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Open Homes poor experience and how do I opt out?

I’m in the UK where holiday homes are locked down. So I decided to do my bit by offering my one holiday cottage (in the grounds of my home) to key workers who needed to keep isolated from family whilst working. So I registered with Open Homes to host such people for free. A trainee doctor and her boyfriend asked to stay. The story didn’t ring quite true to me in a number of ways (I am a retired doctor). But I agreed for them to stay, planning to quiz them further when they arrived and sent a message to Airbnb Support detailing my concerns, requesting that, if they gave a poor review following my challenge, it would be deleted and asking how Open Homes vetted clients. The reply took several days by which time they were installed (and I’m a SuperHost so I don’t know what happened there). When it came it was just standard guff and did not mention the review question. I decided to say nothing although they arrived a day late with no comment and this hosting obviously costs me for the utilities they use and both are earning reasonable money. My cottage is really pretty with a lovely garden and the boyfriend sits in it to “work from home”. She, to give her her due, worked during the week - at a hospital far from here.
However, yesterday (Saturday) they were out all day (against the lockdown regulations) and don’t seem even to have come back overnight. They have also barely thanked me for putting them up and shown none of the usual appreciation of my paying guests. I feel I’m being used.
I am still worried about my review. I didn’t challenge them but their air of entitlement makes me worry that they’ll nitpick.
Their booked stay ends tomorrow. Right at the beginning I queried why they weren’t staying for the full lockdown period and mentioned my place would obviously be empty until it ended. I foolishly mentioned that they might be able to extend their stay. They have not asked to stay on but I wouldn’t put it past them just not to leave.
And so, I’ve decided to opt out of Open Homes but can’t work out how to do it.
Glad of some help and to hear your experience of Open Homes, please.

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I’ve now worked out how to opt out of Open Homes but would still like to hear your experiences. Thank you!

Just search this forum for “Open Homes” and you’ll find a several stores from dissatisfied hosts. For example:

Thank you, Brian. I should have checked before I registered with Open Homes.
I should have been warned by the first message from the guest.
“Hi Caroline, I’ll be staying at your place while I work on COVID-19 response efforts.”
I don’t think I’ve ever had such a terse first message from paying guests! And it didn’t get more polite.
Anyway, her stay finishes tomorrow. She’s not allowed to move but then she already did when she came here. What really pisses me off is that I have a son in London by himself in a flat and he could easily isolate in my cottage if He was allowed.
Thank you for letting me vent. I live in a lovely place with no reason to grumble but this lockdown is making me irritable!

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If both she AND the boyfriend were self-isolating who were they isolating from and why did she choose somewhere so far from the hospital?

I am sorry these ‘guests’ seem to have taken advantage of you and are ungrateful.

Sounds more like a holiday break while she worked rather than them truly needing somewhere.

I think just as with any other guest, but particularly with guests getting accommodation for free, due diligence before you let them stay is essential.

I am not sure why you suggested these ungrateful lot extended their stay @Caroline_Bradbeer

Yes, you’re right of course. I was trying to be kind and give them the benefit of the doubt. They’ve gone now, with a single ThankYou. Nothing more and no response to my “hope you had a good stay”. Now I await the review…
Thanks everyone for their support.

I opted in and put in my listing that I would accept essential workers and first responders and that there is a 14-day mandatory quarantine county-wide. My first booking was a few weeks ago for a couple wanting to “escape for a weekend away”. I asked them if they had read the booking about the quarantine and they cancelled (after griping a bit). My second is pending next week for a group of nurses wanting to get away but they claim they will stay quarantined, and the county quarantine was lifted on 5/8 so they will not be in violation. I don’t feel like I haven’t gotten any requests that were legitimate to the use intended.

Perhaps the problem is that the “deserving” people don’t know about Open Homes? I guess most genuine folks will have sorted their arrangements by now.
I would have liked to give the money I paid for these people (utilities, cleaning etc) to a refugee organisation, or some such, that really supports Covid victims.
You live and learn.

Thanks to everyone.
Caroline

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@Caroline_Bradbeer So sorry you got these ingrates. One would think that when people get something nice for free or a major discount, from a total stranger, they’d be most gracious and appreciative, but oddly, it seems to work the opposite.

If they’d been “normal” guests would you have carried on with the booking if you felt you were being lied to?

I get the feeling that this program is often abused, and hosts are led to believe that Airbnb carry out due diligence to ensure the guest is actually entitled to a free stay, which they clearly don’t.

Not half as grumpy and irritable as me I’ll bet.

Well done for trying to help, it’s just a pity you ended up with a pair of ungrateful, entitled twats (did have another word there, but it’s Sunday so changed it).

JF

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Unfortunately, I’m nearly positive that they don’t do much vetting. My first booking had a banner stating they were verified for the open homes program but when those guests grumped at me for having my home open when they “couldn’t do anything fun” I told them that the only reason they were accepted to stay was because they showed as essential workers for the program. His response was “What is that?” And then he cancelled and I never got a response from him. The second people, who said in their initial hello message that they were nurses, didn’t come thru as verified for the program. :thinking:

Even before the current Open Homes for essential workers initiative, I’ve read a lot of posts from hosts who had signed up for Open Homes due to bush or forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. Same thing happened with those- tons of scammers claiming they’d been displaced by a natural disaster, many of whom the unsuspecting hosts accepted. Appeared that Airbnb didn’t vet them at all. I even read one during the fires in California from a guest who was complaining that the Airbnb he had booked was in a different area of LA than where he thought it was by the host’s listing. He was complaining that he didn’t want to be in that part of LA, even though he supposedly was homeless because of the fires quite far away and was getting the apartment for free. He even had the gall to whine about how he was going to be “homeless for Christmas”, even though he didn’t have to be homeless, he had a place waiting for him, which he didn’t want because it wasn’t in his preferred location.
I suspect Airbnb doesn’t require any documentation from guests who apply through Open Homes. They likely just ask the guest to tick some question boxes and as far as they’re concerned, that’s believable, just like guest’s lies in reviews are “a reflection of the guest’s experience”.
The guest said so, so it must be true.

For the original Open Homes program, I only signed up for medical and refugee stays, because those were to be booked by organizations, not individuals. I did not sign up for the third category – self-certified natural disaster guests.
Same thing with the COVID-19 program – I am directly contacting hospitals and medical professionals whom I know to offer my suite, and not going through Airbnb.

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I would have been suspicious with anyone. But with these claims she was playing the “doctor card” and I had enough inside knowledge to see it couldn’t be as she said. I challenged her and got a partial explanation. She is a doctor just not working on the Covid response and without a good reason to stay at my place. I assumed that she wouldn’t have the gall to go ahead if she wasn’t genuine (with me a retired hospital consultant and a medical education professional). But I was wrong.
Thanks again for all your support. I feel better about it.

[quote=“Caroline_Bradbeer, post:6, topic:41921”]
They’ve gone now, with a single ThankYou. Nothing more and no response to my “hope you had a good stay”. Now I await the review…
BTW. What do you suggest I put in my review? She has 8 x 5 stars already. Looking through the windows (I’m leaving cleaning for a day or two) it all looks immaculate. And I only have my suspicions about them, no actual evidence.

@Caroline_Bradbeer, if you go back to your first post detailing your difficult experience with these people, you’ll see some evidence you can use.

You could use these, plus the fact that it seemed strange that the hospital she was working in seemed too far away for lock down safety, and that as a medical professional, their actions made you feel uncomfortable.

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Thank you, Joan, that’s most helpful.

Caroline

Joan

    May 11

Caroline_Bradbeer:
no actual evidence.

@Caroline_Bradbeer, if you go back to your first post detailing your difficult experience with these people, you’ll see some evidence you can use.

Caroline_Bradbeer:
they arrived a day late with no comment

Caroline_Bradbeer:
yesterday (Saturday) they were out all day (against the lockdown regulations)

You could use these, plus the fact that it seemed strange that the hospital she was working in seemed too far away for lock down safety, and that as a medical professional, their actions made you feel uncomfortable.

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