Welp, got my first bad guest. Advice on a review?

I accepted my first non-reviewed guest for two nights. (I use Instant Book so any new Airbnb user has to send a request to book.) Melanie told me she was an exchange student recently arrived in Sydney, and wanted to explore the famous beach in Sydney where I have an apartment. Said another woman from her country would accompany her, and gave me a name for her friend that translates as “Monica Moon Lettuce,” which I thought was possibly a real name but possibly a ridiculous pseudonym. They were both 23.

I was a little nervous: she already lives in Sydney, does she really need to pay weekend rates to enjoy Manly when there’s excellent public transport coming in and out of the city? I have had older couples who do this, but they aren’t students, they have established careers and disposable income for weekend getaways.

But I thought, well, everyone who uses Airbnb has to be a first time user once, and given that we had so many long COVID lockdowns in Sydney over the past couple of years, it’s not surprising that someone her age would never have used Airbnb before. I didn’t want to discriminate based on age. After all, my son (in his teens) stays in the apartment sometimes and he always leaves it very clean.

So today I entered the apartment shortly after check out time, feeling fairly nervous because she hadn’t responded to my message about check out, and I got inside and…

YUCK. Here are the highlights of what I found:

  • wet towels on the bed;
  • food on the floor everywhere, including what appeared to be scrambled eggs and a piece of raw meat (!);
  • sticky yellow stuff (egg?) dripping down the front of the cabinets;
  • mystery marks on the table that I had to scrub and scrub with a magic eraser to get off;
  • she had broken the lift cord of the blinds in one room;

…and finally, the piece de resistance:

  • there was blood spattered on the bathroom wall and toilet. Not enough for me to worry about her health, just enough for me to worry about her hygiene standards.

And the smell! I opened all the windows for hours and it only started to make a dent in the odour. I don’t even know what I’m smelling, just that it smells bad.

Fortunately, no theft of our belongings, and no permanent damage to anything except the blinds cord, which will be a pain to replace but will probably only cost a few dollars. I count myself lucky. But I’m pretty sure I’m not going to accept any first-timers ever again. It was just too stressful. And it pissed me off. My apartment is IMMACULATE and she treated it like a dump.

Anyhoo… Can anyone wordsmith my review?

“Melanie and her friend Monica enjoyed a weekend in Manly. They left wet towels on the bed, food (including egg and raw meat) on the parquet wood floors, and bodily fluids on the wall of the bathroom. It took an entire day to clean and disinfect after their visit. I cannot recommend them to other hosts.”

Too harsh?

Also, a question: I know that a lot of people on this forum wait until the very end of the 2-week period before leaving a review for a bad guest, but if the guest can’t see my review until after she leaves hers, I don’t totally understand the logic of that. Can guests change their review in retaliation after they see a bad review from the host?


oh what a bummer to have such a gross guest in your lovely place.

good review, brief and to the point. not too harsh, they were disgusting guess.
i’d skip the description of the food, even wet towels on the beds, that happens often to us, i swear people just have no brains when they are on holidays, cos they’d surely never do this at home. I might include the word “careless” in there somewhere, as she also broke something.

you should consider getting an ozone machine, they aren’t expensive and work great for odours.

The reason we wait is because when you write your review abb sends them an email telling them you’ve written a review, and then nags them to do the same. Often we don’t want them to write a review, esp if we sense it might be bad. I also like to wait the 72hours before submitting a review, in case a guest wants to try some funny business and scam for a refund.


Thanks for your sympathy, Gillian! I know I’m being a whiner and it could have been much worse. Usually I don’t at all mind cleaning up after people. I like cleaning and I take pleasure in getting the place to look and smell wonderful. My husband’s pet peeve is when men pee all over the toilet seat and floor. He always urges me to mention it in my reviews (“Just say, ‘Good guest, aside from all the urine’”). I always laugh it off and tell him that if urine on the tile floor is all we have to worry about, we’re doing well. But somehow, seeing the raw meat on the floor and then finding blood in the kitchen* just pushed me over the edge!

*edit: meat on kitchen floor, blood on bathroom wall

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For your question about reviews -

If you wait until the last few minutes (make sure you have the review written and allow about 10 minutes just in case she decides to post a review (no idea good or bad) she won’t be able to. So your post will show and it will be too late for her.


Review sounds perfect. @lisanddavid

The logic for leaving last minute reviews is to minimise the risk of the guest leaving a poor review themselves.

Personally I just leave an honest review once I’ve checked the property.

What reason did this guest give you for booking a stay in Manly when she lives just down the road in Sydney ?

By the way my son spent 4 months in Manly when taking a year out travelling and loved it.


She said, “I’m an exchange student visiting Australia. I’m trying to get to know everything I can in 2 months and manly beach is one of those places I wanted to visit. I would be staying with another female friend.”

I should have been more wary. In fact, I think I’m lucky it wasn’t worse. A relative in Toronto sometimes lets people stay in his place via Airbnb when they’re traveling, and he told me the only time they had guests from another part of Toronto stay in their place, the neighbours reported the guests (a) were dealing drugs out of the place, and (b) urinating in the bushes out the front door. So, yeah. At least she didn’t do that. (As far as I know.)

I did consider that she and her friend might have been sex workers (though “Monica Moon Lettuce” isn’t exactly a stripper name). But sex workers probably would have been cleaner than this pair because they’d be trying to stay under the radar.

Oh, awesome! Yeah Manly is a great place, nothing quite like the way it feels simultaneously urban and beach town at the same time. In the morning, half the people are wearing suits and speedwalking to the ferry terminal and the other half are pulling on wetsuits and carrying surfboards.


It isn’t the fact that she was a new user, as plenty of hosts accept new users who are fine guests. She has simply not ever been expected to clean up after herself, I’m quite sure mommy did that. And if she really is a foreign exchange student, she may come from a well-off family who foots the bill for her to have a holiday at the beach.

I don’t find your review too harsh. But I might be more succinct- “Melanie communicated well and reported no issues during her brief stay, but left the apt. in a shockingly dirty state which required extensive clean-up and disinfection.”

As far as waiting to leave a review, it’s only of use if the guest hasn’t reviewed yet and might not if not prompted to by getting the notice that you have.

You probably wouldn’t get a bad written review from her- I suspect she’s clueless that how she left the place will earn her a bad review, she’s likely not aware that there was anything wrong with it. But she might give less than 5 star ratings, not because she fears you’ll give her a bad review, but because she’ll be clueless about that, too.


So sorry your guests didn’t take better care of your place. I don’t think your review is too harsh at all – just states the facts and provides enough detail to know what they did specifically to not be recommended.


Because this was a guest new to the platform, is young, and seemingly wasn’t objectionable aside from the disgusting mess (it appears she adequately communicated her reason for booking, booked for the correct number of guests and was forthcoming about who she was travelling with, there is no evidence that she was untruthful in that regard, she wasn’t calling you with complaints or issues, and so on), I might even tack on to the review something like, “As a new to Airbnb guest, if Melanie learns that she has to show respect for the space she booked by cleaning up food and other personal mess, hanging up wet towels instead of leaving them on the beds, etc, she may be an acceptable guest in the future”.

This might teach her something, and she indeed might be an okay guest in the future if she takes it to heart rather than just being defensive or aggressive about the bad review. Being young and clueless isn’t a crime and not something that can’t be changed if the guest cares about getting better reviews in the future.


Re the damaged blinds- it seems like blinds are something guests manage to damage fairly often, as they may not understand how to work them properly or are careless when opening and closing them.

I think curtains would make a better choice for an Airbnb, as they are more or less foolproof.

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I agree about the blinds, @muddy . We’ve had blinds that have come completely away from their moorings so a broken cord is neither here nor there. I stick with blinds though because curtains can harbour smells.

Because our apartments are so small, the pong of cooked broccoli (to me the worst smell ever) gets instantly into the entire place and broccoli-flavoured bedroom curtains would be awful.

I know that I’m someone who doesn’t get bothered by many behaviours that some hosts think are dreadful but I wouldn’t call the OP’s guests bad. Messy yes, and the blood thing was very slobby, but wet towels on the bed, spills on kitchen cabinets and stuff on the floor are annoying but those things have to be cleaned anyway.

Just my opinion of course, but I never like reviews that say ‘wouldn’t recommend to other hosts’. I prefer that the review explains what the problems were and then I can make my own mind up.

Please @lisanddavid don’t be worried about people who are first-timers (or young, or local), and bear in mind too that your relatives in Toronto aren’t hospitality specialists if they sometimes rent out their home when they are travelling. You’ll get better advice here. :wink:


Well, I guess you’re right. Upon your calm reflection it’s not all that bad looked at so objectively. It just seems so disrespectful of the property that it feels insulting, and I think a Host can’t but wonder what other ways was the property disrespected that I can’t see?

I still like @lisanddavid 's original review as it did provide specifics.

Also, depending on what is spilled, some spills can damage if left unattended. For example, we have granite, which we have sealed, but they still tell you to wipe up acidic drips within some crazy-specific time period (like 28 minutes). We don’t share that with guests but the idea is that if you leave something acidic on even sealed granite long enough that it might damage it.

I wonder about other household materials, whether they could be permanently damaged by stains/food left untreated for days.


While I totally agree with you about newbie guests not automatically being a red flag, I’d have to disagree about guests who are local. There are a few legitimate reasons why fairly local guests would book- maybe they are attending a concert or course and don’t want to have to commute, they may live in a small apt. and have family coming to visit that they would like to stay in the same place with, maybe their own home is being renovated or repaired, and in the OPs case, they may live a bit inland and want to hang at the beach.
A friend of mine books a caravan on the beach once a year for a night or two, a 20 minute drive from her house, to have a change of scene, go to sleep and wake up with the sound of waves, let the dogs enjoy themselves, and forget about her long list of chores and repairs.

But bookings from locals are all too often for parties, drug dealing, Tinder hook-ups (which some hosts might not mind), or prostitution. I’d want a good, believable, and verifiable reason to accept a booking from a local.

I also think hosts can avoid some problems with newbie guests by conveying basic expectations they might not bother with when accepting bookings from seasoned guests with good reviews. Lots of newbies have no idea that they are expected to tidy up, for instance, nor report any issues or malfunctions to the host. They may freak out if they break or stain something, and not wanting to “get in trouble”, try to fix it themselves, making it worse. It’s a good idea to assume that newbies could benefit from the conveying of basic guest etiquette, correct guest counts, etc.


Regarding locals, I suspect that a lot depends on the location and the host or co-host.

I have guests who, like your friend, live a short car ride away but because we are walking distance to the beach (and great restaurants and shopping) they stay here from time to time.

I also have a regular girl who lives on a boat and when her boyfriend is in town, they want something a bit more private and spacious. :slight_smile:

I don’t have the party problem because a) the apartments just aren’t big enough and b) I live on the premises. I suppose being on the premises means I avoid all sorts of undesirable behaviours.

I like having locals and some have become friends. Most are having some sort of renovation dine to their home or are closing on a new property.


Definitely. Same for me. Even the one time when I had a guest who brought a guy home at 3am, both drunk, and woke me up, I addressed it immediately the following morning, letting her know it wasn’t acceptable, she apologized and it didn’t happen again.


I once had similar except the guests were a couple and they woke up my neighbors at 3 am (which is worse than waking me up.) These were the infamous tomatoes-under-the-ottoman guests.

I’m not as nice as you though - I chucked them out the next morning. :+1:


I do the same. Just wait a few days before submitting your review.

@lisanddavid So sorry this happened, what a thing to have to put up with. I too rarely let in folks who have no reviews yet. Yours is a cautionary tale for sure.

As far as star rating, I would give a 2 on cleanliness but you would be forgiven for assigning them a 1. I save 1’s for people who break glass on the patio and don’t clean it up–safety hazards.

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If you are trying to avoid the guest being prompted to leave a review by seeing that the host has, waiting “a few days” doesn’t really acheive that- it’s why hosts wait until just before the 14 day review window is over to leave a review if they suspect the guest will leave a bad review, or make some bogus claim to Airbnb in retaliation to a bad review.

It can be unfair to other hosts, though, as with a guest who has no reviews, but has actually stayed somewhere else before your place. If the previous host is waiting it out to leave a terrible review, another host can innocently accept the booking, only seeing after the guest has also been a problem for them, that a 2 star review has meanwhile come up on their profile.


I’m going to dispute that Sydney has excellent public transport. Manly has excellent public transport if you want to go into the cbd. Otherwise if your student is living out west it would be well over an hour on trains and buses to get to Manly. And perhaps they wanted to enjoy a sunrise at the beach, who knows. I don’t think that part is weird. A few years ago I had a Brissy mum friend come to Sydney for a swim meet, they were staying at the old olympic village, and she didn’t come up to the Northern Beaches to visit me cos the public transport wasn’t viable (2 hours on 2 busses. don’t blame her!)

If your guests were Chinese then “moon lettuce” is not weird at all. “moon” is really common in Chinese names, and “lettuce” could have been poorly translated from a botanical herb that doesn’t exist elsewhere. (we seem to call a lot of asian veg ‘lettuce’ or ‘cabbage’).

I think Muddy’s assessment is correct: young women who’ve been pampered their whole lives, don’t know how to clean up, nor think they have to, and likely have extra money to spend. Not evil, just selfish and clueless.


They were Mexican (Firstname Luna Lechuga), and while I speak Spanish and have lived in two Spanish-speaking countries, I never met anyone with that last name. However, I did an online search and it sounds like Lechuga is not an uncommon last name in Mexico.

How do you feel about cabbage? The first Airbnb I ever stayed in years ago was a home share where the host welcomed me with a cabbage broth she had made. It was lovely of her, and I like cabbage, but dear lord the smell! But a gracious host and a clean home makes up for a lot, including a bad but temporary smell.

You’re right, it really isn’t so bad. They weren’t malicious, just careless. I usually encounter food on the floor after a guest leaves and don’t think twice about it. In this case, I just freaked out over (a) raw meat on the wood floor and (b) blood on the wall. Just, ew. If you’re going to swing your tampon around, why wouldn’t you wipe up afterward? Ew, ew, ew. The whole bathroom is shiny white tile, glass and mirrors, so the spray of blood was unmissable. Assuming she must have seen it, that means she thinks other people should clean up her bodily fluids. Which has me thinking again about the merits of cleaning fees / no cleaning fees that have been discussed on this forum.

You’re right, it’s more a 2, possibly even a 3. I found it really disgusting but I can certainly imagine much, much worse – like broken glass not cleaned up, yikes!