I just had a horrible day dealing with a mess. I used ‘trashed’ in the title but my listing aren’t really trashed like some horrible story such as holes in the wall, etc. I’m not native English speaker so I couldn’t find a more accurate word here. But my listing was close to being trashed.
I have been a host since Dec 2016, and certainly experienced all kinds of troubles, mostly are minor troubles like damaged/stained sheets, towels, small damages to the property. The worst being one guest burnt my dryer and refused to pay, and I had to spent nearly a month, writing many emails and providing many documents to chase the compensation. But I learned it is not worth it, as I spent more than 10 hours plus doing these work, feeling stressed for a month, while I could earn the money back for working four hours. Another bad experience was some young guests smoked marijuana inside my property for two days and invited many unregistered guests to join and sleep there as well. I had to spend an afternoon to discuss with the kid and ask him to pay, which he did.
Today, all these ‘worst’ experiences are outdated because new ‘worst experience’ just occurred. I share the event as short as I can, and I hope inexperienced hosts who read this can learn something.
After a six-month trouble free hosting experiences, I’m having bad luck this March. Two groups of extremely dirty guests stayed earlier this month and caused extra cleaning fee for me and some extra work as well. But otherwise, everything still went smooth and I left my guard down. I had a four-day gap between two bookings, and I changed my IB requirement from ‘recommendation by other hosts’ to nothing. This attracted me a 3-night last minute booking, which fills the four-day gap perfectly. I was very happy when I just got the booking, because this month I was hit by an unexpected $6000 dental bill for some emergency work. This $500 plus booking is better than nothing.
After the booking, I found the guest was new, zero review, bad at communication, and also late for 1 hour for a late night check-in. He showed up, just himself, whereas the booking was for 2 adults.
Our check out time is 10am, I usually arrive at 10:30am to give guests more time to pack up and leave. But today I arrived at 10:45 because I hired a cleaner from 10:45am -1:45pm. When I arrived at the property, the guest’s car was still in the carport, so I rang the bell. No answer after I rang multiple times, that time I knew something was wrong. I called and he picked up and obviously just woke up, and told me he needed half hour to pack and leave. I said ok, but I also sent a message and explained to him he may need to pay for extra cleaning fee as I hired the cleaner until 1:45pm, and his delay in check-out will make the cleaner unable to finish work by scheduled time, and of course no reply. I waited patiently until 11:15, and they were not coming out. I started to knock on the door, and I had to knock for 10 mins until someone opened the door.
Inside, there were not two adults, but four. They don’t look like nice people (Hint, some of them ride bikes and have many tattoos all over the body.) Two of them slept in the unmade bed, directly on the mattress (because I removed mattress protectors to wash due to very dirty previous guests). At check in, I confirmed with the current guest (I will call him TV from now on), that he would not use that bedroom at all.
I was mad, but I calmed down and explained to them about the extra cleaning fee due to their unregistered late check-out, and extra guests fee. TV and his friends started to bullshit and said his friends didn’t sleep over, and they just arrived at 7am to help with packing. Anyway, I will not elaborate on the BS, just the result they denied all charges. I told them I would open a case and let Airbnb manager decide, but they said they would took me to VCAT if they get charged because I have no proof.
During the discussion, I discovered they also had a party, which I don’t know how many people attended. They packed a full fridge of meat and food leftovers (a full size fridge). They also filled an empty garbage bin in three days, and still trying to convince me only two people stayed there. I heard enough of their BS, and told them I was trying to solve the problem and they were making it difficult, so some negotiation went on.
I told him I would open a case and demand $200 from him (for extra cleaning time and extra guest fee), and he said he would only pay me $100 in cash for everything, otherwise no deal. I thought $100 is better than nothing, compared to all trouble claiming from Airbnb, and trouble collecting proof (this one very hard when they didn’t admit at all). So we had a deal, and I asked if there is any damage worth mentioning and he said no (FK, I bought his BS). He also demand a neutral review from me as a condition to pay, I told him I would not lie in review, the best I could do was to not review him, and he agreed. I must admit I’m a coward here, but they are local people, and look like bad people, and explicitly said he didn’t accept bad review. I don’t want any trouble or revenge.
At that point, around 11:45, they finally left, and until then I had a chance to take a closer look at my property, and discovered the following mess, just to name a few, plenty of litters on floor including cigarette butt and illegal pills, 30+ blood spots all over basin, mirrors, shower screen, also some blood spots on sheets, candle wax on 4 piece of furniture in 4 different rooms, dirty carpets and bathroom (they used the second bathroom a lot and showered there without bathmat, which I didn’t provide in the second bathroom for a two people booking), very dirty kitchen and used but uncleaned oven, chocolate crumbles, brownie crumble and sticky syrup all over the floor, which already attracted many ants, etc, etc. All these mess took me and the cleaner 6.5 hours to clean. And my cleaner was very unhappy to work extra hours on a Easter Sunday
And of course the host always provide free labour (if this case went to the resolution centre, only cleaner’s time are paid, lol).
In addition to the mess, I also discovered:
- TV damaged our 2.5m by 6m garage rug, there is an area measuring 40cm by 60cm soaked in black mechanical oil (I don’t know the name), and a hole of 20cm diameter, these black oil also went through the hole and stained the concrete floor. I rolled the rug and put it at the corner of our garage, and tried to clean the stain on the concrete floor, the stain looked better after cleaning but can’t be removed completely. The rug was purchased more than 10 years ago and no receipt kept for Airbnb claim, even if I still have the receipt, Airbnb will not issue compensation because of depreciation. It will cost me $400 to replace, so I have decided to have no rug in the garage.
- TV or his friends damaged our Dyson vacuum cleaner. It still functions perfectly, and the damage was cosmetic only.
- TV or his friends caused a large dent in our wall heater, cosmetic only.
I’m not bothering with getting compensation for these damages because TV will obviously deny all these due to the fact he is an axxhole. And I have no proof to submit to Airbnb (hosts are not protected at all unless guests admit the damage or the damages are really severe and the property is trashed completely).
What I found these trouble guests in common (I’ve had two so far)
- Both very young male, the previous one looked like 18-20, this one looked in his early 20s. It is very difficult to judge the age by selfies, someone looked like 20s in their photo can show up as 40s at check-in and vice versa could happen, but very rare.
- Both local
- Both last minute IB (same day)
- Both booked for two people only (our max is 6, most bookers are groups of 3-5, group of 2 are also common but 95% are old couple visiting children in this area)
- Both showed up alone at check-in
If you see all these happen together, be careful and maybe pay a fee to cancel this reservation.
Airbnb used to market that IB got three free cancellation a year but it seems no longer the case anymore. When this person book, the confirmation emails says it is $100 cancellation fee within 7 days, and $50 if cancellation is more than 7 days in advance.
I do have wonderful local guests, young guests, last minute booking guests, IB guests (many good ones). But when all these tick at the same time, be careful.
Tips for new hosts/what I learned
- Never use IB without additional requirement, ‘recommend by other hosts’ is a must if you turn on IB
- Never change your set rules for picking guests even if you are desperate for money. Don’t take chance and think this one will be ok (I took chances 3 times, one turned out good, but two were disasters)
- Don’t be afraid to cancel guests if you discover the guests are high risk trouble ones. Find some good excuses to try not offend the guests and pay the cancellation fee and trust your instinct (I had bad feeling three times, one turned out to be false alarm, the other two are worse than I imaged)
- Try to have good relationship with at least one of your neighbours. The one I had good relationship with moved overseas last year, and my current two neighbours are all fairly new to this neighbourhood and have no contact with me. A neighbour with good relationship can tell you about a party instantly. I feel so sorry to my current neighbours and I didn’t know to what extent they got disturbed in this case.
What I plan to do
I’m really tired and scared today. I feel being threatened during the entire event today, until they left. But police in Victoria is only good at issuing speeding tickets, and parking tickets. They don’t care unless there is a murder or victim is a child.
I’m thinking of calling Airbnb tomorrow and I haven’t thought of what to tell, what not to tell. I don’t want any revenge.
But for all the Melbourne Bayside hosts (VIC, AUS), you can PM me to get the name of TV. I suspect they will book places for parties in the future time as well. But the booker may not be TV next time.
In the end, I hope everyone have a happy Easter! I’m heading to bed and I hope to wake up refreshed tomorrow morning.