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Mental Patient as airbnb guest

I recently had someone I can only describe as a mental patient check in at my home. It made me realise airbnb does absolutely no checks on the mental status of guests on airbnb. It was very very alarming.

I had received an enquiry that read ‘Happy God day! And blessings to you’ and words to the affect this person was visiting their church and needed a place to stay nearby. The over the top religeous mantra was an orange flag but I decided to go with it as we are all different and entitled to believe in whatever we want. Hmmmn my mistake.

It started with me messaging the guest to let them know their room was ready, it was noonish and they could head over when ready only to notice the person had arrived and was literally moving in. As I looked out of my front window I could see about 20 cardboard moving boxes on the street various bags, shoes printers etc and red flags went up immediately. Looking back on it I should have cancelled the booking right there and then, but I do try to be accommodating and if someone is in a bind well help them out. big mistake. After I helped this person move in ferrying boxes back and forth I welcomed them and gave them the usual tour.

The interaction with the guest was abnormal off putting and frankly very strange. During this time this person would not make eye contact with me and did not speak in coherent sentences but looked at the ground and mumbled nonsense without stopping. A long continual mumbling of church, talking about themselves in the third person, to their family issues essentially a stream of nonsensical consciousness. I need to toughen up as I stood there politely thinking to myself ‘i dont know what the hell this person is trying to say’ After waiting for ten minute of diatribe I eventually had to state 'i am sorry but i dont understand a word you are saying! It went downhill from here…

As I returned to work at the front of the house, the guest kept pestering me in the way a child might pester its parents or a sibling. After making advances toward me, suggesting I cook dinner for bth of us and then insisting they would order in dinner I had to very firmly state I was busy and had work todo and for the guest to please return to their room.

After returning to work the guest then interrupted me again to started complaining this time about a broken fan, so I stop what I was doing. The fan was squeaking so I oiled it and took it back to the bedroom for the guest. At this point what I saw in the room was immediately alarming, the guest had taken their jacket and hung it over the tv ‘to stop people spying’ there was a huge bible on a stand with odd pictures (think witch doctor haiti style mixed with beads and dolls, postcards and stuff), on the couch there were numerous basketball jerseys placed out on display, there were notes pinned to the curtains, handwritten notes stuck on the wall by the ceiling, and other oddities that I noticed as I quickly looked around the room a gasp and were immediately alarming as they were not normal behaviour. At this point I knew this was going to be a very difficult x2 nights.

I tried avoiding the guest as much as possible and that night because of the unpredictable nature of this guest I baraccaded my door shut with a chair under the door handle. Im 6’1" and not shy if theres a rumble but this person scared the bejesus out of me.

The next day nothing the guest stayed locked inside there room the entire time no movement in the morning. I vacated the house as much as I could until moveout day. I texted the guest that checkout was 11am and I had a new guest coming in and they had to leave on time. I get back to the house at 1pm and guest is still there, No intention of leaving and I basically had to move everything out and insist guest called a cab and had to lock the doors.

As I looked down on the floor I could see all this tissue paper scattered around. As i looked around I noticed the guest had wet bits of tissue paper and stuck it all around the room on the light switches, made about 50 -100 tissue paper crosses and stuck them - everywhere - im still finding them now.

It was an alarming encounter and as I have had a few other bad experiences with people from the same city I live in have decided I am no longer renting to people from this city (where I am located) and I have now added a rule that you cannot move an entire apartment of belongings into the room for a weekend only a few suitcases.

I have not had much experience dealing with people with mental issues and as my account portrays I found it very alarming. Primarily because the person is so unpredictable I felt like anything could literally happen, anything was possible.

I would be interested to hear other hosts experiences or advice on dealing with mental patient that book into stay at airbnb.

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How do you think Airbnb should go about this?

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Who would’ve thought that somebody who carries around a 2000 year old book of fairytales and calls it their ‘bible’ and believes that a grandfather/sly lord is in the sky sitting in a cloud and must be worshiped and feared would have mental issues? It’s a puzzlement…

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OMG I can’t even imagine. So scary. I’m glad he finally left.

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I would not rule out a guest based on the religious overtones of the inquiry. We have had people from various religions including something called Happy Science. None have created problems. The behavioral health issue is different and very troubling. I would make the local law enforcement agency aware of the odd visit in case this person is already on their radar and getting worse. I’m not talking about pressing any kind of charges, just giving them information.

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Sorry to hear about your guest but you should never have let them check in. What were their previous reviews like?

How exactly would you suggest Airbnb goes about checking on the ‘mental health’ status of a guest @hosterposter

How many other STR platforms do you know who do this?

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The minute I saw the boxes I would have said “All that stuff is NOT coming in the house.” Then I would have called AirBnB and told them that I’m not comfortable with this guest, and it appears that he is unable to comprehend my House Rules, and taken the hit for cancellation.

However I NEVER take bookings from locals, and I never take same day bookings, so that eliminates the newly evicted and homeless.

I would call AirBnB in the morning, and tell them that you’re not comfortable with this guest, that he made advances toward you, and you’re a solo female host. They need to call him and tell him he must leave. You should NOT have to take the hit for this.

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@hosterposter : Your prejudices are showing, and that’s not a good thing – Prejudice against religiousness and prejudice against perceived mental health issues are pretty ugly attitudes IMHO.

If those things bother you so much why did you allow this person to check in? You may not like things but there is no AirPolice holding a gun on you to force you to accept a guest you don’t feel comfortable with.

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Just not correct.
People can have faith in God, Buddha, Etc. And be grounded and reasonable.

This is a case of mental illness. Just a guess is he’s gone off his meds and was beginning a psychotic break.

It was dangerous for the host and the guest.

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I don’t even know how to react to this statement. What in the world are you thinking?

My Airbnb is in my home but separate from me. I strongly suggest that you make a suite with a separate entrance if their is any possible way to do so. I realize for many that’s not an option though.

If you are going to have home share then perhaps you need to vet your guests better. Unlike others who think you are showing a religious bias, you obviously rented to them anyway and tried to be open minded after they arrived. I’m not sure I would have been able to do that with such a weird request.

I had a woman instant book my place a few years ago and she had several bad reviews. They mentioned her leaving a white powder around and also excessive use of paper products and leaving paper all over the room. She seems to do it at some places and not others. Anyway I canceled her straightaway.

Hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it? You were very generous. No way Airbnb can screen for mental illness and they apparently won’t do anything even when multiple people report someone acting strange.

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This is true. While I can’t understand how any intelligent person can believe in such things, I know they do.

I have some friends who are practicing Catholics. These are smart, hip people, political and social liberals, who love rock and roll, go to rock concerts (not Christian rock concerts), love to drink and party, and are totally sane. I asked the husband one day if he really believed that Mary was a virgin and gave birth to the son of God. When he answered in the affirmative, I asked how an intelligent person could believe something so far fetched, that to me it was fairy tales. He answered, “It’s called faith”.

Another couple I know are born-agains. They are also liberals who are horrified by the Trump phenomenon, Q-anon, all that stuff. They behave like a true Christian should behave if they believe in the supposed teachings of Jesus. Generous and non-judgemental.

None of these folks try to force their beliefs on others, they never speak about their faith unless asked.

Individual humans are usually a bundle of contradictions. My dad was a mechanical engineer, he believed in science and was an atheist. Yet he would cut the end off a fresh loaf of bread and toss it away to “let the bad spirits out”, because that was what his mother always did and he was superstitious that if he didn’t follow that tradition, something bad might happen.

Some people just seem to need to believe in some religion. As long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on others, or consider that anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe are wrong, it’s no skin off my nose. And if they feel that being religious helps them to be a better person than they would be otherwise, or gives them solace, there’s nothing bad about that.

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This would be me…as best I can. Being human bites me on the ass frequently.

Btw BS-Bus Adm. MBA. BS-Nursing

Personal belief (not asking for feedback). The more I understand about science, the more I seek a higher power. There is so much we don’t know & will never know.

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How about for ONCE, we just be reasonably sympathetic for a really shitty situation, and not “turn the whole thing around and blame the host”?! Or tell them what a crappy job they did or how much of a bigot they are?
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Should they have “turned away the person at their door”? Perhaps. Some would have and others not.
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This should have been a simple 2 day stay. They made it through a bad situation and got the guest out.
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@hosterposter - Good on you! I am sure you will look back at this as some lessons learned and Thank You for Sharing!

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I not demanding they should make these checks, it made me realise they absolutely do not and there are risks associated with that.

I did not. But I may in the future given this experience. An all consuming hard core religeous mantra can sometimes be a red flag. Emphasis on sometimes.

Previous reviews were all good astonishingly.

Well due to HIPPA laws its tricky but questions along the lines of : have you ever been institutionalized ? - could be a start.

I think checking on mental status is more of an issue for gun control here in USA than STR. The fact remains that without any checks everyone is vulnerable. This may not be the answer you seek, i do not have all the answers.

Wise words, I need to toughen up. Thanks for your reply.

I agree with you. Actually I tend to be moderate on most things so anyone all consuming without pausing or reason on most topics makes me want to run away. It means they can’t respect boundaries or other opinions.

I think you are being judgemental and thats easy todo from your armchair, I knew there would be an aserbic comment such as this, it contributes nothing.

Keep in mind I was not aware of these issues until the guest was checked in.

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