Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Newmarket, NH
Level 2
147 Views

We recently rented a renovated barn for 2 nights with our cat. *approved by host. We left the place clean and disposed of the cat litter box waste on our own. Upon checkingout, the host gave us a 5 star review and said we were very tidy. 

While we were there we did note an odor of what smelled like mouse urine, but we figured it was an older place. Note, the entrance to the unit is through the unrenovated section of the barn that is part dirt, old barn boards.  You then go upstairs to the unit. There were also several plug in sonic mouse deterrents in the unit

The subsequent renter arrived a day after us but declined to stay there due to *cat urine smell. 

The host and ABNB resolution ctr says we owe over $800 for lost revenue and extra cleaning. 

Our cat did not urinate anywhere other than his litterbox.  We covered the couch and chair with our own sheets to prevent cat hair....there were no stains or odor on these. The host has a free roaming cat himself.

What can I do now? We don't feel we should have to pay. The host only initiated this claim after the subsequent renter refused to stay. 

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Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Stephanie2346 

 

If the host just sent you a request for payment via the 'resolution centre', that doesn't necessarily mean that Airbnb has been involved at this point. A host can put in a request for payment to the guest and can then escalate it if the guest refuses to pay or ignores the request. So, don't necessarily assume that Airbnb has been part of a decision unless you have been informed of this.

 

Has an Airbnb rep been in touch with you? If it's just a payment request from the host, you can refuse it, giving your reasons etc. They would then need to escalate it, but of course you could try talking to Airbnb first to put across your side of the story.

 

Just bear in mind that Airbnb CS can be a bit hit and miss and you never know which way it's going to go. It often just depends on the rep who is assigned to the case. Some are more sensible/better trained than others.

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11 Replies

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Victoria, Australia
Level 10

@Stephanie2346 if your host allows cats to stay then does not check for such things before hosting another guest then its his /her problem , not yours. H

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Newmarket, NH
Level 2

Thanks Helen. 

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Jersey City, NJ
Level 10

@Stephanie2346   There is almost no chance that Airbnb will charge you if you decline to accept the claim, so if you're being honest, then decline it.  I would also tell the host that you suspect it is mouse urine and explain why.

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Newmarket, NH
Level 2

We did explain that we thought it was mouse urine. We smelled it immediately when we arrived, but did not report it. My mistake as I've learned...always report EVERYTHING. We figured old barn, so opened the windows. The Resolution center has sided with the host, but when I look at the evidence he provided it was a text message feed from the subsequent guest who claimed a smell and canceled the host's  "best guess" on the additional cleaning fee. I'm so confused.  There was no actual damage seen.  I worked in an animal shelter for 20 years so know the difference between cat urine, which is extremely strong, and mouse which had less ammonia. 

What are the chances ABNB bans us or is suspends our account? 

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Stephanie2346 I really have no idea how you determine whether something is mouse urine or not, but the whole thing seems odd if the host told you all was okay and left a good review and then only got upset when the next guest complained. 

 

Simply refuse the request for the payment and, if you need to, cite the reasons you have already given.

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Newmarket, NH
Level 2

Thank you for your reply. I worked at an animal shelter for 20 years which is why I know the difference.  Mouse urine has less ammonia smell, more strong hay like. Cat urine is very strong and has more ammonia.  I remarked upon entering the rental that it smelled like the mouse room at the shelter I used to work at. . 

We put a call into ABNB to hopefully talk to the Resolution ctr. We are very confused by their decision.  There was no actual evidence of damage. Do you think they might change their  ruling if we speak to ABNB directly?

 

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Stephanie2346 

 

If the host just sent you a request for payment via the 'resolution centre', that doesn't necessarily mean that Airbnb has been involved at this point. A host can put in a request for payment to the guest and can then escalate it if the guest refuses to pay or ignores the request. So, don't necessarily assume that Airbnb has been part of a decision unless you have been informed of this.

 

Has an Airbnb rep been in touch with you? If it's just a payment request from the host, you can refuse it, giving your reasons etc. They would then need to escalate it, but of course you could try talking to Airbnb first to put across your side of the story.

 

Just bear in mind that Airbnb CS can be a bit hit and miss and you never know which way it's going to go. It often just depends on the rep who is assigned to the case. Some are more sensible/better trained than others.

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Newmarket, NH
Level 2

Thanks for your feedback. Yes, Airbnb resolution center sent us an email stating that they have sided with the host and we owe $825.  We did reply to that request asking for clarification on what evidence the host had of the apparent damage.  (it does not appear the host has a photo of any damage, just a text feed from the subsequent renter claiming a smell)

I have a call into ABNB in hopes of speaking to someone directly.  Not sure what recourse we have at this point.  Thanks again

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
San Diego, CA
Level 10

@Stephanie2346  Ask for evidence of cat urine. If your cat didn’t pee on anything I don’t see how they can fault you. It could easily be that this barn is not properly ventilated to expel certain smells from certain places. I don’t think that most people would know the difference between mouse and cat urine smell. You should definitely have remarked to the owner in Airbnb messages about any smells as soon as you arrived. At any rate, I agree with what Mark116 wrote you.

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Newmarket, NH
Level 2

Agreed, we should have reported the odd smell when we arrived, but gave the host benefit of the doubt it being an 1800's renovated barn.  

We replied to the ABNB mediator inquiring about what evidence or documentation of cat urine that the host provided, but we have yet to hear anything.  We placed a call to ABNB and spoke to someone and asked to have the Resolution dept call us.  I'm not sure what recourse we have at this point since ABNB has already sided with the host and requested we pay the $825.  It's so disappointing.

Thanks for your thoughts.   

Re: Host claims smell of cat urine

in
Rawai, Thailand
Level 10

Thats the problem with pet friendly places no matter how clean you are you will never get rid of the smell my husband would smell it right away and we would not stay, I guess what guest should do is if they have a phobia about pet smells they should not book a pet friendly place.

My friend has the exact same apartment as me and a tenant sneaked a cat in now she cant get rid of the smell, she will have to get a company that can steam clean everything, Right now she cannot let it out, she is losing money,

We as owners have a No Pet rule, but also the project we are on is also No Pet rules, 

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