My listing was just suspended because of a disgruntled guest!

Well I guess if you host long enough, you’ll find yourself here looking for comfort from your fellow Airbnb hosts…

I have a “no-pet” policy in my rental due to allergies of one of my cleaners. She came to the home 10 minutes early on departure day and parked her car across from the home. At precisely 10 a.m., the guest appeared, looked around, then quickly rushed to the car holding a CAT. If it ended there, I would be annoyed but it would have just been a less than stellar review for the guest. However, they used one of my twin bed sheet sets as the cats bed and it was full of horrible things. The cleaner reported an overwhelming “pet shop” smell in the home.

I sent a request for payment for $300 which is right in my house rules for anyone caught sneaking in a pet. In my request I wrote, “guest was observed by cleaner sneaking out a cat at the end of their stay.” Guest declined to pay (of course), sending me a nasty email threatening to sue me for discrimination against “therapy animals” and for “hiring a third party to conduct surveillance on him and his family”.

Again, I was annoyed, involved Airbnb through arbitration with photos and a video of the disgusting filth but figured that was it (I fully expect to lose since they usually always favour the guest and their “needs”.

This morning, more than a week after their departure, I get an email from Airbnb saying my listing is now limited because they are opening an investigation into my “reported” use of cameras or other surveillance equipment inside or around the home! WHAT!? I don’t even have a RING doorbell!

Honestly, what is wrong with people? Of course Airbnb has offered to call me to “get my side” (tonight at 11:00 p.m. my time—um, no thanks Airbnb, I have children), but I find this a ridiculous “guilty until proven innocent” approach and I am deeply disheartened. I am a stellar super host with nothing but 5-star reviews but Airbnb doesn’t give a rat’s behind about that, I guess.


Sorry this happened to you. It does seem to be consistent with other stories we have seen posted here. Also, since you don’t live there you actually should have cameras on the exterior at all entrances or ideally all the perimeter of the home. And then you disclose them and picture them on the listing. Then when the guest complains you should be covered. The issue here seems to be the guest is claiming undisclosed cameras rather than cleaner watching from across the street?

Another advantage of the cameras is that it helps to discourage this kind of activity. The person sneaking in extra people or pets will sometimes actually read the listing and choose a different listing.

OTOH your listing should only be suspended a short time. Please leave the appropriate honest review for these lousy guests.


I’m so sorry this happened to you. Did the guest ever inform you that she had a service animal? Did she provide proof that the cat is a service animal? I would mention to Airbnb that she never mentioned a cat when she booked. Hope it all works out. Best wishes.

@Ritz3, no they never told me in advance but they DON’T have to. I went to Airbnb’s policy right away and the guest doesn’t have to disclose the animal and a host cannot ask for paperwork since there is no “official” agency for certifying these animals. In other words, it’s open season for anyone who wants to bring an animal into your home. Call it a “therapy” animal and they are good to go.


Exactly. This has been discussed many times here and it will probably be discussed again on this thread.


Airbnb does it as soon as they get a report. It might be couple days but in my case they simply forgot about me. I rented through other sources but then sent a message to case worker and told her that she forgot about me and within minutes she reinstated my account


This is appalling, retaliatory behaviour, not helped by Airbnb suspending your account. You’ve already had some helpful advice, so the only thing I can add is that they will now ask you for a written account of your side of the story, as once happened to me. I was really grateful for the many years of experience writing evidence based reports for staff disciplinaries etc!

I recommend that you write down all of the facts, just as they happened ASAP, and ask your cleaner to do so too. Factual, unemotional, non judgemental. Then re-write what you’ve written; precis it down as you do so. Attach all of your photos and copy of HR’s, including internal photos of no cameras, and you’re ready to go as soon as.

If all else fails, you could of course post your story on social media. I’ve heard this can have positive results.


Not only ridiculous, but dangerous. Some people have severe reactions to cat dander. A classic case of someone being less than transparent and blaming you.

Make sure you leave a review that states the guest brought a cat that left a huge mess behind. Be very careful to not violate any of Airbnb’s terms of service so that the review stands.

Also, you know the guest isn’t going to pay anything, so get your cleaners to make an itemized bill for additional cleaning to remove the hair, odor, and dander and ask Airbnb to cover it under their Host Guarantee.

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LOL. This guest is clearly a piece of work. You may already know this but just in case, you most definitely can’t be sued for this. Airbnb makes us accept “therapy animals” but hotels and other “temporary housing” like Airbnbs don’t legally have to accept Emotional Support Animals. And cats are not recognized as Service Animals.

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This is the kind of guest that you want to message and say another guest had “a cat with --insert deadly cat disease-- and that’s why pets aren’t allowed at the listing. Of course it poses no danger to humans and your cat is probably safe but if it shows any symptoms please take it to a veterinarian immediately.”


It’s illegal per Airbnb terms to request proof for a service animal. It doesn’t sound like this applies but thought I would clarify.


You can’t prove that the cat was there from hearsay (the word of the cleaner) but it’s good that you sent your photographs of the resultant mess - the sheet being ‘full of horrible things’.

What you have to do is think clearly and unemotionally. I’m not sure what ‘limited’ means but presumably they aren’t re-housing your present and upcoming guests?

You have the proof of the mess and the proof of the emails. The guests have said that they were seen by a third party (which is true) and Airbnb is merely checking out the story. Even remote hosts have a local co-host or nosy neighbour.

I don’t understand.

No, they don’t. We’re paying the (low) fees to Airbnb to put potential guests ion touch with us, that’s all. They want guests to book with them but not with specific hosts; not me, not you. Your business isn’t important to them, theirs is.


@Skuchiegirl, you seem well-informed about what the AirBnB policies are, and I believe you’re in the right here.

Nonetheless, I’m going to share AirBnB’s policies on “assistance animals” that may be useful here.

If you keep reading, AirBnB says you can’t charge the guests a fee for an “assistance animal” and they don’t have to disclose. However, I think you’re in the right here because the animal was apparently not housebroken and may have been left alone in the listing.

@jaquo, my comment about “no thanks I have children” was simply in reference to the fact that they want to call me so late (11 p.m.). My children (and usually me!) are asleep at this time. But even my hubby said, if that’s when they want to call you to clear up this mess, we will darn well take the call and clear it up!


@justMandi, exactly. We schedule cleaners accordingly. Had I known he had a cat, I would’ve been annoyed but that particular cleaner would not have been assigned my home that day!

I agree with your husband! After all, hosting isn’t a nine-to-five job :slight_smile:


@KKC, I never thought I’d see the day but here we are. I agree it’s time. There’s only one door into my home that guests use and a doorbell camera would do the trick! And yes, I would disclose it with glee… !


please update us after you have your call tonight with CS



A service cat… :laughing: