I joined Airbnb in August of 2016 as a host. I live in a house where I rent out one guest room. All other rooms are shared, including the one bathroom. It is a small house just over 1000 square feet. Just so you know, I joined out of desperation, since I was unemployed and worried I would not be able to pay my bills. I have currently unlisted my space as I am gainfully employed and in part due to the following.
Airbnb Customer Service: I find it very disconcerting that I must go to an entirely different website (outside the Airbnb site) to find a phone number, email and physical address to contact you. When I attempt to use the Airbnb internal contact form, I get directed to the FAQ. This is extremely poor customer service and very frustrating.
Their policies of not allowing a host to view a guest review until 14 days pass or until I post a review of the guest are objectionable. For the guest I had, I would not have reviewed her so neutrally had I known how derogatory hers would be of me. I find it is their policy that I cannot change my review nor can I change a response to her review or add to it.
This guest arrived three hours before the check-in time. I wouldn’t have been concerned except for the events that would follow. She should have been charged an extra day. Since she was a multi-month guest, she was only charged the first month up front. Her second and third payments were late, which Airbnb was aware of and should automatically put up a review that she had a lack of funds to pay when the money was due twice.
It is extremely important to hosts that they get paid on-time. She never communicated to me that she would be able to pay albeit late, yet remained in the house and waited for me to ask. She did eventually pay, but payments two and three were late. However, had she not paid, they claim no liability and I would have been forced to litigate to get her out of my house.
In general, this guest was a very poor communicator. She was very upset that the commute to the hospital where she would be working would be over thirty minutes’ drive. However, before booking, she had never asked how long it took to drive there. I would’ve known and I would’ve told her.
I overheard her – when she thought I was not able to hear her – tell someone over the phone that I only provided small sample shampoos. I do not list that as an amenity on my listing. The sample shampoos are just a courtesy in case someone forgets and until they can get to a store.
She also complained that I was getting up before she left for work when I clearly told her the time I had to get up for my job (substitute teaching in the beginning) the day she arrived. When queried about when she’d be working, she was vague and I had to deduce from observations later. She also complained there was no ceiling fan in the room she occupied while many of the other rooms had ceiling fan. However, I had bought a new fan for her to use as the ones I had were dirty and I was unable to get apart to clean.
She never communicated any of these issues directly to me. Every morning she worked, and she cooked bacon. As I have stated, I have a small house. I also have asthma. The smell I had to get up to was overwhelming, many times causing a coughing attack. I had to spend 15-20 minutes every morning (before I needed to prepare and leave for work, mind you) spraying a neutralizing air spray, wiping up grease and cleaning out the drain in the kitchen (she would remove the strainer and leave bits of egg and other food in the drain, potentially clogging my drain).
As she was getting ready for one and a half hours, she would pass my bedroom door over and over as she had refused to use any of the storage in the kitchen or bathroom that I had provided. She was rather heavy footed and made a lot of noise. She had on several occasions left a big glob of hair in the tub. Once she must have been dying her hair and left two black marks on my fabric shower curtain. These did not wash out.
In her review, she claims she did not know I had a dog. My house rules clearly state that I do have a dog in two places. In addition, one reviewer mentioned my friendly dogs (one has since passed). In her review, this guest complained that my dog begged every time she ate. She never once communicated this to me. I kept my dog in my bedroom when she was eating breakfast and getting ready for work because I noticed one morning that she was bothered by the dog. I certainly would have curbed my dog more had she communicated to me that she was bothered.
She dinged me badly with one star for “misrepresenting my listing” because she claims she did not know I had dog until she arrived. She clearly could not have read the house rules before she booked. Airbnb needs to ensure that guesst read the house rules before they book. Additionally, in her review, she complained I only had one TV. Had she reviewed the photos, she would have seen that there was no TV in the guest bedroom and no others in the house except the living room.
She added that if she didn’t want to watch what I was watching, she would have to find something else to do. This is an extremely skewed view; I likely only used the TV 6-7% of the time she was there. When I was done watching I would hand her the remote and ask if she wanted to watch anything else. I also remember occasions I watched on my laptop and once on my phone so she could have the TV. She, however, had the TV on nearly every waking minute she was there. If she didn’t have to work that day, she would wake up and turn on the TV.
It would be on all day until she went to bed with few exceptions. She would come from work and immediately turn on the TV. I also observed she would have on a movie that she had just watched a couple weeks before. She also would have her tablet on her lap during the time she watched, leading me to question: how much did she really need the TV?
In her review, she claimed my house was infested with spiders. I can only conclude that she is an arachnophobe and seeing one or two spiders sends her into a panic. I witnessed her cutting up citrus to place around the room to repel spiders. She claims to have read this on the internet. Again, she did not communicate her concerns or whether it was okay to do what she was doing (it was not) and took it upon herself to address the situation. After she left, there were some dried up citrus pieces some of which were stuck on the rug, leaving a sticky mess for me to clean.
Almost a month after she has left, and I am still finding pieces of dried up citrus. The definition of infestation is enough of an insect, animal, etc., to cause damage or disease. There is no way that my house has been damaged by a few spiders and it is not unhealthy either. Her review makes my home sound like it is from the Munster’s or Adams Family TV shows or a scene from a Harry Potter movie, all far from the truth.
This is another area she dinged me badly, by giving me one star for cleanliness. My house is far from a one star for cleanliness as one can see from other reviews. When speaking to a friend about her review, she said, “I’ve never seen a spider in your house and I’ve been here a lot.” My friend also remarked that she was passive aggressive. There was another minor annoyance with her: she left drawers open an inch, and did not push her chair in.
Airbnb making amends: I would ask that her review be taken down. I clearly think that they should remove the one star for “misrepresenting my listing” when I have always been upfront about having a dog. Barring that, I would like to edit or add an addendum to my review from this guest or I would like to be allowed to add an addendum to the response to her review.
Airbnb should indicate that she is probably okay to inhabit a place on her own, but she is not a good housemate, even temporarily. She should never be allowed into a place with an animal. Most importantly, a potential host should be warned it may be difficult to collect payment from her.
Suggestion: when a host is residing on the property, Airbnb should have an escape clause: if the guests and hosts are a mismatch for whatever reasons, allow either party to cancel and part company without any retribution.