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Anyone else notice AirBNB is making it more difficult for hosts?

I get an email from Airbnb that they will no longer enforce aspects of my rental agreement because prior guests have broken parts of it? What the Heck?
That is right. Because two prior guests have created extra messes to clean up and forced me, the host to pay extra cleaning costs to cleanup those messes, thus filing claims against the guests for damages, from this point on they will no longer take money out of my guests deposit to reimburse me for the same problem.
If this sounds ridiculous, I agree. Their side is that I should raise my rental fees to cover the costs of the few that cause.
I have a few problems with that and Airbnb does not want to hear it as they rudely told me on the phone today.

  1. Why should everyone have to pay for the messes that only a few make?
  2. If I raise my rates, I will no longer be competitive with the rental homes in my area.
  3. Does AirBNB not realize that if I raise my rates on their site, I will get less rentals from their site and more from others like VRBO and Homeaway? Seems like they are screwing themselves, and us the hosts here.
    What are they thinking?
    Please be aware that AirBNB is refusing to honor portions of my rental agreement and may do this to you also.
    Please let us know here if you have had a similar situation with AirBNB.

What exactly are they failing to honor?

It sounds like they think you are claiming too many damages from cleaning issues. And don’t hate me but something is wrong here. I think if you are having a lot of cleaning issues, you need to take another look at your house rules and listing description. Be much more firm about how you expect guests to leave your property.

Up until this point they have honored all of my requests for payment. It is my requests for reimbursement in the future that they say they will no longer honor.
Specifically it is hot tub cleaning and or water replacement.
Our rental agreement and AirBNB web site rules are quite specific. “Any messes that require extra cleaning are to be reimbursed from the rental deposit”.

I have done business with AirBNB for over a year now and have had many guests through AirBNB. I think I have had maybe 4 claims with them at this rental in that period. Up until now they have been very honorable.
Like I said, my rental agreement and AirBNB house rules are quite specific. Now AirBNB says they will no longer abide by my certain aspects of my rental agreement.
I have been operating the same way for many years now and have no problems with VRBO or Homeaway.
@kona… It is easy to defend someone that is not giving you the same treatment as the person you assume is doing something wrong. Wait till it happens to you.

Are these fees just for using the hot tub or for somehow dirtying the water beyond normal?

If it’s just basic use of the tub, you could send the ones who wish to use it a special offer that includes your tub cleaning fees. It sounds backwards, but it prevents dipping into the deposits each time.

Alternatively, leave an envelope for people to drop some funds in if they use it. Another possibility would be to get a Square reader.

Finally, I tend to agree with Air on this one. If you book a place with a hot tub, you would to be able to use it without being nickled and dimed. So, I would expect a place with a hot tub to allow use without an extra charge.

At some point, if you turn away enough customers from becoming repeat users, they will probably just drop your listing.

Up until now they have been very honorable.

I have exactly the same experience. I’ve hosted hundreds of guests. One had a giant party with 7 persons staying in a 4-person apartment. They also broke a table, which was compensated through the resolution center. Easy, quick and pain-free for both parties.

Recently I had another guest with a giant party. Some of the details of what was destroyed are too inhumane to post online. Destroyed walls, late check-out and clogged toilets were the least of my troubles. Everything was documented in images and some of it confirmed by the guest in our Airbnb messages.

After filing and escalating this through the resolution center 4 hours after checkout, it took Airbnb 10 days to answer it. Their answer was that I passed the 48-hour deadline. After kindly telling them they were the ones slowing it down, they refused to pay until I filed a police report and bought new towels, blankets, fixed the walls etc. Cleaning expenses were not to be compensated.

I did not want to take the risk of not getting compensated, so I ended up with (future) costs of $500. Going the Airbnb way would take me 10 hours of work, none of which is compensated.

Airbnb has a good point here though: their competitors Expedia, Tripadvisor and Booking.com never compensate hotels if a guest destroys a room. Why should Airbnb help? Maybe their policy will change.

@Host…Sorry to hear of your damage. I feel your pain. Major damage like that is one of the worst experiences I have had to deal with also.
Now that you mention it, I have also had AirBNB reps drag their feet also. It does seem that either AirBNB is getting too big for their employees to handle or they are preferring their guests over their hosts.
I hope they rethink this. It is hurting everyone including themselves but the guests.
To say they will not reimburse damage and or cleaning costs for a guest that is clearly in violation of the rental agreement the guest agrees to, is a big fat finger to all of us hosts that give you that business.
I am currently rethinking doing business with Airbnb. At least with VRBO, I am in control of my deposit. I do not have to prove damages to anyone else but the guest.

Well I have been doing Air for six years now (you should see my low listing number!) and I have pretty much seen everything Air and guests can do. So when you get to six years, get back to me.

1 Like

I had similar…parties, extra guests with broken tables. Unfortunately you do have to claim within 48 hours. I think it should be 72 hours, but that is their rule. I have found that calling mid-reservation to open a claim about a bad guest does help when it’s time to claim. That does help give you more credibility.

It’s also unfortunate that unless you get a guest to sign something in addition to booking through Air, you don’t really have a rental agreement. You have House Rules. These are some of the downsides about using Air. Wish it weren’t so but that’s how it is.

To make it clear, I did file it into the resolution center just 4 hours after checkout, including all pictures. The checkout was at 11am, I filed at 3pm. I escalated it the same evening when the guest offered only $10 for the $500 damages. It was Airbnb that didn’t get back to me until 10 days later and told me it was too late to do anything now that 48 hours had passed.

Unless this was a human error, it means that Airbnb can deny any claim by just not doing anything for 49 hours and then telling the host it’s past the 48-hour deadline. Either way, that listing was party-prone and is now only available through other channels than Airbnb.

We have a similar House Rule regarding our hot tub, that if the water needs to be drained for sanitary reasons thy quest is required to pay the $250 re-fill fee we have to pay to our hot tub guy. I learned this the hard way after one guest dumped beer into the hot tub, and Air BNB was less than helpful. Their stance was since I had not clarified the fee in the house rules and the ‘sanitary’ clause was ambiguous. I didn’t fight it and simple put the pricing in the house rules going forward. We also have a weekly hot tub service we use, so if there are any future issues I will have documentation, etc.

We had some guests throw a giant party in our Barcelona listing, broke furniture, injured people, etc. Police were called, it was a mess. Air BNB still fought us when I tried to claim the meager 250 Euro security deposit, even though the damage was well into 1000s.

Lesson learned, we raised our prices, security deposit, and if I get a weird feeling about a guest prior to booking I will cancel. (super host status be dammed :stuck_out_tongue: )

3 Likes

Very strange! Odor damages are, for obvious reasons, so difficult to prove! I had two guests light a mosquito coil INSIDE the room! (releasing the same particulate matter as 175 cigarettes, and a plethora of toxins) The smell was horrendous, and I had guests checking in that same night!!! I claimed $150 on their deposit through Resolution to replace damaged linens. Air didn’t have to get involved as the guest agreed to pay $100 so I could buy a new bedspread. But if they had denied the claim, would Air have sided with me? Sounds like lately, they are really siding with guests on things.

As a former light smoker ( quit 13 years ago), I can tell you guys that you do not need to repaint walls to get rid of smoke smell. Smells have a tendency to go away, it’s not a permanent damage. Usually a very heavy smoke in a house will go away within few days if you open all Windows or doors. Fresh air is the best cleaner for smells.

I guess the take away here is that Airbnb does not recognize nor want you to use a rental agreement. If you are OK with that, then prepare to get screwed one day from AirBNB.
If you are not OK with that then stop doing business with AirBNB and use a different site.
Form what I have read here and talked to other hosts it is apparent that AriBNB is shifting their benefit of doubt to the guests and screwing the hosts.

Same day follow on guests and the no smoking radio button be damned!

I think you CAN have your own rental agreement… you just have to disclose it in your listing. (“Guests will be required to sign an additional rental agreement.”) But whether you can collect and disburse your own security deposit at your own discretion? I’m entirely unsure. The only money you are “approved” to transact on your own is collecting tax in cash. Check, because I think you can ask a guest to sign an additional agreement.

Airbnb so far were very loyal to me as a host. And were very loyal to me as a guest for 6 years. I don’t think it’s the fact that they want to be more loyal to guests. What is the reason for them ? They need to keep everyone happy as their income equally depends on both parties.

If you claimed the same reason for getting claims 4 times within a year, then may be that’s why they think you a bit using the system to your advantage? 4 times is not that small number within a year. I am hosting for a year and I never filed a claim, I don’t know what’s the stats for average number of claims per host but may be your frequency was alarming to them?

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In six years of Air and hundreds of guests, I’ve claimed only once on a deposit that was disputed. All other claims were accepted by the guests. As I said earlier, it does sound like you’ve been making too many claims over cleaning situations and that’s why they locked you up. I’m not saying it’s right I’m just thinking that’s what happened. You should really reserve the Resolution Center for the super damaging claims. I don’t think they will really pay out on excessive cleaning claims.

2 Likes

So are you people just eating the cleaning costs when people cause damage or extra cleaning costs? Or do you get cleaner guests that do not break the rules? Sounds like some people are either lucky getting perfect guests or have very few guests.
If a guest breaks the rental agreement or causes messes that cause extra costs, why should I not ask for ask for reimbursement. This is what the damage deposit is for, is it not?

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