Convicted Felon Rented My Property, Committed 2 More Felonies

Hey Host Fam,

I recently had a guest stay at my property. Upon returning, my place had been trashed and 2 felonies in the theft category had been committed. Local police informed me that my guest is a convicted felon with multiple outstanding warrants for their arrest! There is an open police report for said felonies committed at my residence.

This is disconcerting for multiple reasons, but the most glaring oversight/negligence on the part of Air BnB is this- the individual is a verified member on the site, with a profile that goes back to 2018. They used a real picture of themself, actual government ID, their real last name, and real phone number- all of which match up with police files!

How is this person able to have an account on Air BnB!!!???

I am in the process of completing the damage and compensation report, but I’m legitimately concerned with my security and safety here. At least 1 felon with active warrants knows where I live and what I look like. At a minimum, I need to upgrade my security system.

My question to the forum is whether there is any precedent with a case like this. Did AirBnB reimburse the host for the security upgrades? Emotional distress or the like?

In the meantime, AirBnB needs to address upgrades their security software to prohibit criminals like this to create/maintain and account.

Thanks in advance


How awful.

Yes there are cases of hosts listings being trashed and theft committed.

There’s nothing in Airbnb’s T&Cs to say that hosts can claim for security upgrades or emotional distress.


Airbnb’s vetting of guests is automated and pretty slack – you didn’t know this?


T&C says they MAY run background checks. Clearly they don’t always or they just don’t block certain types of offenses. Maybe they allow theft but not sexual assault… I want to laugh at what I just wrote but it may be the actual truth… sad and ridiculous

Use something like instant checkmate on booking guests. Monthly subscription.

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Like pretty much everything else they do.


I’m so sorry that happened to you. It sounds terrible. I’m guessing this is a private room in a shared house and you got robbed or something while you weren’t home. Worse, it sounds like your privacy was violated and all trust in Airbnb is gone.

A lot of people ask me what I’m preparing for because I have this house so secured. If I ever mention my burglar resistant glass coatings with structural silicone bonding to the frame, its seen as overboard but it cost me under $100 and I bet it doesn’t sound stupid to you right now. Just ask if you need to know something about home security.

Check ID on every guest, every time, especially when your gut tells you something. Make sure you read all the vital info outloud so they know you know. Its not like it’ll stop him from taking your TV or whatever but in combination with the practice of just knowing whats going on all the time, it will prevent a lot of things.

I always know who is in my house and when. When a door or window is opened, a contact sensor sends a message to my phone. Nobody comes or goes without me knowing. I push one button on my phone and a screen pops up with 8 (outdoor) cameras. It takes me about 15 seconds to figure out exactly whats happening at home when I’m at work. None of this is for spying but as you’ve experienced, its for everyone’s safety. I’ve never had guests say anything negative about it either. This technology is so cheap too. The 8 camera 1080p camera system was $300 at Sam’s club. The iSmart Alarm system with contact sensors was like $200?

So join me, lose a little a sanity but never worry about stuff like this again. Personally I can’t recommend background checking guests because I think background checks are counter-productive and create complacency. I realize my viewpoints aren’t widely shared however.


And this is only in the US I believe @MissSwan

AirBNB – not likely as a volunteer matter.

However –

A court LIKELY would award you actual damages for the items stolen if Air doesn’t reimburse you, and possibly/probably for the security system, since AirBNB’s gross negligence allowed a wanted felon into your property, a felon who now knows what is in EACH room and how to access the doors and windows. And felons talk to each other and this felon may be pointing out your home to all his/her buddies. (I say this not to scare you but to state the facts and put together your case).

You can also seek aggravated damages for negligence and the continuing risk to your safety, given that Air DOES pretend to screen U.S. guests mainly.


Does Airbnb perform background checks on members?

If we have enough information (usually at least the user’s first and last name, plus date of birth) to identify a guest or host who lives in the United States, we check certain databases of public state and county criminal records, as well as state and national sex offender registries for criminal convictions and sex offender registrations.

This doesn’t say “try to check” or “sometimes check,” it says “we check.”

Having had a guest brag once about all the prison riots he was in, and his mug was all over, it’s clear that whatever Air is claiming to do, it ain’t working. It would be a service to all hosts and guests to pursue this.

This to me is a case of “you had ONE JOB to do, AirBNB, ONE JOB” – and that’s not to introduce THIEVES into our PROPERTIES!

It’s supposed to be “AirBNB” not “BurglaryBNB.”

Time to hold the company to account IMO. Like I say, convicts have nice chats with each other on scams to run and how to get away with them, and no doubt the fact that “you can join AirBNB and then book properties where you like the STEALABLE ITEMS IN THE PHOTOS, and no one is stopping you!” is Topic A to fill the days in the prison yard and the cafeteria.

It’s VERY important given the continuing damages here that extend WAY past just “oh a guest just stole 2 felony-level items” to get a resolution IMO that really compensates you.

And it’s critical to the host community given the tight networking among scammers and the convict world to have AirBNB fix whatever ain’t working. Including whatever subcontractor as @KenH correctly points out ain’t getting the job done.


I don’t think its useful for you to imply you know what a court would do if the OP takes his case to court @PuppyLover.

You can’t state that it’s likely a court would award damages against Airbnb for stolen items or for the OP to buy a security system because Airbnb guests stole from his place. You have no basis for making this claim. Airbnb don’t say to hosts that they guarantee that guests will not have a criminal record. And obviously even those without a criminal record can still steal; as many hosts here can evidence.

As it states in the T&Cs you linked to on Airbnb;

"Although background checks may help identify past criminal conduct where records are available, background checks don’t always identify a person’s past crimes or other red flags, they are never a guarantee that a person won’t break the law in the future. Due to the way certain databases are maintained, there may be gaps in the coverage provided by public records searches, and the online databases may be only updated periodically by local governments which we do not control or direct. Results of these database checks may not reveal or include include recent criminal record activity.

No background check should ever be relied upon as the sole indicator of suitability. You should always exercise your own judgement about whom to interact with and follow other sensible safety tips".


I tested their verification process by creating a fake account and got it through. From that point on I request Govt. Photo ids of all guests and sometimes will do background searches. Also, I live below so if I feel somethings off I will actually stay home. Sad it’s come to this.


Can we ask what was stolen? I think it’s useful for other hosts to know so that at least they can learn from your unfortunate experience.

Beg to differ. This is a CRUCIAL flaw in AirBNB’s system. I would have given my right arm to have a decent discussion of this kind of matter, including possibilities of what a court might do, when my defamatory review came in. Couldn’t find information anywhere.

This is somewhat new ground for all of us, so I think it is EXTREMELY USEFUL bordering on ESSENTIAL to look at legal options, and therefore, so as to avoid vain exercises, to look at what a court might do. I mean, that’s the entire point of these types of discussions.

So, IMO, it’s entirely useful to look at this angle.

With that said, it is a valid point to note that we (U.S.) don’t really have laws anymore, just judges, so what they had for breakfast may be as important as your legal arguments and the facts of the case.

The legal system is 1,000% in place for exactly these issues – damages caused by negligence.

So, I have a rock-solid basis for making this observation.

It is therefore “likely” as I wrote, but not “guaranteed,” which I didn’t post, that you would get relief from the judge.

That’s neither here nor there. If a company puts complete strangers with long criminal records in your property, common law (and thus, local laws generally in the former British Commonwealth and the U.S., which try to follow common law/reasonableness) will come down like a hammer on that company, and the ToS will be thrown in the trash can.

It’s almost comically naive to note that AirBNB didn’t promise you non-criminals. It’s implicit unless you 100% willing to contract with criminals who are going to rob you blind, and you are happy to absorb this loss, or to add $8,000 to your nightly rate to cover felonious theft, and AirBNB revises its Terms of Service to explicitly state, “you might get a felon, oh well, that’s your problem not ours” that a company cannot send you criminals without facing damages for negligence.

Legalese to cover AirBNB’s butt. Which a judge will ignore.

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I wish I could put my finger on it but I can’t quite do it. Something about this thread makes me uneasy. It’s the effort to put all blame on Airbnb and none whatsoever on the person hosting. The idea that Airbnb should have to pay for a security system after a home has been robbed (assuming that’s what happened) seems ludicrous to me.

The Federal government with all it’s power and resources can’t even do background checks that are effective at keeping felons from legally buying guns. High security background checks don’t keep white nationalists from serving in the US military. Airbnb is supposed to check every person who signs up for an account? Who really wants them to have that power anyway? And if they did, they still can’t prevent crimes from occurring in homes.

So in this case Mr. Felon doesn’t book the home. They have a friend book it and they all check in together. Do we want a platform where every guest has to undergo a background check? And who wants to pay for this? There are already complaints about fees.

I’m sorry for the OP but crimes happen and I don’t think Airbnb can prevent them. Any system that could would be onerous.


One thing we say over and over on this forum is that hosts need to have exterior security cameras to monitor their property. This is especially true if they aren’t on site. Some hosts take the extra step of trying to google their guests after the booking is made. Some ask for IDs for all guests and check in guests in person. Some hosts don’t take these steps but then magically expect people in an office in San Francisco to protect them? Makes no sense.

I’m not defending Airbnb, they could do better. And their legalese in the TOS trying to absolve them from any responsibility is also bunk. But sometimes the property owner needs to realize that Airbnb is just a tool and that tool has to be used in a certain way. Don’t expect a glue gun to do welding.


Wow @PuppyLover I’ve been called many things in my life but ‘comically naive’ is not one of them.

Thanks for your enlightening analysis of my personality though.

I agree with @KKC I find it rather strange that some hosts seem to think that one of the advertising channels they use should be responsible for decisions that arise from who a host chooses to host in their listing.


In effect, hosts are responsible for vetting. Yet when guests behave antisocially, they can still review us.

Yep. That’s pretty much the way it is… It’s their game; they can make and break the rules any time they want, and you’ve just got to go with the flow and CYOA.


Thanks for everyone’s input. To elaborate, the guest broke into a locked room and stole a firearm that was in a locked case and also has lock protection on the weapon itself. They also stole a personal credit card and then used it. I am In compliance with all rules and rega regarding firearms on property.

On the Airbnb side this far- yesterday I received an email from a senior case manager at the trust and safety department saying she is handling my case. However, she then informed me that she would be out of the office until 2 April and my damage report needed to be in by 3 April. I’ve been promised a voice call from Trust and Safety that has yet to occur.

On this voice call, what questions would you ask? Obvious ones to me:

  • is this a recorded line?

  • are you an attorney?

  • precedent of a case like this (if there is one)

  • was a background check performed?

Thanks again

a small reminder to all… being a convicted felon is NOT a crime.