Guests broke the toilet system - do we have a chance with airbnb taking the costs?

We are hosting 2 guests for a week and last night they got in touch that one of the two private bathrooms were overflowing. They sent pictures and asked if it had ever happened before (it had not) and today we went to check everything (we are airbnbing our place over the summer).

The bathroom has a saniflo system, so the guests had been instructed to not put anything other than toilet paper in this toilet, but they put wet wipes which clogged and broke the system.

After trying for a few hours to fix it ourselves we had to call a plumber. He advised that the system was broken and we had to call in the big guns - 4200€ later the issue was not fixed and we have to replace everything.

Long story short - our guests gave us 200€ for the cost of the plumber, but as the entire cost surpasses 4000€, I ask, will getting AirBnB involved help at all? I know they have a history of not paying out. The guests understand that this is their fault but I know that opening a case only brings out the worst in people. We didn’t put in writing to only put toilet paper in the toilet, only verbal instruction(twice, but I didn’t film the checkin.)

Any advice is appreciated!

Edit: we don’t have a deposit or penalty fee for the property - these are the first guests we ever hosted in this property. They leave Monday.

I suspect that Airbnb will not pay a cent. They will simply say that it’s an old house with old plumbing (wear and tear) but you should try anyway. Also put in a claim with your homeowner’s insurance. We needed a new roof and it was partly covered by our policy. It paid for half of the cost. Call your insurance broker and see if it’s covered.


yes we will call the insurance company on Monday!

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I agree with @Ritz3 . Get in touch with your STR insurance people at once. I imagine that the funds required are more than your deductible?

Yes, they will probably decide that the damage was due to wear and tear. Airbnb is unlikely to help and it’s likely that you can’t prove it was those guests and not previous ones who caused the trouble. If you supplied the wipes that’s another black mark for you.


I know that plumbers are expensive, but are you saying it cost 4000€ before they even replaced the toilet? That brand of toilet is about 1000€ here… it sounds like a clog farther down. Sounds like a problem that has been developing for a while. (At least that’s what I would say if it were blamed on me.)


At 4200, if it aint fixed we would not pay the bill! Unless a portion of the system is very inaccessible (requires jackhammering concrete, digging, etc), I totally don’t get why you can’t just buy replacement parts:
Unless I’m really missing something sounds like the plumber is trying to fleece you up down and sideways. Saniflo Upflush Toilets & Saniflo Marine Toilets


Like others I don’t think Airbnb host guarantee will pay but TRY!

If you have text or Airbnb thread proof the guest admitted they put wipes down the toilet, you’ve got a good start.

Sorry can’t post link to this.


Sounds like a load of old bollocks to me, from someone living in an old historic zone with dodgy sewers going back to 1750 or thereabouts.

So many myths about old systems, no this, no that, but the bottom line is that the vast majority can deal with wipes etc.

Sounds like your plumber is ripping the piss…


Edit: I missed the saniflo bit :rofl:

But he’s surely still taking the piss. I’ve no idea where you are, but in most of Europe a brand new Saniflo unit is under €1,000 so why did he charge you €4,200?

What did he do for that amount of money, when replacing the unit would have been considerably less?


UPDATE: Everything has now been fixed.

The huge cost of the plumber is (I believe) a mix of calling him on a Saturday, in Paris, and he had to call this water truck guy to blast through the pipes. This initial solution didn’t work so he returned today, free of charge, and fixed everything. The money spent we will try to claim from the insurance because after reading the fine print of Air, and all your comments, there is no way they’ll help us lol. In any case, we have 14 days, so if the insurance says no, I’ll try with air.

Thanks everyone for the responses and the advice!


It definitely sounds as though you got hosed. LOL.

I hope you get the joke, it may only be punny in US English.


As far as I know, although I’ve never made a claim with Airbnb, it has to be made within 24 hours (?) or before the next guests check in.

According to the website we have 14 days after checkout, we have no new tenants lined up yet in any case…

nah I got it and I think it’s funny :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Ah yes. As I said, I’ve never claimed so I was definitely wrong there. :roll_eyes:

I’d find a new plumber if I were you. Getting pipes water blasted, when he knew it was a macerator system, is the sign of a lazy workman.

With a macerator, blockages invariably happen within the unit, usually in the blade section. I’d say 99% of the time blasting the pipes is an exercise in futility.

We had a similar situation a few years ago, builders first response was to have the soil pipes jetted. Sod that, so I fixed it myself by removing the pan, which had been incorrectly fitted, and putting in the correct joint between the pan and soil pipe.


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