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Psycho neighbor... Review (as a guest)?

Hello everybody :slight_smile:

Just got back from an Airbnb in Antwerp, Belgium, where my partner and I had a confrontation with an obviously psycho neighbor, which ended up in ‘cancelling’ our last night and driving back to Paris at midnight.

We had a reservation for 3 nights (from Monday to Thursday).

We self-checked-in. In the check-in instructions, our host told us to be “quiet in the hallway because of the neighbor”. We have a trouble-free stay for the first two nights (no music, no TV, out most of the time, quiet in the stairs, we are respectful and quiet guests).

On Wednesday evening, after a stroll in the city, we decide to head back to our Airbnb to rest a little before dining out.

While we arrive at the building door, a woman exits the building. My partner put his hand on the door to hold it open (it was cold and rainy). The woman then slaps the door, stands in the doorway and we proceed to explain that we are guests at (host name) apartment. She immediately calls someone from her smartphone. Though I don’t speak Dutch I understand she’s speaking to our host’s girlfriend, she explains that she is with a french couple and that my partner prevented her from closing the building door.

The woman screams at us that we should behave better as “I am from Antwerp, this is my house, I am from Antwerp, this is my home”, blabla, and that we won’t get in again anyway. She keeps repeating the same story again and again on the phone. I tried to calmed her down by saying that there’s a misunderstanding, we had not done anything wrong, we we’re just wanting to get it quickly because of the rain, blabla.
As I realised that there was nothing more we could do, we decided to go for a walk and come back later.

A few minutes later I get an Airbnb message from our host saying that he’ll be there in 5 minutes, and to meet him at the corner, not in front of the building. Our host apologizes, saying that he had “an issue” with his neighbor last week, which was not completely solved

After endless phone calls with his girlfriend who herself phoned their neighbor, he tells us that he’s sorry but he cannot let us sleep in his apartment that night because she does not want us to sleep upstairs from her.

Blablabla, as we were still standing in the rain we accept to settle down and checkout if he refunds half the price of our reservation (125€, enough to pay a night in a mid-range hotel). I ask him to confirm this and issue a refund through the Airbnb app, but he says that’s easier if he just withdraws some cash. As I wanted to be kind (and had been waiting in the rain for at least an hour), I agreed.

He proceeds to escort us to the apartment door for my partner and I to pack our stuff, he gives me cash, apologizes again, and we say goodbye.

So my partner and I end up with our luggage under the rain. We missed our reservation for dinner, it’s now 9:30PM in a city where people dine at 6PM and all stores are closed.

After several failed attempts to find a restaurant, we decide we don’t want the additional hassle to find a hotel. We walk to our car (which was parked outside of the city centre) to drive back home. Once we got our luggage in our car we decide to try again to find something to eat and end up eating a falafel in the red-light district. It’s now midnight and a 3.5 hours drive back to Paris.

So … obviously it’s not our host’s responsibility if he has a crazy neighbor. However, I think he was wrong siding with her, and I think it’s not the first time there’s a confrontation with her. Our partner and I are self-sufficient travelers so in the end it was not really a big deal even it’s not exactly the way we like to end a city-break.

But do you think I should mention it in my review ? This could be very problematic, should it happen to a family with young kids, or a traveler from a very different culture.

Oh Barth… What a terrible Airbnb story… Truly sorry…

I am thinking since you settled with the host for xx amount and it was agreed to by both parties, you may just want to skip the review? I’m not sure. This is a tough one. This guy is not going to be able to do much hosting from the sounds of it, so there may not be too many families to warn anyway. I don’t know. He sounds like he tried accommodating. The fact that it was so late was something he couldn’t control.

Why was the woman freaking when she saw you guys? And I hope it is not for the reasons I am thinking it might be. :frowning:

You sound like ideal guests! Why aren’t most of my guests as easygoing and self sufficient!?

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Yes, it’s a tough one ! My partner wants to write a killer review, but I disagree and think I should not mention it.

I wondered for a second if it was homophobia, but from what she said (to us and to our host’s girlfriend), she treated us as a “french couple”, more than a same-sex couple. I think not being flemish was more of a concern than being gay (some flemish people are really … proud of their identity, sometimes not in a good way, there are a few regions in Europe where people are like that).

I must confess that I stalked her on various social networks and it seems that she’s quite a lonely woman who changes jobs every few months :neutral_face:, but that her “best friend” seems to be a gay man.

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Actually I agree with your partner to an extent.

This host, knew there was an issue with his neighbour that could affect his guests and still went ahead with the booking.

When the problem occurred, rather than working with BNB to ensure you were found alternative accommodation, he makes you go outside of the system and provides you with no help to find any alternative. You are right what if this was a family, young people not familiar with travelling?

This host should not be hosting while this situation is in force with his neighbour.

In your review do talk about the quality of the listing but also highlight your experience with being thrown out of the accommodation and the lack of support from the host in finding you an alternative.

I would also flag the issue with BNB.

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Huh? If I had to refund a guest for whatever reason…and the guest agreed to accept cash - the last thing I would do is call up some kid at Airbnb and try to get him involved in the situation. No way Jose!

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What an awful experience: so sorry for that! I would definitely mention something on the review. As you said, people from different cultures or less experienced travelers than you and your partner would have been in even bigger trouble. And it did affect your plans, your holiday, your mood…!
You have the tallent to describe this experience!
(Off topic: We just had a well travelled guest who had a bad review from a host. She explained me the situation before booking, which I accepted and her stay was one of the best we’ve had. People can read between the lines: when someone writes too long and too angry stories it turn against the writer.)

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Damn how very awful. I don’t think you should have been put out on the street either…that woman sounds awful. Imagine if you hadn’t had your car!

This is definitely the down side of Airbnb; crazy stuff can happen. If it was me I would call Airbnb and complain. I’d make it clear I didn’t require any additional compensation as I had already settled that with the host, but that I had serious concerns I wanted to raise about the listing.

No-one should have to go through what you did.

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@Barthelemy I have some first hand experience with this. I’m not sure you read my post about the late 20 somethings that stayed in our house, decided to smoke, play loud music at midnights, try and cancel the reservations to not pay, and eventually I had the police escort them out. This was all at the detriment of my neighbors.

Needless to say the neighbors were not thrilled with the next set of guests, or the ones after, etc. I did call the next set of guests and warn them about what transpired directly before their stay. I gave them the option to cancel, and ABB would find them alternative housing, etc. They decided to stay, bc of course a last minute booking would have been difficult.

Here is their review:
Azreala was great to work with! She warned us the day before our arrival that the previous vacation renters had upset the neighbors with their loud partying. She contacted Airbnb and they offered to find us somewhere else to stay but we declined their offer. We came home 2 out of the 3 nights to a warning sign posted on the tree in front of the house. We assume it was from the disgruntled neighbors but it was still a little upsetting and we felt we needed to tiptoe around even before the city noise ordinance of 10pm-6am. Azreala was fabulous - it’s just too bad that previous vacationers had to dampen our trip a bit. We couldn’t get the backyard patio lights to turn on so we didn’t utilize the hottub. Overall it was a good place for us 6 girls to come and drink wine and relax!

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@Barthelemy A real bummer on that stay. As you know I am no fan of the overly aggressive type of review; but goodness this fellow has a situation - a psycho landlord.

As to a review, (if you choose to leave one), in my typical nebulae fashion I would say: “We found X’s place (insert honest opinion); yet the overall experience was not as pleasant as it could have been because of the host’s particular situation”.

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That’s just too vague though. Either tell the whole story or don’t review.

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I wonder what the relationship is between the host and pyscho neighbor. It seems she has something hanging over his head. Is she related to the landlord and can cause serious problems if he doesn’t give in to her, etc.?

I know you mentioned it wasn’t right of him to side with her…and I agree with that. But it almost seems he doesn’t have a choice for some reason?

Anyway, I wouldn’t even take the time to leave any review, because if this neighbor issue hasn’t been nipped in the bud by now, his other guests are going to take care of the review for you.

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G
it is his responsibility this wasn’t as surprise, he knew this might be an issue.

How could hosts here support not giving an honest review? It appears that this is an ongoing issue, not a one time thing. The review should clearly state that due to neighbour, you had to vacate unit at a very inconvenient time, host did compensate but we were unable to find alternate accommodation and missed our dinner reservations.
I expect he didn’t want Airnb involved as this has happened before and he may get his listing revoked. In future guests need to contact Airnb so that they are properly accommodated. Not everyone has the means to travel at short notice, and many would find it difficult to arrange for new accommodation

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Hi @Barthelemy,

I think one option is to discuss it with your host. If he can give you assurances that it won’t happen again, and if you believe him, you could consider leaving it out. Otherwise, I’d describe what happened in your review.

Nobody likes leaving a bad review, but you should consider your responsibilities to future guests.

Hi @cabinhost,

For once, I have to disagree with you. That’s called passing the buck. It sounds like @Barthelemy is reluctant to leave a bad review because he’s a good person and maybe the host was a nice guy, and it doesn’t seem like his fault. But the point of the review is to warn future guests about problems.

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Just once? - lol.

I’ll clarify why this is my opinion. Without knowing what the relationship is between psycho neighbor and the host/landlord,…it’s possible the situation will be very shortly lived. If it isn’t, I highly doubt other guests are going to be as sympathetic as the OP.

I had a nasty situation my first Spring where I had to deal with an infestation that at this point was out of my control. My partner and I had no idea this situation would occur if we didn’t take preventive measures in the previous Fall. Well, I had two sets of guests who had to endure the issue. We were over at the cabin (during the days hours they were out) doing our very best to do what we could, etc throughout their stay. But the situation had to run it’s course. I gave partial refunds to both sets of guests, and neither one left a negative review to warn future travelers.

My issue will never happen again because I was proactive to be sure it didn’t happen again. If this host has other bookings already in the pipeline, and host doesn’t get his neighbor in check immediately, then it’s going to reflect in a review very soon anyway.

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(Shrug.) Yes, I suppose that’s true. It’s really up to the OP.

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There is more than one way to achieve the same objective,. or convey the same message. Oftentimes, less is more, and besides there is no such a thing as an ‘honest’ review or a ‘dishonest’ one, when the difference is based only to what degree the host plunges into detail or spells it all out for the sole benefit of future hosts. It is not a black or white situation, there are a million shades of gray in between. We don’t know if this was a one-time event or has/won’t happen again because we don’t have all the facts.

The host exercised kindness and did try to fix a messy situation, perhaps he merits a break as a direct result. Yes, it appears he does have a ‘loose cannon’ in his nest.

That is my opinion, and I always stay on the side of caution specially when it concerns the economic welfare (or reputation) of people; specially hosts who are trying to make an honest living, even though they may not have their total ‘you-know-what’ together.

The suggestion to do let the fellow directly know he needs to improve his scene I think is great, from the point of just plain human kindness.

Personally, I would not leave a review, because the whole series of events is too irregular.

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That’s a good case for giving the host a break, certainly. And I do think he should communicate his concerns to the host.

Thanks everyone for your messages

@cabinhost, the way the neighbor said “my house” we first thought that she owns the whole building, our host is her tenant and that he’s illegally subletting. We asked our host about that and they each own their unit. There is signage in the hallway pointing to the Airbnb apartment, if she was the owner she would have removed it.But indeed I think we’re missing a part of the story.

Our host seems nice and honest, maybe too kind and maybe his neighbor abuses his kindness. I agree with you @Mearns and @Faheem, he only has one listing on Airbnb, he’s trying to make an honest living,I don’t want to ruin his business, that’s why I don’t feel comfortable leaving a bad review.

On the other hand I agree with @Louise, it is somewhat his responsibility to care for his guests. My partner says that if our guests had to leave our unit, we would make sure that they have a place to have dinner and another accomodation We would not just let them leave (this host also asked me not to leave a bad review …).

For now, I am for leaving a factual review about the apartment itself but I think I will call Airbnb so that there is a record, should the same situation arise again in the future (I have several good reviews as a guest, but what would happen to Airbnb newbies?).

But I am going to think about it and see how I feel in a few days :slight_smile:

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@Barthelemy, you really did get a ‘live there’ experience!! :grin:

I’m amazed and appreciate how kind you want to be towards this host. It is wise to take some time to think it through. While you are thinking keep an eye on new reviews that come in. When I had a difficult one to write, one that would needfully expose a personal fact about a family, I checked on reviews and found that he himself had mentioned it, so I felt free to include the information. You may end up seeing another guest expose this situation between now and then.

I’m so sorry your time away was ended like that. I look at vacations, even short ones, as somewhat sacred. It’s time and money spent, of which there is always a supply shorter than our wants.

I sympathize with the host, and the woman, but the situation is unacceptable. You don’t have to trash him but you really must state the facts “unfortunately, host’s neighbor became agitated by our presence and made it impossible for us to access our apartment. The host came to the location and requested we leave”.

Safety, security, trust - these are the words Airbnb is using to try to build the brand. It’s what hosts have to provide if we have a hope of attracting decent guests. An experience like this will lose a customer forever - which affects us all. At the end of the day, for all your host’s aspirations of making money from a flat at this location, it’s not workable. He left guests out on the street, in the rain, unable to find dinner or another place to stay. How is that not worth saying in a review?

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