To start this off on a postive note, I like Airbnb and have had some great experiances with it. I've been hosting on Airbnb for the last 2.5 years and maintained Superhost Status since 2nd month hosting.
Two weeks ago, for the first time, I had to ask a guest to pay for damages to my house because they left the toilet in the guest bathroom serverly clogged that required me to make an emergency call to a plumbing service to have it corrected before the next guests arrived. Also they left a deep scratch on the new glass stove top in the house. After looking into how I can repair the stove top I found that it is not repairable and must be replaced. A replacement is a little over $300.
When I reached out to the guests they of course denied everything and said the toilet was working fine while they were there and that someone else must have scratched the stove because they only ate out, didn’t cook anything and had minimal presence in kitchen. Therefore I had to use the resolution center and submitted a picture of the scratched stove (attached), receipts and an explanation of everything. I also use a maid service to clean my home between bookings and was able to document communication with the maid business that confirmed that the maid also witnessed there was no scratch on the stove before the guests reservation.
I submitted a claim to the resolution center to collect the security deposit on my listing (not the host “guarantee”). The guest agreed to pay for the plumbing services but still refused to pay for the stove and suggested I take measures to repair it or find a cheaper option than replacing the stove top. The guest also said that the maid service and myself seeing there was not a scratch on the stove top before they guest arrived was only circumstantial evidence and does not directly prove the guest damaged the stove.
I then just moved forward and involved Airbnb and they quickly resolved it within less than 12 hours providing me the costs for the plumbing which the guest agreed to pay. BUT Airbnb said they will not provide me with the cost of replacing the stove top “due to the fact that we believe your guest was not liable of damaging the stove top, as it is an “Ordinary Wear and Tear” the deterioration in condition of property that occurs under normal use and conditions.”
My question(s) for everyone is:
One of the sections in my house rules:
- MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR: Guest(s) will, at Guest(s) sole expense, keep and maintain the Premises in good, clean and sanitary condition and repair during the term of this Reservation and any renewal thereof. Guest(s) shall be responsible to make all repairs to the Premises, fixtures, appliances and equipment therein that may have been damaged by Guest(s) misuse, waste or neglect, or that of the Guest(s) family, agents or visitors. Guest(s) agrees that no painting will be done on or about the Premises without the prior written consent of Host. Guest(s) shall promptly notify Host of any damage, defect or destruction of the Premises or in the event of the failure of any of the appliances or equipment. Host will use its best efforts to repair or replace any such damaged or defective areas, appliances or equipment.
I have responded to the case manager asking some of these questions to get a better idea how they arrived at their decision (I did not ask for the ruling to be chaged). The case manager of course just responded not answering any my questions and just reinstated with a copy/pasted message that the ruling is final and cannot be overturned.
There are various videos on YouTube about removing scratches from ceramic glass hobs ...you could look at some of those. Also if you google "remove scratches from glass hobs" there are a number of potential remedies..although how successful they are I cannot say...but scratches do seem reasonably common. Having said that your photo looks like there is a deeper scratch than "normal". Someone looks like they cut something on the glass...instead of using a chopping board.
When things are done carelessly,like that, the vast majority of guests don't want to take reponsibility for it...especially if a teenager did it and the parents dont want to do anything about it.
AirBnb I suggest,thinks that some careless accidents are part of normal people behaviour ..I feel embarrassed to be honest having to point out what seem like basic things ...like dont wipe the floor with tea-towels, dont cut direct on the wooden work surfac etc etc....
Yours isnt wear and tear ..it is careless use of a knife...by the looks of it.
Mike thank you so much for your input. The group did include a 14 year old and 18 year old and it did occur to me that it could have been from a knife. It's frusterating as I actually put labels on all the kitchen cabinets/drawers for guest to easily find their way around the kitchen. One of the cabinets clearly has a label on it that says cuttingboard.
Yes. I have notices too and no..some people do not read them.. and I am pretty sure a fair few youngsters " forget" ...which seems to be a good enough reason to not take responsibility...such is life .....good luck with the repair.
AirBnB will not judicate such thing in accordance with your House Rules but their terms and conditions.
Reality is that in most cases they will not seek to collect anything from a security deposit without the Guest agreeing, well that seems how it works in practice.
Ordinary Wear and Tear is a subjective call, but see above, if the Guest had agreed no dout they would have collected.
@David126 thank you for sharing! This is helpful in regards to one of my burning questions regarding house rules. If Airbnb will not uphold a Host's house rules in this case what is the point of having house rules? It makes me feel very exposed/unproteced and wanting to re-evaluate the level(s) of security I actuatly have on my property. I was considering re-wrinting the house rules to state that in all case wear and tear is to be defined as damage(s), in effor to avoid the subjectivness of any future issues that may arise, but that may be pointless?
I am wondering if the only reason I was reimbursed for the toilet objstruction was because the guest agreed...
If the guest had not agreed then seems unlikely, to be honest I have never come across a blocked toilet I could not unblock.
Rules are really there so if someone breaks them then you can terminate their stay, you have justification.
Might scare people who are not aware they are otherwise unenforcable.
@David126 this is actually the first toliet I couldn't unblock. Given more time and taking some time away from my regular job I probably could have gottent the toilet working. But when my next guest is coming the day I need to get the toilet unblocked, I believe it's the approprate time to seek the services of a professional.
I think that most of us who actually care for our property and are careful with other properties, including hotels, cannot understand or relate to those who are not careful and in fact are hard on properties. @Jerret0 since these people are part of dealing with the public, Air BNB sees this as normal wear and tear.
As for rules, Air BNB is only interested in damages, so if no damage, you can use the review system to address whether these guests would be welcomed back. It appears that your rules are related to the long term guest which is actually cover under the tenant/landlord policies. Different animal than the short term rental market.
Let's look at this from the guest perspective. How would you feel if you were unaware of some damage and a host comes to you with a $1000 request? Unfortunately, there are hosts that abuse the security deposit. You wouldn't but others would. That being said, if you want financial control, Air BNB is not your platform.
Hi @Linda108! Thank you for taking a look into this issue. Yes, my rules are somewhat that of a rental contract and yes I agree with taking measures that would protect guests from any hosts that may attempt to take advantage of them.
Where I'm puzzled is that the guests accepted to adhered to rules at the time of booking; they checked the box that they acknowledge the house rules prior to booking/making payment. If a guest is not comfortable with the house rules they are under no obligation to book my listings. I feel it is very wrong that a guest can accept the house rules, break them and not be liable for their actions based how Airbnb chooses to 'subjectively' handel the situation.
@Jerret0 Welcome to the world of dealing with the general public :-/ Yes, people should be held responsible, but a worldwide booking platform with millions of users can't really police it all effectively. In some cases, it's just your word against the guest's and how does airbnb know who's being honest? Reading some of the posts in this forum, guests accept rules all the time and don't follow them (like teenagers saying yeah, yeah, Mom, okay, and then going ahead and doing whatever) and do a lot more damage than a scratched stovetop and a plugged toilet, they actually totally trash the place.
You sound like you've had good experiences up til now, so one bad one, which wasn't really all that bad, in 2.5 years of hosting sounds like par for the course.
@Jerret0 I just had the same thing happen at a unit I have rented out for 3 years. The guest must have ran the teapot dry, which heated up and melted on the ceramic cooktop. I have reached out to the guest who reports that yes it did melt on their watch, but is accusing me of being a "poor shopper" and that I have purchased the wrong teapot for this type of stove. I was respectful and nice in my dealings with him through emails and basically said I would find out how much to repair. I can tell by the "tone" of his responses that he feels it is not his fault and that it is necessary to go through the airbnb resolution steps. I ask for a $200/deposit for this listing. I also have reached out to the appliance store where I purchased the stove. They told me that it will be $236 to replace and $125 for install. I asked the owner if I purchased the wrong teapot for this stovetop and was told no. I also contacted Le Creuset who stated it is safe for ceramic stovetops (they told me that if you heat it up with no water inside it can do this).
I am wondering if I should:
A) ask the guest through the resolution center for the full amount even though it goes over the depost
B) ask for $200 the deposit in the listing, or
C) not bother because this is "normal wear and tear" based upon your experience. My stovetop has more damage, but it is basically the same idea....guests who take no responsibility for their wrecklessness.
@Maria211 You don't need a new stovetop. It's not ruined. All you need to do is use one of those little scrapers that you put a razor blade in that are used to clean paint off the edges of windows. It'll take about 2 minutes to remove whatever is melted on there.
@Sarah977 Thanks for the tip! That was the first thing I tried when I got the call from the cleaning girl and went to check it out. Unfortunately it is a hole melted into the cooktop, because the teapot pulled up the top several layers off of the stove. :-(