Airbnb is one of those things that sounds amazing in theory. Maybe you’re traveling and looking to save a few bucks on a hotel or you want to make some extra cash off that spare bedroom or your whole house while you’re on vacation yourself.
But when you put that idea into practice, there’s real risk involved. Whether you open your home up to a complete stranger or roll the dice on staying at a stranger’s house, weird stuff can happen. While most of the time Airbnb is a solid bang for your buck and worth the gamble, there are some unfortunate times where things go horribly, horribly wrong.
We found the best (or worst?) stories from people around the world who shared their experiences staying in or hosting an Airbnb. And yes, these stories are worse than you’re thinking.
45. What a mess!
The first incident was actually an Airbnb executive who messaged me saying that he had stayed in my building before. His brother lives in the building as well and would be in and out with no issues. My apartment was a $2,000-per-month luxury one-bedroom in a major city with a doorman, etc. When the guest arrived, he messaged me to complain that the building location was too noisy, the bed wasn’t comfortable, and that he wants to end his stay early. I agreed to let him leave early within the terms of the listing. He ended up disputing the charges, got refunded, and left me my first review with less than five stars which made my account ineligible for “super host” status.
My second incident was a few people who were coming in for a conference. Long story short, they had too many people over and ruined my apartment. Toilet was a mess, holes in the walls, stained the carpet, etc. A few thousand dollars in damage. When I found out about this, I had another guest coming the next day. I contacted Airbnb about the incident who was more concerned if I was going to be able to get the apartment ready for the next guest. They guaranteed me that they would repair all the damage, I just had to submit photos as proof. I got the apartment cleaned up and ready for the next guest. When I filed my claim with Airbnb, I was told that since I hosted another guest after the incident, I was unable to file a claim. I fought this for a little while, but got nowhere and just left the guest a negative review. A few months later, I got a notification from Airbnb that they were removing my negative review of the guest who ruined my apartment.
I am no longer an Airbnb host.
44. Packin’ heat.
I answered the door and said, “Hi! Nice to meet you.” Then I noticed the guns on his back and his hip. I’m guessing he saw the look on my face after I noticed all the guns. He said, “Hi, I’m Kolin with a K.” I said, ” Kolin with a K, you can’t bring your guns in here.” He asked if I “was a hippie.” Long story short, I kicked him out the next day. The moral of the story is to put “no firearms” on your page if you don’t want them in your house.
43. Airbnb listing goes Hollywood.
I went to the Czech Republic and stayed in an Airbnb. Our host was staying with us and he told us this story about his house being the location of an X-rated film. He has a camera outside his front door and when he came back, he saw vans of people show up with cameras and stuff like that.
He Googled the guy’s name who rented the place and he was indeed a film producer in that industry. After some research, he saw a video of his apartment as the setting.
The guy was nicely asked to pay up like €1,000, but he never responded. Airbnb hired a cleaner for him.
42. They trashed the place.
A woman that my mom works with rented out her house during South by Southwest a couple years ago. It was supposed to be a guy renting the place for his son and a few of his friends, but as you can guess, it wasn’t. Turns out, it was A$AP Rocky’s manager (or someone in a similar role) who rented it for the group. When the woman got back after the festival, the place was trashed and absolutely reeked. They spent at least a couple grand repairing the place afterward and Airbnb wasn’t too helpful either.
The worst part was that the woman and her family had made significant renovations to the house and finished them with a couple weeks to spare to get the house ready.
41. Terrifying sounds from the bedroom.
We hosted a guy in our spare room who had night terrors. He would thrash and scream in the middle of the night and freak me and my partner out so bad. It seriously sounded like he was being taken over by demons — howling, yelling, thrashing. He stayed with us a few days and would get up and leave for work really early in the morning before us so I never was able to confront him to ask: “Uh, you know, you were screaming and thrashing last night, are you alright?” I also didn’t feel it was right to mention it in his review – what good would that have done? Otherwise, he seemed completely normal. Nice guy. I left him a 5-star ’cause that’s how I roll.
40. It’s always the Californians.
I rent out my boyfriend’s vacation house on a very expensive Greek island. The worst guests we ever had were a couple from California. They ruined all of our pots and pans (burning them so much that we had to throw them away). They hid garbage anywhere that they could. They painted on the floor in black paint. They called the lovely friends of ours who were helping with the booking at all hours SHRIEKING about literally everything. Also, all this AFTER I informed them that no one was picking them up at the ferry port (as stated on our booking — we offer pickups once you get to the village) and the woman emailed me threatening me with how disappointed and upset she was. All this for €100 booking. The next day when they were supposed to check out, they confronted me and the other girl helping us that they wanted to stay and refused to leave. After they finally left I found the woman on LinkedIn and one of her jobs is a snake dancing therapist. I wrote them my only scathing review because I sincerely hope that no one rents to them ever again. By the way, after I wrote them that review, they never contacted me to apologize for all the damage they did or rude things they said. We have a very serious screening policy with Californians now.
39. This is a hot listing.
I used to work Customer Service for Airbnb. One night at around 4 a.m., I got a call from a guest saying that the place they rented was burning down. Twenty minutes later, I got a call from a host saying that a guest had burned their place down.
It wasn’t really my job to figure out who was at fault, or even what actually happened, but one thing was certain. That place did burn down.
38. Put a bird on it.
My in-laws used to Airbnb their house while they were traveling. Once, the people staying there left the deck doors and windows open all night (despite the instructions being very clear that this should not be done). A bird got into the house and in its attempt to escape it passed away in the living room.
The people staying there decided not to mention anything and just left it like that.
Two days later they get back and see the mess.
I mean, I get that it was kind of a crazy situation, but staying quiet and leaving was not the best way to handle it.
37. You look flushed.
I used to host Airbnb at my house when I was out of town for business in order to make some money on the side. I had a couple from Asia (Korea I think) stay at my house for two weeks when I was out of town, and apparently, where they were from they don’t flush used toilet paper down the toilet, the used toilet paper goes in the garbage beside the toilet. When I got home, the couple had left and when I did my usual post-stay checkup on the house to see if anything was broken or missing, I noticed a horrid smell coming from the bathroom. Two weeks of toilet paper was still in the garbage can. One of the most horrid smells I have ever experienced. So for the rest of the time I hosted people when I was out of town, I made sure to let them know that they could flush their toilet paper.
36. Here to stay.
Lived in a condo in California for a while, but due to a vocational change, I had to lease it out via Airbnb to afford the mortgage repayments. Long story short, I came back into money and asked my tenant to leave within 3 weeks. When I tried to re-enter my place the day after he was meant to be gone, he hadn’t moved, and by the limited view I had of the place, he hadn’t bothered to pack up at all. The worst part is, now I have to take him to court to get him out which may take over a year (In California, tenants have almost unlimited rights with regard to living on rented property). I’m stuck having to live in the back of a home with a ferret-obsessed old man who has incidentally been directing a lot of hate speech at me lately.
35. Wake up call.
My relatives stayed at an apartment in Montreal, newly renovated. The contractor still had keys and he returned with a “companion”, and yelling, at 3 a.m. It did not go well.
34. Call the midwife.
There was this couple who claimed that they were coming here for a vacation but the woman was actually nine months pregnant. They came to the U.S. to have their baby here.
33. It can cost you.
The worst guest we ever had was a very large guy. We will call him Willie. He seemed nice enough, but he had a tendency to leave his milk cartons in the sink with the cold tap running instead of using the fridge “because he didn’t want to bother us.” This, of course, led to a flood in his upstairs room but we didn’t realize this until after Willie’s other problem came to fruition. Willie had a tendency to clog toilets. Because he couldn’t use his toilet and didn’t want to trouble us with the overflowing toilet situation, Willie had started going directly in the shower and tried to use the hot stream of water from the shower to clean everything up. Lovely.
Anyway, Willie thought he had the problem solved, but all it did was delay the inevitable, the shower drain started flooding soon and this was where the fun part started.
A guest on the ground floor was complaining about the power cutting out to his room. Turns out the problem was larger than that. Something was tripping the power on that entire half of the bed and breakfast. We tracked it down to the bathroom light in the room directly beneath Willie’s. I removed the casing for the bathroom light only to be greeted with a faceful of disgusting, lumpy water.
This was how Willie wrecked two rooms, caused over £10,000 in damages, and created electric problems we are still dealing with.
32. Open door policy.
The guests stole everything from our house. They used a fake profile and when we got back from vacation, everything of value was gone. Still trying to recover damages two months later from Airbnb.
31. Scrunch you.
When I checked out, I got a very angry email from the host saying that I left behind one hair scrunchie (hanging on the closet knob) and an empty bottle container. Oh, and I left the bathroom light on. Never mind the fact that we cleaned everything up before leaving. That host was extremely mad about the above three things and said she would not give our security deposit back. Luckily I had taken various photos showing how much of a dump the place was and sent the pictures to her saying that her ad was deceptive. That worked – I got my security deposit back.
30. High consumption.
A guy left all (and I really mean all) my dishes and plates greasy after staying just one night. Weirdly enough, he also used an entire bottle of shower gel.
29. Cheap wedding venue.
They had an Indian wedding without telling us. The place was wrecked. They left a hot iron on the kitchen table and left a burn mark. There was pizza face down and smashed into the carpet of the kid’s room. Garbage in the pool. Trash all over the yard. Never again.
28. No swing for you.
My family used to own a beach house in North Carolina which we had to rent out. One time we came back in September (no longer tourist season, still warm enough to enjoy the beach) to find that somebody had stolen not one, but TWO of our hammock swings we had outside by our porches. Like literally someone had detached all the chains and made off with them. They weren’t just hammocks, they were kind of woven seat swings with wooden parts attached for stability and form, with built-in cushions. They were never caught (we had too many renters as suspects, I think), and we ended up padlocking the replacements.
27. Some guests stayed behind.
Had a young couple want to start their booking a night earlier and promised to pay cash upon their arrival that night — they refused to pay over the next three nights after their booking started and only came up with the cash once I reminded them that they had actually stayed longer than their booking dates and I was quite within my rights as a host to have them leave before their last night. They got their own revenge on me by leaving fleas in the room. How can people carry fleas in their clothes and luggage and not do anything about it? Disgusting!
26. Not worth it.
Not a host, but I stayed in an Airbnb a few months ago and the place was FILTHY. It was obviously the woman’s primary home, so I’m not even sure where she goes when she rents the place out, but the bathroom counter was littered with bottles (and hair, and gunk) and the kitchen had dirty dishes in it. The carpet hadn’t been vacuumed in who knew how long – I guess I can understand living like that if she wants, but if you’re going to open your home up to people — dude, a little window spray goes a long way.
25. A little damp.
During my stay in Vienna, my host’s roof collapsed and it rained into the apartment. It was the fault of the construction workers who were working at the house. They paid me for a hotel for the night.
24. Place comes with a diet.
I stayed at an apartment in Garden Grove, California for six days. My room had a serious ant infestation, which my host tried to resolve by applying some strong-smelling stuff to the floor. It did not stop the ants very much, but it gave me a heck of a nosebleed. I was also forced to adopt a vegetarian diet the whole time I was staying there (fair enough, if the host was staying with me, I wouldn’t have had a problem, but she was hardly there apart from when I arrived and when I left). But being frog-marched to the nearest grocery store to stock up on vegetables that I was expected to eat was over the top. My “treat” was a small pack of turkey bacon strips and a Hershey’s chocolate bar (which I hated). I wasn’t even allowed to admire the COLORS of their junk food without being snapped at (I’m from the U.K., and I saw donuts with colored frosting I didn’t even know was possible). Also, I bought my nephews some Oreo-brand snacks to bring home to them while I was there… oh, if looks could kill.
23. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
We stayed at an Airbnb where the owner was out of town for work, so he had a caretaker who tended to us and the owner’s dog. The guy was super sweet to us and made us breakfast every morning with fresh-baked pastries (this was not advertised as something the airbnb offered, so it was a total surprise to us). Then on the last day before we left the owner’s dog was very quietly whining and, right in front of us, the caretaker whacked the poor thing. It was so bizarre, the guy had been so mild mannered the whole time, I actually gasped when it happened. Then he carried on chit-chatting with us like it never happened. The owner came home that night and I felt awkward saying anything but I did send him a note after we left to make him aware. He thanked me for letting him know and left us a nice review. We’d planned to go back there again since the early part of the trip was so wonderful but after that I felt way too weird about it. (I also looked at the listing again a few months ago and it looks like the owner has since gotten a cat and I’m deathly allergic, so no dice).
22. Young Americans.
The worst was the three Americans I had come into the apartment last summer. They got inebriated, came home, and threw a frozen pizza in the oven at the highest temp it could go WITH THE PLASTIC STILL ON IT, which made it melt/burst into flames. They turned the oven off and then threw water on it, and realizing that was a bad idea they then used the fire extinguisher I have for guests. They didn’t say anything until they left and I had the cleaning lady call me and informed me they ruined my oven. I went to Airbnb and complained, showed pics, etc and Airbnb charges their card for a new one (so like 350€.) They tried to claim fraud on the their card for the charge and when the company refused as it was a legit thing, they left a really nasty review saying that it was my fault they ruined my oven because I didn’t inform them it was in celsius and I was discriminating against them for being American, which is garbage, because I’m American.
21. An Airbnb reunion.
A man rented out his mansion for a weekend to a couple on the understanding they wanted to “live in luxury” for a few days. Turns out these 35 year olds decided to have a “high school reunion” at the place and a couple of guys who had some longstanding bad disagreement going on showed up. One of them brought a weapon. Some beefs never go away.
20. More bite than bark.
I was the guest but they had loud dogs that barked every time we left the guest house, so it felt weird. No curtains on the house and the woman was just wandering around by the guest house a lot. Then after we checked out she tried to get money out of me outside of airbnb, asking to “pay the water bill” I reported her and I got all my money back but she left a bad review on my page.
19. It’s not a clown car.
Not really bad, but ridiculous: I rented to a young Scottish couple who seemed really nice/normal over Six Nations last year, when Scotland was playing France away. As I was leaving check in, there was a group of six people waiting outside the building door to be let in. I end up catching a snippet of their conversation and they were talking about waiting to be let up into the building by their friends in the airbnb and asking if they should call to check if the landlord left and they could be buzzed in. The apartment in question is a 37 sqm lofted studio, and they had rented it for two and planned on having eight people there. I had no idea what to do about that because I had just started and was still in the stage of worrying about bad reviews, so I just left without telling them I was their landlord. They ended up not being a problem at all and even left me a present with a thank you note but it was just such a what the heck moment for me. To this day I have no idea where everyone slept.
18. Scam goes wrong.
I had an Airbnb guest try to steal a free night. She originally booked for 1 night and wanted to stay longer – fine – she offers me cash, I say NO. So she books another night on Airbnb. Then she wants to book another, further night and also bring her son. Ok, I say, please amend your booking through Airbnb. So she does – adding her child and swapping the day to the day after leaving one night during her stay unpaid for. So my calendar had a gap in it (after I approved the change without checking) So on the afternoon of the night she has no longer paid for I go to her room to confront her…
She wants to do anything but pay it, she wants to open a dispute with Airbnb – blah blah – I said ‘fine, but it’s a live listing and someone might book it, so hurry up’ I doubt she bothered trying to contact Airbnb and after 2 hours of hearing nothing I submitted an alteration request to her myself. At around 7pm, I asked her if she’s seen the request. No, messages go to her husbands phone… whatever, and she still wants to call Airbnb. I said, ‘Ok please do that now’. Then she goes to floss her teeth. At 9pm I finally confront her fiercely and demand that she accepts my request immediately for that night because I want to go to bed and she’s not staying for free. She told me that ‘wasn’t good for her’ and I said ‘You must do it anyway because according to Airbnb – you aren’t even HERE and that’s not acceptable to ME.
Anyway, she did it… and I didn’t hear another peep out of her and it’s been a week since she checked out. She also did not apologize.
17. False expectations.
I booked a room for three in Montpellier, France. The listing had great reviews, the photos were beautiful, and the host, Jimmy, seemed really friendly (also the price was good for college backpackers).
I arrived with two friends from college late at night, and we spent an hour in the street trying to contact Jimmy. When he answered his phone, he blamed us for being late, even though we had been waiting outside his apartment complex for an hour. Jimmy didn’t look at all like his sweet and unassuming profile picture from Airbnb. He told us to “Be quiet in the hallways” because “the neighbors can’t know you are here.” We walk up 4 flights of stairs and then he tells us to take off our shoes outside. I realize there is a huge pile of shoes stacked in the hallway.
We enter the room we realize there are beds and people everywhere. 15 people to be exact. Jimmy was squeezing 15 guests into his small one bedroom apartment, and he had us remove our shoes because he had placed cots in literally every possible part of the house. It was impossible to walk without stepping on beds, and a lot of these beds were occupied with people trying to sleep.
The bathroom didn’t have a door, only a curtain. Our host obviously realized that this was a negative aspect of his house, so he reassured us that, “If a bad person is sleeping here, and they try to creep on you in the shower, I’ll kick them out.”
One of my friends was a small woman, and this comment definitely freaked her out.
Oh, also, I had to share a bed. The host overbooked, so he put my traveling buddy and I in the same full-sized cot. The sheets obviously had not been washed.
We did our best to book a different hotel room with our phones, but it was after midnight, and every hotel in town was either closed for the night, fully-booked, or expensive (we were college kids traveling on a tight budget). we accepted our fate and decided to leave at the crack of dawn.
I go to brush my teeth, and when I finish I look back at my cot, and the host is kissing a girl on my bed (I don’t know if the girl was a guest or his girlfriend). I awkwardly clear my throat, the host notices, and without acknowledging me he takes this girl by the hand to the vacent cot nearby and continues. My friends and I put all our valuables in our pockets and do our best to ignore the loud kissing happening six feet away.
We slept for 4 hours, then frantically packed and left.
16. Cheerio Robbers
Two college girls ate our Cheerios. It was just weird because they had to riffle through the pantry to find it. They ate the whole box, too. Total nightmare. No Cheerios. I don’t like to think about it.
15. Trying to make rent.
I was a guest at an apartment complex. It was a semi-long term setup (5 weeks). Third day we were there, the tv and internet were shut down due to non-payment. Got that fixed only to have an eviction notice on the door if they failed to pay rent in 3 days… it was a very rough situation. Worked out in the end but I was torn because I felt bad for the couple but I was also upset at being thrown around the entire time.
14. How many is too many?
We offer a room on AirBnB, nothing fancy but it’s a super convenient location and we’ve gone much further with setting up than the ‘spare bed for the night’ price would otherwise justify.
We had someone leave a bad review because there were “too many cushions on the bed”. He was with us three or four nights and not once mentioned this to us despite us chiming in with the typical “Is everything OK?” Every other time we saw him.
To this day I feel that, if we had collectively put our minds together we could have probably worked out a solution for this most horrible of crimes. To make matters worse the professional photos of the room showed the exact same cushions on the bed in nearly two thirds of the shots. With the week or so booking notice he gave us I’m positively certain we could have hammered out a strategy for removing a couple of cushions prior to his arrival.
Not our worst guest by far, but definitely the most absurd.
13. The cleaning fee barely made a dent.
I am a host and had a girl stay with me for about a week. Our house is a duplex, so we Airbnb downstairs and we live upstairs. We have pricing that varies depending on the number of guests who are staying. This guest paid for just herself. Well, she also snuck in her boyfriend and her “housekeeper” with her. No big deal, we let it go. But the “housekeeper” friend managed to park her car on the street, sidewalk, and our front lawn all at once. When we asked her politely if you could move the car as to not obstruct the sidewalk as there are lots of pedestrians around (we live in a moderately sized city), she snapped at me and said she was just cleaning out her car and would move it in five minutes. By cleaning her car she meant throwing away MASSIVE amounts of garbage in our trash bins. Massive like filled-the-back-seat-of-her-car-up-to-the-ceiling.
We heard a lot of fighting through the ceiling/floor. Apparently, the main guest “K.K.” was staying with us because she had just closed on a home and needed somewhere to stay before moving in. She and her boyfriend were having screaming matches about the mortgage payments on the house and they hadn’t even moved into yet.
There were also a lot of crashing and banging sounds coming from downstairs. Well, when her visit was over we went downstairs… there were burns EVERYWHERE. Piles of ashes. A cat litter box (didn’t know she had a cat) in the middle of the living room FILLED to the brim. And puddles of spilled drinks everywhere. Our house smelled like dead animals and rotting food for two months afterward even after we had a cleaning company come through.
I have never had another experience like this in the year since as most of our guests are really lovely people. But wow. The $35 cleaning fee just didn’t cut it.
12. Small girls equal big problems.
I had these three very small girls planning to stay for one night. They arrived and seemed sweet and genuine. They had to have been about 20-23 years old and I assumed I might have a night of celebrating to clean up after when they left. When I went to prep the apartment for the next guest I was horrified to find that the door frame was completely split and the door kind of hung open. These tiny girls some how got locked out and kicked in the door to the apartment. I asked a friend of mine who lives a few apartments down if he heard the noise. He proceeds to tell me one of the girls climbed up to the second floor balcony to try to get in after finding out they were locked out. She was stuck on the balcony and was yelling at her friends below (in the process waking up my friend who was able to tell me the events that unfolded). Eventually someone let her friends into the building (the building requires a key to enter the complex, which they lost) and being locked out did what any “sensible” person would do, they kicked in the door. Remember these girls were all under 5’5 and weighed a combined 300 pounds.
11. Not white anymore.
I rent my furnished basement suite on airbnb. This one guest stayed for a week. He was a very pleasant guy: he hung out with my wife and me on the patio and chatted, he was in IT so we had a lot to talk about, he actually made ME lunch (burgers and a salad) one day (I work from home), but then toward the end of his stay it unraveled. He clogged the toilet downstairs (no big deal), but as water was rising over the toilet seat onto the floor, he began using our nice WHITE towels to mop it up.. I heard some commotion downstairs so I asked if he needed any help. When I learned of the problem I ran a plunger down there to him. As I was walking back upstairs I heard a loud crash! He accidentally knocked the toilet tank lid off the toilet and it crashed into 50 pieces on the floor! To make matters worse, on the day he was leaving town, he took our key and we had a guest coming in the next day.
10. Mirror, mirror on the wall.
Not me but a friend of mine, D, was living in Holland and had a guest staying from a small mountain town in Germany. Anyway the guy was kind of odd, referred to himself as Ragnar, with his long brown ponytail and role played being a viking pretty much the whole stay. First odd thing was when D was woken up in the morning having his toe tickled at the bottom of the bed by the guest, whilst he stared at him blankly to ask where to find something. Then later on D went to the bathroom for his usual morning routine only to find the mirror wasn’t there. The thing is this was a mirror that was screwed into the wall. He knew it could only be “Ragnar” that would know where it is as no one else had been in the apartment. So he goes to the spare room and finds the mirror in there. Turns out “Ragnar” wanted to brush and tie his ponytail and decided to unscrew the mirror from the wall with his handy pocket knife and relocate it to the room he was staying in.
9. This isn’t a retirement home.
We had a guy name K come over. Looked a little older than our usual guests but what the heck, I don’t judge people on age alone. Come time for him to stay over I get a call that he’s outside, I walk out to a taxi, door open, guy slowly walking out of the cab. He puts his feet on the floor and then the cab driver pulls out a walker from the trunk. K waves at me and scoots over slowly to the front door as I grab his heavy heavy bags and boxes of luggage (his stay was for about 5-weeks, but he had a lot of stuff).
First problem: as he approaches the stoop to the front door he realizes he can’t raise his feet up high enough to use the steps. I tell him to just walk up the side where the grass is. He does, steps right into a glop of mud as I help pull him up and and inside the house. Tracked mud all over the floor.
So our room is upstairs normally but we happened to have a bed available downstairs. He never told me about his disability but it was obvious at this point that he needed to stay downstairs. I help him move his stuff in, setup his printer, and pull his plastic sheet over the mattress… Days go by and as I walk by his room everyday a sharp smell starts to build and build. One day when he’s in the bathroom and his door was left open I decided to take a peak. IT SMELLS TERRIBLE. I then notice adult diapers under the bed. At this point I’m thinking “man what have I gotten myself into..”.
Second problem: I get back home one day, it’s K’s 2 week-ish mark and one of my roommates confronts me about having to clean up the bathroom. He said there was mess everywhere. I apologize and think he’s just exaggerating. A couple days later I get home first and and go to the bathroom. My roommate was more than right, there was most definitely mess everywhere. After stepping out for a minute I suit up and scrub that mess clean.
I eventually confronted him about it, it went something like: “Hey K, could you please clean up after yourself a little better in the bathroom? It was very messy last time you used it, I had to clean it up”. He responds along the lines of “Really?! I swear I cleaned up after myself, I can clean it up if you..” blah blah blah. How the heck does a man not know when he’s done it all over the floor?
Time goes on, his groceries are still arriving via courier. Things smell bad as ever, I’ve bought several glade timed sprayer things and hung them all over…
Third problem: I get home, open the door, and as I go to close it I realize it’s a little sticky. I don’t really think anything of it at this point. I walk over to the sink and wash my hands and as I grab the knob I realize it’s covered in peanut butter. I turn around looking for additional clues and find two jars: peanut butter, jelly, each covered in their respective contents. There is some peanut butter all over the floor. I didn’t clean the jars.
At the 2 or 3 weekish point I had contacted airbnb about kicking this guy out but hadn’t heard back. I’m getting a little desperate at this point. At the 4-weekish mark I finally get a call from airbnb. I tell them something along the lines of “I’ve got this old guy here, never told me about his significant disability, he’s relieved himself all over my floor and left peanut butter all over my doorknobs”. The guy had to put me on hold for a while. Eventually he tells me they can get him a hotel or whatever for the duration of his stay. But I’ve put up with him for 4-weeks and he had 1-week left, so I tell the airbnb guy that I may as well just keep him there since they got back to me so late.
Fourth problem: I never mentioned this before, but almost everyday K– is begging whoever is around him to watch his youtube videos. Apparently he was a professor of something or other. I watched some of one and it was boring. Like 13-views. He would always say something like “You have to watch it til the end, you could probably learn something very important..” yada yada. We would always excuse ourselves when he asked if we wanted to watch them. One day it was just too much for him and he blew up at me. “Sorry K– I’ve got to sleep soon”, I said. “YOU”VE SAID THAT EVERYDAY, YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS YOU CAN LEARN SOMETHING, IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT”, he yelled to me. I raised my voice in response: “K– NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEOS, STOP TRYING TO PUSH THEM ONTO PEOPLE…” something along those lines, and then I just walk away.
One of his last nights we have a couple friends over for dinner. He invites himself to the dinner table with a bottle of wine, an olive branch I guess. Cool. We have dinner it goes alright. He leaves, said it was nice staying over, that I should watch his youtube videos, gives me like $20 for cleaning up his messes (which he never admitted to). I say something like “It wasn’t great having you over, you seem like an okay guy, but you need to tell people you’re handicapped and can’t take care of yourself.” “Have a good rest of your life,” he says to me as he hobbles away, and I reply with the same phrase.
Fifth problem: about a day after he leaves I grab a bottle from our little drink area. Sticky. I look at the bottle cap. Peanut butter. I look around at the other bottles, lift up another near empty bottle and look at the neck of the bottle. Peanut butter. At this point I nearly laughed out loud because I felt like I was in a Scooby Doo cartoon putting together clues to find the culprit. After raging for a moment I call him up and ask “Hey, K– did you happen to drink from these without telling me?”. To which he defensively replies, “HOW DARE YOU ACCUSE ME OF STEALING…” Normally I would have had a sliver of doubt about accusing someone of stealing from me but this time I was confident. Anyways, he denies it and I’ve never heard from him since.
In the end, I filed a claim with airbnb, accounting the story, attaching pictures of PB covered jars and bottles and gross toilet areas. I think I got the most that you could without filling out additional paperwork or something. It came to around $400.
Anyway, that’s my most memorable airbnb guest. And now I discriminate a little bit against elderly unfortunately.
8. Guests or trolls?
My SO and I list the spare room in our home every summer on airbnb to make some money and meet cool people. We maintained a 5 star rating and had around 50 perfect reviews before we had our very first nightmare guests. They booked for three nights but after the first one, they left early in the morning and texted asking to meet up to talk about their stay in the afternoon. That was perfectly fine as we assumed since they were old, they were unhappy with the bed they were sleeping on and needed something firmer. When they arrived back at our place, they wasted no time.
The wife immediately started telling me she wanted a full refund of the booking and she was unsatisfied with the mattress she had to sleep on. We let her know we figured as much and would absolutely be refunding her. She decided to reply to our understanding with hostility. She stood in our living room for five minutes crowing about how unhappy she was and how she expected much better. I took the chance to remind her of our 100% perfect reviews and she responded with something like “well that surprises me”. Her husband stood in the doorway the entire time obviously hating his life.
At first, we asked them to leave and she refused. We told her we had zero interest in hearing her opinion of our place and she made it clear she had a lot of interest. We couldn’t get them to leave until we threatened to call the police. They left a horrible review (as did we) and guess who never received a refund.
7. Some like it hot.
I live in NYC in a 1 bedroom unit. I have a floor AC unit that I keep in my bedroom. I had this women coming to NYC for the first time. She was staying for three days while I was upstate hiking. Everything was great until the last night. She called and said the house was very warm and she didn’t think she would be able to sleep that way. So I said just turn the AC on.
I didn’t hear anything back from her until the next morning. She said she could barely get through the night and it was so hot because the AC was broken. So I get home and notice that the AC unit was on and blowing cool air but she had moved the unit close to the bed and detached the exhaust hose so all the warm air was blowing out the back and into the room.
I called her up and had to explain what was wrong and she said she just thought the cool air would be “more cold” than the hot air that was coming out the back.
Lesson: Make sure you leave detailed instructions on everything just in case.
On a good note she still left me a 5 star review so my 5.0 average is intact.
6. Liar, Liar
Our host lied and tried to get my friends and I to pay a $250 cleaning fee, even though we did everything he asked before we left. I declined the payment, reported him to AirBnB, and never contacted him after that. We rented his house for spring break (we’re in college) and did not have anyone else over and kept it tidy, cleaned it pretty well before we left too. I have a feeling he pulls that stuff every time he rents to college students and just pockets the extra cash because most groups are probably afraid of getting in trouble.
5. Is it worth it?
I own a house that has two apartments, an upstairs and downstairs unit. We live upstairs. When my long term tenants moved out I turned the downstairs unit into a vacation rental. 95% of my business comes from Airbnb. I’ve been renting for six months.
A lady stayed over Christmas with her two kids. She spilled jellied grease all over the gas stove top, high enough to clog the igniter, and left it there. Her kids smeared chocolate all over the couch pillow. The place was left a mess. I took pictures and left her a bad review. She started texting me the next day, saying shame on me. I simply replied with the pictures, especially the measuring cup full of the jelly we pulled off the stove. She said “so you want to make sure nobody ever rents to us again over a dirty stove?!!!” I didn’t answer but I mean, yes. Exactly. I wouldn’t rent to you again, so why would I let other hosts find that out?
We had an older lady stay by herself for some kind of quilting event. She came from overseas. She was nice enough. In her review she complained that my space was too big and lonely for one person. She stole a mattress cover. (My friend theorized she had an accident, but the sheets were fine.) But the worst part was she left the gas burner on, not lit. So it filled the place with gas. Luckily in these old Victorians that’s not the end of the world but still. I sent her a message asking about the stove and she said “oh I thought I smelled gas but I didn’t say anything.”
Our check in is at 3pm and our check out is at 10 am. I had a guest stay for one night and complain in his review that “3pm to 10am isn’t a very long time for what we paid” as if check in and out isn’t stated before you booked.
4. The creepy tenant.
So I was roommates with a guy who rents out the third room as an Airbnb and we had quite a bunch of cool people living there like two professional snowboarders, backpackers, couples. They have always been very nice and cool to hang out with as well. But this one guy, something was really off with him. He was an Australian visiting Norway for the first time and we have universal rules in the apartment like you knock on the bedroom door before you enter, common courtesy more or less.
I came home from work, went to my room and it was around 5 p.m. and in the winter, so quite dark outside. I turned on my computer, sat down in my chair and suddenly the Airbnb guy was standing inside my room staring at me with droopy eyes, neck tilted and his mouth open. I turn my head and look at him for a good five seconds before I say “can I help you with something?” The guy, startled by me asking him a simple question, said “I… I heard voices…” At this point, I’m not really sure what to make out of the conversation, so I ask him kindly to leave my room and to knock on the door the next time.
He was just very creepy, like you kind of felt something was waaaay off with him. My roommate worked nights, and he told me after this dude left, that he had come home at 6 in the morning to the guy sitting on our sofa with absolutely no clothing.
It is the only bad experience I’ve had with Airbnb though, and that was not their fault.
3. You’re not the only guest.
I stayed in an Air BnB in Portland years ago with a few friends. I showed up a day before the other girls did, met the owner and received the details of the house, etc.
The owner noted she had a cat named “Poppet” and he would come in and out through a locked door with a cat door on it that led to the basement/outside. I woke up alone the first morning and there was a tiny adorable kitten on the bed that I assumed was Poppet and began to play with it. A few hours later, I was in the kitchen (by the cat food bowl) when I saw another cat, then another, then another, and then one that actually had a name tag reading “Poppet”…. Apparently all the stray cats in the area got free meals from Poppet’s house, and I had been playing with a stray cat that morning.
2. Get a good night’s sleep.
Not a host, but a bad guest. We got to the place at like 1am. My wife lost the key so we were forced to call a locksmith and the had to be deadbolt drilled out. Slept. Bought a new deadbolt that could be keyed to the old key (and guess what my wife found the original key in her pocket the next day). We came back to apartment, with owner there. We had a booking misunderstanding so she was cleaning around our stuff with a broken drilled out lock. Awkward. I walk in, apologize, said the key broke and that we replaced the lock and reprogrammed it to work with original key. Key then got stuck in lock. We left with her calling maintenance.
1. Just waiting for their moment.
My family rented out the bottom floor of our house once, the tenants were completely fine for about five months until we went away for a weekend, then the tenants grabbed a stray cat, and locked it in a bedroom. The cat proceeded to go to the bathroom all over the floor, they also sold my dad’s bike for money, bleached the carpet (but failed so there was a huge white patch with brown spots), stole the second car and left it flipped in a ditch (no damage other than a few dents and scratches, just upside-down in a ditch down the street), and ran off without paying last month’s rent.
And this was all in the span of a four day weekend.