Virtually no Verification of Airbnb Guests

I recently hosted a group of overseas teens, who managed to make my home in London a complete mess. I evicted them, and refunded the unused portion of their payment, in conjunction with Airbnb. Now I am trying to be more selective with my guests, but have found out that Airbnb’s way of verifying a guest’s veracity can be as little as getting a phone number.

In the past, there used to be items such as “Government ID verification” which must have had some value. I do not think a phone number counts in any way to establishing identity, as anyone can get one within minutes. The same applies to email addresses.

When I challenged Airbnb on this, they stated that this was their policy, and if I don’t like it I can always cancel a booking. This I did, and received an email stating that my listing may be suspended. Arrogant outfit. As soon as I can get myself off this platform, I will.

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


  1. Airbnb has turned into a craigslist that still charges fees for property management and invoicing. They do not represent the host or the guest, but instead they just say yes to what makes more profit. They pretend to verify and have a secure/stable/constant review process. Airbnb actually lies about reviews, showing most as 5 stars and then hiding anything less than that by not showing the stars. An inventory with all 5 star hosts and users make more money … right! They really do not use math or averaging, but instead claim it is a result of the “secret algorithm”. In fact most problems on the platform are a “result of the secret algorithm” and can not be changed or fixed as a result. It is really more about manipulating hosts and guests into unsafe/unverified situations that are many times already actually verified to be fraud by previous complaints.

    Airbnb removes transparency from much of the process so that users can not determine the actual risks. If that is not enough they change the terms so frequently that you have not rights or recourse when things go wrong. This can only work for a company that is a monopoly and uses legal loop holes for online operations. Many hosts have made big investments by buying properties, furnishing properties, and improving properties only to find that the terms of Airbnb change causing much more risk, unsafe situations, and damages to properties and self. Airbnb is the only choice since they have 90% of the market of users. Airbnb has decided to limit all liabilities and transfer all risks to users while still receiving massive fees (15-20%).

    Why would Airbnb earn money via service when they can just steal it legally online!

    We have to remember that Airbnb is not the cause of all these problems. They are just taking advantage of the predatory situation allowed by our gov. Part of this is capitalism and living in a corpitocracy. All levels of gov could create standards for renting STRs just like standard 30 day rentals. This will never happen when other industries in competition like hotels tend to lobby against any operations of STRs. It is much more easy for gov to ignore the situation (or ban it) than to make regulation that allows, promotes and creates a more safe industry. Remember that airbnb is really not expected or responsible in our system to create these laws. Instead as they go public they are doing there duty to take advantage of any method of profits.

    • Thank you, John. Well said and I couldn’t agree more. I would also say that a part of the problem are hosts who do not know what is going on in their rentals and giving their guests 5 stars ratings. One cannot rely on the ratings no matter how many positive reviews they have….too easy to falsify the rating (and get paid for it).

  2. John, I agree. As a host I find their verification process irresponsible and negligent. The more you book, the more money they make with the host taking almost all of the risk. What you didn’t mention, is that responsible hosts who cancel questionable “guests” and cancel to protect their safety and the safety of their properties, are penalized in ratings and in listings…so you lose oney no after what you do.

    The sooner my existing booking obligations are met, I’m out of airbnb.

  3. Yes,
    Airbnb does not really verify a guest. The only actual verification are an active credit card in any name. I have actually proven this by making an instant booking with a brand new email with a different name. I was shocked as a host! Try and make a booking as a new user with a fake name…. it is very easy.

    The only thing making the peer to peer platforms work with shared housing is that “most bad players do not want to document their physical location”. By this I mean it is not so hard to catch someone cheating when you know their location for maybe days at a time!

    That is why any host should be on alert for any last minute bookings, and also ask for an ID upon checkin. Unfortunately airbnb promotes the opposite, requiring instant booking and lockboxes for good ranking of listings. They make more money buy accepting this fraud since many times they are still paid! They just see it as more booking at your risk!

  4. Why are you renting part of your house out on AirBnB anyways? You are illegally running a hotel/BnB, so you are asking for dodgy business. Just cancel any bookings, close your account, and make money by doing an actual job.

    • Get your facts right. It is not illegal in the UK to offer Airbnb-type accommodation.

      And don’t tell me what I should or should not do – I run my life the way I wish and I do not need any input from you.

  5. I couldn’t agree more. And what is funny, as a host my verification was a facebook account and I don’t have afacebook account…my cat does and so does edward greyl who is a fictitious character. So if my cat can be host, who the h**l is going to be a guest?? I’ve been a landlord for over 30 years and I’ve found it necessary to protect my identity UNTIL I can verify the id of a prospect. I refuse to show my places to people who are murderers, rapists, pedophiles, drunk drivers, and have harassment orders filed against them
    Airbnb doesn’t protect the host this way…theoretically you find out when the guest books who he/she is, and this isn’t enough time to get an adequate background check done….id over the internet isn’t id.

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