I’ll try to keep this as short and clear as possible, but it is kind of a doozy. I rent out 4 rooms in my home. It’s a relatively big home, we’re really busy, and we do self check-in, so we often don’t meet our guests in person. We have a Ring Video Doorbell on the front door (disclosed in the listing), and we periodically review its footage to make sure everything is ok. We usually only review the footage taken during checkin and checkout times or very late at night, but we monitor it more closely when we are out of town.
Last Thursday I had two guests staying in Room1 and two guests staying in Room2 (two guests was the maximum allowed for each room) for about 3 days each. There were other guests in the two other rooms as well, but they aren’t involved in this story.
My co-host and I had to leave to go out of town on Friday morning. On Friday night, we reviewed the recent footage from our Ring Video Doorbell. We saw footage showing our primary guest (I’ll call her Jessie) in Room1 letting 3 other young women that we couldn’t recognize into the home sometime after midnight on Thursday night. After viewing the footage, we checked to see that Jessie had not returned to the home yet on Friday night. Since she was still out and probably awake, I called Jessie and calmly and politely told her we saw her letting more people into the home than were supposed to be in her listing, and asked her why. The call only lasted 1 minute.
Jessie’s tone and choice of words showed that she got very upset and angry with me. She fussed about the camera, and I had to explain that it was disclosed in the listing, and that we use it to make sure that everyone who enters and exits the home is a guest. She told me that the other 3 people were also guests: one was staying with her and the other two were our guests in Room2. According to her, they were all in the same program at a nearby university and had been coming and going from the home for several days. (This was completely new information to me, by the way, as neither group had ever told me that they knew each other or that they were in town for the same thing). I listened to her and asked questions to clarify that I understood. Then I told her that was fine, and that it was our standard safety procedure to check on our guests if was saw more people entering and exiting the home than were supposed to be staying in a single listing. I made it clear that this was for the security of everyone staying in the home.
Then I immediately messaged Jessie in the app and also messaged the Room2 primary guest to document the explanation and confirm that the story was true. The Room2 guest confirmed that they were the people being let into the home. As far as I was concerned, the issue was over. I knew Jessie was mad at me for calling her, but didn’t worry about it too much because I figured anyone with any kind of sense would understand the situation.
They checked out on Saturday with no obvious issues.
Then on Sunday I got a phone call from a strange number, which I let go to voicemail. It was from a man I’ll call Josh claiming to be Jessie’s husband, and he said something cryptic about wanting to talk to me about the “surveillance incident” at my airbnb “with his wife.” I called Airbnb to report the call. They told me to block his number and that they would document the call, and they also advised me to “stay safe” and contact police if necessary.
I blocked the number, but received another call a few days later from a different one, still from Josh. The call repeated some cryptic weirdness about an incident involving surveillance and his wife. I also reported this to Airbnb and blocked his number.
This Friday, I received another message from Jessies account, this time with Josh’s name in the signature. Again, a cryptic and weird message saying he wanted to talk to me on the phone. My cohost messaged her to say it was Airbnb policy to keep all communication in the app, and that if she wanted to talk to us she could do it there. In the next message Jessie wrote again and stopped being as cryptic and said somewhat threateningly that she wanted to talk to me before she wrote a review and contacted Airbnb about her stay. She said she didn’t like being called after midnight.
I responded with a message that she had repeatedly attempted to break Airbnb communication rules and had passed my private cell phone number on to an unregistered guest, and that I had informed Airbnb of this and had been advised not to engage with her and to contact police if harrassment continued. I also told her that I didn’t know exactly what her questions were, but I recounted my version of what had happened and emphasized that we always immediately check with guests if we see more people entering the home together than are supposed to be staying in a single room. I also reiterated that this was for the safety of everyone in the home. I reminded her that she was clearly awake after midnight when I called, since she didn’t get home until later. I finished by saying that we have nothing more to discuss.
Jessie responded something about leaving a review and said that she felt discriminated against and would bring it up with Airbnb. (Side note: I haven’t heard a peep out of the Room2 guests since checking with them to make sure they were the ones let into the home.)
At this point I realized that all of the guests involved in this were probably people of color (although I can’t really tell from the camera footage and I don’t have photos of all the guests, just the primary ones). I’m white. My cohost is clearly hispanic, for what its worth. I can guaran-damn-tee you that I don’t give a flying eff about what color someone is. The first line in our house rules says that we don’t discriminate against race, creed, gender, sexual preferences, or anything else stupid like that. In fact, I think most of my guests are people of color – not that I notice or that it matters to me.
I’ve heard horror stories about hosts getting wrongfully accused of discrimination by guests and getting immediately kicked off the platform, no questions asked. I’m really scared that will happen to me. I need this income from Airbnb, and it would be devastating to lose it. I’m really scared about what will happen.
The only things keeping me optimistic are: 1. I kept all communication except for the 1 minute call in the app and documented everything. 2. I called Airbnb and made a record of the two calls from Jessie’s husband. 3. I have call logs and video footage of their coming and going to corroborate the story, if necessary. 4. This is so obviously insane that I hope any Airbnb support rep will see right through it, if they read our message history. 5. I think that Jessie might post a review that breaks Airbnb content policy, since she seems so crazy.
I haven’t contacted Airbnb since she sent the discrimination message because I want to keep my head down. I have about another 7 days from now before the review period is up.
What do you guys think? I appreciate any advice you can give!