Newbie Question

I have immaculate rentals that I’m proud of.

I am on vacation. I rented a studio that had great pics and five good reviews. I expected when I got here that it would be a nice villa and all would be well. The gap under the front door is big enough for a rat. The next door neighbor I can hear talking because the gap and acoustics of the hallway allow it. The building is filthy on the outside, has graffiti, and is derelict. Weeds are everywhere. There is zero building maintenance.

I asked about quietness before I came here. She said the place was quiet.

Not true.

The pics on her listing conveniently leave off the abandoned next door apartments, the weeds, the trash, and the filth.

There were drain flies all over the bathroom, and I got rid of them.

I can’t get a refund. When I got here I had food poisoning and was so sick I couldn’t think straight. Since I’ve felt better, and my mind is better, I can say this place is a dump.

I do not understand how anyone would purposely pass a place off like this. Would any of you? I mean it’s like she purposely deceived me.

We all have our blind spots.

When I came onto the platform I felt that our listing was a model of cleanliness. Yet we didn’t wash the duvets with each turnover). Now we do. Some Hosts were disgusted by my not doing so earlier, which I totally understand.

I see pictures of listings without railings on stairs, inside or out and I am aghast. But that’s me.

I don’t want to defend this Host. But maybe it’s very inexpensive – which some believe to be the Holy Grail – and the Host thought that was a reasonable tradeoff. Many people do.

Anyone can get drain flies, and it can happen fast. You spoke of ‘mice everywhere’ but it was everywhere outside, right?. Mice and rats ARE everywhere. While you said that the mice COULD get under the front door (they need very little space: I think 1/2" is plenty) but you didn’t say they DID get in. I don’t know where this listing is or what the marketplace is like in that area.

It might be that this is a terrible deceitful Host but you did not persuade me of that.

You use vague words without specifics like ‘derelict.’ Saying that the building has graffiti is specific – thank you. [Some people wouldn’t mind that, even appreciate that.] But what does it mean that ‘the building is filthy on the outside’? Is their trash on the ground? Dirt on the bricks? What?

I don’t know. You don’t tell me, just throwing out catch-all and loaded terms like ‘derelict,’ ‘dump,’ ‘filthy’ and ‘zero building maintenance’ that are short on specifics and long on playing on my imagination.

Not all hosts are great, many are. Remember, Airbnb does not evaluate properties for safety, comfort or for anything. No one trains the Hosts.

Take this experience as an opportunity to become a more savvy traveler: Study a listing before booking, Ask the Host all your questions, Know your rights, Carry earplugs, Be specific, Take things in stride, Move on.

Well, imagine tall weeds everywhere, like three to five feet high. Imagine graffiti on walls. Imagine trash everywhere outside. Imagine a building that hasn’t been kept on for 50 years. The floor in the apartment is the original fifty year old floor, and it has rust spots. Imagine a two inch gap on the door, and imagine seeing rodents outside. Imagine thinking of that when you go to sleep. Imagine abandoned apartments all around. Imagine that you expected a quaint little place that matched the pics. Now, the inside is liveable, but there are no lights in the hallways. You open the door and black at night. My dog fell down the stairs. The toilet barely flushes, and sometimes doesn’t after three flushes. The shower drain pool and drains super slowly. That and the drain flies tells me something’s up. I expected a decent place to stay for a month. I did not get it. The host in me knows this is wrong, and the guest in me is both furious and sad. This is false advertising. On the good side, I have decided to leave early and go somewhere else. I scolded the host and scolded her good. You do not deceive people with well crafted pictures and expect them to be happy. If you want to host and get reviews that are good, earn them. Again, I am a nice person and can overlook some stuff. This is outside the bounds. I WOULD NEVER HAVE RENTED THIS PLACE HAD I SEEN THE TRUTH.

Just give an honest review. Something like “I expected better based on the lovely pictures posted for this listing. However, it did not meet my expectations. The neighborhood didn’t feel safe and the outside of the building was unkempt.”


This is just all around unfortunate since any complaints to Airbnb need to be reported right away. Please leave an honest review.

The kind of people who show up here are people who want to be the best at what they do and the ones who show that they are only doing Airbnb to “get rich,” or “easy money” or whatever odd notions they have get a cold response and usually run off quickly complaining that they are being bullied.

I’d still take pictures and open a case with Airbnb if I were you.

Also I always use the SH filter and I don’t stay with hosts with only a few reviews. I know everyone has to start somewhere but I don’t want to be anyone’s guinea pig.


Airbnb said it was too late. They told me the outside of the building is not the responsibility of the host. Even the lack of light in the hallway wasn’t their responsibility. Which really bothered me. I told them pics showed a true attempt at deception. The way the host took a pic of the patio and left out the weeds, trash, graffiti, and abandoned apartments. I gave them pics. Again, they said the outside of the building wasn’t the host’s responsibility because it was a set of apartments. Makes no sense to me. I showed them pics of the door gap. It didn’t matter if mice got in because they hadn’t gotten in yet, although they are outside. However, who knows if they got in. I am asleep and don’t know. I just feel incredibly duped. Incredibly stupid to trust. I don’t know, but I’d never do this to people for a few bucks. Just show the true pics of the whole place and let people decide. Don’t purposely hide the truth. My complaint was rejected by AirBNB because the outside of the building did not matter and I couldn’t prove the man next door was noisy, as I didn’t tape it. I didn’t think to tape it. Who does that except someone who’s been around the block in this regard.

My review will be honest and blunt, because people should know the truth before they rent. I would never do this to anyone.

And I do not understand airbnb saying the outside doesn’t matter. What? I may cut ties as this is wrong.

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The Host does not control the outside.

If the Host were to come on to this forum we would advise a statement in the listing like “Please understand that I do not control anything outside of my apartment. The building itself and neighboring buildings are unkempt, weeds, etc.”

We’d also likely advise the Host to themselves put lightbulbs in the hallway, fill all gaps that would allow mice to enter, make sure that the plumbing (toilets, shower/tub drain) are working well, do what you can (Google it) to get rid of drain flies.

We have had guests come on to this forum complaining how they could not control shared spaces like hallways and that their buildings had trip hazards or other problems that they wish they could correct.

The advice such Hosts were given was to: 1) disclose the issues in the listing and 2) work with the building manager/owner to improve the building and where possible/feasible, do it themselves (like lightbulbs in the hallway).

Remember, the Host will likely try to get your review removed. So if you discuss the adjacent buildings the Host will try to remove your review based on review content guidelines, one of which is that the review is relevant. The condition of adjacent buildings or shared spaces and the outside of the listing’s building is not controlled by the Host and if part of the review could be a basis that the Host uses to remove your review.

Make sure that your review cannot be removed. You have a few samples here and you can also draft review for feedback here.

But what is Airbnb or the Host to do about this?

You say ‘TWO-MAY-TOW’, I say ‘TWO-MAH-TOW.’ Who knows what your standard of ‘noisy’ is? Is it reasonable? Did you contact the Host for whatever intervention the Host could do?

My feedback to you is that you are angry just now, which is not the mind-set you want to have when you write a review or write the Host or Airbnb.

When you write things like this above, for me it challenges your credibility. I think to myself "How does he know that the building has not been ‘kept on’ for 50 years? Was it 40 years? 10? What does ‘kept on’ mean? How does he KNOW this? Did he just make this up? What else is he making up or exaggerating? "

Again, I think, how does he KNOW? [original 50 year old floor]

I also think ‘So what?’ Some homes have 100-year old floors, and there are probably scratches, gouges, stains, damage to the floors here and there. It happens on things you walk on.

So, please keep to the FACTS. Not what you think, guess, not your impression. Avoid loaded or vague or extreme words (“everywhere”). [If I’m the Host I just to have to take a picture of somewhere outside without weeds to refute you. But, wait, I don’t have to do that because it’s irrelevant.]

I think you need a little time and distance to process and ACCEPT what Airbnb told you, even if you disagree with it. It is what it is.

@misterx It sounds like the accommodation itself was okay- you don’t seem to have any of the normal guest complaints about worn out mattresses, scratched up old pots and pans, stained or threadbare towels, etc.

Your basic complaint seems to be that it was a run-down building, uncared for, down and out looking area. The host indeed is not responsible for the outside, which isn’t part of their property. Do you expect them to foot the bill to repaint the outside of the apartment building, hire someone to cut down the weeds, landscape the outside, clean up all the garbage? It seems like you are blaming the host for things which are outside her control.

And graffiti is something to be found pretty much everywhere these days outside of rural areas and middle and upperclass suburbs. (People find cave paintings something to ooh and aah over, but it’s just ancient graffiti. I have a vision of a cave-dwelling mama berating her teenage son- “I just washed that wall! You and your damn graffiti- I’m confiscating your red clay!”) I live in a little Mexican beach town where the main industry is tourism, and there is graffiti here.

I would expect to hear neighbors talking and going about their lives in an apartment building, or even in a suburban home. The only place I would not expect that is in some remote area with no close neighbors. And even then, sounds can carry from quite aways away.

Now, all that said, what is the host’s responsibility is to disclose in her listing the state of the area. Just because you were upset by the general disrepair doesn’t mean all guests would be, so there is no reason why she shouldn’t be hosting, she just needs to be transparent about it so guests can make an informed choice.
No one is going to post photos of a weed-choked yard with trash strewn around to advertise their rental, and it would be unreasonable to expect a host to. But wording like, “Please note: This apartment is in an old building which the owners do not maintain well. There is tall grass and weeds, garbage strewn around, some graffiti on the walls, burnt out lightbulbs in the hallway. Typical urban blight. However, I have strived to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and my apartment itself is clean and comfortable, and the area is safe. I have no control over the outside area, so please take that into account if you book here.”

Also, you get the address of a listing when your booking is confirmed- you can use Google Maps street view to get a totally accurate view of the outside of a place and the surrounding area.

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See, @misterx, @muddy, who is a very careful reader, didn’t mention that the toilet barely flushes and sometimes doesn’t flush after three flushes. Nor that the shower drain is super slow, or the gaps – especially the large one under the front door – that could let the mice you saw outside come in, which they easily might have.

Why? Maybe because you distracted us with many complaints that were irrelevant.

Keep your review short and focused. I think you can mention (edit appropriately) “As an aside, there were no lights in the hallway, which is dangerous. The building itself and the adjacent ones are generally unkempt (graffiti on walls, weeds 3’-4’ high, trash here and there, empty (abandoned?) units/buildings, lots of mice/rats seen outside.”

But the heart of your complaint is that " Very noisy. Large gap under front door enables outside mice (Yikes! We saw many!) to easily enter unit. Drain flies were all over bathroom sink. Toilet barely flushes or requires multiple attempts. Shower drains very slowly.

As an aside . . . [see above].

Do not recommend."

ALL: Does this guest risk the review being removed by adding the ‘aside’ language above? @misterx , If you don’t get a good answer to that question, don’t include it in your review.

This is true. And those things should also be disclosed. The toilet may be something the host can remedy, and they could certainly add a gap strip to the bottom of the door, and maybe the shower drain needs to be cleaned out, but slow drains and possibly the toilet flushing issue could also be due to the building’s entire plumbing system, which the host could only complain to the landlord about, but not fix themselves.

Also, we don’t know the price of this rental. As we know, sometimes guests expect the Ritz for the price of a Motel 6 room. I’ve read guest posts complaining about grubby kitchens and run-down bathrooms and sketchy wifi, but the room was $15/night- you can’t expect much more than a bed, clean bedding and towels and a place to shower for that price.

If I were going to commit to booking a place for a month, I would only book something that had loads of great reviews. The OP hasn’t mentioned anything regarding the price or whether the reviews were misleading- like what led them to choose this rental for a month’s booking.

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So then why don’t I just buy a dump apartment, fix the inside up, take pics and put it on airbnb? If the outside doesn’t matter, what really matters? This makes no sense to me at all.

This picture is nicer that where I am staying. At least the weeds are green. Mine are yellow. And taller. But overall this is one step above where I’m at.

But I will carefully write my review because I do not want anyone else to undergo this.

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No this was one thousand, a little more, a month.

But what is it in U.S. dollars???

LOL. So, not a lot of money, $33/day.

What country?

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What led me to it? I looked at the reviews, they were good. One mentioned the patio overlooked a dirt street, but that didn’t phase me because the pics were good. I tried to google map it to see street view it but it wasn’t on there. It was just a trap that I fell into. I do feel duped.

This is comparable if you add some trash and it was an apartment.

Price is relative. Some areas are really expensive and you couldn’t expect much for $1000/ month. It’s how the price compares to other similar size offerings, with similar amenities, in the area that determines whether it is cheap, expensive, or reasonable.

Lots of hosts do, and guests are satisfied (and obviously were if the reviews were good), they don’t care what the outside area looks like. What really matters? To many guests, a comfortable bed, decent towels and bedding, a clean apartment, sufficient kitchen gear, plenty of hot water, reliable wifi, proximity to the beach or other places they want to go.

Just because something is important to you or me doesn’t mean it’s important or even noticeable to everyone. A guest who is used to big city life may not be the slightest bit phased by noise, homeless people sleeping in doorways, or garbage-strewn properties- they are used to it. A guest who lives in a quiet, clean, nicely landscaped suburban neighborhood may find those things to be hugely objectionable.

I am not suggesting you don’t have cause for complaint, just that not everyone’s standards and expectations are the same.

Well, if you own the building then you DO have a control.

But I understand the larger point you’re making.

But please understand the counterpoint.

Many guests are focused on price. Many are just unwilling to pay for a place where all the weeds are gone, flowers are planted, the outside is freshly tuckpointed or painted, outside lights, and on and on. As you must know because you keep your property ‘immaculate’ [as do I] it’s expensive of time or money or both. Some guests choose not to pay for that. It’s a legitimate choice.

If you ever go to and look at properties and the projected ROI (return on investment). you’ll see (at least this is what I saw in my market) that the nicest (and most expensive) places generally had the lowest projected ROI. To be sure, there are some forum members who have spectacular properties that fetch a high daily rate. That is the market they have chosen in which to operate, and that marketplace can generate high ROIs. But not all Hosts do that, not all markets would support that, and that’s a good thing because there’s a limited market for that.

I do think, though, that properties should be clean, free of course from vermin, all appliances and plumbing, electricity, amenities should be as described, work as designed, beds comfortable with appropriate sheets, towels, pillows, that listings should be accurate, complete and the property safe (e.g., no trip hazards, adequate lighting, smoke detectors, fire extinguisher, first aid kit), communications timely, accurate and complete.

Anything beyond that is ‘extra.’

Maybe next time ask for several current outside pictures that would show the outside of the property, any yards, any private parking, the views from the property.

OR, assume that because these pictures are not shown that there is a reason for that and move on to the next property.


Just show us where you are staying. This is a host forum and these posts are starting to be suspicious. You’re on vacation? For a month in a dump and you decided to spend it joining a host forum and posting pictures of places you aren’t staying?


@misterx you joined just a few hours ago to relate all those issues. Sorry to ask, but are you trolling us?