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The most terrifying airbnb experience so far, my listing trashed over Easter holiday


#1

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Today, all these ‘worst’ experiences are outdated because new ‘worst experience’ just occurred.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.

What happened
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 :frowning:
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:

  1. 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.
  2. TV or his friends damaged our Dyson vacuum cleaner. It still functions perfectly, and the damage was cosmetic only.
  3. 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)

  1. 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.
  2. Both local
  3. Both last minute IB (same day)
  4. 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)
  5. 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

  1. Never use IB without additional requirement, ‘recommend by other hosts’ is a must if you turn on IB
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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.


#2

First let me say I’m very sorry this happened to you.

I’m going to probably have to read this again but the thing that leapt out at me straightaway is this:

Anyone with an entire place must install CCTV security cameras on the exterior.

You must disclose the cameras in your listing by Airbnb policy. This is act as a deterrent to bad behavior and serve as proof that people violated house rules about guest numbers or parties.

I’m really surprised that you have ignored this, the most important advice given on this forum. I know you are not new, and not new to the forum so why didn’t you have cameras? This is more effective than anything else you have recommended to new hosts.

This is still true if they are breaking house rules or you feel uncomfortable. If you look at a current upcoming reservation and click cancel you can look at the options they provide. I have had IB for years and no problem. The problem isn’t IB so much as it’s an entire place that isn’t being monitored.

I hope you documented all the damage and will report it to Airbnb but I understand your fear. Most hosts in your area are not going to be on this forum so this guest will have no problem renting and trashing other Airbnbs in your area so I hope you will consider trying to get Airbnb to remove them from the platform. Once you install the security cameras these guests may not want to come around for fear of getting caught. I would also report to the police even if they won’t do anything.


#3

@K9KarmaCasa
Thank you! Very good suggestion. I have been struggled with cameras, because very little houses in my area have cameras. We are in a very safe neighbourhood. And I’m afraid cameras will deter bookings. So even if I thought about this, I never execute it.

But now I feel I have to do it because I’m scared by these people, and I want to prevent these things from happening. I know I have to disclose the cameras in the listing. But do I need to tell all the guests of my existing bookings, that is a lot of work and explanation. But I will do if I have to.


#4

I live in a very safe neighborhood and I live here in the house, it’s just a small bedroom attached to my house with it’s own entrance. I got cameras mostly so I can monitor when people are coming and going, not so much for security but for my knowledge. For example my guest last night has his own car but took an Uber last night to go out. I had to check the camera footage to see that he returned early. If he was up very late I would know to take an extra effort to be quiet and that he would probably not be checking out early.

I’m sure having camera will deter bookings, yes, that’s the point. Only the bad guests will be deterred. Honest guests will like the extra security. It’s a feature, not a bad thing.

Yes make a saved message on Airbnb saying you have installed CCTV. Click on each upcoming guest message thread and then use the saved message. It’s some work but a lot less work than what you’ve just done this weekend.


#5

@K9KarmaCasa
Thank you very much indeed. I will arrange someone to install cameras ASAP. I only have 4 days open in April due to school holiday, hopefully I can get it done in one of these days.
I guess I used to take chances, I hosted for almost 1.5 years and everything was fine except the kid smoking marijuana, and he only caused smell in curtains and paid curtain cleaning fee. So I didn’t get determined enough to install cameras until today. And especially in the first year of hosting, I was doing a trial and not sure if I can continue to host on Airbnb.


#6

There are many other details reappearing in my mind now, they also did some other things here and there. For example, they rearranged half of my furnitures, which is unbelievable. And they even removed battery from the clock on the wall. I also missed some small items, which may be packed away accidentally.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m brave enough to report the whole story and ask Airbnb to ban the booker. Even with cameras installed, they can come damage the outside of my listing (with their face covered), sacre my guests and so on. The police won’t do anything, and will only issue me a report and ask me to claim from insurance company. And I will get lots of trouble and spike in insurance fee next year.

Anyway, I will install cameras, to deter bad guests from booking my place. That is a must for entire place hosts, as you can see from my experience.


#7

Please review them honestly. Remember that hosts read the reviews and with no review or a tepid review you are exposing other hosts to this kind of guest. Hosts need to look out for each other.


#8

have 2 properties and I would never ever put my separate pool house in IB. There is noway I will let I a bunch of strangers into my property without clarifying many many points.
Regarding scary biker look and tattooes . This I can’t agree with. My young daughter has quite a few tattooed tht didn’t make anyone happy but that’s the generation . She also drives a motorcycle but at the same time business analyst in one of the multi billion furniture company. Also is her fiancée who is senior VP in another well known company covered with tattooed and wants more :joy:.
I don’t want to diminish the impact of the damages but in my books they are not that terrifying.
All damages were cosmetic . The only thing you had to throw away is garage rug which made me raise my eyebrows : why rug in a garage ?
The bend in appliance is weird .How did this even happen? It is so weird that someone can even do this because it’s out of the way that I think Airbnb would dismiss it anyway.

I find blood spots occasionally and just sigh and wash it or throw away sheets and replace them. Part of expense .
They broke rules thats for sure with party and all and caused you additional cleaning which he paid for . You wanted only 100$ more . And that mainly for extra guests. So to finalize : extra dirt that was cleaned and extra cleaning time was paid for by your guest’s, still perfectly functioning water heater and vacuum
With just cosmetic damage and few blood spots on sheets. Wax will come out, I deal with it on regular basis, carpets will get cleaned . The only thing that is lost is a rug in garage .

I just came to my pool house after workers stayed for a month and usually after corporate people all is left clean . Not this time . 7 guys who stayed there NEVER cleaned for sure. The good part they hardly cooked so kitchen was not dirty . But the rest , o my god, terrible. They also spilled some oil in laundry room.
It took 2 people 8 hours to put it back together . I paid extra 80$. Also I see lines on my front yard from their trucks . Which pissed me off . I complained to their boss . No answer . My front yard is not that pretty with burned grass so it was not a big deal. They pissed me off because of their stupidity and negligence .
I am not even going to bother with airbnb about it. They paid me tons of money for March .


#9

@Yana
Hi Yana, thank for the reply. I have calmed down a little and I feel lucky now as most of the damages are cosmetic. I was really scared by these people, not because of bikes and tattoos, it is how they communicate with me and words they say. I feel threatened and bullied all the way. I can’t repeat all details as I can’t remember exactly and it will be too long to do so.

Also, $200 I asked for was only for extra cleaner fee and extra person charge, which they only paid $100. And I had to join the cleaner and work for 6.5 hours non-stop, and no one is going to pay for my work. I was only supposed to wash sheets and towels there, but in order to restore the property to the original look, I had to join as well. Labour in my country is quite expensive, cleaners are paid $25/hr, and Sunday is supposed to be double pay, during Easter should be triple pay. Luckily my cleaner only want $25/hr.

Also, all these damages I discovered later was not included in the $200 quote. I discovered after they left. And I clearly know they would not admit they did these damage and Airbnb will not pay for these damage as I can’t prove these guests caused those damage.

Anyway, this thing is in the past and I need cameras installed right now :slight_smile:


#10

Cameras or no cameras I would want to know who I was renting to and have a real security deposit.


#11

You poor thing. So very sorry. I think, you have more damage from the scariness of the people than from the mess and things. And this is totally justified.

I also think you know how to avoid this in the future. And something this bad will surely never happen again. IB, local’ last minute, no recommendations. All the red flags are there.

You can’t really make deals over reviews, so you should leave a bad one. Or are you worried about retaliation ? That he would come back and harm you? Have you looked at his reviews now?

I agree with installing cameras, but it seems that all the cameras in the world would not have helped you here.

Do something good for yourself, as I know you feel violated. Light some candles… sage the place, say some cleansing prayers. It will make you feel better.


#12

Don’t know about “something this bad will never happen again”. I had it much worse and couple times .
Recently I charged 5k damage deposit from one “unusual” group and rightfully so. I would be in so much trouble if I didn’t . Not only they took all my things off the wall and furniture and all comforters and sheets were replaced by their own , at the end they brought my things back and just dumped it in a middle of living room. There were other plumbing issues and damaged painting. I kept 3800$ but now think I should have kept the whole thing.

My point was that nothing terrible happened , it was a scare and lots of cleaning and negative experience .
But damage was minimal mostly cosmetic if not counting the rug.

And definitely IB on entire unit is bad idea. My friend who stubbornly keeps IB on her vacation house has much more trouble than me with it.
.


#13

A ok I thought you were referring to their appearance mostly. I developed pretty sick skin over 3 years and I can handle those “bullies” with ease. They are just naughty boys and girls who never grew up and don’t know better that as adults we should follow rules .

I don’t keep anything new or expensive in my rental. There is no such thing as 400$ rug anywhere in my both houses . All furniture is used and all sheets though decent bought on overstock.com or Amazon the cheaper the better . Guests break and spill , and there is no stopping to it. It something we can’t control. So no high end bedding or nice rugs or even towels . And I charge top $$$ too based on demand .
And definitely no carpet . It will be soiled on a regular basis and there will be endless cleaning. Tiles are the best. Nothing can scratch them
Or stain.


#14

I am sorry to hear everything you went through but as I live just outside Melbourne I hope very much that you “do not recommend” this guest and do not under any circumstances leave them a positive or even neutral review. I get many first time guests who aren’t (yet) recommended by other hosts so putting that in would severely reduce my bookings. At the very least I hope you ring AirBnB and explain the situation to them.

I agree with you about Victorian police though. I once had “words” with an another tenant at an apartment in Port Melbourne. They put a spike under my car tyre which the manager noticed and removed and they were caught on CCTV doing it. The police were alerted and literally visited them dozens of times over 3 years and they just never answered their door. Eventually the police talked to them and they denied doing it. By this time the police had lost the CCTV video and told me they had no proof. I didn’t even bother replying to them.


#15

Hi Kona, thank you very much for your kind words, I feel so much better now. You are absolutely right, I was really scared by these people, not just a matter of mess and damage.

I have always been honest with reviews, stay factual and professional. But I’m afraid I can’t review this person. He said explicitly he does not want a bad review. And I know he and his friends don’t live far away (judging from several information and their words). They are the kind of persons who will do bad things if they are unhappy. I can’t afford the consequences. I will install cameras and they will help me deter bad guests, but the cameras will not protect my property from being damaged if they come to do so on purpose.

I learned a lot from this experience and I will be more careful approving guests in the future and cancel when I have bad feeling. Thank you for being so supportive and kind.


#16

@Yana
Hi Yana, I agree with you on the point that we should’t keep expensive furnitures or items in Airbnb if we don’t operate as high end rentals.

It is much cheaper to replace items from places like IKEA. I have removed all expensive items if they are small and easy to remove (like pictures, kitchenware). So I never have to ask guest to pay when they break these items, I just eat the cost. But unfortunately I have a few pieces of expensive furnitures which are not easy to remove and I have to place to relocate to as these go well with my Airbnb home. The rug is high quality and it’s color matches the home. Also it is too large and heavy to remove so I left it there. Anyway, it is a good thing that we keep learning from experiences :slight_smile:


#17

Hi James,
I will not leave this person a good or neutral review. To avoid retaliation, I’m afraid no review is best for me in this case.

I agree you may lose bookings if you choose “recommend by other hosts”. I have had many good guests who has no review before booking my place. So I understand your choice, just remember to cancel if you have really bad feeling about a guest (during communication through Airbnb and at check-in). We scheduled the check-in at 9:30pm, no busy traffic at all, yet the guest was late for an hour. I think that is a good hint he is not a very responsible person.

I don’t have much faith in police as I have seen a few cases from my friends’experience. One of my friends (a family of three) were bitten by two bull dogs (as instructed by dog owner) and then beaten up by the dog owner. They were arguing over some small matter. Originally only one person was injured, and someone called the police. I heard the police arrive 15 minutes later (police station very close only around 1km). During that 15 minutes, two more persons injured and the first one was severely beaten up.

The case dragged over years, the dog owner fled to overseas after judge allowed him to be bailed. Several years later, he finally returned to Australia and was set free from all charges because of mental illness. This was the worst and I have seen other cases. I think the police either doesn’t care or they are understaffed.


#18

I would probably do the same in your shoes. No review. But DO call Air and report this lout if you haven’t already. No one should be held hostage in fear by the behavior of a bad guest.


#19

I understand you not wanting to antagonise them by leaving a negative review however I urge you to contact AirBnB otherwise you are just putting the problem on to another host and giving the culprit the belief they can get away with it. As you know there has been a fair bit of publicity in Melbourne over young people hiring AirBnB houses in the suburbs near youth sports events to hold parties and those parties being crashed and trashed by people of the ethnicity-of-which-we-must-not-speak (admittedly different from your own guest). I would imagine given the bad publicity the police might be inclined to respond quickly if you just said you had young guests being disruptive in your AirBnB house after holding an unauthorised party with many extra guests and not leaving when asked.


#20

Hi Kona, I have done so, but I really doubt Air will do anything. Because I had a problem guest last year (who booked for himself and his girlfriend for their anniversary, but in fact invited extra people and smoked marijuana at my place, and he also probably stole his parents’ card to book, which I’m not too sure).
He paid for damage, and I left him a bad review, said he broken my house rules and caused problems, and not recommend. But I didn’t go into detail because I heard we cannot mention detail if resolution centre case is closed.
Then I called Air and told them what this kid did but the staff didn’t sound too interested over the phone. I warned them he is a bad guest and should be removed from Air, and she said they can’t becaue I have no proof of what he did.
Guess what?! I checked his profile last night, and found a very bad review following mine. The host claimed his place was totally trashed by that person and this impacted his life a lot, and he urged that person to do the right thing by calling him, so probably another inexperienced host who ignored my review and thought the guest should call him back (instead of going through resolution centre). Hopefully the host is ok and got compensated for. And my point is, Air didn’t do anything last time despite I called twice to tell them about what happened.


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