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Alcoholic guest!


I accepted a guest with a handful of great reviews. I began to smell a rat when he randomly called me a few days in advance, the first guest in 3 years to do so, (usually they message of course) ‘I need to let you know I will be arriving at 5.30pm’ (really when check in is from 6pm?). I messaged him on the app and he failed to reply to 3 messages over 2 days. He then arrived on the day totally off his face at 6pm. He proceeded to tell me he was in a mess. He’s an older guy with the telltale illness written all over his red skin and blood shot eyes, and an out to lunch brain to match. I don’t know if I’ll last the week or if he’ll end up flooding or setting fire to the house he’s so out of it. How in the world do hosts not even give a hint of this in their reviews (all homestays from what I could summise)? If I get through the reservation how should I review him? ‘Sadly he was unwell for the duration of his stay and found it difficult to cope’?


First of all, you can always call Airbnb anytime you are uncomfortable hosting someone. But since you didn’t, I would review honestly.

We just had a small dispute here on another thread about whether to mention someone’s drinking in a review. Some hosts here suggested giving them a pass which I strongly disagree with. It may be the poor guy is an alcoholic but why does that deserve our sympathy? Would you have the same sympathy if he got in a car and killed your kids? Besides, it’s a behavior issue that impacted you personally and made you highly uncomfortable.

“I cannot recommend xx. He failed to communicate properly, dictated his own check in time and arrived so inebriated and in such a sorry state that I was fearful for my own safety and the safety or our household and the home itself. Thumbs down.”


In answer to your question review him honestly.


Thanks. He only checked in this evening so this is current. I can’t disturb him now, he went out then sneaked a bottle up to bed. He forgot to lock the front door of course. I have found out for sure he has done this before to another host, even though he has some very good reviews. I can ring tomorrow.
He deserves sympathy because it is an illness. However hosts deserve sympathy as well, and we need to know. We shouldn’t really be in this position. He would be better in an hotel rather than someone’s home.


Yes it is and it’s wonderful that he has a host who appreciates this. And yes, hosts deserve sympathy too. But I think it’s wonderful that you are keeping an eye on him. Review him honestly, of course, but kudos to you for sympathising and keeping him safe.


I would be empathic for as long as he doesn’t cause me issues such as wetting the bed!


To each his own. I would have called Air and asked for an immediate cancellation. This is not an appropriate guest. I never would have allowed such a person in my house. I hope he doesn’t ruin your room or otherwise damage your home. He gave you fair warning though that he is an alcoholic and a pretty severe one. He needs rehab, not Airbnb. You deserve problem free guests, not problematic guests.


I may sound harsh, but I’ll give you some background.

When I was a young 20 something I was pretty naive. Not unusual. I was dating a guy who drank too much. But I didn’t see it. I remember I was 23 and he was 21 and he looked like an Adonis and loved to have fun so I was star struck. I was an idiot. We lived in a party town area of Newport Beach CA. I made the stupid mistake of frequently riding with him when he was driving drunk. Got lucky as there were no incidents while I was in his car… But maybe a week later I heard from our gang that D had been pulled over for DUI and was in the drunk tank for several days because no one would bail him out. I was distraught! “Oh my gosh, the poor thing!!”! I remember saying,”we have to go help him and spring him from jail and all that! He needs us!”

The older members of the group laughed and said, we are not doing that. He needs to learn a lesson. If you give him a bunch of sympathy and help him out of that situation then he never learns. He faces no consequence. DUI is very serious, maybe it will be the wake up call he needs. And worse, if you go help him or shower him with sympathy, then you have played a part in enabling his alcoholism.”

I’ll never forget that person who set me straight. I don’t know what ever happened to D but he probably died somewhere drinking or killing someone else.

Alcoholics need to get up and help themselves. Only they can solve their issues. Only they can decide to be sober. Enabling them with sympathy is not helpful and only contributes to their dysfunction.

Bottom line, don’t feel sorry for someone who arrived at your house in that kind of state. You are renting a room, not running a drunk tank.


Ewww, I didn’t even think about the possibility of bet-wetting…and how 'bout vomiting! Double-yuck.

The “what-if’s” outweigh any “sympathy” vote for me.

I wouldn’t call the shots on how other hosts should handle the situation but I would think that if I had seen the guest carrying a bottle up to his room (and seeing that he has a drinking problem)…I would likely say something and forbid it…and give him an ultimatum of finding another accommodation.

Personal safety and protection of property take priority over income.


There are other illnesses besides alcoholism that could have the guest’s appearance and behaviour be as the OP describes.
Further, it is only someone who suffers from the disease of alcoholism who can label him/herself an alcoholic.
Do please let’s be cautious about the labels we use to describe others.


Well some things are extremely obvious. I think in this case there was not a single doubt what this person’s issue was.


Hang on! Fair warning would have been knowing in advance, for example honest reviews from other hosts! Once it’s at your doorstep it’s another thing to resolve it on your own without a confrontation or more unpleasantness. I daresay Airbnb will once again take my money for this, even though it’s not my fault.


The fact that he presented as and admitted he was drunk at 6pm checking in, that part of him was ashamed, that he reeked of alcohol and later sneaked alcohol up to his room all point to alcohol rather than any thing else. Yes he needs to label himself.


Yes. It is possible to be sympathetic and not enable at the same time. An honest review for sure, and perhaps an eviction from me (we’ll see) may well be a call to action for him. However I am also trying not to judge too much or carry out knee jerk reactions, or indeed cause a confrontation which would be damaging to myself. I would say the handful of hosts who left him glowing reviews were enabling him. There’s no way the issue wouldn’t be apparent, and the least they could do would be no or a neutral review. Mine will be factual for sure.


I don’t agree with them taking your money. You know that. But that is what they will do. It doesn’t matter though. There is no amount of money high enough to aqueiese to problem guests!

All I am saying is CALL THEM at the first sign of trouble!!!. Right when he checked in! Even if you felt like all you could do was show him to his room. You should have opened a case immediately, not wait until morning.


Don’t misunderstand. I don’t mean you should confront a dangerous situation. Say if he became a violent drunk. You don’t know what this guy might do. He could be contrite, he could be violent, he could be mean, you just don’t know. Drunks are unpredictable.

But I do believe you should have called Air immediately to report this case and get their help in getting him out, unless you have changed your mind and want him there, I wouldn’t.


I have been trying to get through to Airbnb this morning. The trouble is I have lost faith that they will do anything helpful. I do have some important work to do later this morning as well. Will try again.


What they will do is try to get the guest to accept the cancellation and leave. Yes, they will probably refund him but it’s worth it to get him out. I’m not being harsh with you, understand, but you need to be firm with the situation that you got dealt and how to cope with it.


Yes. I have just noticed he has a plastic milk bottle full of urine in the carpeted room. (The toilet is right next door to the room). I will try Airbnb again. It’s hard to get through.


That’s foul. I was in the “wait and see” group, but yep…stay is over. I hope you can get him out quickly!

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