The often wonderful, sometimes fabulous, recently appalling adventures of JustShootMe, for your entertainment! Regular Guest, setting up to Host.... and now...losing my mind

Hi Everyone!

I’m new here, and found this fab forum searching to learn more. My OH and I are gearing up to host next year, and at the same time I’ve had a disastrous spell of bookings lately, and you know the adage- if everyone else around you is a problem, maybe you’re really it. I was looking to learn. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my adventures, and perhaps get some laughter from it :smile:

Context:smile: My OH and I travel 365 days a year. I’ve rented from everything from expedia to flipkey to airbnb to vrbo and homeaway. I like to re-stay with people I have had a great experience with, and there’s been a number of them. Basically I am one of those annoying pedants who still likes the familiar, despite a shifting lifestyle.

So, I make an effort to make my hosts happy, because I’d like to stay again. From last year’s bookings, I ended up with a nice stable relationship with a few people in different states I stay in often. This is great, thinks I! People who are great, comfy places, reasonable rates, what’s not to love, right?

Welp, I’ve had four zingers in a row, and… my brain is ready to explode. I generally message with hosts first to get a feel for compatibility, and I’ve got fairly decent at picking it when it won’t work out.
My housedar has failed me lately. And the latest has me ready to drink (I don’t, generally).

First Time’s The Charm:
Going on a family holiday to southern Europe. DH makes the fatal error of letting the extended fam pick the destination. They choose somewhere unbearably hot in summer, but very few rentals have airconditioning that aren’t full service hotels. Like idiots, no-one but the fam realized how hot it would be. I contacted the owner of a decent looking villa, agreed a multi party rate, and booked. It was more specific than usual, because we had a 1.5 year old with us. Clarified the house was kid proof, etc.

Flight arrives at midnight, so I message the host a week ahead of time, asking her how she wants to handle keys. 3 inquiries later, and I still don’t know. She picks up her phone about 1/6.
As OH and I arrive early, and have no children with us, we just decide to drive to the house and see if we can hunt up the keys. If not, we’ll get a hotel. (Been trying to solve the roaming issue for a while at this point, and everything is closed at midnight).

We arrive at the house, and there is a 35kg labrador, 3 seriously irritating kittens and an angry adult female cat. The Listing said, and I quote “some pets”. Ok, we’re cool. The lab is a sweetheart, and I can live with the cats. Bear in mind I call the owner the next day and ask about feeding arrangements, and she only mentions feeding the dog. The cats will be fine.

Being humane, I feed them the cat dry food left for them. I mean, who doesn’t feed their cats?

We get ourselves inside, and it’s 98 fahrenheit in the living room, and higher upstairs where the baby is supposed to sleep. We try to sleep and quickly realize it’s unlivably hot. We have a baby who can’t sleep in those temps coming.

So we have a quick look at available alternatives- tough, since family friendly is harder. So we call the host first thing and let her know it’s not a livable temp for a baby, and we don’t want to cancel, as the property seems ok. Would it be possible to put in an aircon unit? We’ll pay for it and all the fees associated? We expect her to refuse, as it’s a longshot, but she accepts pretty easily once she figures she won’t have to pay for it.

Ok, great! I don’t have to hunt up another villa for 5. We get it installed (takes three days and multiple moments of insanity, but we get it done! Right before the fam arrives too).
Some other issues arise… the place is just damn uncomfortable. 55inch TV, but cheap, uncomfortable mattresses on wooden crates… same material as the doghouse! We eventually have enough of being uncomfortable, and we decide we want to leave two days early.

We contact her to do so, and she refuses. Refuses to even honour her own cancellation policy which allows a 50% refund of remaining unused nights.
I didn’t know I could complete it through the airbnb portal, which is totally on me. Left a factual review stating issues with the place.

Host claims I put in the aircon without asking, left huge amounts of mess, and fruit peels in the bed… bearing in mind I stripped all the used beds before leaving, and took pics. This was after agreeing to meet us to collect the abandoned three additional puppies that were dumped on our doorstep, and stay past checkout to meet her. She turns up 5 hours late, and then rages that we aren’t there. Why aren’t we there? We’re at the airport. Like we told her we would be.

I leave the poor review, and get a couple of messages of her going into complete meltdown nuclear furious mode…

TLDR Host gets 550eur free aircon, refuses refund according to policy, leaves me a scorching review.

BOWED, BUT UNBROKEN, we continue on the road. One bad experience is nothing we think We were terribly, terribly wrong…


Rented a great place back in comfortable first world country we know well. Owner is on her first airbnb, and we get on pretty well. She’ll be on holiday, tells us where to pick up keys. Cool, we can do that. Place is awesome, we stay our three weeks. At the end, remembering my previous cautionary tale of woe, I hire a professional cleaning service, keep the receipt. Leave a bottle of wine and a carton of cigarettes as a gift, stock their fridge for their return, and a 95USD comforter as a gift (cigarettes in ashtray in kitchen, fair assumption, right?)

Leave her a positive review. All is WELL! YAY.

Not so fast.
Three days later, I get an irate message about how nothing is in it’s place. And there is a liquor spill on the floor (as stated above, we don’t drink… couldn’t figure that one out) and that her kids bike had been put outside, and he was going to frighten me to death. The bike was outside when we got there!

Not a fan of being threatened, so I escalate this one to airbnb, who promise a manager call back. No call back, but three days later, she leaves a frighteningly saccharine review saying we’re like family and she couldn’t wait to stay again.

I mean, who threatens someone? Then calls them family. I’m out.

Bowed, mildly bloody, but not broken, we head on to our next booking.

PART Three, or, if we don’t acknowledge it, Penis never happened. And I didn’t go through your package or wash your underwear. Really!

Get to our next place. Host seemed really nice to me. I had the flu when I booked, and made an uncustomary error- thought the property was stand alone, was actually bottom floor of house. Oh well, we have our own entrance, my mistake.

Flag One
Host drops by at all hours to chat. Even wanders down when I’m dressing, and gets and eyefull before i manage to dash away. Fine, he’s older and doesn’t text or call, no biggie.
He then comes down 6 times in 3 days just to chat.

Flag Two
Invited to barbecue dinner, I say I’ll bring the meat. DH has a dietary intolerance, but bringing some of your own usually fixes it, and no drama created. Host forgets, and is super furious that DH can’t eat his food, rants on about how he wouldn’t poison anyone, and then his deadbeat kids, then attempts to flirt outrageously by speaking only with me and not DH. I try to deflect, and we make our excuses early. We go to another area to meet a friend for two days.

Flag Three
On return, we find host has cleaned on a different day than he told us, washed my underwear and hung it on the bathroom door, and opened my package of shipped in makeup and knickers. Then retaped it to pretend he hadn’t pawed through it all.

IT’S PENIS, Little GIRL, or, flag 4.
We’re packing up to leave, and I run into Mr McCreepy while taking garbage to the bin. He proceeds to have an entire polite conversation with me about how much fun he’s had, while he allows his pants to open to the point of seeing pubes and an inch of penis.


He proceeds to leave a review praising me for my “sense of fun” and doesn’t mention DH at all.

Now Bloodied, bowed and minimally broken, we proceed to our next booking.

Part 4, or how I learned to stop worrying and leave a mess bomb… apparently…
Had had enough, so got lovely DH to find and book this time. I’m not thrilled with the price, at $190 USD a night, but the host has great reviews, and it looks great, and has everything we need. Plus $100 cleaning fee. So we put up the 2k for a couple of weeks, knowing we need two nights in a hotel over the weekend, and so pay for two sets of cleaning. No big deal, this is gonna be great!

House is great. Knowing he has a large group of 8, I go above and beyond cleaning up, to the point his cleaners thanked me for leaving so little to do. I speak a little spanish, so they and I get on well, it’s all friendly. He leaves us a rave review. They probably have an hours work to do. I don’t mind losing some cleaning money on a good relationship with a host, as we want to stay again in November. Come back for the second week, we need late checkout. He has no guests for another week, so it’s worth asking for a deal, and I wouldn’t have been upset if he refused. He charges me an extra $100, but the rate per night drops for an additional night.

I assume he’s doing me a good deed,

Through a series of unfortunate affairs, we are running a little late. This time, I leave the beds unstripped, the garbage is in bins, but not the outside one, and the dishes are in the dishwasher, aside from a plate and glass.

We left some generalized mess, like the floor would need a mop and vac, and I just thought, well, did you a good turn on cleaning last time, now my whole cleaning fee will get used.
It wasn’t anything that wouldn’t have been able to be cleaned up in two hours tops.

He leaves me reviews, I leave mine a couple days later due to a country hop.

NOT SO FAST. “Unfortunately the place was almost a mess”, No specifics, no contact, nothing. Just enough info to make future hosts doubt me, not enough to appear irrational in any way.

Had he contacted me, I would have happily paid him for a couple extra hours cleaning and chalked it up to the cost of doing business. Never said there were any issues. First review indicates we’re all good.

I can’t change my review of him, and have very little recourse… but unless I’m seriously off on being a guest, unless you’re specific in the house manual, if you charge a cleaning fee that means unless I’ve created serious damage (in which case make a claim with airbnb), you’re responsible for cleaning up general mess.

I sent him a polite note, apologizing for any undue mess, and stated politely that I wish he had spoken to me, as I would have paid more in cleaning, and that I thought that was what the fee was for. No response thus far.

I AM NOW BLOODY BOWED AND BROKEN, ladies and gents. I’m generally cheerful, optomistic, and enjoy our travelling lifestyle. But I’m just done. 4 completely untenable situations in a row.

I’ve met some amazing people on airbnb, but when I started it was cheaper than doing a hotel, and I certainly didn’t have these troubles. Every property above I was paying above to well above average for, plus cleaning fees on all of them. I’m honestly burned out.

I don’t know how to operate within a system that seems to expect me to live in a house without living in it, and keep it super clean while paying fees for it to be cleaned. To treat it like I would my home, but pay significantly higher rates than a hotel, plus cleaning fees… and get negged for not cleaning up properly. I just don’t know where I stand anymore. why wouldn’t you tell me if you have an issue?

I hope you get some amusement out of my terrible tale. Or at the very least some “I’m a great host” vindication. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Ones that make me laugh get bonus points, two most hilarious comments/memes get a starbucks giftcard. Because I need a laugh right now, or new perspective, or SOMETHING.

And God help us. we’re going to start hosting in 2016.
I’m horrified by the very thought.

Because the trouble is… when you have enough experiences when you think someone else is a jerk, sometimes that actually means you are.

TLDR: The Nights were dark and full of terror.

I just can’t wait until you’re the host! More high jinks to come. Did you say you paid $190 per night for 8 people, or is this a mistake? I think that’s an error. Surely you can’t imagine there are hotels that will fit eight for that amount, even with the cleaning fee. And for future reference, although I don’t charge one, a cleaning fee is for turning over the home for the next guests and means a deep cleaning. It really does take more time than you are imagining as you will find when you host. Thoroughly scrubbing every inch of the bathrooms and kitchens, floors, doing all the laundry, making up beds, dusting, wiping surfaces clean, cleaning windows and sills, outdoor spaces. the laundry itself depending on how many people can take hours given the piles of towels, sheets, duvet covers. And making up beds is no quick task when there are a few. It’s a whole thing! I truly think guests have no clue. So leaving extra mess around is really not appreciated apparently. You are required to leave the apartment ‘as found’, which means not leaving dirty dishes Etc around or any visible messes, because it makes the cleanup that much longer.

As for the perv, I have unfortunately experienced this in different countries where the culture was different and they thought all western women were promiscuous. It’s confronting, but after you realize many of the men are like that, it’s not even personal. After watching western tv, they think we are all hyper sexualized and ‘up for it’. Terrible, but a part of experiencing different cultures.

Hi Sandy,
Thanks for the reply, made me smile.

No, $190 USD was for me and my husband. Using one bedroom. Not eight, so yes, the hotel I stayed in over the unavailable weekend was cheaper, and a large condo. No personal touches, but I’d live without them to be dramaless.

See, that’s the thing… I do have some degree of understanding, when I rent places w/o cleaning fees I hire a professional and work alongside them. I’ve also cleared a few long term rentals too.
It’s been interesting getting hosts views- some charge a cleaning fee and use it as a hotel does- provided you haven’t firebombed anything and it’s reasonable to clean within the fee, it’s not an issue. Others see it as I leave it how I found it and it’s just next guest turnover.

It really does seem to be a contentious issue! People who have a quick word about how they want it left, or specify, is really helpful.

I am not looking forward to more high jinks, gotta tell you!

I think a trend I find interesting, is that the higher priced a rental is, the less interaction I tend to have with the host, and the more it seems to run like a hotel. There are minimal to none personal touches, and often I don’t even meet the host.
The conventional wisdom seems to be not to treat it like a hotel… I’ve been finding more expectation for me to be more personal when they are not.

As to the perv, this was in the US. LOL. Never had it happen when I lived in a culture where you’d think it would, funnily enough!

Thanks for the kind reply :slight_smile:

So, I have two questions for you:

  1. What do you do for a living that allows you to travel 365 days out of the year, pay exorbitant cleaning fees (and then offer to pay more when a host is unreasonably dissatisfied), and leave $100 worth of gifts for an unappreciative host? and…

  2. How do I sign up for that gig?



  1. My DH is a consultant. Generally works short term contracts fixing emergency issues. We’re rarely in one place for more than a month!

I leave gifts for almost every host I have.
First host this year: Bottle of Jack Daniels
Second: giftcard for dinner
Third: Amazon hamper of goodies and bottle of Moet
Third: an airconditioner, lol. (Huge negging here)
Fourth: Cigarettes, comforter, wine and food. (Threatened to scare me.)
Fifth: Bluetooth Car Kit (showed his pubes)
Sixth: A few things for his IT setup (not sure what they are, hubby put that one together.) (Mad about the mess, no contact)

So clearly my gifts strategy isn’t working.

  1. Where’s your place? Whaddaya drink? :slight_smile:

Reminds me of what hosts do on the opposite end… doing extras for guests… and not only being unappreciated for it but getting an unearned slap in a review for something else they found lacking. I cut out the extras a long time ago. They take off from the bottom line.

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Hi JustShootMe,

I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time lately. Travel should be fun. As a host I can hopefully provide perspective on some of the incidents. Please know that I am attempting to provide information, not criticism.

Stay #1 - I would feel that I’d been put in a difficult position if a guest asked if they could install an air conditioner. We have made the decision not to install one; not because of the cost of the air conditioner, but because of the increased utility bills and this is in Los Angeles, CA where utilities are relatively inexpensive. In Europe, I believe they are much higher. If a guest asked if they could install one I would probably say okay so they wouldn’t be uncomfortable, but I would not consider it a favor on the guests’ part.

I would be very upset if a guest overrode my feeding instructions for my pets. I have had pets with food allergies and intolerances. Also, I am very careful to keep my pets at healthy weights.

On the other hand, the host was outrageously rude for not responding to you about your arrival, for expecting you to wait for her when you had a plane to catch and for saying that you left a mess when you did not. She definitely should have honored her cancellation policy.

Stay #2 - The host sounds unhinged. It is unacceptable to threaten guests (or anyone). If I were you I wouldn’t buy so many gifts for hosts. Most people have pretty specific tastes. I would feel awkward if a guest gave me a gift and it wasn’t to my taste, especially if they planned on staying at my place again and I thought they would expect to see it displayed. Also, I wouldn’t stock anyone’s refrigerator in case they weren’t coming back right away. Also, most people have specific taste in food.

Stay #3 - This pervert should be reported to Airbnb and have his listing or listings removed. That is a scary and creepy experience. I’m sorry you had to endure it. As far as the review only mentioning you, I usually mention all members of a party. However, lately there has been discussion on this board of mentioning only the Airbnb member who booked in case their traveling partner is not someone they want everyone to know they’re spending time with.

Stay #4 - The cleaning fee seems to lead to a lot of miscommunication. We rent out our spare room, not our whole house. We charge a cleaning fee of $15.00. This is to make up for the laundry soap (at least three loads per stay: blanket(s), sheets and pillow cases, towels and wash cloths), water, cleaning solutions, etc. It takes us two to three hours each time. We take out all trash every day and rinse all dishes immediately after we use them to avoid critters and we live in Los Angeles where it is relatively temperate and arid. The critter problem is much worse in tropical environments. If I were renting out the whole house, I would be upset if the trash weren’t taken out, dishes were left unrinsed and/or food spills were not mopped up.

I hope your future travels are hassle free and lots of fun.


Omigish! You are so generous! Please come and stay with me! I live in the most fun part of Los Angeles. Bring a bottle of Jack and install central heating and your stay will be on the house.



I suspect you’re making fun of me! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the perspective, Ellen!

As far as the airconditioner, we knew the host had total right of refusal. Had she done so, I would have cancelled the booking and found an alternative. It just wasn’t possible to have a baby that age living in that kind of heat. If it was that huge an issue, I’d rather a host be upfront and say no. I forgot to mention, when she complained about it when trying to manage the cancellation issue, I offered to have it removed at my cost.

As far as the cats, I asked about them on a later call and she said she’d forgotten to tell me to feed them, but they would have been fine without food? I wouldn’t override specific instructions, she just didn’t say anything at all and then didn’t pick up the phone for almost two days, and the cats meowed at the door from early evening to late evening.

I really appreciate your thoughts on it :smile:

You’re probably right about the gifts, if it makes any difference it’s usually consumables, or in the case of specific items tailored to something- host without a bluetooth kit had his one break, for example. It can already be an uncomfortable experience having people you don’t know in your home, and I guess I just thought of it as a nice gesture. I would never buy something I expected to be displayed. As to filling the fridge, we offered, as the hosts were returning a day and a half after we vacated. I try to tailor it to the individual situation, is what I’m trying to say, I guess.

That’s a really interesting one about not mentioning travel guests. I never would have thought of it and will keep it in mind for when we start hosting! Thankyou.

Thanks for your view on the cleaning fee, it seems to be a contentious issue. Though, honestly if it were a low fee, or no fee, I would, and do, make additional effort. I think it seems to be the size of the fee that creates confusion also, when it’s a higher fee and the host never interacts with the guests, but employs a cleaning service, I would think that it’s more like a hotel. And clearly, I paid for that error.

I guess I’m just reaching a point where I’m starting to struggle with the dissonance- fees that are becoming significantly higher than hotel/condo rates, high cleaning fees that indicate it’s more like a hotel service, hosts that definitely run their airbnb’s like businesses, but then having difficulties with it not being like a business because it’s a home, not a hotel.

And that’s probably me, absolutely, just struggling with different, uncommunicated expectations.

I’ve had some absolutely wonderful experiences with a number of hosts, met really interesting people, and stayed in great places. It definitely isn’t representative of the whole.

I really appreciate you taking the time to give me the other side, as I’ll be sitting on it in the not too distant future!

I guess it’s the bad experiences that ruin it for the rest, I’m sorry it didn’t work out.
I think the thing I don’t get about reviewing for things they don’t mention-
why wouldn’t you just call your host if there is a serious issue?

I mean, wouldn’t you just pick up the phone, rather than nitpicking later?

You can’t fix what you don’t know, just as if my last host had called me about the cleaning, I would have tried to do something to fix the issue.

Goodness gracious NO! :smiley:

In all seriousness…you sound like an absolute delightful guest. I would be thrilled to be your host anytime. Shame about my no-children policy though. :smile:

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Kids not mine.

We were holidaying with family who have a baby… and I tell ya, living on a kids schedule for two weeks was quite the rollercoaster.

She’s at that stage where she’s learned to bite. Not having kids of my own, I was like, how do you handle it? They just keep saying no, and she keeps biting. A few days of that and I was like, she bites me, and I’ll bite her back. I think they were slightly shocked that i was not willing to put up with multiple broken skin bites from her. I was not asked to hold the baby anymore :smiley:


Hehehe…well, that changes everything. No kids? Come on over! We are a child-free zone. No fear of skin ruptures, and we already have air conditioning (although 11 months out of the year in L.A., they are not needed).

I hope you like dogs though. I won’t make you feed them! They are chihuahuas so they take care of themselves. My elderly neighborhood feeds every cat, opossum, skunk, squirrel, and raccoon in the neighborhood already, so you are off the hook there as well! Just come and enjoy a holiday in Hollywood the way it’s meant to be done.

I had a guy once who should have been a red flag, as he was what I call a question-asker or hand-wringer. Worried about every little thing and asked a million questions. I tried to hold his hand and even helped him plan his itinerary for his whole stay on the Big Island, not just the three days at my studio… I even hooked him up with discount Big Island activities! And how did I get thanked? A review written like a laundry list a mile long of everything he disliked, was confused by or found lacking! Even things that I clearly state in my description (how far away I am and that I collect tax and have a cleaning fee.)

Buried at the bottom was how I had helped him connect with things to do. I was stunned by his terrible review and wrote and asked him to tone it done with an edit but because I’d already responded the review was locked and he could not change it. He apologized and said he didn’t mean for it to sound so harsh!

As I showed him the apartment, I asked him to let me know if there was ANYTHING they needed. Just send a text or knock on my door and I would be glad to help!. But no, I heard about everything he disliked in the review. And so did the rest of the world. :frowning:

But by gone it, he was happy with the helicopter I suggested and the snorkeling cruises I sent him to because my connections would give him discounts.

Can you believe the nerve of some people?

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Just Shoot - I can sympathize. I thinking requesting the A/C was fine - it’s not like you demanded it, right? I think the situation with the cleaning is that you set up an expectation that was then disappointed - but sometimes we’re not perfect.

I started hosting last summer. As a guest I had great reviews, and as a host, also. Then after a summer of a house full of guests, come labor day, I had to get away with my family (and we now have a 2 month guest so no problem) and spontaneously booked a house a few hours away. The price was great as were the reviews.

The lower level of the house had no a/c - the listing says the house has a/c - it was crazy, stifling hot when we checked in - and still 83 at 10 pm - which could have been tolerable but we could not open the doors (no screens, and I wanted to be a good guest and not allow all the critters in the house!) and there was only one window that would open. As the plan for our weekend involved hanging around, playing games and cooking, that wasn’t going to work. I asked the host to refund of our second night and host was curt and refused, only saying “no one has ever complained about this before”.

I took it to airbnb resolutions and she did then refund the money for the 2nd night so we could leave.

We stripped the beds in the morning, took out the trash, everything as expected. Tipped the cleaning person as the place was immaculate.

I left her a nice review extolling the virtues while saying we had to cut our visit short since there was no a/c on the main living area of the house and politely pointing out a few misstatements in her listing, but all with positive spins. I didn’t mention the mildew smell or the ants crawling all over, or other unpleasant things - I didn’t trash her at all! I also didn’t mention that there were no directions to the local attractions she touted on her listing so we had to call her to figure out where they were - all while desperate to leave a stinkin’ hot house - we had to GET OUT!

She left me a bad review. Worse, instead of giving specifics, she just said “It’s unlikely that I would ever rent to this family again”. So people are wondering “Did they eat her cat? Did they steal her jewels? Burn down the house?” I responded publicly that “I’m sorry this situation didn’t work out for either of us but wish you luck with your rental”

Since then I’ve had no bookings and have not even had an inquiry for more than a week. I know it may be the season but it’s so sad - we were having a wonderful time and now it feels all wrong.

And she continues to get absolutely glowing reviews - how can this be? Is it only our family that isn’t comfortable in a stifling hot house (it was much hotter during the day, of course) with no fans and no way to open doors or windows?! Are we the only people that gag when there are multiple plug-in air fresheners in the house trying to cover up mildew smell?? Was I crazy to think we were entitled to chancel the second night since the ad wasn’t accurate in so many ways?

As our current guest doesn’t check out until the end of October I don’t have an opportunity to get a good review to come in front of that bad review, even though I have 20 sweet reviews thereafter. So the first review someone sees is ‘it is unlikely I’d ever rent to this family again’.

So disappointing.

Next time you’re in DC come stay with me. I’m way below your price range and we’re a nice family. Really. We are.


Yeah, you gotta hate the non specific reviews.

Just enough information to ding you, not enough to be clear what the issue was.

I’m sure my next host is going to be wondering what “almost a mess” means. :confused:
Did I paint the walls with poop? Re-arrange the house? Cover it in graffiti? Who knows!

Although, I may have news that will make you feel better. Right now, I am only a guest, not a host. You host, primarily, right?

So if I want to make an enquiry on your property, your reviews for the property you are listing will be at the bottom of the property page.

If I want to know more about you, and click see hosts full profile, because you are primarily a host I won’t see the review she left for you, especially if your profile/review page is longer than one. Your guest review will always be at the bottom, so I have to make a reasonably thorough search to see it.

It’s very possible any new bookers you might have won’t even see what this woman wrote, unless they’re actively trying to get a very comprehensive view of you, and as a guest, I rarely read everything.

So, when I click to see reviews, I’ll see all of your reviews for your property first, and if there aren’t enough to have a second page, at the very bottom it will say “Reviews as a guest”.

I hope that makes you feel a little better!

Hmmm, as to her getting glowing reviews, I think there are a couple of factors… airbnb reviews encourage either direct dishonesty, or people not speaking their mind. It also matters who reviews first, and the fact that you can’t see the other persons review till you have reviewed.

For one, if the woman you rented from has slightly lower rates for her area, or she doesn’t charge fees for more than two guests, her primary renting target is probably families. If they’re looking for a little value for money, they may just chalk it up to “better luck next time, it’s ok, can’t really complain”. They may also figure they’ll be out all the time, too.

Many guests I have spoken too, also don’t want a fight on their hands.If they have a negative experience, they may not review at all. In fact, I’ve had a couple of hosts who don’t want reviews, because they say too much of the guest happiness is out of their control. I was like, ok. And in fact, had no reviews on my profile at all until earlier this year and it seems to have jinxed me. When I had no reviews, I had a number of great hosts in a row, with zero issues at all.

I think the different tiers of property rental make a difference to reviews also.
If your price is too cheap, you tend to get a lot of complaints, because people decide it’ll be like a hotel and it’s not. Middle range seem to me to have the least issues, because they don’t tend to be too highly priced to make it worth making a complaint, but it’s clear they’re designed to be comfortable, not impress- so it’s harder to have people’s expectations unmet.
High priced luxury properties are a mixed bag, and either seem to have loads of angry reviews, because people expect 5 star service and for whatever reason are disappointed, or lots of really good ones.

She may just be sitting comfortably in the middle with people who are like, this is just ok for what I paid.

I could also speculate that maybe the mildew issue is a new one, and she pulled a fast one on you by taking your booking even though it wasn’t fixed?

I don’t think you were crazy to cancel, tbh if I were about to sleep in mildew I probably would have called airbnb and got out the first night. But then again, my average spend per night last year was about $100USD, and this year has gone up to an average of $170, so that probably affects my view also.

I hope that helps!

You don’t need to clean anything when you pay cleaning fee or not. I don’t charge cleaning fee because I sm able to do it myself. Most people charge cleaning fee when they rent separate house, and can’t do it themselves. As a guest which I was myself many many times you only required to not damage anything and not to be disgusting with bathrooms and kitchen. You don’t need to wash floors or showers, this is what cleaning fees are for. If there is no dishwasher then yes, you need to wash dishes not to attract bugs, but with dishwasher it’s enough if u put there dirty dishes.

Thanks for your input Yana, I really appreciate it.

Honestly, I’m a bit lost because there’s a lot of disagreement.

Consensus is a tough one!

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I’ll weigh in on the cleaning fee but first I gotta say that perve man needs to be reported! Going through and washing your underwear - I sure hope you threw them away as you know he had them all around his face - disgusting!

Ok…so I rent out a two bedroom/two bath cabin with a 440 sq. ft. theater room, wrap around deck, BBQ grill, etc. The rate is around $250 a night during the high season. The cleaning fee is $105. I recently had a guest who didn’t understand why I charge a cleaning fee, as a hotel would not. This is why:

Let’s say I have a two night minimum stay and guest pays $500 plus $105 cleaning. And let’s say I get three two night bookings in a row. Well the cleaning has to be done during each turn over…so that is major cost for each turnover if you are paying a cleaning service to come in.

So let’s say I also have one reservation for 6 nights @$250 plus cleaning.

In both examples above I have earned the same amount for the rental rate ($1,500) three 2 night bookings vs. one 6 night booking.

However, let’s say I didn’t charge a cleaning fee. In the first example with 3 separate rentals I would have to pay a cleaner three times to clean the entire house. But in the second example I am only paying a cleaner once. In the first example the guests are paying an avg. of $302.50 a night. In the second example the guests are paying an avg. of $267.50 a night (due to the cleaning fee being spread over the six days). Since Airbnb does not allow me to have separate rates for one night, two night, four night stays, etc. the only way to fairly calculate the cost is to separate the cleaning fee out (this is a fixed cost for every new reservation, no matter length of stay). I would really prefer Airbnb just give a total quote on the days rented and not separate out the cleaning fee to be shown to the guest.

But to address how clean to leave the place…I ask guests to run the dishwasher and I don’t say this but I do not expect to find any dishes that I need to wash. One or two last minute coffee cups ,etc. is fine, but no one should be leaving a sink full of dishes. I also ask guests not to strip the bedding as I need to inspect for stains before washing. They are asked to put all of their used towels in the laundry hampers. But my guests are not expected to clean toilets, showers, vacuum, sweep, mop, etc. Most leave the place in great condition - it still takes 8 man hours to do all the laundry make the beds, clean out the popcorn machine, clean bird poop off the deck, clean the grill, fridge, and everything else that needs to be done.

My worst guests have been those who have more than two small children. They let them get into everything…throw drink coasters like they are frisbies, scribble on TV manuals, spill drinks and just leave them sticky on the floor, food all over the floor and not even picked up. Things are often disorganized. The kitchen cabinets are all a mess because the parents are distracted. Outdoor croquet balls may be missing and I have to try to hunt them down. Board games pieces may be found throughout the house. Children fingerprints all over the glass doors/windows. That is what I call a mess. Even though there is a cleaning fee, guests are still expected to wipe off the kitchen counters/table after they eat, clean up a spilled drink. I of course don’t expect them to clean windows with fingerprints. But a lot of it has to do with things not being put back in the correct place - blanket throws that belong downstairs, are now in the upstairs bedrooms, board game piece is in the herbal tea box, first aid kit was used and is a mess, brochures are not put back in the orderly fashion they were found, etc. Trying to get stains out of towels/linens used to be a problem for me but I have nipped that one in the bud. It takes a lot of time to reorganize the entire house when guests don’t treat it with care. I sometimes have to reprogram the tv remotes when guests have played with them.

And one last biggie is if guests don’t rinse the food off the dishes for days and then when I go to clear out the dishwasher, I have to rewash half the load by hand just to get the dishes clean. Oh, and almost forgot about people putting greasy pans, dirty pancake maker back in the cabinet just to not have to wash it.

Now that was a list of my worst guests combined…and that is very few compared to the guests who leave the place in excellent condition. So if you are not guilty of the above, then I don’t understand why these hosts are accusing you of messes - unless they thought for some reason you were going to leave a negative review so they wanted to get to you first…ha!

Thanks for sharing your adventures…it was a fun read!