I am a host on Airbnb and have been renting out our property since the beginning of the year. We had a long term tenant who was with us for 6 months. Everything seemed pretty much fine and she seemed happy with the home. She was month to month, so had to renew her lease every month, which she did. She never complained of any issue to Airbnb for almost the entire term of her stay until the very last week before she left. When she did complain, it was after trying to blackmail the owner and myself into giving her $2000+ for various gripes she had in regards to her stay. She told us if we did not give her any money back she would file a claim with Airbnb and leave us a bad review. We politely declined to compensate her, as it was obvious what she was up to. The situation was akin to eating at a restaurant, consuming every last morsel of your food and then telling management that the food was terrible and you wanted a refund. We believed that Airbnb would see right through her scam and award her nothing, especially considering she had renewed her lease with us 5 times before calling to complain.
We were never contacted by Airbnb to explain our side of the situation. Nor were we ever given any of the so called “evidence” she had sent in regarding the claim. A day or two after her check out, to our utter shock and horror we received an email from Airbnb’s resolutions department. They had seemingly found it prudent to award our tenant over $6000 in compensation (approximately 50% of the total sum she paid during her stay.) We were never contacted to be told why/how this figure was reached, or given any form of evidence to substantiate her claims. We have spent the last two months trying in vain to get a better understanding of what she could have said and submitted for this level of compensation to be issued. We finally got a vague understanding through someone in resolutions and sent them through our own evidence to counter her allegations of slow internet and a electrical issue that had been both been fixed in short order (something we have proof of in work orders and receipts.) Since then Airbnb has not responded to our calls, voicemails, emails etc… It’s a point now where we feel we have been hung out to dry and cannot make a penny through our listing until we have paid off this ridiculous compensation to Airbnb through garnishing any income we make through the site.
Even $300 in damages to a dresser that was awarded to us has been kept by Airbnb, which now has to be replaced, is being held by the company.
I am extremely disappointed with how this has played out with Airbnb and would like to know if anyone has a similar story to ours and how they dealt with it.
Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated, as we are at a loss of how to move forward at this point.
All the best,
I’ve never heard of anything like this. My suggestions, 1. get a lawyer, well worth the $ when we are talking $6000. 2. Never rent the space long term on ABB, I do 8 weeks max and only to international students learning English, professionals well vetted who are relocating & scoping out homes for their families & medical students doing their placements at local hospitals. If you are doing and ordinary travellor or worker long term it is fraught with danger and you are much better to do it with a proper lease and have the protections of the rental legislation in your jurisdiction. In this case you can take a bond, have proper paperwork, use eviction proceedings and claim any bond through the rental courts. They would have to claim any combo from you through the same courts which are relatively very clear to run a case in for both parties. A court would never make an order of $6000 in the situation you describe and may order the tenant who never complained nothing.
I have heard of people on this forum getting a good response from ABB posting on their social media sites too. But talk to a lawyer first. Often a community legal centre will give you the first consult free.
Best of luck & please let us know what happens.
Thank you for your response and advice Emily. We have talked about going the legal route and retaining a lawyer to act on our behalf. The issue at this point is that we have nothing to give a lawyer in regards to evidence etc from her side of the equation. Without anything for them to go on it is unlikely they could do anything more than write a cease and desist letter to Airbnb for garnishing our income through the site. The fact is Airbnb is not taking money from our bank, or sending us a bill, so the financial encumbrance is only real if we rent our home through their site and then they garnish our income (which is not something we are willing to do.)
At this point we are re-listing the property on other sites, but have been left with a really bad taste in our mouths after this whole ordeal. We don’t want to give up, but at what point do you stop calling when they seemingly refuse to get in contact with you via phone/email after almost 2 months? Supposedly we finally have someone who will be calling us on Thursday. Hopefully this time someone will call, as opposed to the past when they have said something similar and not followed through.
We definitely understand that the long term leaser that our last tenant evolved into, was not a smart idea. It was a family who had lost out on their new rental home and their initial 1 month stay kept getting renewed, as they looked for a new place. There were red flags, but being new hosts on Airbnb we didn’t really see them until it was too late.
Thank you very much for the idea of going to a community legal center for a free consultation. That is probably the best advice we have been given so far, as it will not set us back financially any more than we already have been.
We will definitely be getting a bond for ourselves and future tenants in order to protect both parties in the case of unforeseen events. Also your outline for tenants and their length of stay is something we will be implementing with any future leasing of the property.
Thank you again for your sage advice Emily and we will let you know how things move forward from here on out.
All the best,
Now that you are here you should read as much of this forum as you can. Some threads will veer off topic making it hard to follow but I guarantee you will learn enough to make it worth your while.
I’m very sorry to hear of this situation, I just can’t imagine the financial loss!
I can’t offer any advice on what to do now as I’m (sorry to say this) under the impression that now that they have made a decision, it will not be overturned.
I wonder what would happen if you closed that bank account and never rented on ABB again?
Would they put a lien against your property?
I believe that debts are turned over to a collection agency? This is a horrible situation for the OP but it does highlight the dangers of accepting stays of over 28 days via Airbnb. For longer stays, there should be a legal signed lease. Not that this helps the OP…
Can’t OP just open a new ABB account and relist? Yes, like @jaquo said they eventually will turn over to collections, but starting over may be one way around the issue.
Also, go to the media. The press loves and story about ABB not being a perfect unicorn.
Why would she make a complaint against you if you are not the owner of the property?
Woah, I would quit air immediately.
But ya know, you as a host can sock to them, too… a bit underhanded and not terrible moral… but totally legal!
Air hasn’t messed with us yet… but boy are we ready when they do! muhahahhaha
can you file against her in small claims court?
Fight them with their own resources.
Open a new account, under a different name, with a different bank account, different description and different pictures and different credentials and list your property again.
Guests do it, other hosts do it, so why shouldn’t you.
I think ABB will match your address if you relist under a new account as some have suggested? How would this work? Sadly, I think lawyer and/or media is only way to go. Scammers that belong on People’s Court or Judge Judy ruined it for you. Happy thoughts it works out… now there’s an idea take them to People’s Court!! I LOVE Judge Milan
So sorry to hear this and please keep us all posted.
It is strange that you were never contacted for your side of the story, etc. I have to wonder if she went to her credit card company, filed a full chargeback, or partial chargeback - so now Airbnb is just coming after your future earnings to compensate for it. If Air had to eat all of the cost, or part of the cost - then they will see that amount of money as a large loss, and then all of a sudden their own rules don’t apply.
I have asked their reps over and over again what will happen if I am paid out last minute with a guest using a stolen card. I have asked if they will try to take the money back from me once the real cardholder reports it stolen. They keep saying they won’t. But last time I read something in their terms and conditions (about chargebacks) that led me to believe I would be held responsible. The last rep. and I went round and round through email - he kept avoiding answering. Finally, finally he answered and said they wouldn’t take the money back. But now I wonder if he just said that to appease me but didn’t mention that they will use future earnings - so technically they aren’t taking the money back from my bank.
I am so sorry to hear you had this awful experience. It sounds truly shocking – hard to believe that Airbnb would make such an extremely poor decision and essentially fall prey (at your expense) to the guest’s scam! For any refund at all to be even considered, a reasonable person would want to see that the guest had contacted you early in their stay about the wifi and any other issue they complained was there for the duration, and that the guest had continued to communicate about it, if they claimed it was not resolved. Absent such evidence, a decision should never have been made in the guests’ favor for any amount of money.
Then too, a slow wifi does not merit a 50% refund of a 6 month stay, not under any version of a reasonable view.
In that respect I completely agree with @Emily who says that “A court would never make an order (judgement in favor of the guest) of $6000 in the situation you describe.” I think that is a point that bears repeating and repeating with everyone you contact in Airbnb.
I would unlist or snooze your listing and not take any more guests through Airbnb until this is resolved and the decision rescinded. I would go onto the AIrbnb Twitter site and the Airbnb FaceBook site and post complaints at both places, to publicize this. It may also help to contact Chip Conley directly – his email is email@example.com . Chip has sometimes helped to get things worked out when customer service isn’t working well on a case.
Best of luck with this truly appalling situation. Let us know how it turns out.
Yes, this is the part that I find confusing. Did or did not this person stay in the location, sleep there at night, and leave their personal belongs there? If so, they are using the space and need to pay for it. Maybe they could request a discount for the poor Wifi, but if you are living there full time maybe you could also locate the nearest Starbucks or someplace with free Wifi if it’s so important?
The utility company in my area has been doing “improvements” over the last 2 years and we’ve had several times that the power went out all day in nice weather. This is very inconvenient since I work at home and need my internet for work, so I get in the car and drive somewhere that has functioning internet. The world did not end. Maybe I should bill my utility company for all the coffee I had to buy?
I have honestly never seen the appeal of using Air for long term tenants. This forum is filled with horror stories. People can refuse to move out, damage your property and there is rarely any recourse for the landlord. And I say landlord because thats what you are. You are not a host, in my opinion. Air is designed for short term stays, and it works best in that context. I would never dream of hosting for more than 2 weeks, never mind 6 months. This kind of nightmare is why.
I will definitely be using the website to better understand the ins and outs of Airbnb. At this point though I am hesitant to continue doing business with them.
We will still welcome you if you list on other sites.
I have a feeling you are right about the decision already being made. This is why I believe they have no interest in contacting me to discuss it. What’s really disappointing is that they took her word and so called “evidence” at face value and did not even approach us to find out our side of things before giving her the compensation.