Kitchen damage, who should pay what?

I am an Airbnb host, but this time I was a guest. I would like to know other hosts’ opinions about what happened to me.

I wanted to book an apartment that had a good price, safe bicycle parking, laptop desk and good location. However, the kitchen did not have a stove (only a microwave) so the host offered to put me in a different listing in the same building, with stoves, at the same price. I accepted and booked.

However, when we met to show me my apartment, after locking my bike in his garage and taking all my things there, it turned out that the kitchen had no utensils at all (was totally empty). So he said I could take whatever I needed from the original listing’s kitchen utensils. As he only had one frying pan and no other pots or pans, he gave me a kettle but said “it is defective, you must stop it manually after use”.

The apartment also didn’t have Wifi, although both the original listing and the new listing’s Airbnb page said it has Wifi.

Everything went fine during the two days of my stay, however on the second night, after dinner, I left the kettle on its base. One hour later the fuses went off while I was in another room of the house. The kettle base had melted and made a 2-cm burnt mark on the kitchen top. Luckily it didn’t catch fire, as the apartment does not have fire alarms or fire extinguishers.

That happened at 11 pm. After that, the electricity didn’t come back, the fuses all looked OK but no electricity. I did not tell my host because it was very late and it was unlikely that an electrician would come at that time of night so I spent the next 9 hours in that apartment with no electricity (so no heating) and with the apartment smelling of burnt plastic.

The next day, we had agreed to meet at 8 AM to check out. I mentioned what happened and he took it in a very unprofessional manner, kicking furniture and yelling insults. He said that I should pay for a whole new kitchen top. The burnt mark is only 2 cm. He wanted me to pay there and then (“you’re not leaving before you pay”) and he said he wouldn’t give me my bike back until I had paid. I called the police and they told him he couldn’t do that so he gave my bike back and I left.

What part (if any) of this damage do you think I should pay for?

I see his position as very rigid and demanding, and also quite aggressive tbh, without assuming any liability for the fact that he provided the defective kettle and knew it was defective.


OMG! You should pay nothing.

I am assuming that the Host feels you are in the wrong because you put the kettle back on its base and (?) did not manually stop it after use.

First, I have no idea what that means, how you stop it after use and whether putting it on its base means you didn’t stop it. [How do you stop a kettle? Where was it going?]

Second, even though it seems you knew what to do but perhaps (?) forgot to do it on the second night, the real problem for the Host (and for you) is that you were given a defective kettle. It’s unreasonable for you to remember exactly what to do each time you use it to prevent the known defect from manifesting and causing damage.

That the Host provided notice of a defective kettle is ‘nice’ but doesn’t excuse the Host’s failure to provide a safe and working appliance. You don’t say if the Host provided any notice that failure to ‘stop it manually after use’ would cause damage. So there’s no notice (apparently) of the potential of damage for which the Host is seeking payment. The damage was caused by the Host giving you a kettle the Host knew to be defective.

So, no, I would pay nothing and I would love to see what your review is and this Host’s reply.

I think you should report this to Airbnb, that the kitchen had no utensils (though the Host was able to provide some on request), that contrary to the listing the property had no Wifi, that you were given a kettle Host knew and pointed out to be defective, that the defective kettle caused a power outage and a two cm burn in a kitchen counter top, that there were no fire alarms or extinguishers, that the Host threatened to keep your property unless you made payment for the damage caused by the defective kettle, that you needed to call the police for the Host to relent, that the Host was physical and violent in his behavior upon learning that the kettle caused a 2 cm burn mark on the kitchen top (though you were not directly threatened or harmed).


His faulty kettle, his problem!


Let him submit a claim with Airbnb. Let Airbnb handle it but be prepared to get a bad review from your host.


I would let him know that all interaction from herein will be through the Airbnb resolution process for damage claims. His nasty reaction should also be recorded. He shouldn’t be a host if he handles interaction with guests this way. If a guest needs to call the police to enforce his rights with a host, this is ridiculous. I think it was your job to keep an eye on the kettle. Are we talking about a glass stove cooktop or the actual counter? I would expect to pay something but it should be offset by your unheated overnight, etc.


YOU PAY NADA! An Apartment without Fire Alarms or Extinguishers??!!! I don’t know about where YOU were, but here, that is blatantly illegal!!

Handing the gu3est an admittedly defective kettle? Is the host nuts?

Apartments still have fuses? I thought virtually all construction required breaker panels.


Electric kettles have a tab or switch on them to start and stop the power. Most of them automatically flip to the “off” position when the water boils, but not all.


Frankly, what we think doesn’t make any difference. It’s what AirBnB thinks - they are the ones that will decide. If you any have communication on AirBnB or text or email from the host saying that the kettle was defective, you probably have a good defense. If not, you’re probably still OK as it was the host’s kettle that burned the countertop, not your kettle.

And please leave an honest (but succinct and unemotional) review for the host.


I would send a message to the host via you site (proactive) documenting everything you mentioned but with no emotion and may just bullet points about the issues.

IMHO - not only should you not pay but you should get a refund for the day you had no electric and maybe even the whole rental.

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You’ve gotten plenty of advice re not paying, because the host’s funky set-up and false advertising isn’t okay.

However, I don’t quite get how this booking went down in the first place. You say the original listing only had a microwave, and the host offered to put you in a different apt. with a kitchen. Did you tell him you wanted a kitchen? If so, why did you try to book a place without one in the first place?

If you didn’t say you wanted a kitchen, why did the host offer you a different place? That sounds like a bait and switch, and it’s not a good sign of someone to book with.

It’s hard to believe that this host’s listings get good reviews. Did you read the reviews or did you just book based on the price and a place for your bicycle? And if you needed Wifi and there wasn’t any why did you stay for the entire time instead of cancelling?

And while the host should never have given you a defective kettle, why did you not unplug it when you weren’t using it, when he had told you the switch didn’t work?
Also, it doesn’t matter whether a guest puts a 2cm burn mark in a countertop or a 10cm burn mark, the countertop is ruined either way, so I find your dismissal of the damage as not being important because it is small to be an odd attitude.


This whole “book one apartment, get put in a different apartment” is a frequent misstep by guests. Sorry you and the counter got burned. I wish Airbnb would shut hosts like this down.


You’ve gotten plenty of advice re not paying, because the host’s funky set-up and false advertising isn’t okay. However, I don’t quite get…

Thank you, I take your points. In fact I posted this here because I asked friends and relatives their opinion but they all said the host should pay for it, and I thought I would get less biased opinions if I posted this here. The replies to this thread help me decide whether I should pay part of it or not.

About your kitchen question, perhaps my original post wasn’t clear enough; the original listing did have a kitchen, with a sink, cupboards, etc. but the only device to cook warm food was a microwave; and I wanted a stove or vitro. I was deciding between other options on Airbnb so I asked him to confirm that the listing didn’t have any stove for cooking food and it was then when he offered this other listing I ended up staying at.

Yes, the place has good reviews. He seemed like a nice person before the kettle incident. It’s happened to me before that there is no Wifi even though it’s advertised, in that case I use my mobile data, it’s a solution which I must pay myself, I just take this into account in my review of the place and that’s all. However in this case the lack of Wifi is one of many other negative points.

I did leave the kettle away from the base every time I used it until after dinner the second night, when I put it on the base, because I’m used to my own at home and couldn’t remember.

I mentioned the size of the mark because I think there might be other alternatives to fully replacing the whole kitchen counter, trying to disguise it, gluing a permanent kitchen object on top, but of course as he thinks I should be the only one paying for the damage, he went for the most expensive option, which is replacing the whole kitchen counter.

I think the host should have been honest from the beginning and say “I have this other appartment, but it does not have Wifi and I do not have a kettle”. Then I would have decided if I booked his listing or somewhere else (I had other options). I think he really wanted the booking and made a mistake.

I guess if someone told me an electrical appliance was defective and I needed to turn it off manually, I would assume I need to unplug it. It’s the base that would heat up, not the kettle itself.


The Host assumed the risk that a guest might forget what to do and never explained the consequence of not doing so.

I just don’t think it’s fair to place the burden of remembering exactly what to do each time on the guest. We all do a lot of things on automatic pilot. Far from ‘guest proofing’ the property this Host gives a device the Host knows to be defective.

Plus, there’s nothing here that says that the Host explained the consequences of not ‘stopping’ the kettle after use. The Host didn’t say, sofar as we know, that if the kettle is not stopped after use that the kettle would overheat to the point of burning whatever it is sitting on.

How is the guest to know that? For all the guest knew, if the kettle was not stopped the heating element in the base would stay on at its current heating level, wasting electricity – not cause a burn or possibly a fire.

This could be a Saturday Night Live skit. Imagine the Host saying that the light switch was defective and once turned on should be immediately switched off twice to keep the lights on, to use the ‘hot’ water spigot for the cold water spigot and the drain pull for the hot water, not to lean on the kitchen table lest it collapse, that you must press for two cups of coffee when you just want one or the coffeemaker explodes. :rofl:


You’re not responsible for this damage. Damage comes from negligence, carelessness or abuse. Sh*t happens but it’s not your fault because you used the kettle for its intended purpose and in a usual, expected manner, without negligence.

For that matter, you also used the kitchen counter in a usual, expected manner and for its intended purpose without negligence. It’s wear and tear. Not your damage and not your problem.

If it was your kettle then it could be looked at differently. Perhaps you didn’t maintain your kettle, etc. But it wasn’t your kettle. The host was negligent by giving you a kettle to use that was not operating properly. He’s lucky you didn’t get injured.


I don’t either. I wasn’t blaming the guest, of course the host should never have given a malfunctioning appliance to a guest, especially one that can cause a fire.
I was just saying that if I knew something wasn’t working properly, I would unplug it when I wasn’t using it.

How much is a new kettle?
The host chose the risk!


This is all very interesting for us to debate, and contemplate the bizarre situation of an Airbnb host who provides a faulty kettle, no fire extinguisher, and who threatens to hold your possessions hostage until you actually call the police (O_O) but the fact is that Airbnb has processes for dealing with this and you simply should not be sucked into having to make this a personal decision.

Write to the host and describe in writing (on ABB so there’s a written record of it) all of what you described to us. Tell him that you were shocked and frightened that he was physically violent and threatening to keep your belongings. Remind him that he’s an Airbnb host, and that if he thinks he has a valid claim against you, he can put his claim through Airbnb’s processes. Then Airbnb will decide and he can make a claim with them.

I am not an expert but I don’t think it’s just a question of should he pay or should you pay, because there’s also insurance (I mean, I don’t know if he has insurance, but he might), and Airbnb host cover (or whatever it’s called) that might pay to repair the counter damage.


The old “Faulty kettle burning the kitchen bench scam”. I got an entire replacement kitchen out of one guest using that one.

Just joking.

I just had a guest tell me his child had broken the toilet seat, an arty job with beachy things in acrylic. Cost me $60! 10 years old so practically an antique. I apologised and asked him to pick up a cheap plastic one as replacement. I don’t get hosts who don’t understand that accidents are part of the cost of business. And defective equipment is a lawsuit waiting to happen. To you.


If I (as a host) had an electrically-defective, potential-fire hazard kettle or lamp or toaster it would be instantly pulled out of service. If the guest needed it right away, I’d go to the nearest walmart or big pharmacy and buy one… not just for that guest, but for all the ones that came after. Is there one host in this forum that would knowingly hand a guest a fire-waiting-to-happen electrical appliance? It’s like lending someone your car when you know there’s no brake fluid.

I’m wondering why you went ahead with the check-in with all the red flags?. This wasn’t a host you could trust:

  • A kitchen without utensils?
  • Broken promises on WiFi?
  • A kettle with known dangerous electrical faults?

I’m also left wondering if the original kitchen did not (as you tell it) have a stove, why did it have a frying pan? There’s something hinky there – why would a host put a frying pan in a kitchen with just a microwave? (Answer – because he doesn’t know how to run an Airbnb and doesn’t give a shit.)

If I understand correctly, the reason we hosts don’t get paid until day 2 of a stay is so when guests arrive to find a total shit-show and/or a bait-and-switch, they can refuse to check in and are entitled to a refund if they can document the problem. Were there no alternative Airbnb listings nearby?

As to your original question – if a host provides equipment that burns itself down unless you do NOT follow the normal operating procedure for that model of equipment, the host is being negligent, and recklessly putting your life, the building, and everyone else in the building at risk. His negligence, his problem