Trying to Get Around Local Airbnb Laws

I just got back from a trip to Barcelona, where I rented an Airbnb apartment. Check-in was a nightmare, but that was the least of it. My first morning there, I was woken by a touristic inspector who wanted to enter the apartment and take a photo of my reservation. Apparently, some hosts in the building (including my own) were breaking Barcelona city law by renting for less than 30 days without a license to do so.

Two days later, my host started pestering me with mysterious WhatsApp messages asking me to meet him. I was like, “What the heck for?”

After much back and forth, he finally admitted that he would like me to do him a “favor” by signing a fake contract extending my lease to 30 days. I several times indicated my discomfort with this situation, but he kept pushing. Eventually I said, “NO! I just don’t feel comfortable being dishonest.”

The host then showed up at my place while I was getting ready to leave and came in without knocking. I said “Please leave!!! I’m packing!”

When I left the apartment, the host was waiting for me outside – supposedly to help me carry my luggage, but it seemed that really he was still hoping to get me to sign a fake contract. I texted him subsequently telling him I had not been pleased with his behavior, and posted a negative review on Airbnb. The host texted me back calling me a “crushed whore.”

I also complained to Airbnb. They nicely refunded my money for the stay, calling and texting me with many consolations for how badly I’d been treated by this guy, and promising they would look into it. However, I just checked this guy’s listing on Airbnb. Not only is Airbnb still allowing him to advertise on their site, despite the fact that he’d tried to pressure me into to criminal fraud, they erased my negative review.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Who knows how many listings this host has. Sharing economy my a##.
    And it doesn’t take a genius to know that the people who live in Barcelona absolutely HATE Airbnb and what it has done to their neighborhoods completely emptied out of residents in favor of tourists.
    Why stay in an apartment and be hated by the locals? In my opinion they have every reason to hate you.

  2. sadly oh so typical of how airbnb don’t want bad legit reviews … doesn’t help the profits does it? and they certainly won’t cancel this ‘hosts’ contract … for the same reasons… very sad.

  3. Airbnb erases reviews only when they violate their terms of service. Reviews can be complete lies and Airbnb won’t take them down as long as they don’t violate the terms. You must’ve put something in there you shouldn’t have. Too bad because future guests should be warned.

  4. Renting out an entire home by the night to tourists all year round is running a black market hotel. If you paid up front for what you could clearly see on the web site was the entire premises, devoid of any personal belongings, available all year round, then you deserve to get stung. It’s illegal. That’s why these Airbnb scams are cheaper than a licensed hotel.

    • Why do you think the guest deserves to get stung? Do you really think it’s the guests responsibility to check local laws and request documentation from the host to determine if an Airbnb is legal before booking? That’s not even feasible for guests that hail from a different country and aren’t fluent in the language.

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