I have stayed in an air bnb for the week. It hasn’t met expectations in terms of safety (with children) and cleanliness. I have drafted an email to the host for when we leave. However she has just sent a message telling us to ‘leave the place as we found it’ and where to find the hoover and cleaning products. We paid £3000 for the property including service and a cleaning fee of £150. We were intending on leaving the place tidy but surely we can’t be expected to clean it (for reference it’s a 5 bed house!)
You should leave the place tidy and clean up any real messes, e.g. if you have spilt something or the kids have made a real mess anywhere.
However, I am in agreement that you should not be fully cleaning and vacuuming a place, especially when you have paid a cleaning fee. A lot of hosts argue that the cleaning fee is for cleaning the place before you arrive, doing the laundry etc. Okay, far enough but then surely that would mean the next guests are paying for them to clean it after you leave?
I have never got this pay a cleaning fee but clean the place yourselves too.
Also, it is very common for hosts to ask guests to do certain things on check out, such as strip bedding and put out trash etc. (the latter may be purely for hygiene reasons if they are not going straight in to clean the place, especially these days when you need to leave a safety gap before sending in cleaners). However, I would not expect the check out procedure to include stuff like vacuuming unless, like I said, you made some unexpected mess, like dropping Cheerios all over the floor!
I agree with @Huma0. We have a cleaning fee, and it is to ensure that the place is properly cleaned and prepared for the guests arrival. We do not provide any cleaning service during the guest's stay, and they are expected to tidy up after themselves, such as wiping up spills, and sweeping up dropped food/items. At checkout we ask our guests to dispose of open food, and take out the trash. We wait at least 24 hours after checkout before entering the space to clean or grant access to the cleaners. Your host is being unreasonable, because relying upon another guest's level of cleaning is a good way to open up herself to future negative comments/reviews, and even possibly be liable in some circumstances.
You should have contacted the host immediately with your concerns. You did a disservice to yourself to wait until checkout to bring up problems, because the host could have provided a remedy that would have probably made your stay more enjoyable.
This is another lesson learned that will be helpful in the future.
@Lisa5515 Generally speaking, at an Airbnb, whether there is a cleaning fee or not (you need to understand that even if there isn't a separate cleaning fee listed, just as with a hotel, the cleaning costs will be built into the nightly price), what guests are expected to do is to clean up their own personal messes.
So, washing all your dirty dishes, wiping down greasy kitchen countertops and stovetops, making sure all garbage is in the bin, not strewn around, and if you have children who you allow to eat anywhere other than the dining table, making sure there aren't bits of food or crumbs in the carpets or furniture (which a vacuum cleaner would come in handy for) or sticky little hand prints all over.
If there are smelly things in the garbage, like strong-smelling food, or used diapers, you should tie the garbage bag up tight and put it out wherever the garbage goes. Many hosts are leaving at least 24 hours between bookings now due to COVID, so the house could get quite stinky if these things were left in an open garbage bag inside, and food left out, or crumbs in the carpet could attract ants and other insects or even rodents before the real cleaning gets done.
Heavy duty cleaning- thoroughly vacuuming the entire house, washing floors, sterilizing the bathroom and other high-touch surfaces, dusting everything, checking for cobwebs, checking to make sure the dishes were washed well and rewashing if necessary, doing all the laundry, etc, etc. is cleaning that hosts or their cleaners would do.
There are indeed some hosts who use that phrase "Leave it as you found it", but I feel that's not a good phrase- obviously the house is going to seem lived-in after guests leave, and any host who expects guests to leave it clean enough for a new guest to check in is being ridiculous.
If a host expects guests to do heavy duty cleaning, they need to make that clear in their listing information, not just spring it on guests after they arrive. Then the guest has the option to simply not book that place.
@Lisa5515 I agree with all the advice above, but do be sure to take another look at the listing and the House Rules as they appear on your booking confirmation email. If they contain any instructions regarding cleaning, you are contractually obliged to follow those.
I'm a host that asks people to leave the apartment the way they found it. I don't expect them to do deep cleaning. I do expect the dishes to be washed and put away (or run the dishwasher), clean up crumbs on the carpet, etc. We strip the beds and do the laundry and then thoroughly clean.
I suspect your host has had guests that left the apartment messy. I once had a guest that even left food on the counter, and in pots on the stove. Fridge filled with half-eaten food. And debris everywhere. We only charge $50 cleaning fee to pay for the help with the laundy. I was livid.
So take her instructions with a grain of salt.
Put the dishes away, tidy up any messes. That's usually what it means (although I did stay at one place as a guest that asked us to strip our beds which I was happy to do).
So if it wasn't perfect, no worries. Just return it the way you got it.
I agree with the advice of the other hosts, but if you felt the place wasn't clean or safe, why did you not contact your host when you arrived? Sending and email when you check out won't have helped you enjoy your stay and it didn't give the host any chance to address your issues, which is a bit unfair on your part.
If the listing 'hasn’t met expectations in terms of safety (with children) and cleanliness.' why didn't you flag this with the host within 24 hours of arrival, as it suggests on your booking confirmation so the host had an opportunity to address any issues. You could have pointed out to her/him in what way the listing was not as described in terms of cleanliness/safety.
@Lisa5515 I suggest you take pictures of the house when you leave. If the host expects anything other than tidy then this will help with any claims they may make.
If the place truly was unclean when you moved in its too late to complain now but it may indicate that the host leaves cleaning to the previous guest which isn't good enough even for the tidiest of guests.