Take Pictures and Notify Airbnb Immediately

My husband and I had a lovely trip to New Mexico last month. We stayed at a nice house at a great location with beautiful scenery. When we arrived, I went to sit on the couch in the living room and saw that there was a large stain where something had been spilled on one of the cushions in the seat of the couch. Being a tad OCD and grossed out by that, I just went and sat on the other couch as there were two. My husband sat on the couch with the stain as he is not as silly as I am, but he did question why anyone would buy such a light colored couch for a rental home (it was a light tan or beige color). Other than that, we thought nothing about it.

During the week, we noted several other issues. The first day there we noted that the tub in the bathroom was leaking onto the hard wood floors. We hadn’t used the tub nor would we as we are shower people. We alerted the local person who manages the property for the owner, and the next day a plumber came out to have a look at it. He stopped the leak by turning off the water to the tub as it needed a new faucet (glad we didn’t need a tub).

One afternoon we came back and there was water leaking from the front bay window and also a leak in the back door. We looked at the door and there was a crack in the glass. We emailed the owner to let him know; he said he knew about the front window but not the door. We were in the mountains where it was cool and wonderful – a great place to open the windows and enjoy the outside fresh air. So we did. Within minutes the house was full of flies and moths. After looking at the windows we realized that all of the screens didn’t fit the windows so all the critters were just crawling in around the edges. No worries – we closed the windows and starting swatting flies.

The house had a full kitchen that was well stocked. It was also well stocked with rodents as all the pots and bowls had mouse droppings in them. No big deal – I just washed them out and used them. However, there were also droppings inside the cabinet that could have been cleaned if the housekeeper had looked. I mention the above because on our way home – we left about 7:00 in the morning as we had a long drive and check out was at 9:00 AM – we got a call from the owner (about 9:10 AM) asking us what we had spilled all over his couch. I first questioned what he was talking about, then I realized that he was referring to the stain on the couch that was there when we got there. He said that his housekeeper said that it hadn’t been there the previous weekend, that it was definitely caused by us. He then hung up on me.

I first thought that we had lost cell, but looked and that wasn’t the case. I called him back, and there was no answer. I waited about an hour and called again and he answered. I tried to explain that we had not done that, why would we have notified him about other issues and then ruined his property. He said that he knew that we had done it, that his housekeeper was wonderful, and he was not going to report us. When I got the review survey for the property I wrote a good review for his place as it was a lovely setting, had beautiful scenery, and was definitely a great deal.

I also wrote a personal review to him pointing out the above issues that all could be easily fixed, and also to let him know that maybe his housekeeper is not as great as he thinks she is and that maybe he needs to make a surprise trip to visit his property. A week later I got an email from the host telling me that he could not believe the nasty review that I had written, that I had irreparably damaged his business, and saying what a horrible person I am. The public review literally said, “Great property, beautiful scenery!” How is that nasty?

I did contact Airbnb to verify that only the public review was visible to the public. I emailed and got a reply from them within 24 hours verifying that, and they were very helpful letting me know that anything that was sent straight to the host was not public. So I have no complaints about Airbnb. However – if you rent some place and notice problems – document them immediately and contact the host or management immediately. I have a feeling in this case that would not have helped us. I think the housekeeper didn’t catch this when it was done originally or did it herself, and I think the host is crazy and would have said that we walked in the house and immediately destroyed the couch. In the future I will be looking upon arrival.

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