Shalom Home? More Like Cold, Dark, Nightmarish Airbnb

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We recently stayed in a very cool home in the mountains of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, but it turned out to be awful. I tried to post an honest respectful review on Airbnb, it was quickly removed. When I asked the customer service rep how many reviews the host had had removed, the representative went quiet.

First of all, the host seemed to be represent herself as Jewish. When I walked in, she had Christian music playing and there was Christian and Republican literature all over the house. Was she hoping to convert us? My friend mentioned how lucky she was to live somewhere so beautiful and she told us it wasn’t luck, it was Jesus.

When we came home the first night after skiing all day and swimming in the hot springs all evening, the lights didn’t work, but we were too exhausted to say anything. The next day, the sun was out and we forgot all about the lights. We tried to shower, but the water would not get hot. I asked the host about it and she said to let it run. We let it go for a half hour and it never heated up. My ten-year-old daughter tried to take a cold shower but came out crying hysterically because she was shivering to the bone. Five of us didn’t shower for four days.

When it got dark that night and we realized there were no lights, my friend was trying to turn on one lamp and a sharp edge of a decorative wrought iron leaf sliced her hand open. When the host came to figure out the lights, she dismissed the cut as nothing. We did get the lights working, but the TV was useless. We took a photo of the lamp and the cut and Airbnb did nothing.

The host also stated in her rules that we could only eat in the kitchen. There were two chairs and a tiny table so I told the kids to go ahead and eat in the living room because if she couldn’t provide electricity and a shower in the 21st century, then I don’t have to following her eating rules. That night we had bought firewood to build a fire and sit around and enjoy the great outdoors of Colorado. When we returned, the host told us that the fire pit was closed for the season, but there was no mention of this in her description. She sent us the rules after she decided it was closed.

I tried to post this all on my Airbnb review, less the Christian stuff because I wanted to keep it unbiased and stick to the facts even though her proselytizing made us very uncomfortable, but it is her house and those books wouldn’t cause a bacterial infection like open wounds and not bathing. Airbnb took down the review and said it was not in accordance with their policy. Not bathing during a pandemic is okay to Airbnb?

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Relaxing One-Bedroom Apartment Close to Everything… Not

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This property should not have been accepting bookings because there are countless problems that make it unlivable. We were not told of, in advance, about the horrible living conditions of the property that we would have to endure if we stayed there. If we were made aware of those, we would not have chosen to stay there. We would have chosen a different Airbnb location and property, someplace that actually had parking, cable TV, wifi, hot water, and for that matter, water.

We were not told about the poor living conditions prior to our stay. Many inconveniences of staying at a location where the building was being retrofitted for earthquakes. It was noisy, dirty, and dusty all the time. There was no cable TV after 12 days and no cable wifi after 12 days, only a slow portable wifi hotspot that the host brought after the cable went out and had to be reset every day, many times.

There was no dedicated parking, a super small pint-size refrigerator, and the wall heater was not working. The hot water for taking showers was only around about 20% of the time and always extremely low water pressure in the bathroom. The garbage lock code given was incorrect, so we had to find elsewhere to dump our trash. The laundry room was very dirty, dingy, and dark. We had to go to a laundromat which was not close by.

At the time of booking, there was already retro work being done at the apartment building. No disclosure was given to us of the inconvenience nor a discount offered to my wife and I because of the construction work. We were not told about what we would have to go through by staying at this Airbnb location and the poor living conditions.

We were only able to park in the dedicated parking spot a few times during our stay there of 57 nights. We had to drive around for hours looking and waiting for a street parking spot to open up. (That was within one block) Why? There were either piles of dirt there or garbage or equipment in the way where the parking spot was located (not enough room to park a car there). Every time we returned to the apartment (which was daily, as we worked) my wife and I felt worried and pressured about whether we would find a parking spot or not.

On Monday, the cable went out because the construction crew tore the cable off the building. On Tuesday, the cable company came and said the outside wires were pulled off since they were doing retro work on the apartment. We called the hostess to let her know about the cable going out and she said she’d call. Then she emailed us that she would get a portable hotspot to use to go online.

She didn’t check in with us after that to see if everything was okay. Never a call, message, or email saying when the cable would be restored, etc. Some worker-type guy stopped me outside one day and said they needed to make an appointment with us to install the windows. I told him that I was staying temporarily in an Airbnb, but don’t think he understood. I called the hostess and she said yes they were doing that. She never asked us if it was okay that we hung around and ruined our Saturday to do that. Was this part of our job for them at Airbnb? Not even a thank you.

On Saturday, the apartment building had to change the windows in the apartment. We had to get up early and be ready for them to come in at 9:00 AM. They actually arrived at 9:20 AM and were there 2.5 hours. This interrupted our Saturday. It was also very inconvenient as we had to stay there while this was done but also needed to rearrange the furniture so the workers could access the windows.

My wife and I being furniture movers and apartment sitters was not a part of the Airbnb deal. We didn’t get paid. And again, not even a thank you, a discount or a fruit basket for our trouble.

The gas wall heater didn’t work. We would turn the thermostat on and turn the temperature up, but the heater wouldn’t turn on. You could hear that the pilot light was lit, but there was no big woosh when the heater ignites.

We chose this place because it had a kitchen. However, the refrigerator was only pint sized (very small) and not big enough to hold very much food. My wife was not happy. Because of this, the food we brought with us had spoiled – money wasted there. We had a lot of food as we just sold our home and left there the same day we came here. It leaked water on numerous occasions and the kitchen would be flooded.

Some evenings, workers still made pounding noises for the remodeling work. It was super noisy and we could not relax.

Taking a shower most times was a hit or miss for having hot water. If somebody in the building had taken one recently, then we’d have to wait at least an hour for a lukewarm one if we were able to take a shower at all. If the apartment next to or below us would use the water, this apartment would lose its water pressure completely. In the mornings there was never, ever hot water. Also, there was no water on about six or so different occasions. Sometimes there would be notices or not and then no water for a whole afternoon or day.

The bathroom sink was stopped up. They had liquid Drano under the sink, so they’ve had this problem for a while. We had to go buy more. Seven dollars out of our pocket for that.

This is not a relaxing apartment as advertised. It’s a dump, and the area leaves a lot to be desired. It’s an old, hotel style apartment building and not a secure one. There are homeless people hanging out in the stairwells at night. The neighborhood was not so good. My wife was afraid and would never go outside alone. The walls were paper thin and you could hear the neighbors no matter what. There was a baby next door or downstairs that was crying through the night, almost every night.

I’m not sure how this can be relaxing, being as you cannot sleep a whole night through. You’d think for $3000 a month, you’d be living in the lap of luxury. This was no way to live for two months. It’s an embarrassment that we even have to submit this. This apartment should not have been listed on Airbnb until the retro construction work was done.

Unbearable living conditions and bullet points:

• No parking except street parking (dedicated parking space we were able to use only about five or six times because dirt or equipment was in the way)

• No cable TV from the 12th day into our 57-night stay (not even two weeks)

• Extremely slow hotspot supplied after the cable went out and had to be reset many times every day.

• Low water pressure in the bathroom

• No hot water 80% of the time

• No hot water in the mornings

• Bathroom sink clogged and had to purchase a drain cleaner product

• Had to stay around here one whole day for window installation and moving furniture (and it’s not even our place)

• Pint-size refrigerator (not even close to full size)

• No place to empty trash – the code given did not open the trash lid padlock

• Dark and filthy laundry room

• Homeless people in the stairwell that led to the Airbnb. We had to walk around them.

• Paper thin walls / could hear neighbors

• Retro and construction work being done on the building (noisy, dusty, dirty, no parking, etc.)

• Gas wall heater not working, so it was cold in the apartment during our stay

• Not a secure building

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Serious Issues with the Water at Texas Airbnb

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This is my very first Airbnb “horror story” and I think it could have been resolved very easily with just some plain old fashioned honesty. I think it should be mandatory for hosts to disclose if there are any issues that might effect their guests’ health and their ability to function during their stay, particularly if they are trying to attend to any important issues from their room via phone.

I arrived late in the afternoon for my first day of a ten-day stay and as soon as I got into my room, I noticed there was a dog next door that barked continuously. The room next to mine was the owner’s daughter. She had locked up her dog and left. The little guy was letting everyone know he was very unhappy. This went on until well after 10:00 PM.

I did not notice anyone because I was busy unpacking, but the next morning when it started again, I asked the owner to please check on him. She explained that her daughter leaves him alone a lot and that she would let him out. Problem solved, or so I thought. Next morning… same routine.

By the third day the daughter decided to move to a larger unit, according to the owner. Great, peace at last, or so I thought. Now the owners have decided that this would be the very best time for them to remodel the newly vacated unit: time to break out the table saws, miter saws, mallets, and hammers and get busy.

The wall between my unit and the daughter’s newly vacated unit was maybe two inches thick with no insulation. The first day they started around 8:00 AM, they startled me so badly I had a severe anxiety attack within an hour. I asked if they were doing construction work and the host answered “Yes”.

I then asked her how long they would be over there doing this and she could not say. I told her I would need to check out that I could not function in any capacity with all that noise and asked her to please adjust my bill and refund the difference for the additional days. She informed me that there were no cancellations and no refunds, but that they would stop working on the unit. Which they did… for about four hours. Then they started up again.

In the interim, in the middle of the night, the toilet started gurgling and making hissing noises around 2:45 AM. It was so loud it woke me up out of a dead sleep. I jumped out of bed, tried to figure out what was going on with it, and discovered that a massive amount of air was hissing through the tube, so much so that the tube had come out of the cylinder it fit into, which water is supposed to be coming out of. The tank was almost empty.

After about 10-15 minutes of trying to resolve it, I just shut the water off at the valve line and it stopped. The next morning I checked it and turned it back on and everything seemed okay… until I turned on the water. Milky white liquid poured out of it continuously. I switched back and forth from hot to cold to see if it made any difference. Nope.

I contacted the host again. She had no idea what was going on. She said it just “looks dirty”. Hmmm… really? It looks like milk to me. I got distilled water for drinking but what could I use to bathe in?

The next day, there was no water at all. None. I contacted the host again. Amidst the banging, hammering, sawing and ongoing construction work, she advised me that there was no water in the entire city of Natalia, but she didn’t want to tell me because she did not want to “disturb” me.

By now, I was highly suspicious, so I just Googled “Natalia Texas Water Services” and up pops every alert and health risk related alerts you could imagine, including asbestos in their water system. By now I was mortified and resolved to contact Airbnb with requests for refunds and go elsewhere for the remainder of my trip.

That afternoon the water came back on but it was still milky white. I was not taking any chances with my health, so I refrained from using their water at all except to flush the toilets. Now I have to find another place to shower and bathe and forego having any phone conversations from my room because of the noise.

All of this could have been easily avoided with just an honest disclosure from the owners. If they had mentioned there would be ongoing construction next door to me, I would have politely declined, but that never happened. Nor were there any health-related disclosures about the water. Although they did have a pitcher with a filter in the refrigerator, no mention was ever made of why or what types of contaminants the pitcher filtered out.

All of this should have been disclosed to anyone considering staying there so that they could determine whether or not it would be a hindrance or issue for them or their health. Before anyone chooses to stay in Natalia Texas, I urge you to simply Google the water issues they have had and then choose wisely. As for me, I think I will pass.

I would deeply deeply appreciate a response from Airbnb on this matter as I only have a few days before I leave this review on their site as well along with a video of the running water coming out milky for several minutes.

Hot Water Debacle at Airbnb in Mexico

We booked a few nights stay at an Airbnb in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It was a new bachelor condo building with a concierge, swimming pool, and even a restaurant. It was around $115/night.

The day we arrived, we each had a quick rinse in the shower after spending a few hours at the beach. By the time my husband had finished rinsing off, the water had turned ice cold. We figured that the water heater probably hadn’t been turned on long enough, as so many residences in Mexico rely on physically turning on a water heater a while before use.

The next day, after adjusting the shower temperature, I was in the middle of washing my hair when the water turned ice cold. I showered as fast as I could and got out. My husband got in and the same thing happened: ice cold after a very short amount of time.

I decided to message the owner to ask if there was a trick to turning on the hot water. The owner responded that the water was regulated and there was only three minutes of hot water every few hours. I immediately got into the shower and timed how long the hot water lasted… 1 minute and 20 seconds. I couldn’t even get the soap out of my hair in that time.

I let the owner know it didn’t even last three minutes but the owner was unwilling to help. I contacted Airbnb about the issue as the regulated water time was not posted in the listing. When I asked about changing locations, they did agree we could find a new property and get a refund on this one. However, we unfortunately were too scared of the repercussions of the owner possibly coming to the building to confront us (or worse) for the loss of income.

Airbnb: A Horrible End to our Honeymoon

I booked this property for the last part of my honeymoon in Italy. Upon arriving the place was great. The day we got there we had travelled from Turin to Rome to Naples to Sorrento so it had been a long day; we wanted to shower and nap. When trying to shower, I got only ice cold water. I told the host about the issue and she sent someone to look at it shortly and told me it should be fixed. However, she wanted to send them again in the morning just to be safe.

The next morning they came and take a look and then we left for a tour. After coming back from the tour we really needed a shower but again, there was no warm water. We had a special dinner to go to so it was very uncomfortable coming from a full day tour and not getting a proper shower.

All the way through I communicated the issues to the host through Airbnb. I even told her that this issue would be in her review. Her review for me said I was dishonest and would not recommend me. Why would I lie about this? And how is it a lie if she had someone look at the issue multiple times?

This was an extremely horrible experience especially as it was for my honeymoon and the first time I’ve used Airbnb for a trip. I tried getting the review from my profile removed and compensation for the horrible experience but Airbnb did not help. They only said if I had called during the stay, then they could have done something. This made no sense to me because their site recommends that you work it out with the host.

No Water in Bathroom Not Grounds for a Refund?

We arrived in Paris for a three-night stay at a “cozy, cute apartment with panoramic views” to find a cozy, cute apartment with a balcony. 15 degrees of the view did show Montmartre but the other 165 degrees was a perfect panorama of the adjacent apartment building, maybe 20 years away. Fine – we weren’t going to be spending much time in the apartment.

Exhausted and somewhat stinky from the overnight flight from the US east coast and battling the Parisian strikes affecting transportation in from De Gaulle airport, I was ready for a shower, to brush my teeth and take a quick nap. Mon Dieux! There was no water in the bathroom at all. The kitchen sink had water, but la toillette, shower, and sink, as well as the washing machine, lacked any water.

We turned a few knobs, my husband checked my work to make sure I had somehow failed to remember how to turn on water at the age of 63, and I contacted the delegated Airbnb host, since the official host was not available. I contacted him through the Airbnb website and then he reminded me that he preferred to use WhatsApp.

Problem #1: the Airbnb customer service person later informed me that because I used WhatsApp it was impossible to be absolutely sure I was communicating with the right person, despite the back and forth conversation over several hours, the ability to look up the phone number, the screenshots, and the Airbnb website communications.

The host asked for a photograph of the plumbing in the bedroom which we took on our iPhone and sent to him. He responded, “Voila – just turn the nozzle to the washing machine and all will be wonderful… not.”

I reminded him that that nozzle went to the washing machine, not the shower, toilet or sink and that we had tried several times. He assured me it would get fixed. Stinky and exhausted, we napped for a couple of hours, blissfully uninterrupted by any further attempts by the host to settle our problem. After our nap, I called, messenged, and sent him and the owner notes asking for a resolution.

About six hours after arriving, unable to go out because we were (stupidly) expecting someone to come to fix the problems, we decided to cancel and go elsewhere. I let the host know, secured alternative housing, and returned the key five blocks or so to the secure key drop (he was very good about sending me the key code so he wouldn’t have to come to pick it up elsewhere). The host even had the nerve to say that no other guests had ever had this problem, insinuating that perhaps this was our fault.

Since returning home, I’ve contacted the Airbnb customer service folks and as I saw written in the intro on the Airbnb Hell website, found them wanting. Several apparent problems: I should have communicated only on the website; I should have contacted Airbnb central; I need to prove that I didn’t have water.

Proving the absence of water is quite difficult, actually. I couldn’t get a response as to how I was supposed to do so. Apparently having no water in the bathroom is not a reason for looking for a different situation, nor is a complete lack of results by the host in improving the immediate situation and my assumption that the host would know the rules and use the website only (not WhatsApp) is incorrect and absolutely no protection even though it works well for the host.

The customer service agent has refunded me about half of the cost. I have asked him or her to provide me the contact information to make an appeal and he/she simply ignores that request in our communication. This has been incredibly frustrating and I am asking for a full refund. Until this time, I have had only good experiences with Airbnb and my thought is that this host may just have a bunch of hotels he rents out without any real attachment. He’s not a host; he’s a short term lender. Just a hunch.