The Dark Side of Airbnb for Female Travelers

We are a group of backpackers who have stayed in many Airbnbs. In all our stays, we had pleasant and safe experiences apart from our most recent stay which was awful beyond words. Our stay at an Airbnb in Kalpakkam opened our eyes to the dark side of Airbnb and safety.

We had to encounter probably one of the most horrible experiences of our lives by staying at this place. We encountered a host who abused, insulted and shouted at us. It’s only now that I am reading the reviews of this property and I can see the abuses hurled at by the host even while answering. It was a grave mistake that we did not really read the reviews properly while booking.

On January 3rd, we had a long, tiresome journey from Pondicherry to reach this place at Kalpakkam, near Mahabalipuram. When we came to this Airbnb we were quite upset to see that the beach beside the property was littered with garbage and local people in the area openly defecating in the beachfront. In addition, the rooms were not really tidy. The air conditioning in one room did not cool properly and the toilet in one bathroom had no flush. To be fair it is mentioned in the property description that the flush was broken and would be fixed after January 2nd (we arrived at the property on the 3rd and we had booked this place two months in advance).

After we arrived, we called the host to inform him out of courtesy that we had arrived and we were facing some issues regarding the AC and also mentioned that the flush was broken (yes, it is mentioned in the property listing but it also says that it would be resolved on the 2nd). There was no confrontation from our part and we casually happened to speak with the host about the issue. Immediately the host got furious and asked us to cancel the reservation.

The property is in the middle of nowhere and we had girls in the group. Obviously we couldn’t cancel and find alternative accommodations when it was already dusk. Within ten minutes or so, the host turned up with his mother at the place and started shouting and abusing the girls. We were unable to comprehend why would a normal person behave this way, unless the person is not really sane.

Apparently the host was quite upset because he has “sentiments attached with his home” and that we dared to complain about. However what remains inexplicable is the reason the host would shout at us, abuse us, and ask us to cancel the reservation when it was quite apparent that the location is remote, there are several girls in the group, and it was almost dark.

The host used insulting statements like “Why [would] Airbnb send such characters?”, “Get out of my house”, and “Who are you?” When we said we were not going to leave without talking to Airbnb, he shouted “Airbnb is nobody. This is my property – Airbnb cannot stop me” again and again.

This entire experience made us feel utterly unsafe and stressed. The most unfortunate thing is the fact that our female friends had to suffer such abuse. In a civilized society, no gentlemen would ever assault women, but this vile creature of poor manners is not man enough for civility.

One of our members had a nervous breakdown because of this episode. We are not used to abuse and altercations and we have unfortunately not taken any lessons on how to handle an adult who would bully and shout at you for no apparent reason.

Furthermore, the host said that he only wants “local people” to stay at his place. Apparently we are neither Tamil nor South Indians; he was implying that he does not want people from other parts of India. This was most insulting, humiliating and the highest form of discriminatory abuse. We were so stressed and traumatized that we could not sleep that night.

Apart from such an awful host, there was a group of boisterous local guys in the next house in the same property (probably belonging to the same owner). They were making catcalls, hooting and flashing lights at the girls of our group. It was an isolated place and naturally we were terrified for safety reasons.

To sum up, our New Year party trip was ruined by an unmannerly and unstable host who abused us and we had to endure these insults since we were trapped because of the location. I was constantly reminded of this quote by Gandhi throughout the frightening encounter: “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” But alas, since I am no Gandhi I cannot forgive or forget this horrible episode.

Though we had booked this miserably grotesque place for two nights we left the next day in the morning as apparently we had an appalling stay and felt extremely unsafe and violated. This property is in the filthiest of places with an evil-mouthed, pathologically-egocentric and abusive host.

Airbnb has been requested multiple times to delist this property for the safety of guests. I am waiting for Airbnb to take appropriate actions. We managed to take a small video of the episode. Since we were not smart enough to take the video initially we missed the most insulting parts. But still, this video will give you an idea on how unsafe Airbnb is, especially for women.

Friday the 13th Airbnb Spider Nightmare

It was Friday the 13th and my husband, our two friends, and I took a weekend trip up to Maine for a relaxing, fun getaway. After driving for three hours we reached our destination way out in the wilderness. We arrived after dark to the cabin style house and started getting settled. We hung out for a while and made dinner using the outside grill.

One of our friends was exploring the property around the house when he called for us to come over to look at a massive spider web he found on a tree next to the house. We looked in the tree and located what looked like a large brown recluse spider. We knew since we were out in the wilderness that it was probably common to run across this kind of arachnid outside.

We continued to hang out and we were watching Friday the 13th since it happened to be on TV that night. Hours passed and we decided it was time to call it a night, so we all started getting ready for bed. After using the bathroom I went over to the sink to wash my hands when all of a sudden I was interrupted by a huge brown recluse spider sitting in the middle of the sink.

I immediately froze and screamed for someone to help kill it. I was horrified and started to feel like maybe this spider was not alone. I have never seen a spider that big. My friend came into the bathroom to kill the spider when I heard my husband yell from the bedroom. He said he had a huge spider crawling up his back when he laid down in the bed.

We ran into the bedroom to find the dead brown recluse spider that my husband had just killed laying on the bed. I was no longer tired and frankly creeped out. There was no way I was sharing my bed with a huge spider that is potentially poisonous. I told everyone that we needed to pack up and leave immediately because at the rate we were coming across these spiders, that most likely meant there would be more.

We called the few hotels that were in the area, but there were no vacancies. We were pretty much out in the middle of nowhere and it was 2:00 AM. As we were packing up to leave, we noticed that there were lots of brown recluse spiders crawling out of the wood rafters on the ceiling so we hurried out of there as fast as we could.

We decided to try to sleep in the SUV rental which was our only option at that time, but it was extremely uncomfortable and none of us could sleep because of the nightmare we had just experienced. We came to a conclusion that it made more sense for us to just drive the three hours home since we had no place to stay.

We drove through the night and finally returned home to get some well-needed rest. We could not believe what we had just experienced and how it felt almost like we were in a horror film. Also it was very eerie that it just happened to take place on Friday the 13th. Anyway we reported the issue to Airbnb and were compensated.

Airbnb is Not Safe for Neighborhoods

In April 2019 I purchased and moved into a brand new neighborhood of luxury town homes within a five-minute walk to the metro and nearby shopping and restaurants. It seemed like a nice and quiet neighborhood of families and young professionals who want to live close to the city, but want to avoid the high costs of living and crime in our nation’s capital: Washington, DC.

Once my neighbor moved in, she and her husband started listing rooms in their brand new home as Airbnb hosts. This is where my nightmare began. I started getting Airbnb guests ringing my door bell at all hours of the day and night thinking my private home was an Airbnb. I even have Airbnb guests trying to put in a code and access my keyless doorpad. My dogs bark from the disturbance. It seems like a constant flow.

Since Airbnb does not conduct background checks on guests, this has caused a huge safety concern for myself. I’ve had to install cameras and a security system on the perimeter of my home and put up a sign on my door stating, “private home, not Airbnb.”

I have contacted my neighbor and Airbnb with no resolution. Airbnb put me on hold and said they would send me a link to file a complaint. Some of her guests even seemed like they were on drugs when they were ringing my doorbell and trying to get into my private home. This has caused me huge concern about the safety of the neighborhood and the safety of the homeowners in the neighborhood; some random person could walk into our place if we were not constantly monitoring that our door is locked and our alarm systems are always active.

Complete Dump Misrepresented on Airbnb

The Airbnb house was infested with rodents. This was not a mild problem. There were multiple rodent droppings in the cupboards inside the pots and pans, strainers, tupperware, etc. I discovered new droppings in the pantry on our second morning (where we were keeping our food). The host had to provide us with large plastic bins to safely store our food and protect it from rodents. Droppings were littered under the refrigerator.

The house needs major repairs. The deck is completely rotten and unsafe to walk on with the second floor railing about to fall off. The septic system leaked sewer gas into the house when it rained or if we took a shower. We saw a pipe draining out of the side of the house with brown/soapy liquid that smelled like sewage, but can’t verify that it was. Smelled bad though.

The host does not present truthful information in the listing regarding handicapped accessibility. There are no bedrooms or bathrooms that are accessible without climbing stairs. There are also no railings on the stairs at all. I specifically asked the host about this because my elderly father was traveling with us and he needed an accessible bedroom and bathroom. The host assured me that there were accommodations for my father “on the main floor” but failed to mention that it involved climbing four stairs without a railing. I guess he just wanted to rent the house.

The dishwasher does not work. It is worn out and even after we got it to run through a cycle, it did not clean the dishes. The host sent a technician during our stay who was supposed to “order parts”. We were left with a moldy dish rack (yuck) so we could hand wash dishes. I complained and the host sent a new dish rack.

The pots and pans were so worn out and scraped up that the non-stick coating came off in our food. They were unusable. I complained and when a lady (his wife?) delivered us a new set of pans and told me “well, it’s just a rental”. People renting a $486/night “rental” have the right to expect a clean kitchen with usable appliances and cookware.

There was a waste can half full of moldy water underneath one of the downstairs sinks. The trap on the sink was a worn out rubber type that completely leaked. Obviously the host knew and just put a trashcan under it. It smelled bad and we poured out the moldy water. Again, $486/night.

Years ago this was probably a nice family home. Currently it needs major repairs and has health and safety issues. The host is misrepresenting it as “a truly magnificent meditation retreat” and even though Airbnb is now aware of this scam, they refuse to hold the owner accountable. They obviously make a lot of money from high end listings like this, even if guests are scammed and it’s a dump.

Airbnb Puts Lives at Risk when Everyone has the Keys

We arrived in Paris at 9:00 AM on November 22nd. We arrived at Urban Flats around noon and stored our luggage with them. They assured us they would be in a secure location. We returned at 4:00 PM and checked into our prepaid Airbnb rental. We had eight people in our group: five adults and three children under 7 years old. That night my son and daughter in law decide they would sleep on the sofa bed in the living room.

My son awoke to someone opening the front door. He spoke out and the person closed the door and left. My son got up, locked the door again and place furniture in front of the door. We thought maybe it was a mistake and went out sightseeing at 10:00 AM. We made sure the door was properly locked.

We returned at 6:00 PM. When I went to my room, I noticed my converter plugs and iPad were missing. We then realized everyone had all their electronics (three iPads, one computer, one smart watch) and chargers missing. Upon further search, we found that all the jewelry was missing. In fact, a carry-on bag was missing and I believe they used it to remove our property.

We went to the Urban Flats office and reported the break-in. The employee went to our apartment and found the spare apartment key in the lock box by the front door. He said that should not have there. He then proceeded to lie to us: first, he said he called the police, and next we had to walk to the police station. At first he said he notified his boss, then he said he could not call him. Lie after lie. In fact, he said we should not worry since travel insurance would cover it. He assumed we had insurance and could not understand why we were upset.

We did file a police report, but they said they could not help us. We called Airbnb and filed a report. The next day they acted as if we never reported anything. We personally notified the owners of the apartment. They were helpful and gave us a full refund so we could go to a hotel, which turned out to be more than we planned on spending. The first time we called, the Airbnb agent said they would give us $250/person for a hotel and then the next day we were told that was not possible.

As far as I am concerned, Airbnb put our lives at risk. This was an inside job since someone provided the robbers with the building code and key box code. I plan on posting on every social media website that Urban Flats is corrupt and dangerous. Airbnb has been no help. I plan on seeking legal counsel due to the fact that eight lives were put at risk.

Airbnb Experience just an opportunity for sexual assault?

Recently I booked several Airbnb Experiences during a long stay in Merida, Mexico. Most of these trips were magical experiences with wonderful guides and friendly tourists. One thing I learned quickly was that the guides preferred to have more than one guest on a tour. In general, this makes sense because fixed costs like transportation can be spread over several people.

I personally try to book tours early so that guides have time to rally other guests to help with costs, and since Airbnb does not enforce a minimum guest count. However, on one particular tour I was the only tourist. The Experience took me deep into the jungle with a man I didn’t know, to rural places where we were completely alone.

I felt panic as we drover deeper and deeper into the jungle. I frantically shared my GPS location with friends for some modicum of security. Unfortunately, my cell phone had absolutely no reception at all. This tour guide seemed to prefer that I was a woman alone with him. He told me he habitually does tours for single women, as if it was proof that he is trustworthy.

During the tour, he would ask me to model for photos. It appeared that he was using the Airbnb Experiences as a dating service. I deeply regret going on this Airbnb Experience with this man. I felt like I was in danger during the entire eight-hour trip. I wish I had known I would be in this situation, and I wish I could have cancelled this trip.

For the safety of everyone involved, Airbnb should allow hosts and guests to enforce a minimum guest count on trips. Please offer us the opportunity to cancel these trips if there is only one guest. Ultimately, I am safe. However, I fear for the next woman who signs up for an Airbnb Experience and finds herself alone with a stranger where no one can help.

TL:DR I hope no one else has an Airbnb Experience like I did.

One Airbnb Guest Brought a Gun, Killing Four People

A home in a wealthy suburb of San Francisco was rented on Airbnb. The renters lied to the host, saying they were escaping from the fires and wanted fresh air. The host was out of town. The guests posted on Facebook that they were hosting a mansion party for Halloween. Forty minutes into the party, 50-100 people were at the house. The homeowner called the police. The police were on the way, but gunshots were fired before they arrived. One of the guests shot at the guests, killing four and sending four to intensive care. Airbnb hell for the host and the neighborhood, and the dead. Here is the story.

Airbnb Condones Lying and Scamming Hosts

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I booked a stay in Los Angeles from September 23rd to September 30th. My total was $2134.46. Upon arriving to the location at 3:00 PM, the host took me through what seemed to be a back entrance to enter the building and up to the unit. I asked if he had two keys as I had a second person staying with me and he told me the building only issued one.

He showed me around to the unit, told me that the pillowcases and towels were still in the dryer, and then left. Within minutes of him leaving, I noticed that the bed linens were dirty, with hair on the sheets and white stains all over the bedspread and pillowcases. I was going to just wash them myself. However, the linens that were in the dryer were not dry. I tried resetting the dryer three times but it kept cutting off.

I tried to connect to the wifi and it would not work. I then set out to go pick up something to eat. Upon leaving, I double-checked to make sure the front door was shut tight and locked. However, when I pushed on the door, it popped right open. I tried to shut it about three more times but it would not shut and lock completely. Therefore, I called the host and explained:

• The bed linens were dirty.

• The dryer kept cutting off whenever I tried to reset it to dry the pillowcases and towels that were in them. I had to reset since after the first cycle had finished; they were still damp.

• I could not connect to the wifi.

• The front door would not shut and lock properly.

The host said they never heard that before. While on the phone I again attempted to shut and lock the door hard. However, it would not shut and lock properly. Add this to being brought in using a back entrance and I did not feel safe. I could not stay in a place that does not have a front door that shuts and locks properly.

The host said I could cancel my reservation and they would give me a full refund with no contest. I then called Airbnb to follow up; the person I spoke with told me she needed to see the communication and that she had to contact the host. Airbnb called me back, saying the hosts said they would come over to fix my issues.

This turn of events was alarming since when I talked to the host they said I could leave, cancel, and be given a full refund. I tried to tell Airbnb that I did not feel safe and was uncomfortable. However, the woman on the phone aggressively ignored my concern. Being a single female, taken through a back entrance, then realizing the front door did not shut and lock properly, the hosts being two men, I was completely terrified.

I packed up my belongings and went to wait for them outside in public. By the time I got to the door, they were on the other side of it. They came back to the unit to try to “fix” the issues listed above. They showed up to the apartment with an extra key in hand. However, I was told the building only issued one in the beginning; this was also concerning.

They proceeded to come in and I stepped outside into the hall, as I did not feel safe. They tested out the door and saw for themselves that it was not shutting and locking properly. On their several attempts to shut and lock the door, they told me that I just needed to slam it extremely hard. I should not have to slam and jury-rig the doors to the highly priced Airbnb I was staying at.

When traveling as a female alone, safety is of the utmost importance. I explained to both of them that I did not feel safe or comfortable staying here and I would really appreciate if they would stick to their word allowing me to cancel and give me a full refund. They agreed so they sent a message via the Airbnb app and confirmed they would honor a full refund for cancelling due to the issues listed above and their inability to fix them.

At this point, I returned the key to them, they walked me down out of the seedy back entrance I came in, and I left. The host agreed in the Airbnb app to giving me a full refund without contesting it. I then called Airbnb again to follow up; I was told that I had to cancel the reservation to get a refund. I did that and then called back.

At this point, I was told someone was handling my case and would be contacting me. I never heard from him until he emailed me at 5:41 PM saying that he had forwarded my case onto someone else who would be contacting me.

At 7:31 I began receiving messages from someone saying that he was handling my case. He said he spoke to the host and they sent videos/photographs of the issues listed above working. These alleged photographs/videos were obviously taken after I had left, after the host agreed to a full refund because he could not rectify the issues.

Airbnb told me that they would not honor my refund. They also said that the host was claiming that I refused to give them the key until I got my refund. This is entirely not true. As I mentioned above, I handed over the key to the host when he agreed to give me a full refund due to the issues listed above, as I no longer felt safe staying in this Airbnb.

There is absolutely no reason why I would withhold the keys. A key fob is not worth the $2134.46 I paid to stay in this Airbnb. Withholding a key fob is not going to get my money back, nor provide a place to stay. The host never informed me that any issues were fixed or could have been fixed. I tried reaching out to the host several times but they stopped answering my calls and texts and blocked my number.

I asked Airbnb who I could speak with but they ignored me. I called again; I just kept being told this particular case manage would call me. He did not; he continued to message me. He told me if I had proof of all this, to send it. Therefore, I sent him the screenshots of the messages where the host confirmed he would give me a full refund since. This is what Airbnb said they needed to see: verbal confirmation from the host agreeing to give me a full refund.

I requested Airbnb call me immediately. Finally, about seven hours later from the start of all this, they finally called and did not take into account my experience, but just kept reiterating that the host sent pictures. Had the host put any effort into seeing that all these issues could be fixed when he came back to the unit then I would not be writing this; the issues would have been fixed and I would have had a place to stay. However, he did not do any of that. The host agreed to give me a full refund without contesting it and we parted ways.

I asked Airbnb for a corporate number: they said there wasn’t one. Therefore, I asked to speak with a manager and he finally got us on the phone with one, who said an investigation would be launched.

I am appalled at this level of service. The constant run around with Airbnb customer service has taken up my entire day and ruined my trip. My brother was getting married and this week started in tears and fearing for my safety. Not only did I lose $2134.46, I am 3000 miles away from home without a place to stay.

This Airbnb host has scammed me. I deserve a full refund. My request was simple: I wanted a refund for the full amount which I was told from Airbnb customer service that the host had to agree to, and they did. There is no way I could have stayed in an apartment with a broken door, being taken through a back entrance and then having the host make false claims after confirming he could do nothing about the broken door, the dryer and wifi not working, and would give me a full refund.

This completely ruined my trip and overall experience with Airbnb. I have called numerous times, I have spoken with several “case managers”, I have been told ad nauseum that someone will be reaching to me and no one has. I then had to spend another couple thousand dollars on hotel accommodations.

I have had nightmares following this incident of someone breaking into my hotel room and doing terrible things, all because of the traumatic experience I went through with this Airbnb host and the company. I deserve a full refund for the hell this host and Airbnb’s customer service has put me through during a time that should have been one of the happiest moments for my entire family.

I am glad I found this site to help me learn I was not alone in this nightmare. I wish I would have found it before booking but I will make sure everyone I know knows about it before they consider booking with dirty Airbnb.

Host Rented the Apartment During our Stay

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.

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Airbnb Nightmare in Austin: Stranger Walks in

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This is a long one. Ten friends and I are in college and were traveling to Austin. We booked a apartment that advertised it could host 20+ people. We showed up on Friday around 8:00 PM. We were unable to get in. We called and texted the host numerous times, to no avail. The keypad entry finally worked about 30 minutes later. During this time, a neighbor welcomed us by flipping us off when he saw us.

After getting inside it was clear the apartment hadn’t been cleaned: no sheets on beds, no toilet paper, trash bags, shampoo or other listed amenities. Again, we reached out to the host (still no response). There were seven glasses and four dishes, not a fully stocked kitchen as advertised. We had no other choice but to stay (since we had paid up front and we are broke college girls).

On Sunday night (we had rented through Monday) we were awakened by a uninvited guest who was able to get into the apartment. That’s correct: a man entered at midnight refusing to leave because he said he had rented the apartment and wasn’t going anywhere. Thankfully the neighbor who welcomed us with his middle finger jumped into action when he heard the commotion and literally kicked him out for us.

Airbnb is slow to respond and has wasted hours of our time, and the host is now threatening us if we leave a bad review, saying that he will tell Airbnb we were extorting him. We don’t need a refund. We need this shady apartment and host removed from the platform.