Locksmith payment refused by Air B+B

I’m afraid there’s no hope of my getting back my money but I need to get this off my chest.
My guest, when leaving the flat to go to the airport,left the keys in the flat instead of returning them to the lockbox outside.
Not only did the cleaning team which was scheduled to begin soon after the guest’s departure have to leave(and reurn again the next day) but a locksmith had to be called and had to install a new lock with a new set of keys (plus the four copies I need) because the old lock could no longer be used.
I had to pay £300 for all this! Although it was totally the guests fault,Air B+B claimed that as he had not damaged anything,he could not be charged.
Has anyone had a similar experience?

I hear you. I had something similar happen. I’m disappointed but not surprised Airbnb didn’t support you. I hope you escalated it to a supervisor & keep pushing it on Twitter & Facebook.

Some ideas so it doesn’t happen again.

Put more than 1 key in the lockbox (3 will fit in mine) I’ve had guests go home with key in pocket so now there is a back up if they do.

Do a second lock box with an emergency key on a storage door

Changing to smart locks, (I can’t recommend. My experience was not good—miserable fail is accurate) I know others on this forum had better experiences than me.

I chose to go the extra key route—cheap, no tech, works.

At my home, the breaker box is outside. I’ve got a combination lock on it & extra key taped inside.


First thought is why didn’t someone simply use a spare key to gain entry, or am I missing something here?



I’m sorry if you can’t get reimbursed by the guest, but you can then pursue it with Airbnb if the time involved is worth it to you.

But I also don’t understand- there was only the one key to the door? No spares? That seems very odd. Why would your cleaners not have their own key? Why wouldn’t you?


There were 6 spares but apparently the lock had to be totally replaced,the locksmith had to force the lock and in so doing made a new lock necessary.

Good idea the extra key! How do I go about the Facebook and Twitter matter?

Airbnb has Twitter & Facebook accounts. You can post concerns directly on their pages.

Here’s a screenshot of their Twitter account

that could have paid for a few smart locks…

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I agree with Airbnb, this doesn’t seem to be the guest’s fault. It appears they didn’t follow some rule about where to leave the key but I’d be furious if a host tried to charge me £300 for that small mistake.

We often say that hosts need to guest proof the listing. I don’t understand why there were no spare keys in your possession. I also don’t understand why a locksmith had to ruin the existing lock.


That makes no sense at all. If there were spare keys why wouldn’t they work to open the door? Why would the locksmith have to force it open?


My cleaners also use the lockbox. And I was in Austria!

Sorry – I agree with Air on this one.

Yes the Guest didn’t do the right thing – that’s to be expected!!

The biggest FUBAR was you the Host – who had six (!) spare keys where no one could get to them!!! Something putting all one’s eggs in a single basket. That’s your fault and your problem @Cillikugel, not the guest’s…


I’d tell them to ram it, so far up a colonoscopy couldn’t find it…




What you’re saying makes no sense. If the cleaners had their own keys or access to spare keys then why would anyone need to call a locksmith? You could have avoided all of this if you simply had a smart lock. I guess you’re the anti technology type. Well, there’s a price to pay for the decisions you make.

I have ordinary keys in locks, as I don’t trust smart locks etc.
I have emergency keys in secret spots at every listing.
I have keys held at a real estate agent as a just in case, for when I am out of town.

You had SIX spare keys and none were available?

That isn’t the guests issue… it’s yours.

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I agree with a few of the others that the guest made a mistake, but your system of access to the listing for guests, cleaners, and yourself has some problems.

The fundamental problem is that there were no other keys available. What would you do if the lockbox failed? If you are a remote host, then you should have a local cohost that has keys. What would you do if the guests accidently locked themselves out? The correct answer to that question should not be “call a locksmith.”

BTW, I’m also in disagreement with hosts that think smart locks are the answer. Smart locks are much less reliable than traditional key locks, so you might not have to worry about losing a key, but you do have to worry about the lock failing, and you are just as screwed if you don’t have a backup plan. Edit: To be clear a smart lock almost certainly would’ve solved this problem, but it wouldn’t be a replacement for having a backup key available.


Do you have evidence of this?

I have been an engineer for 30 years and I understand the relationship between reliability and complexity, so I am extremely confident in this statement. Plus, the backup for a smart lock failure is a manual key. It’s hard to get good data since there’s not much data that’s actually independent, but you can Google “Smart Lock Reliability” and find some good info.

The simple fact that there are batteries involved is the first clue. Add WiFi/Bluetooth/Zigbee/etc., keypad, electric motor and gears, and this is not even a contest.

I’m not saying it’s not a good solution, because it is. For STR, I think it’s the best solution, but you still need a more reliable backup solution which still is a manual lock/key. The backup solution is the same whether you have a smart lock or a manual lock. The OP seems to have been lacking a backup either way.


Our smart lock has a key option back-up. We have multiple copies for ourselves, cleaners and hidden on the property. I can’t imagine charging a guest $300 for a key that they didn’t even lose, just forgot inside.


Me too. Epic fail for me. 20202020202020