“Whichever is soonest”; rigid not-so-small print. Airbnb doesn’t ‘do’ Christmas cheer

Dear Forum,

Any suggestions, bar the obvious ‘what did you expect’ would be very welcome. My first time using this site, so thanks in advance if you respond.
We had a guest in over Christmas. On Christmas Day he was asked to leave along with his friend. We rent the whole house and stay with parents locally while we Airbnb. Luckily neighbours alerted us to drunken behaviour outside the house.
I won’t bore you with what to some may seem like just another sob story, but I’ll give you the highlights: curry stains up the outside and interior walls, a burnt wooden floor where the fire guard had not been used and the fire had been overfilled; broken oven; broken fridge shelf; broken show rack that had been used to stir tins of chalk paint for God knows what ends; broken pedestal fan; smoking on premises (we’re non-smoking); broken halogen heater; stolen chair and, top this, my wife’s Christmas Nativity set burnt on the fire.
Some of this damage wasn’t quite realised until he had left. He promised to pay and I have a recording of him saying so.
We did everything we could to make the property good for the next guests arriving the next day. Had we not kicked him out when we did there wouldn’t have been time to, at least, cover things up so the house didn’t look like a bombsite before the next guests arrived.
We took multiple deep breaths and were cordial with him at all times.
We have tried to contact him through Airbnb, through his phone service but to no end.
Eventually we thought, we’ll time to go through Airbnb. Only to find that because we had not gone throughout this process with them before the next guests’ arrival we were not covered.
To sum up. We mad eyes every effort to sort this ourselves before involving Airbnb. Their only response is that our pursuit of this matter contravened their requirement that resolutions are entered within 14 days or before the next guests. Whichever comes earlier.
How is this possible when faced with a high level of damage that needs professional costing in some cases?

I’m still pursuing this with Airbnb and I’ll let you know how I get on if you’re interested. For now, any suggestions are very welcome.

Thanks and Happy New Year.

Very sorry to hear about your place being trashed.

Gotta ask – how well 'vetted was this guest? Good IDs? Real photo not a cartoon or such? First timer? Previous negative reviews?

Air is right – you should have contacted them by phone, the moment you realized things were SNAFU. That’s the way the system works. You cannot blame Air if YOU break the rules. Go outside the system and you don’t get satisfaction. You could have asked Air to re-home the in-coming guests because the damage was so severe that the place could not be made “right” in time. Yes you’d have lost the money from the next booking, but it would have set things in motion properly.

At the same time you contacted Air, you should have been documenting the damage – photos, costs to repair/replace, etc.

Hopefully you left the guest a totally negative review - in a dispassionate writing style, not emotion laden.

At this point your only recourse may be local police and courts. But they’re gonna want the same things probably – photos of damage, costs to repair/replace.


I do appreciate how awful it is to find that sort of damage.

It is a hard lesson to learn. But Airbnb do make it clear that you must notify them before the next guest arrives of any guest damage. You can see if they will be lenient, but I doubt this will be the case.

However, why not make a claim on your home insurance. (I am presuming you changed your insurance to one that covered STR’s when you set up your Airbnb business). Of course you might find they have similar terms in that you need to notify them within a certain time of the damage taking place.

Most unlikely your own Insurance will be as restrictive as ABB Guarantee.

As the Guest hasd agreed to pay I would have gotten the payment direct.

That stinks but as others have said you really should read all the “small print” before you start Airbnb, not after.

Also if you are going rent out an entire house I would have CCTV security cameras outside showing all entrance and exits. One of the main ways people violate your trust if you aren’t on site is to bring in more guests than they’ve paid for. Had you had cameras you probably would have been aware of problems even sooner.

Also block off a day or two between bookings so you can properly clean and assess damage before the next guest arrives. Prepping an entire place in a few hours means rushing.

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Thanks Ken,
I relate, too late, that we should have involved Airbnb straight away. I tend to sort things myself when I think I can, so not part of my DNA to involve a third party, however you are right and the rules are clear. I was just disappointed that Airbnb wouldn’t be more flexible. We latched on to the point that we had 14 spdays and didn’t absorb the ‘earliest’ point.

The guest had no previous reviews and was a recent member. We have now changed our policy to avoid people without a positive review or no reviews and yes, the guest received a very negative review. There may have been some capital letters!

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Good call on CCTV, thanks!

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Not sure if you’ll all see this but I’ll give it a go.
I wanted to say thanks again for your responses ans update you on how things went.
We never got anywhere with Airbnb but I can understand this.
We eventually receive a payout from the guest though!
It’s worth pursuing so if you have a similar guest pursue, pursue, pursue.
I had to put my research skills into effect and found he had a registered business and was also able to find an online cv with phone number and address. The details provided by Airbnb no longer worked so it was quite a task finding him.
When I called I spoke to his mother and eventually him. The to and fro has been very long-winded so I’ll summarise.
I pointed out that I had been advised by the police that I could register a crime due to intentional damage and theft and pursue him through the criminal court or go through the civil courts (much quicker).
He agreed to look at my claim as a result.
I initially quoted £1365 and he began to haggle, offering £500.
I held the line and he gradually came closer and closer.
After sourcing some of the broken items for cheaper than I had estimated I was honest and adjusted the amount to £1000.
He has now paid! I stayed on him, not pestering or taken a personal tone, but stuck to the facts and he eventually relented.
It’s taken 3 months and the civil courts may have been quicker. I don’t know.
But I just wanted to urge people in similar situations to not give up!


Wow what an amazing story @CornwallJ. I am so glad you got your man in the end :slight_smile: I think our small claims court regulations do make it easier to pursue these sort of claims,

Maybe you should start a detective agency to track down unruly guests who won’t pay UK hosts :blush:

Some of the horror stories on here about remote listing is one of the reasons I have decided I am going to do a long term rent on a property I am buying rather than use Airbnb.


Thanks for returning with the update. Good work.

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Excellent outcome although you should have had the full 1300 from the basta*d!
Did he ever give an explanation for his behavior?

Thank you Helsi,
It’s a novella in the making.
I should say after doing Airbnb for almost two years we have only ever had two pretty bad guys and we are booked pretty much every weekend so it really is a minority, but it obviously has a large impact and ca cause a bitter taste.

Well it would have been £1300 I pushed for had that been a fair cost, but as I was able to fix the oven he broke for £90 I felt it disengenuous to charge more. Rest assured I also factored in some over-estimates to account for our time and we have not been left out of pocket at all.
What is odd is that he now wants to have a “gentlemanly” conversation and explain what happened.


Such BS! It’s all about him, isn’t it? He isn’t worth another second of your time. He’s just trying to save face because you know who he is.


Agree. You are too gentlemanly and genteel for this bum. He only agreed to pay because you pursued it. Otherwise he would have been content to cr*p on you and enjoy his life.


His card is marked and I doubt he’ll show his face in our town again.