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.