I was robbed by my AirBnb guests, what now?


I have been renting out my apartment for almost a year, and until last month, I never once had a problem with it. I accepted a request for a 5-day stay from two guys who told me they were out travelling for work, and since they had five different verified forms of ID and already had one review from another stay, I said yes. We wrote back and forth and they seemed nice enough, so I didn’t really worry much. I mean, what could possible happen? I regret that decision now, because it ended up costing me thousands of dollars.
I have a safe where I lock down my valuable belongings, I am insured and I thought that the host guarantee would be helpful if anything should ever happen.
I was wrong.
In the five days that they stayed in my apartment, I sent them two text messages, but I didn’t get a response. I thought that maybe they were busy.
I tried again sunday, the day before they were to leave, and I asked them to please clean up after themselves and that I would be home at 11’o’clock the next day.
The next day I went home, and I had a bad feeling in my stomach that I could not shake.
The first thing I noticed was that the key was now under the mat as I asked them to.
I locked myself inside,and I realized that the whole place was trashed.
There were empty bottles of booze and wine everywhere.
My closet was ruined and the shelves on the floor.
Stains on my carpet, in my couch and on a lamb skin I had on a chair.
Rotten and moldy food, silverware and glasses broken, pot and pans destroyed. My safe was broken up and everything valuable was gone: My camera (I’m a semi-pro photographer) all of the equipment (which was worth A LOT), my computer, my external harddrive with years worth of photos from my life and my work was also missing. I realized that they robbed me.
My bed was also broken, the floor was sticky and disgusting.
They also left behind a lot of notes with different male names on it, and I could see that they had been ordering expensive things to my address with names I had never seen before.
They used my apartmen to order things with fake names and get it delivered when they were staying here.

I tried calling, but the phone was turned off. I reported the whole thing to the police, and they told me that the names that was verified by AirBnB (with five different methods - including offline ID) was fake, and that the phone numbers I had was directed to a burner phone.
There was no traces of them, and I was now missing an expensive laptop, my camera, my lenses and all of my other equipment.

Of course my own insurance does not cover this because I was the one who gave them the key, so the liability should be with AiRBnb’s host guarantee I thought - but I guess I was wrong.
I reported it to them right way, and I was given a employee who told me that their insurance did NOT cover this, but would not explain why.

My apartment was ruined, it was filthy, they stole my key and my parking pass, they stole my camera so I can not work, they took my computer and my external harddrive so I had none of my notes from university. I told them that I needed to change the locks and that it was not cheap, and that I did not feel safe in my home anymore. I told them that since they were the ones who verified the guest, they should reimburse me for this and that my own insurance did not cover this, and that the host guarantee should at least cover the damages to my floor and my furniture, but they still did not respond properly or told me what they would cover.

Now I’m waiting for the police report because AirbnB wants me to send it to them, so I’m just waiting for some help which I still have not received, and I’m so sad that it looks like they won’t be of any help.
What I want to know is if anyone in here tried something similar, and what help did you receive? Does anyone know what the host guarantee really covers, and how do I go about getting my stolen and damaged property replaced by AirbnB? Obviously they can’t get in touch with the robbers, because they used fake names and phone numbers, so they can’t take the money from their account, so I think that it should be AirbNb that reimburses me for this whole nightmare, but am I wrong to believe that?

Any help is appreciated.


I’m so sorry this happened to you – it must feel awful. I’ve read of a few cases of robbery and AirBNB seemed to be cooperative after the police became involved and could corroborate that the guests had engaged in fraud, theft, etc. The police report and your documentation are key. Because these cases can become high-profile and discourage hosts from continuing to list their properties, it seems that AirBNB does pay out to compensate you for damages as long as you have followed their protocol. (not booking to 3rd parties, no off-site negotiating, etc.)

I have read that AirBNB can be very slow and incompetent in initially addressing these cases (in one instance, a customer service agent tell the host to “reach out” to the thief to seek resolution…) since they don’t seem to have a tight protocol in place for these kinds of disaster cases. But from what I’ve read, they do ultimately compensate when police can confirm that there has been criminal activity by a guest who booked through AirBNB. Please keep us posted.


I read your other post and you’re in larger complex and wanting to replace keys. I’ll post a link to another thread from a guy in London whose place was trashed and robbed (but he had much fewer valuables than you had) and he had to replace the entry door key and get the new keys to all his neighbors in the complex. It wasn’t clear to me if AirBNB covered the costs of re-keying or if the host covered it himself.

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Wow - that’s awful. It’s not the sort of casual damage you often read about here - this was deliberate and pre-planned theft and destruction. I can’t offer any advice, except that before we opened, I figured key management could turn into a real headache, so we replaced our keyed lock with a programmable PIN-lock. That may not be an option where you live. One other difference is that our door sticks a bit, and some people have trouble with the lock, so before any guest ever unpacks a bag, we greet them personally and demonstrate how the lock works and make sure at least one of them can operate it. It gives you a bit of a chance to evaluate the guests; not really sure what we’d do if we had last-minute doubts, though.

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Did they pay with a credit card? Shouldn’t that give Airbnb some access to them? I mean I know people do fake credit cards and ID, but the authorization process, for the credit card, should have turned up the fraud then. How did they get through the process? A stolen card is usually only good for a while–and an unpredictable while–and then to make up ID for it and book in to a place and then order stuff on the card seems very odd to me. I don’t know if it’s because of the bank I use, but I get a phone call every time something odd has happened (which admittedly has only been twice, but still). Five minutes after a trip was booked with my ticket, I got a call from the bank. It fell outside my pattern of buying and so they phoned and asked if I had booked it. I hadn’t and they immediately cancelled my card.

The security on credit cards is very good these days. If a buying pattern or locale changes, the security system is alerted. I once tried to take out money at a corner store ATM and my bank blocked the second attempt (it only gave out $300 at a time and I needed $600 to pay a mechanic).

Look, I’m sorry to be the cynic here ('cause god knows I hate cynics), but this seems a bit related to the escort thread. Big scare story and then someone comes on offering a security service that costs something for hosts. If someone can tell me how this fraud actually got through the credit card process, I’d love to know. I travel tons–and I mean tons–I know for a fact that credit card companies are way better than this at security.


I spoke to Air a while back and asked about credit card verification, and if Air will take the money back after I am paid -if the card ends up being used fraudulently. The Air rep. stated that they do not verify that the cardholder is the one using the card.

They did say if the real cardholder reports to Air that their card was stolen, then Air will eat the cost if I have already been paid out. But if I haven’t been paid out yet, then Air will not compensate me at all. The rep tried to convince me that I shouldn’t be compensated because I was never paid. I brought up the fact that if it was last minute (when most stolen cards are used) then I probably wouldn’t be able to re-rent that time frame. She still continued to try to convince me as long as Air reopens my calendar then I have lost nothing.

I’m not some security firm that tries to sell something. I can send you my personal information if you’re doubting that I am somehow making this up and I also have documentation from AirBnB and the police that this indeed did happen. AirBnB won’t tell me how they paid for the stay, and they say that the guest is protected by rights so they can’t give me the information of how they verifed them and what happened. They won’t even answer me when I ask if they got a hold of them (the guests), and how they managed to get verified through so many steps when the ID was fake.


I hope they will. My dad is a journalist, and I know that this would be big news if AirBnB refuses to help, but I’m sure they will try to get around reimbursing me if they can - so I think my next step may be to tell them that I’m going public with this if they won’t start helping me very soon.
I have pictures and videos of everything ruined and damaged, and I followed every step they asked me to, so they can’t blame me for any of this - I did exactly what I should.
I chose someone who was verified, reviewed, had pictures (and it was him on the picture) and we talked before the stay and I met up with them and welcomed them when they arrived. I did everything right, and still this happened. A security deposit would not have helped since the costs of what they destroyed and stole is so large that no one would be able to rent my apartment if I had one that actually would reimburse me for everything, so I think it’s up to AirBnB to make this right.


This is a tad OT, but credit card security can be weird. I’ve had my card frozen just because I’m out of town buying gas. All kinds of other things go through no problem. The weirdest example is that I have a European credit card from having lived there several years. It was essentially dormant, until we got some cash from an estate. It turned out the most economical way to transfer the funds was by loading the cash onto the credit card and then taking it out here at an ATM. Best exchange rates, no crazy bank fees. So the card went from being unused for two years to suddenly disbursing $600 a day. No problem. Several weeks later I drove to Ottawa, bought gas once, no problem. Second time my card was frozen - unusual buying pattern. (!!!) The $600 a day in cash was just fine - the tank of gas threw up a red flag. Totally bizarre.

Sorry, I’m not trying to call you a liar, but the other thread really threw up a red flag for me and so I’m still in vigilant mode. By all means, tell them your father is going to do a write up. I hope they do do something. Sounds horrible.

I just made my account here, so I have not read the other one you’re reffering to. I’m here because I am frustrated with the customer service and the lack of help I have been getting, and I am getting close to a breaking point, so I wanted to se if there were others in here who tried anything remotely like this and how it ended. I am unsure what the host guarantee actually covers - I tried reading the whole thing, and I also got my friend who works at a home insurance company to read it, and she told me that it basically said they had no responsibility in anything happening when you rent out.

I have tenant’s insurance, Sophie. I pay for it to cover any damage. But also, I rent out a separate unit, so that’s why I have it.

I can’t get that where I live. There is no insurance that covers the damage being done by guests and theft made by them when I was the one providing them the key. I naively thought that was why host guarantee was created.

Oh sorry to hear that.

He is referring to my thread about how my apartment was used for prostitution.
Im also a new member here and find it interesting how Reeny thinks my story is not credible.
Anyways, dont expect much from Airbnb. They are not that helpful when hosts need them the most.
Always GOOGLE guests’ name, contact details AFTER reservation is confirmed. If you find Anything doubtful on google, record it, save it, abd forward to Airbnb. Airbnb will cancel without penalty.

I’m not going to be using Airbnb again if they won’t reimburse me for the damage and the theft. I don’t feel safe in my apartment anymore and I can’t sleep properly because I’m lying awake and wondering why they had to take the key, and what they are doing with all of my personal files and photos on my computer and hard drive…

i also was wondering how people can order something on stollen credit cards actually staying in the appartment. By the time things arrive, woudlnt it be easy to determine that some charges were made that dont belong to the owner? I remeber my walet was stollen, and someone charged my cards but just that first day, then it was detected immediately.

If someone has opened up a brand new card with stolen info, there is nothing to “catch” as the SS #, address, phone # are all input by the thieves. I had someone charge 2 dell computers to my card within the same day and my CC contacted me about it, but not until a week after the transaction. The idea that security is so tight that no one can commit CC fraud is a bit optimistic.

You really need to change the lock to your apt if they took the key. If they took valuable items, they are likely not to return since they know they already have everything of value. But sometimes these people will give the key to someone else as a place to party, etc. and you may have an unexpected intruder. This was the case of the guy in London a couple of months ago – initial thieves gave the key to someone else who returned the next night with a few people.

I just think that the delivery of a lot of stuff is weird. When I order stuff, it takes a while to come and even then, I’m not always home and then there’s the back and forth of when to re-deliver. The only way that this makes sense if the card was stolen from a relative, as in a young person stole the card from a parent who maybe didn’t know it was missing.

I don’t live in the US, but I’ve visited and found it a bit looser in terms of security, although I may have just gone to less security conscious places.

I’m just surprised this is happening since it would be so newsworthy. That couple in Calgary made headlines and Air stepped in immediately.

The guy in London whose little flat was trashed was posting as it was happening. He had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the settlement (which happened within under 2 weeks once upper management got involved). There are a few layers of really incompetent customer service agents to get through before this kind of case reaches management level where someone is actually empowered to make decisions and go into damage control.