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How do hosts deal with resolution center issues? Specifically, how to prove damage?
I have found that guests ALWAYS deny any responsibility, and of course, I want to be 100% sure too, who caused the damage.
Do you take video/photos before and after every guest? Sign off on something like when renting a car? (I personally video every car rental before, and after if there is no agent to receive me, as I have had several cases of damage claims against me that I felt were fabricated).
I want to do the fair thing, and at the same time not shoulder the cost of damages caused by guests. Air tends to side with guests, in my experience and from what I am reading.
Have a set of good photos (not on your page) that document anything “expensive” and its condition when you put it in your rental, is a great idea; and re-taking those photos if any damage occurs is your “proof” of damage. It is, after all, your task to prove that the guest did damage, and photos will do that. Just word-against-word, and in many cases Air will side with the guest – if you don’t have proof like photos. Now – a tiny scratch here and there isn’t really “damage” IMHO, it’s just “wear and tear”. Neither are drinks ‘rings’ on shiny table top. A cigarette burn or acid spill is blatant damage though, as well as broken legs, corners split off, etc.
That being said, I would never put anything meaningful to me (heirlooms, musical instruments, artwork, etc) in my rental where it could get damaged.
Photos before and after each guest are overkill IMHO. A car rental type ‘walk around’ and sign off might not be a bad idea if you insist on having fancy, expensive furniture and furnishings.
I don’t take photos and just hope for the best. It would take forever to photo every single detail of a whole house. Unless it was obvious damage like you had a photo of your bed, and then when guests left the bed was in pieces on the floor - then that would be beneficial. But often times what is damaged isn’t something that would necessarily show up just quickly taking a before photo.
The last damage I had was the leg of my living room ottoman was broken. It sits up against the wall and it wasn’t completely snapped in half…but the guest just put it back in place. Sure…I could have taken multiple photos of every inch of the ottoman just “in case” a guest were to mess up one of the legs.
Another damage was a nice platter with multiple inserts and the guest chipped the platter and hid it back in the cabinet. I would never take a picture of every dish, etc. in the cabinet.
I have had guests deflate the air bed and put away. I no longer have an airbed but when I did, I certainly didn’t have time to inflate it and snap pictures. So I finally found the damage after the next guest went to use it and found it had been duct taped.
Another time guests broke something on the toilet causing a shortage of water. My partner was able to figure out what happened but no picture would have shown this.
Another time a guest’s kid accidentally pulled on the lamp string too hard and at least had the decency to tell me immediately. My partner was able to fix it, but still not something that would be obvious in a before photo. I would never take photos to ensure the lamp string is in the shot.
I’m sure others have had their photos save their behind, but I couldn’t imagine taking pics of every inch of the inside of a fridge just in case a guest broke a shelf, or taking pics of every leg of furniture, etc.
Thanks for the thoughts, cabinhost and KenH… I’ve kind of resigned myself to absorbing the small things like the $10 here and $20 there damage since it’s not worth the bad review to claim.
Recently had a case where damage would be more than double the security deposit, and that’s just something that I can’t absorb.
Luckily the guest left their review (less than stellar, of course) already so no worries there would be review retaliation.
After a lot of persisting Airbnb made it right-- but if they hadn’t, we’d have taken a not insignificant loss on that reservation.
Good point on not being able to cover every inch of your space with photos-- but was thinking maybe doing a video or photo walkthrough every X reservations, to serve as “before” pictures and to somewhat prove it wasn’t damaged until after a particular guest?