnb policy.

I have since tried and tried to talk to Airbnb and ask why my account was disabled, but they keep emailing me and letting me know to reply to with my Airbnb inbox, which I cannot use since they disabled my account.

Airbnb Nightmare you Wouldn’t Wish on Anyone

We booked three weeks with what on first meeting appeared to be a friendly South African immigrant couple in Allandale, Governors Bay in New Zealand. When we arrived, we were disappointed to see that the kitchen and bathroom were filthy, and the mattress badly stained. For $83 a night, it should have at least been clean.

While I was out for a drive the next day, I was told by one of their neighbours that the hosts are illegally subletting the downstairs unit without the owners’ permission and expressed concerns for anyone staying with this couple. They didn’t go into detail. That was our first warning.

Within 48 hours, one of the hosts had entered our downstairs unit twice without our permission while we were out. Despite us telling them we were on a working holiday and needed a secure space in which to lock away my husband’s laptop and work files, they told us they wouldn’t be locking the upstairs area they rented (which had internal access to our unit), so our possessions were not safe while we were out.

She then made numerous demands for us to mind and socialise her unruly and poorly trained 50-kg dog, and feed her chickens, none of which we should have to do in an Airbnb but we complied with everything the host asked for out of the kindness of our heart.

Our petite dog was hurt by her dog two days in a row while they were out and so we placed her in a kennel to keep her safe. The host gave us no peace from one day to the next. She repeatedly trapped my husband on the way to and from his car to make conversation when her husband was not around.

When on the third day I explained to her that my husband works 40-50 hours a week, that we were exhausted, and I asked her for much needed space and privacy, she became repeatedly vindictive. She started sending texts to us via the Airbnb site making false allegations with an attempt to have us kicked out and lose our payment for the two remaining weeks.

She then involved her husband and together they constantly harassed us until we no longer felt safe and went to stay elsewhere for three days for some peace and quiet. Numerous calls and texts followed from them both.

We told them that we were leaving and that we would be back to collect our belongings. Her husband then told us we were not permitted to return to retrieve our belongs and threatened us. We had no choice but to call the police, who came to the property and kept them away from us while we gathered our things to leave.

We would never recommend anyone stay here. It was exhausting and we felt very unsafe with this couple living above us, and are very relieved to have made it out of there in one piece.