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Theft by guest - claim with AirBNB Host Guarantee?


Hi all, I am a host for two years in NYC and recently accepted an Instabook guest with 3 positive reviews. This turned out to be a huge mistake and is quite a strange story.

I had two guests over 10 days. The first guest, “J”, committed the theft, but did so in a way that wasn’t immediately obvious. The 2nd guests checked in the day after “J”, so I wasn’t able to file a complaint with AirBnb before the 2nd guests checked in. As such, AirBnb initially told me that I wasn’t eligible for Host Guarantee payments.

Please see my full response to AirBnb below. I am hesitant to file a police report because I don’t want to involve my landlord. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to A) Make sure “J” is permanently removed from Airbnb and B) try to recoup some of the value of stolen items. Thanks!

I am truly disappointed to hear this response. I did not initially express the extent of the damage inflicted by “J” because I am learning the AirBnB process and was waiting for the correct time/outlet. Apparently now is the time and this is the outlet.

I am discovering more by the day about how awful Juan was. Compensation for theft aside, THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE. I am not alone, he has victimized at least one other host!

Tonight I contacted a host named "G’’ who recently left Juan a positive review and discovered to my dismay that she also was a victim of theft. She made the mistake of leaving the review before thoroughly inspecting the entire house, as did I. She wrote me:
“He stole lots of stuff from me as well! Weird stuff too! Like my rope my mattress cover, 2 sheets, towels my hair curler. He changed the light bulbs in red light bulbs!covered the smoking alarm”

I will detail the facts of my case here: “J” initially contacted me on Christmas Eve through instabook, which I thought was a bit odd. He was in a hurry to check in and claimed AirBnB was crediting his account:
“J”: Hello Ian, thank you for hosting me. I am hoping I can check in as soon as possible. I am just about ready to check out and unfortunately the place I had previously booked had to be cancelled. Air b&b has been terrific in crediting my account. I look forward to hearing from you"

He had positive reviews and was verified by Airbnb so I provided key access and I tried my best to accommodate him quickly. He was a good communicator and seemed friendly over email.

When he was checking out, my cleaner “P” was at the house and saw him. “P” is a Superhost and a strong AirBnb supporter and has given public testimony in Albany. In addition, she has cleaned for my friend (who is also an Airbnb host) for years and she is trustworthy. She saw he dangerously left a candle burning unattended and she found used cigarette butts, so he was smoking in my apt. This is not allowed, indicating a willingness to disobey Airbnb policy. She also saw him holding a small plastic bag with golden skulls habitually used for carrying for drugs and a razor, which was suspicious. She saw this briefly so could not confirm 100%.

She saw him take my large purple bag with items inside. She did not say anything because he said he was taking laundry. He did not return the large purple bag.

She noticed him packing things that didn’t seem like his. Such as my grey shoes and a Brazilian flag that was in my closet. She did not accuse him because she did not know my house well at the time (only 3rd time cleaning).

He told “P” that his assistant took most of his stuff and he was taking the remainder out. He made the bed and left the apt in decent shape.“P” did note that he left the toilet area a bit messy and it smelled a bit like vomit. He returned my keys to keycafe and said he would leave me a positive review.

When I returned, the apartment appeared to be in decent shape. Upon closer inspection, it was not. It was evident he rifled through EVERY drawer and closet in my apartment. I am not exaggerating; this includes elevated storage areas, under my bed and under the bathroom sink. Many things were missing, from expensive to not expensive. I can leave you an exhaustive list upon request. This includes but is not limited to: camera lens, smartphone, shoes, suit pants, ski gloves, beard trimmer, shaving cream etc…. even my bedside lamp. To indicate how sneaky he was, he switched my nice black suitcase for his old, broken black one. The suitcase was in an elevated storage location that requires a stool to reach, so I don’t check often and without looking closely I probably wouldn’t have noticed since both suitcases were black. He also stole one of my two stools.

Tonight I discovered something even more disconcerting: I was cleaning under my couch and I found a plastic bag with golden skulls along with a razor blade, the same that “P” noticed. It contained what looks like cocaine residue. I also found an empty cigarette box and a mask, which looks like it was used to filter out fumes. I suspect he was doing drugs or even making drugs. I can provide pictures upon request.

AirBnB, first and foremost, I urge you to TAKE ACTION NOW against Juan in order to prevent even more hosts from being victimized by him. Please advocate for the SAFETY OF YOUR HOSTS. Second, I request that you continue my case claim under the Host Guarantee. Please tell me what further information you require from me.

Follow up email:


On top of that, one of Juan’s previous hosts, “W”, asserts that Juan did NOT stay with him, yet “J” had a positive review from him. I am concerned that this was a FAKE REVIEW. I would not have accepted “J”'s request if he did not have 3 positive reviews, and now I feel I was misled by AirBnb. Please see “W”'s statement below, sent via Airbnb messaging:

  1. “W”, allegedly hosted “J” Sept 2015 - “Omg I’m so sorry to hear about that… He actually did not stay at my place. I’m not sure why I was reviewed for him, that sounds awful. I wonder if you could get the police involved. Since you know who it is. That’s so strange and bizarre and I’m sorry to hear about that happening. :((”


I’m sorry this happened to you – I hope the corroboration of the other host helps your case and that AirBNB reimburses you and gets this guy off the system. (Without a police report, however, I think the theft will be very difficult to pursue with Air). I would be very upset if this guy is allowed to book another AirBNB. The false review alone should be enough to get him off although he sounds fraudulent enough to just another profile. This is concerning, thanks for posting.

Are you hosting without your landlord’s permission?


Sorry to hear about your situation. Bizarre and mind blowing. Please let us know the outcome. It’s strange that he could have reviews from places he never stayed at.


Two of the reviews, left by myself and “G” were genuine. Reason being, at first glance everything seemed OK, so we left a positive review. Only after things kept turning up missing did we realize the theft. For as dishonest as he was, he sure was clever, I’ll give him that!

Do I need to conduct a full audit of EVERY SINGLE ONE of my belongings before leaving a positive Airbnb review? Apparently so now… :frowning:


I also just had a guest steal things from me from minor to expensive. total value more than $3,000. I have filed a police report and contacted Airbnb. They are slow to respond and this guy is out there …he moved to a different Airbnb host after me I cannot figure out a way to contact the other to see if they had a similar issue. Also Airbnb has not removed him and apparently he can still stay with other people even though I’ve contacted them repeatedly. This makes me doubt airbnb vetting.


You have to click “contact host.” You’ll have to put in dates as if you are requesting a booking.

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