Does Airbnb have any responsibility for host safety?

Lesley439
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Does Airbnb have any responsibility for host safety?

Im concerned about yet another safety issue in which I have had an aggressive guest.   The guest in question booked for 31 days and was verified both by Airbnb and myself.

 

When he arrived an Airbnb guest  on the same floor complained that the guest played music on loop all night.   I had a word but the reaction was aggressive and defensive although he agreed to wear headphones in future.     

 

The guest did not go out except to buy food locally, the rest of the time he cooked, made tea/coffee, drank beer and was constantly using the loo.   He constantly paced the floor of his room which caused a nuisance as this interrupted my work on the floor below.   I tried getting up  to work late at night but he was still up drinking.   it was observed that he never opened the curtains to his room including during the day.

 

He became increasingly aggressive including knocking on the doors of other guests to accuse them when I complained about the pacing and late night phone calls.    At one point a guest was so alarmed for my safety he offered to call the police.   The cause of his aggression to me is his view the room rent was too high and he couldnt get a job.   On the day of departure the guest refused to leave until 1 hour after the latest check out time.  i h..ad to get a workman to knock on his door as when i asked why he hadnt left he said he could go when he liked.    I put in a request for a late check out with Airbnb however they replied that a guest has to elect for a late check out and refuse.   How does this stop him doing the same to other hosts especially as I had arranged cleaners who were not prepared to wait.

 

He left leaving an unclean room (he wouldnt allow anyone into the room to clean) and dumped rubbish.   When I recycled these it was clear he was taking medicine for sleep deprivation that shouldnt be used with drink.   This explained a lot and made me realise even more the danger of such a volatile man.

 

Ive asked Airbnb to take action but instead they called the guest and told me he denied all accusations.  They ignored an email from the Airbnb guest who was forced to leave, my testimony (supported by friends and workmen in the house) and also another Airbnb guest who had offered to call the police.    

 

I was forced to put up with a dangerous and volatile guest in the house as knew I would get no help from Airbnb.   This proved to be the case and this guest an now book another Airbnb and do the same.  

 

I have a listing policy to iD all guests before arrival but this does not stop them arriving and clearly having problems with sleep, alcohol or mental health issues.   Ive had guest sneak others into the house or turning up with extra people when they booked as a single.   

 

Having had 31 days of a very unpleasant experience Ive decided to remove my listings so I can get my  sanity back

9 Replies 9
Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Hi @Lesley439 

 

It's particularly difficult for homeshare hosts when we have difficult guests as they share our home.

 

However I think there are a number of areas, where you could tighten up on your processes to minimum the risk of this happening again.

 

1. If you are accepting bookings from long stay guests be clear about the purpose of their stay to make sure they are a good fit (or don't accept longer term bookings if it doesn't fit with your household)

 

2. If the guest booked a room with a single bed, then I am not sure why you made an existing guest with a bigger bed swop with him. Surely it was clear by the photos of your new listing and your description that it was a single bed????

 

3. All Airbnb can do is cancel the booking. It's up to you as the business owner to enforce your house rules, make sure your guests don't upset other guests with their behaviour and to evict a problem guest once their booking is cancelled by Airbnb.

 

4. If the guest is breaking your house rules by not allowing access to clean his room/being loud late at night outside of your house rules. You give him one warning and then ask Airbnb to cancel the booking so you can evict the guest. You don't allow the guest to continue to break your house rules and upset your other guests and yourself.

 

5. Closing the listing doesn't stop the guests review being seen. I can see it on your reviews. 

 

I'm not clear from your posts here when you actually asked Airbnb to intervene but it appears that it wasn't until the end of the guests stay. I'm sure this was a horrible experience but you can learn from this.

 

1. Review your house rules around guest behaviour in your home

2. If guests keeping breaking house rules record all communication on Airbnb and insist they cancel the booking ASAP. 

3. Have a system in place for evicting guests. I have friends on hand who can come over to help in these situations and also have details of a security firm I can use in worse case scenarios.

 

 

Kia272
Level 10
Takoma Park, MD

@Lesley439 It's your house. If somebody is in your house and making you feel uncomfortable, you make them leave. It's not complicated. 

 

I'm not sure what you expected AirBnB to do? You can notify them of the situation, and you can cancel. You can cancel without AirBnB "approval" if necessary. You call the police for assistance if the guest won't leave. 

 

Your first mistake was allowing the guest to manipulate you into giving him a different room than the one he booked, and actually asking the other guest to move. Actually, the first mistake was the discount on top of the long-term discount. 

 

So many issues here, including your allowing him to disturb other guests, and basically that you allowed his behavior long past the point when you should have asked him to leave. 

 

I don't understand when hosts go all helpless in the face of really bad guest behavior. Your safety and comfort in your own home are fundamental, and non-payment/refund/bad review become so unimportant in this situation. 

 

I think you need to rethink how to handle allowing strangers into your home, because that's what you are essentially doing. Better standards for vetting guests (AirBnB is NOT doing a sufficient job of that) on your end, as well as firm standards as to guest behavior in your home. 

Good luck. 

Lesley439
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

You will find the police will not ask a guest to leave.   This is a civil matter and they need to witness aggression.    They have little sympathy for Airbnb hosts due to risk.   I had a guest bring a sick baby into the house unfortunately the baby disturbed others.   Airbnb did nothing but ask for an extra guest fee.     If you ask the guest to go without Airbnb approval then you have cancelled.      Ive had plenty of instances where the guest brings another guest or isnt who booked.     Like others Im doing this for money how can I risk having a month where i cant book others and get fined.

 

Who manipulated who?   Airbnb automatically apply 25% discount on new listings.  They dont state this is on top of other discounts.    I could not find out how to remove.   There should be more warnings etc.     Airbnb also highly fine if you dont specify every little thing on the listing.   I have photos of many rooms to allow flexibility however I forgot to add this one.   In my defence I did say it is a single bed in a huge room on the listing.   The guest knew the power of complaining to Airbnb so it was a real threat.    He didnt even ask to see the room.    This guest was ill and unreasonable  - how is that my fault?   The host has to experience bad behavior to get a guest to leave and if they dont they are stuck.

 

Yes I was very concerned about the guest who left and compensated them.   This is a big house and i had no idea the guest in question was up all night and played  " lift music " on repeat until his first 2 nights.  However I then asked the problem guest to wear earphones.     His aggression was directed at me only and I compensated for his lack of consideration to others by cleaning constantly   (this is a man who peed on the toilet seat and floor and wouldnt use a toilet brush), replacing masses of toilet paper etc.    I repeat the guest would not leave and didnt even on the last day when I had to get a workman to intercede as he ignored me. 

 

The guest was clearly ill (confirmed by his medication) and experiencing sleeplessness,  problems with day light and drinking.    My only respite was to ask him to go out occasionally and his retort was he didnt have to according to Airbnb rules.    In the booking he states he is job hunting and would be going out to work each day however he didnt get a job.   He kept citing the room rate (inc Airbnb fee without discount) and stating he could do what he liked in the premises.

 

Its too late for me and Ive really suffered because I know from experience Airbnb is too slow, the agents too inexperienced and not on our time zone and contradict each other etc but now am double punished by review.   This confirmed my experiences so far.   The review (checked and escalated) allowed the guest to say i am a liar and a cheat.   He gives no examples except the cost of the washing machine  (listed as chargeable ) and that i asked him to go out.  

 

Airbnb do not vet guests,   I do by asking for ID something i got fined for as wasnt on my listing despite the fact the guest did supply ID when Airbnb asked.  Even though Airbnb helped me by asking for ID I was fined for asking for something not on the listing and the guest was given a host cancelled even though airbnb didnt inform me for 2 days after checkin.   Lesson learned by loss of a large amount of revenue in peak season  plus the effort to fight and lose.   I now ask for iD before arrival a part of booking policy and do get refusals.    The police are not interested.   Airbnb hosts are civil law only and not covered under domestic abuse.   

 

Airbnbs service is poor and not even on the same time zone.   im fed up of calls at 2am and cases being closed after 1 hour or left for weeks   There is little consistency between agents and the rules are are far from clear.    

 

The real issue is he is out there and i wish to stop another host having the same experience and perhaps worse.     

 

 

Kia272
Level 10
Takoma Park, MD

@Lesley439  You still don't seem to understand, based on your statement above:

 

"If you ask the guest to go without Airbnb approval then you have cancelled.      Ive had plenty of instances where the guest brings another guest or isnt who booked.     Like others Im doing this for money how can I risk having a month where i cant book others and get fined."

 

The above basically says that you're willing to sacrifice your safety and the comfort of your own home for money. 

 

Your safety is more important than any cancellation fee or bad review. Until you realize that and change your hosting practices, you are at risk. 

 

I repeat: If you feel unsafe due to a guest's behavior in your own home, it is up to you to act. It's not up to AirBnB, and waiting for their "approval" will not help in any way. 

 

I'm not from the UK, but I imagine that the police will remove someone that you have asked to leave your home and they've refused. The police should not need to witness aggressive behavior to remove a trespasser, because that's what a guest is when you've terminated their stay. 

 

You are in charge of your property. AirBnB is not. 

Lesley439
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

the call the police wasnt from you.   I did not contact Airbnb until after he left mainly because he constantly told me he was contacting Airbnb and expected to hear from them and also because a guest left early as the the nightly pacing and moving on loop routine had led them to leave early.

 

I remain totally  mystified by Airbnb's which is another disincentive for getting in touch.   Until he left.   Bear in mind he would not go willingly.   I have left an honest review.   However this guest was new to Airbnb so wouldnt have a history.   I also made a complaint.  

 

The guest is not Nicholas but Tait Ming.   He booked my new room with a single bed by accepting a 25% discount as well as the long term discount.   He rang me the night before entry to  say there was no clear picture  of the room so he wanted one of the others pictured with a double bed.  He then said if I didnt he would report me to airbnb   I then swapped the rooms with a long termer who has been enjoying the new room since.    The guest continued to complain about the room rate (taking the full Airbnb amount) at every opportunity.   He was blunt and extremely rude.

 

 

 Ive had to close my listings so his review cant be seen.   I have high security gov clients including the police  and a position of trust in the community so accusations of being "dishonest",  "cheat" and a "liar" cause massive reputational damage.   He doesnt substantiate any of these except to say the washing machine was chargeable (it is as listed) so i cant see how this is dishonest.   I asked Airbnb to review it before posted and they upheld.   I have now seen it and reminded them that there are serious penalties for enabling internet trolls.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom


@Lesley439 wrote:

 

He became increasingly aggressive including knocking on the doors of other guests to accuse them when I complained about the pacing and late night phone calls.    

 

 


@Lesley439 This is the point at which I would have terminated the stay, i.e. told the guest that it was not working out, for the reasons you have given above, and that you will refund him the remaining nights but that you could not host him anymore.

 

At what point did you contact Airbnb for help? It's not clear from your post as, on the one hand, you only mention contacting Airbnb after the guest checked out and in regards to the late check out fee. On the other, you mention you were stuck with the guest because Airbnb would not help?

Lesley439
Level 2
London, United Kingdom

Its easy to say call the police.  I have done in the past.   They can do little but warn the guest.  They actually have to witness the aggression.  Airbnb did not respond until several days later and did nothing.  If Airbnb do not act evidence from guests and myself why should the police.   The police attitude is why take the risk of a stranger in your home.   Im now tending to agree with them as  I  can do due diligence on a direct long term guest such as referencing.  

 

A cancellation also depends on the guest - he would not agree to leave as he wouldnt on his last day until I got a workman at the house to intervene.     My concern is that I have notified Airbnb and they have done nothing so he is free to book other Airbnb's and  make the lives of other Airbnb guests and hosts difficult because he is ill.    He has of course left a revenge review.    

 

 

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Lesley439 

 

I never said call the police. You are confusing me with someone else. I asked you at what point did you contact Airbnb for help, as it's not clear from your original post. I'm still not clear on that.  You said the guest would not agree to leave a he checked out late, but did you actually ask him to leave before then? Did you involve Airbnb while he was staying or only after?

 

If not, then your concern is now only about preventing this guest from booking other Airbnbs? That is what the review process is for. You should leave an honest review and low ratings and click 'would not host again'.

 

So, is this Nicholas that we are talking about? I can't see any 'revenge reviews' on your profile.

Gwen386
Level 10
Lusby, MD

@Lesley439  When a situation becomes dangerouse and volatile, your immediate response should be to call the police!

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