Hosts airbnb is not on your side

I’ve been with Airbnb since 2010. I’m a highly rated host and until today a big fan of Airbnb. Today they allowed a guest to cancel his month long reservation after one night because the “Guest and Airbnb’s investigators determined that a picture of the stairwell leading up to my 4th floor 2bd apartment in a Brownstone in Brooklyn was mis-represented as private.” As we all know who have lived on this earth for any amount of time that stairwells leading to various floors in any building are not private but necessary egresses to reach apartment doors…for friends, food delivery etc.

Adding injury to insult, this particular egress/stairwell instead of leading to many apartment doors only leads to one as my apartment is the entire top floor of the building. So as stairwells/egresses go it has the lowest possible traffic. The guests claimed they felt security was an issue because the stairwell was shared…they are saying this about a low residence building of only 4 apartments one on each floor.

This bogus claim which Airbnb fully supported by refunding the guest the entire monthly rental fee before I had a chance to even survey my apartment which puts my security at risk.

They did not even require them to pay the night they spent or a cleaning fee.

If they can do this at will over an argument that is so clearly bogus and nothing I could ever have imagined I’d have to clarify, and even though my cancellation policy is set at strict, what will keep them from doing it again. So the lesson learned for me is that their contract with me is in bad faith. They showed no interest in any concessions to me and the devastating financial loss this causes me.

Note: my neighborhood is vary diverse. i can’t help but wonder what the real reason for my guests “security” problem because I cannot believe it was because they did not realize that stairwells are shared. I have lived in my neighborhood in my apartment as a single 5’ 2" female for over 10 years and I love my neighbors.

I think Airbnb has changed. It is no longer on our side. Why Airbnb?

Well, you should ask Airbnb, not us.

But yes, I think that there may be more to the guests’ story than meets the eye. I do think though that you’ve been lucky if this is your only concern after seven years. You’ve lost a night’s fee and your cleaning fee, which surely isn’t enormous when put against the fact that you must have made plenty of money in the last seven years?

I’d think positively about the money I’ve made, not dwell on these last guests and move on. :slight_smile:

I lost a monthly rental. I rent my apartment monthly because of NY state laws. So I actually lost $2k which I was counting on. Made decisions I wouldn’t have made. The guests complaint was invalid by anyone’s standard. Airbnb offered no support. They did not require the one night’s fee or cleaning fee. They did not offer help/solution to finding new guests. If you’re renting out for long-term rentals with no actual enforcement of the contract between host and Airbnb with the cancelation options…if in the end any story allows Airbnb to return rental funds in full before I have even been allowed to inspect the apartment…This is not the Airbnb I know. This does not make me feel secure listing with them if the agreed cancellation restrictions actually mean nothing.

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Oh I see. Does this mean that your calendar is blocked?

I have asked them. I have been on and off the phone with them all morning. Most of that morning trusting they would do something that was fair to me and the guest. Instead I got an Orwellian argument about how I didn’t make it clear that the stairwells in my apartment building were shared. I asked if they could give me an example of any building were the stairwell isn’t shared? They went completely silent and we sat on the phone in silence for maybe a full minute before they asked if they could call me back. They know it’s bogus.

The calendar is unblocked but it’s put me dangerously close the the 30 day booking requirement. Now I have only a few days to hope the apartment gets rented in a vary specific time frame. March 4-April 7 as I have guests arriving for my April rental on the 8th. I quite possibly will be $2k short this month to pay my rent/bills and will have to borrow money. It’s not the end of the world but it’s not good. It’s not fair to me.

$2k seems very reasonable for a month. I wonder where these people are going? Unless they decided to leave town it doesn’t seem like they would have much luck finding a place.

Maybe you’ll get a replacement booking. Just make sure you add a picture and some text about the shared stairs. Also maybe mention it’s a diverse neighborhood. Your suspicion that that is part of the problem should be something Airbnb is interested in. Maybe you should try tweeting them?


So I did a little search in Brooklyn and there is nothing for $2000 a month. In fact, looking at the prices I wish I had the month off and I’d book your place. I really want to know where these rubes are spending the night tonight.

Maybe you could turn on instant book if it’s not on, and tweak your wording a bit to stand out from the crowd. “last minute spring break special 2 BD.” Good luck


Thanks! I checked and my listing is up for my narrow open dates. I put “LGBT and diversity friendly!” so maybe that gives the bigoted (if that’s what it was - who knows) a clue about my neighborhood. The apartment is around the corner from the train. Across the street from super cute elementary school, oldest public library at the end of the block, and coffee shops. I’ve rented my place to over 80 happy, mostly international, guests over the years - when able to do shorter term rentals. My apartment is sick cute.

Appreciate you listening.

So I went and found it. It wasn’t hard given the price and description. It’s a lovely apartment and a good size. Lordy I wish I wasn’t all booked up with my dog business this month. At that price someone wouldn’t even have to stay the whole month. Keep us posted.

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I can’t find it. Perhaps it has been rented already?

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So sorry to hear Air allowed this to happen.

I can’t even understand what the difference is with an indoor apartment stairwell or if it was an outside apartment stairwell that all the tenants use. It’s an apartment!

Even if she rented a whole house, someone on the street could follow her up to the door.


The argument is totally bogus. It’s so weird that Airbnb played along like any of this made any sense. I’m so surprised they didn’t even require them to pay for the night they stayed or the cleaning fee. If you don’t live in NYC hauling laundry (i have to clean the sheets of the beds they slept in last night) to the laundry mat and back is no pleasant task. I don’t have laundry in my building.

  • You probably can’t find my listing because the only window open is a 30-day rental (new NYC restrictions on short term rentals) and the window of time available is March 4-April 7. Otherwise the apartment is booked until the summer. I rely on the sublet to pay my rent/utilities etc. My work has taken me outside the city for the next few months. I would put listing here but won’t let me add links.

Thanks for everyone’s input. Makes me feel better.

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That’s strange that you cannot post a link. Did you receive some sort of message?

If you don’t want to post your listing, totally respect that.

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honestly it feels like a change in policy or something because in the past they’ve always been great. i’m just stunned that they didn’t do anything on my behalf as far as compensation or help. i’m such an old host been with them since 2010.

  • yes i received a message saying I couldn’t post links? oh! it says new users can’t post links. i guess making sure i’m not spam.

What I meant was that if it was me I’d console myself with the thought that this was the only problem I’d had in seven years.(Agreeing that seven yearsworth of guests hadn’t had a problem). Remember that at the time I wrote that, I was under the impression that she’d only lost the cleaning fee and one night’s hosting payment.

Now I see differently.

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Do you mind sharing if this guest was American or was from a different country?

Since Jaime doesn’t mind, here it is.

@Jaime_Keeling and if you don’t mind I posted on my personal facebook page with the caveat that it’s just for March. I have a few former students living in New York and you never know who they might know.


i feel uncomfortable focusing too much on anything that feels like profiling. although i guess i have already participated in making assumptions about what their true “security” issue was. I apologize for that because of course I don’t know. However, I do feel comfortable saying the security issue wasn’t the “surprise” that the stairwell/egresses of the building are “shared”. There’s no way.

also i didn’t get to meet them. i greet all my guests and waited for them but they called and said they had a car rental issue in Baltimore and wouldn’t get here until 1 or 2am. So I told them I’d come by today to do the tour and to call/text, even if it was late, if they had issues getting into the building. (The locks on all the doors are keyless and require a code which they now have. ugh.)

then they cancelled this morning. As it’s an old building there are some quirks like the super old industrial mechanism that opens and shuts the bathtub drain etc. That’s why I like to give the tour especially for guests who are staying a month or more.

When I got back to the apartment today they had left the door wide open and left litter like empty bottles and stuff. ugh.

I called and cried on the phone to the guests about how this is effecting my life. LOLs. Just wanted them to know and please not to do this to other people. They said we all have our own problems. We left it at that.

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thanks! so nice of you. much appreciated!