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Feeling hung out to dry by Airbnb

hosting
#1

After 1.5 years of Airbnb hosting, I’m feeling pretty burned. I know it’s a risk to be a remote host hosting a large house with a pool. I get it. I have a local cohost also. I have disclosed exterior security cameras too.

In, June I had a guest lie about who she was, and the reason for her booking. She had an unauthorized party of over 30 people, obscured my cameras with balloons (which they took down after I contacted them), I saw two fight fights involving 6+ people on my front porch, cops came, furniture broken, barf and blood everywhere (all the way up to the ceiling!), hole punched in the wall. I kicked the guests out the following morning (as soon as I knew). Filed a 37 page complaint including pictures of all of the unauthorized guests, filed a police report, got bids on all the damages and biohazard cleaning, plus extra cleaning fees–totaling $6500. Airbnb gave me $927. I’m planning to take the guest to small claims court for the other charges. Ugh…

Two weeks later, another guest booked for 7 people and 1 dog, I allow up to 4 additional guests until 11pm (this is in my house rules, I’ve since changed it to 9pm). Guest assured me they wouldn’t have more than 11, this is documented in the Airbnb platform messages. Guest obscured backyard camera again, I asked them to remove. They had at least 28 people and 4 dogs and completely overfilled by trash and recycling cans, paying no attention to sorting trash. I had to dig through and resort all their trash, including spilled food and raw meat and seafood in my recycling bin in order for it to be picked up later that week. Guest was mad when I sent a payment request for the extra guest & pet fees (which is CLEARLY stated, and restated in my house rules, and emails to her). Airbnb has not responded to my case after 3 weeks in the resolution center and multiple follow ups. This guest declined to pay (of course), sent me a nasty message and also gave me a 1* review, which had a ton of false information (no soap, missing towels, dirty pool). I lost my SuperHost status. Airbnb wouldn’t remove the review.

I’ve had many guests over the past 1.5 years–most have been great. But I am not feeling supported as a host at all. The customer service at Airbnb seems to have gone waaay down in the last 6 months or so.

Airbnb won’t enforce house rules, nor will they pay for excessive cleaning like biohazard (blood and vomit), nor extra guest fees. That doesn’t seem right to me.

Thanks for listening.

6 Likes
#2

I have only been hosting a few months and I am ready to throw in the towel. Can you limit the number of guests to 2?? No pets–for sure! I am dismayed by the lack of AirBnB support or your situation.

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#3

I feel your pain. This is my second year as a whole house host. People are having parties and disrespecting my house rules. It’s cheaper for them to rent a house for a party than a venue. I too am considering closing it down! I’m getting really annoyed with these party monsters destroying my personal property plus my neighbors are starting to complain.

3 Likes
#4

That is rough. What is your minimum night stay? I try to keep it above 3 nights to try to avoid the party crowds. I feel like they tend to be 1 and 2 night stays. Have got lucky so far with no ragers.

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#5

2 night minimum but 3 on holiday weekends. Perhaps I should up that. Thanks for the suggestion.

1 Like
#6

I know this post is about lack of support from Airbnb. To an extent I don’t think we can change that. But I’d tweet about your issue and/or contact local media and see if they are interested in helping.

I’m also wondering if you can raise your price some or start listing on other platforms where you have more control over deposits.

It sounds like you need more cameras and when they obscure them don’t ask to unobscure…cancel the booking or get your co-host over there asap.

10 Likes
#7

I know I’ve said this before but I do wonder what hosts expect from Airbnb? It’s only a listings site that puts us in touch with people looking for accommodation, that’s all.

If Airbnb did just half the things some hosts expect them to, then the fees they charge would at least double and I don’t think anyone wants that.

5 Likes
#8

In fairness to the OP and many others Airbnb tries to sell itself as much, much more. They literally recruit hosts with lies (and what…$120) so they can burn and churn. They say “don’t worry, we have you covered” in the big print and then dump 50 pages of small print in two or three web locations in the small print.

I agree with you that hosts need to know this put most don’t know it before, they know it after.

7 Likes
#9

Host with large properties that house many guests seem to have the most problems with the sorts of things mentioned above.

What can we say? Airbnb was never set up for that kind of rental. It was set up as hosts renting out a spare bedroom or a mother-in-law suite kinda thing.

What can you do? Set longer minimum rentals – 6 days, say. Weekend partiers won’t want to pay for that much. Set higher overall rates, don’t charge per person. Set a high cleaning fee with perhaps a refund for those who keep the place net & clean.

I agree that Air needs to get into the 21st century and start paying for biohazard (blood and body fluid) cleanups.

7 Likes
#10

I’m so sorry to hear of the issues you’ve experienced. I’m not sure I would EVER rely on Airbnb to support us— the only way we’d ever do a whole house is with a property management firm who was local and is set up to deal with all these hassles. People’s behavior hasn’t changed…the one percent of jerks have always trashed rentals. I’m not saying that’s right, but still others have found a way to work through that $hit, profitably, and without losing their sanity. Maybe the local co-host isn’t strong enough for what you need given the property you have.

2 Likes
#11

I could be wrong but it seems that too often hosts choose co hosts because they live nearby, or are family, or - dare I say it - are cheap. So it’s not surprising that many just don’t have the wherewithal to deal with guests.

It’s not an easy job and yet it’s often left to people who have no experience at all in the business.

It’s always surprising to me that people will trust their most valuable (or one of their most valuable) possessions to complete strangers with only a co host between them and mayhem.

3 Likes
#12

Sorry, my friend, on this we must disagree.

If Airbnb even remotely considered our Dyson wielding, lint rollering, self effacing behaviour while so called guests objectify us in our own homes, it is they who are exacting the high price.

When someone has their hand on your leg, or refuses to leave your home, or is drunk for a week straight and screaming, or peeing on the neighbours bushes in broad daylight, we are the only people I know of that put up with it for Airbnb.

7 Likes
#13

Talk to your local media and get them to run a story. Twice! With pictures of the party and mess and cleanup bill that should get AirBnB to pay attention.

6 Likes
#14

My expectations of Airbnb are fairly simple, I want them to send me paying guests and once the guest has checked in, send me the money. That’s it.

Do I expect Airbnb to nanny me through the process every time their is an issue? Nope.

Do I expect the Host Guarantee to cover major damage etc? Nope, got STR insurance for that.

Do I expect Airbnb to deal with claims for minor damage? Nope, in the main, it’s the cost of doing business.

Do I expect the review system to be infallible? Nope, we now get 50% of our guests from BDC who don’t have any rating system for guests.

I say the above with one major caveat; we have two fully self contained apartments within our rambling old Spanish house, and are also on site. Always. We don’t have any guest requirements set and, so far, the majority of “newbies” have been decent enough guests.

For those who are sharing their own space with guests then it is a completely different scenario and one that I am far too grumpy/old/lazy/private/intolerant to even consider.

JF

5 Likes
#15

We’ll agree to disagree :slight_smile:

Many hosts simply don’t put up with that sort of behaviour and don’t think for a moment that they do what they do ‘for Airbnb’

If someone is peeing on the neighbour’s bushes or being stupid in any way, how can we expect someone in a call centre thousands of miles away to do anything about it?

It’s important for new or would-be hosts reading this forum to know that any bad behaviour is rare but that if it does happen, hosts should be able to cope with it in just about any case.

Successful hosts offer clean accommodation regardless of whether they advertise on Airbnb or any other platform. Airbnb isn’t insisting that you have a clean rental - you’re doing it for the sake of your own business. And a ‘self-effacing’ attitude is going to encourage guests to walk all over the host - just as it would if any business owner dealing with the public acted that way.

Running STR accommodation can be hard work and can be challenging and it’s best that potential hosts are aware that they need to largely rely on their own resources.

And that all hosts are different :slight_smile:

5 Likes
#16

I wish they would just be a listing site. But they’re not.

Who would rent without a deposit? We’re supposed to have one, but Airbnb inserted themselves in that entire process and it’s now ineffectual. Far too often hosts suck up costs or claim through STR insurance for things that would be covered with a functional deposit.

They intercede in loads of policy decisions that should be left to their hosts - everything from charging for 2 year olds to extenuating circumstances.

They’re not just a listing service like Craigslist, they’re a bureaucratic monster filled with conflicting messaging and ill-considered policies. No wonder OP feels hung out to dry.

23 Likes
#17

You make some valid points, but from my perspective they are just another OTA, who happen to have some quirks. I’ll concede that we have had minimal interaction with them (simply haven’t needed to), and over the past year nothing that we’d consider trying to claim from the virtual security deposit.

The 50% I quoted above was off the top of my head. The actual figure of business from Airbnb is now 25%, the balance made up of 20% direct and 55% from BDC. So in some respects they are a now minor player to us, and as we’ve just started with HA they may become a very minor player.

Going by what folks write on here, BDC & HA are far more professional and appear to be host friendly, as opposed to the shift in perspective from Airbnb CS. But again, we tend to sort out any issues ourselves and haven’t had to call on BDC for much other than technical queries (which are dealt with very quickly).

JF

1 Like
#18

In this situation it does seem like they got money back what would be typical for any booking service. I don’t see a security deposit being over $900 for a STR. Where Airbnb sometimes falls short in posts on this board is paying up to what the security deposit is.

After that you have property insurance and the court system.

#19

It’s a trade-off, isn’t it? If we want to use Airtbnb we get a lot of advantages. Running a STR business is simpler and takes up less time than going it alone for lots of reasons. Probably the most important is that we are advertising with the industry leader and they can keep our rentals full - which is more than many hosts can do on their own. But we ‘pay’ for it in having to abide by Airbnb’s TOS.

If we want to have complete control, then we can’t use Airbnb. And if we use Airbnb, then we have to stick with what we signed up for. (Like it or not).

#20

Time for another refrain of my constant whiny theme. WHY DOESN’T AIRBNB GET INTO THE INSURANCE BUSINESS? Both travel insurance for the guests and insurance policies for the hosts? (I mean a real individual insurance policy for the host that is in the host’s name.)
The travel insurance is a money-making no brainer. The host insurance is trickier due to lack of historical data in the STR business, but there should be good pricing and terms precedent from vacation home rental insurance data. That also would outsource the risk for Airbnb to Lloyds or whomever their underwriter is, they’d just scoop up the revenue from brokering the insurance.
VRBO, for example, offers both travel and damage insurance to booking guests.

5 Likes
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