Nightmare w VRBO

Had someone reach out to me about hosting her daughters graduation party on Airbnb. Approved it with her as she seemed nice.

Upon booking w Airbnb, within about 5 minutes, airbnb cancelled the booking due to suspected fraudulent behavior. She then immediately rebooked with VRBO.

Today she was meant to check in, but she had not completed her 3rd payment installment.

I called VRBO to find out what the options were, and they said all we could do was cancel the booking. I felt like this was a bit extreme, we both tried contacting the lady, and sending emails, but could not get in touch with her.

At 3pm she shows up with a truckload of food and gear for her graduation party, but the booking was cancelled, and VRBO told her it was all my fault essentially. VRBO technically cancelled the booking not me.

She just chewed me out on the phone for an hour and is threatening to sue me now. As i type this she is still out in my front yard and im worried she is going to damage my property.

I do not understand VRBO or why they are so inflexible. How is it that they allow the final day to come around without collecting the payment? How is it they cannot un-cancel a booking? I feel bad for this lady and understand why she is so upset, but at the same time i feel the need to protect myself and my property. VRBO said if she never made the final payment that I would not be paid the full booking amount.

I feel like VRBO is just this amateurish company that has no idea how to do business. They always want to put the host in the middle of everything and blame any issue on us. I am strongly considering to stop listing my property on their site, despite the fact that i can charge more than airbnb and receive about 25% of my bookings from their site.

I travel a lot myself and use airbnb wherever I go. I can only imagine how upset i would be if the shoe were on the other foot. I just do not know how I can fix this. She wanted me to write up a contract saying she would take all liability, but i just dont believe that would hold water in court if someone at the party got injured, and i would have no way to be covered if any property was damaged other than taking her to court so I told her it was out of the question.

UGHHHHH

It sounds like you think Vrbo is the same as AirBnB. You have to manage your own business on Vrbo, including whether payments are made. And you really should have a contract on Vrbo. I prefer Vrbo to AirBnB, because Vrbo won’t get in my business and refund a guest thousands of dollars because the internet was unavailable for a small portion of their stay.

Our contract on Vrbo is 50% paid on booking and the balance 60 days before arrival. They have five days grace period on the second payment and then their booking can be canceled and they forfeit all the monies they’ve paid.

9 Likes

Sorry you’re going through this.

With VRBO it’s your responsibility to collect payments after the first payment. I’ve had a few guests who didn’t make their second payment and I had to contact them. They promptly paid. But VRBO doesn’t send you a message (or at least me as co-Host) saying that the guest is delinquent. You need to check the reservation list for the message that the guest has paid; if not, message them.

Our rental agreement on VRBO says that if they fail to make subsequent payments before the check-in date that any payments made are forfeited and nonrefundable, that the reservation is cancelled. Oops – I just saw @PitonView made same point.

A few other thoughts:

Were you concerned that initially taking this reservation through Airbnb violated Airbnb’s ‘no parties or events’ rule?

I understand if you don’t want her as a guest now, but if you do can she simply re-book now on VRBO and pay in full?

This was her fault. She didn’t make the required payments when due. She didn’t pay attention to the notices from VRBO. It would have been ‘nice’ for you to remind her when she was delinquent but I’m guessing you never promised to do that. Yet she promised to make the payments on a schedule and she failed to do so. And she chewed you out??? She took your place off the market since the day she made the reservation, and now what do you have? You’re the party hurt by the guest’s failure; you’ve done nothing legally wrong that I can see (not legal advice).

I wouldn’t laugh in her face but I wouldn’t worry about it. And I wouldn’t accept a re-booking from her.

She didn’t install the VRBO app or pay attention.

We like VRBO, love the damage protection option – the only thing is that they generate far fewer bookings than Airbnb for us in our market.

Well, VRBO lets you put in a rental agreement that you can upload. The one disadvantage – and it’s a significant one – is that the agreement is not signed. Plus, having an agreement, suing and winning, AND collecting is another thing. Creating an agreement is not something most of us can do on the fly, It needs to be thought out, developed in advance, ideally by a licensed lawyer knowledgeable about applicable laws and short-term rentals.

Maybe it would hold up; maybe not. But if you won the suit, easily expect to pay $50K in legal expenses and for the suit to take several years. Again, that’s if you win. And most of us probably can’t easily vet attorneys to get someone really good. God help you if the accident was caused, even in part, by your negligence [Is your property in compliance with the building code? How do you know? Take a look at this on safety: Is Your Property Safe? Take the Challenge -- A 75-Point Safety Checklist

You should in the opinion of many here also have liability insurance, like through Proper insurance or another carrier.

But if I had qualms about a guest – and now I have qualms about this guest – I would not let them book even though we have a rental agreement and a good insurance policy. For many reasons, it’s not worth it.


I think you might have dodged a bullet here.

2 Likes

Incidentally, depending on your local laws, this can be considered trespass so if you really feel that she might damage your property, calling the cops might be an idea.

4 Likes

Yes. Absolutely. It IS trespass.

I would definitely call the police.

2 Likes

Do you realize that if a guest makes it clear that they intend to have a party and you accept the booking, Airbnb may suspend your listing? And that if a party results in damages or out-of-control behavior, regardless of whether you approved a party or the guests had one in contravention of your rules, and you contact Airbnb about it, they will definitely suspend you? (Yes, of course it’s absurd to punish the host for an unauthorized party, but that’s Airbnb’s MO)

Really sorry about your situation, and I have no experience with VRBO, but this woman:
Asked to throw a party, which you probably shouldn’t allow.

Didn’t pay up online, nor even offer to pay you the remaining payment in cash when she arrived, which it seems a decent person would have done when made aware there was a missing payment if they wanted to continue with the booking.
“What? Oh my goodness, I must have totally missed the notification for the 3rd payment. I’m so sorry- what do I owe? I’ll go to an ATM and get it for you in cash right now.”

Then had the gall to be abusive to you, threaten you, and remain on your property when she hadn’t finished paying for the booking.

Ten to one she would have left a huge after party mess and then refused to pay for extra cleaning time.

“Seemed nice” is not something to base one’s trust or decisions on. I’m not suggesting the guest is a psychopath, but Ted Bundy also “seemed nice”. Ever watched the prison interviews with Jeffrey Dahmer? Aside from the horrific content of what he is talking about, he was soft-spoken, articulate and polite. I’m sure those boys he picked up in the bars thought he was nice when they first met him.
It’s actually something most sociopaths are quite skilled at, which is why “nice”, means nothing to me. Anyone can talk sweetly, and most people aren’t dangerous, but plenty of “normal” people speak nicely to get what they want, then screw you over. It’s people’s actions that count.

10 Likes

I know nothing abut VRBO, but I do know something about contracts. If they were to pay before arrival, and they did not, then they do not get access.

5 Likes

So sorry this happened. I popped in to say that everyone is telling you to not host a party or if you suspect one cancel. If I had a place in a college town, I would most certainly approve a graduation party once I got a good sense of who was renting. I’ve had two kids recently graduate and we had a “party” if you want to call it that, I guess most people would call it a party, but the reality is a pretty tame group of non-related people for the most part. I wanted my grads and a few of their friends to come by for a short while. Mine all had other places to go and people to see so they were in and out but it was still nice to be able to relax in a home environment and not wait 3 hours at some restaurant for food.

2 Likes

Unfortunately, Airbnb does not define ‘party’.

For what it’s worth I called awhile ago (twice) and asked them to define ‘party’.

They really couldn’t except to say that it usually involved loud music and some kind of substance like alcohol.

Yes, that sounds totally normal to me. It’s not what I would call a party. I’m in a city with numerous universities so hosting parents of college kids has been my specialty. I’ve always allowed visitors and fully expect them, particularly around graduation. It’s generally what you describe with people stopping in to visit for a bit. But I’ve also had stuff like the entire girl’s hockey team here for dinner too (I was asked beforehand). There have been no issues and I feel that it is inherent to what I am providing as a host.

2 Likes

A party is specific to being 1. disruptive and 2. open-invite. They even go into detail as to what is considered “disruptive”.

1 Like

Well, I guess they do define party!

Thank you.

1 Like

I have a friend locally looking to rent a home for his dad’s 70th birthday party. It’s a party, he says there will be at least 85 people on the invite list and that’s just local. He thinks it will be a lot of people stopping by, not 80 people staying late into the night.

It won’t be anything wild and I’d trust him to clean up. I think the main problem would be parking.

I told him to try VRBO or search for event spaces.

2 Likes

I’m not sure why people even think that Airbnb is an appropriate place to look for a party venue. Regardless of whether the party will be wild or not.

Airbnb is clearly an accommodation platform, not in the business of advertising event venues. If someone wants to have an event, there are plenty of event venue businesses, from simple, relatively inexpensive local community halls, to event halls in upscale hotels.
If the weather is nice, you could even have an event in a public park for free, although you might need to apply for permission.

Parking alone, for upwards of a handful of cars, would be unavailable at almost all str rentals.

Most large events in most places also require an event license and insurance.

I’ve noticed a trend these days to turn what used to be intimate affairs with a dozen people or less into an excuse for a giant party, from baby showers to birthday parties for 1 year olds. You used to invite 8 kids to a birthday party, mom or dad would drop them off, the kids would play some games, you’d serve cake and ice cream, and everyone went home a couple hours later. Maybe you’d go the extra mile and take the kids to the bowling alley or the local swimming pool.

Now people rent those huge bouncy blow-up things, invite everyone in the neighborhood and the entire kid’s class, all the parents attend, booze is served, and the party lasts all afternoon and into the night.

1 Like

This is kind of the Airbnb for party spaces. In my market, many " Airbnbs " are listed on Peerspace for parties. I believe they are given different insurance or whatever so the same places on Airbnb that would prohibit parties can allow them when listed on Peerspace.

7 Likes

There is also

It’s mostly pools but pools with cabana areas and patios if they wanted something outside. There are pickleball and tennis courts too and I believe they’re expanding into other party/event-type spaces. Some listings are limited to 4-6 people but there are many who allow up to 100 people too.

Both of these sites are great for hosts who may be looking to maximize their property in new ways.

@HostAirbnbVRBO I’m sure your internal-liability-alert-system :warning: :loud_sound::warning: :loud_sound::warning: :loud_sound: is going off right now, so I realize you may not be able to hear me :joy: but it wouldn’t hurt anything to have a look at the site.

They provide an extraordinary amount of liability insurance. It would obviously need to be vetted properly but you could make your nightly rate in an afternoon and not have to change any beds. It may make sense to use for orphan days between Airbnb bookings so you could be “booked” but not have a full clean to worry about it. FWIW.

2 Likes

There’s 3 listings in my city. LOL. And Swimply isn’t loading properly for me to check. I’ll pass the info on though.

1 Like

I am so sorry that you had to undertake so much stress. And I definitely can feel what you felt that you really wanted to help the guests but you were so worried that you would get hurt by bad people. I also list my apartment on VRBO with 24 hours review no instant book. I require payment in full on the day they book. I am not doing so good on VRBO though, more than half year, only 6 bookings. But I am not worried, my apartment almost fully booked for this year. I suggest you also change your payment policy — require 1 time payment. Maybe it will drive away some guests but maybe it’s a good thing for you— Only serious guests left.

4 Likes

We have a large property on a beautiful lake with a private beach. One lady asked if they could have a few family members gather on the beach. I said yes because she seemed so nice. When they arrived I thought there was a bit too much luggage but hey…some travel heavy. When I noticed that one of the family members didn’t leave that night I messaged in the morning to inquire if a 3rd person stayed the night. Nice lady replied "Yes, my daughter had a migraine, fell asleep and we didn’t want to wake her. Not sure where the huge husband slept that night if migraine daughter was asleep and was not to be disturbed. I called BS*#%! If I was approached by a nice lady to have a graduation party it would be a quick “Hell No!” I agree with Muddy, nice doesn’t impress me anymore, many talk sweet to get what they want. I think you dodged a bullet here too.

3 Likes

I looked at Swimply recently because they keep
spamming me. I cannot begin to understand how people would do this. There are 3 that pop up in my area and the rates are dirt cheap, hourly, and they allow up to 50 people from 1-8 hrs. Along with use of a grill and fire pit and their indoor bathrooms!

I cannot wrap my head around trying to clean up after a party like that for the low rates they are charging. Just imagining 50 drunk college kids on spring break. Damn.

2 Likes