AirBnB resolution center and smoking damage

Mary1211
Level 5
Somerville, MA

AirBnB resolution center and smoking damage

Hi there,

I've had a run of bad luck with a few guests recently who lied and then used my place to hold a rather large party, stolen liquor, damaged furniture, property damage, etc. but one of the more challenging parts was they both smoked (I found butts, roaches, papers, etc in my house and on my property).  They also used lots of air freshener to cover it up, which is even worse (I'm allergic to fragrance). 

 

This left my house pretty unusable until I was able to get a special odor removal people to come in, which leaves my house unusable for 24 hours but does eliminate smoke smell. It also costs 975 dollars (not including needing to find a place for my dogs and I to safely stay during that time).

 

I'm happy to not worry about the latter, but they're claiming the deep cleaning (gum on walls, feces in shower, other super gross stuff) should cover "smoke smell."

It doesn't.

Has anyone else had this problem, or know a way to sufficiently communicate to AirBnB that smoke smell is a pretty meaningful problem in it's own right? 

6 Replies 6
Jim-and-Marcia0
Level 10
Vancouver, WA

The key to making a successful claim with Airbnb is to report the problem immediately, document with photos and also in the message thread conversations with the guest.  Airbnb expects you to seek resolution first with the guest, then through the resolution center. Document what it cost to restore the property with receipts. Not all agents for Airbnb do their job well, so if you get an agent that doesn't provide adequate service and resolution, then call back and get another agent to assist you. Be clear about the damages for which you are seeking compensation. Documentation includes your written account of what happened, photos, and receipts. Stay strong and stay on it until you receive a satisfactory response. Good Luck!

Mary1211
Level 5
Somerville, MA

Yeah fingers crossed with this process. 

 

I'm also considering small claims court as an interesting exercise. 

Jim-and-Marcia0
Level 10
Vancouver, WA

Any other options?

Jim-and-Marcia0
Level 10
Vancouver, WA

Did you report this to the police? It would help your small claims court case if you filed a report first with your local police department. Hopefully the defendent lives or works locally so the process server can find them. Filing a claim through the judicial system is a serious matter, not to be taken lightly and not as just an interesting exercise.  If you are interested in the process, you can go to the court house and observe some cases before trying your hand at your own. Good luck!

Ben551
Level 10
Wellington, New Zealand

@Mary1211  If you are looking to argue the case with Airbnb, you will need to cite some law on the subject. I think you need to look into tenancy law and cases to determine how tobacco smell is treated. Your state has a website you could look at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/local-state-and-federal-laws-related-to-tobacco

 

Health risks

If arguing the law isn’t what you want to get into, then you could simply, Twitter shame Airbnb into taking some action to address the smoke smell issue. The best angle to do this is from a Health perspective. Did you know that there are 70 known cancer-causing agents are in the cigarette smoke that coats a car, a home, and clothing? Walking into a room or sitting in a vehicle that smells like cigarette smoke is an indication that the environment is toxic. These 70 chemicals soak into fabrics and coat surfaces. It is not possible to remove them with regular “extra cleaning”, it requires something a little extra. Without it, all future guests are being put at risk.

 

By not supporting hosts to remove these toxins, are Airbnb saying they don’t care about future guests health? Many states, like New York, have introduced specific law called Clean Air Act to ensure employers and landlords are taking their responsibilities seriously in regard to second hand smoke. Are Airbnb not in support of guest health?

 

See how a case can be made? Here is an article you could quote: https://www.nomoresmokesmell.net/science-cigarette-smoke-smell/

 

This one also gives guidance on how to handle smokers and the clean up:

https://homelet.co.uk/landlord-insurance/landlord-lowdown-blog/article/how-to-identify-smoke-damage-...

 

Rules

I also recommend including a token warning in your rules in future. I have one in mine and, though I don’t expect Airbnb to honour it, it serves as a warning and deterrent. I display my rules framed on the wall as well as in the guest book. Here is what I say about smoking:

 

SMOKING POLICY

No smoking is permitted anywhere inside the property.  If you wish to smoke, please use the garden outside the lower bedroom and close the bedroom door.  Please ensure smoke does not blow into the cottage.  Do not dispose of cigarette ash or stubs in the indoor rubbish bins or in the garden.  An outside ashtray is provided.  We reserve the right to charge a $250 instant penalty, plus extra cleaning fees and cost of future lost business, if the cottage smells of smoke or contains cigarette related litter.

 

Tech

Lastly, you may wish to install a cigarette and marijuana smoke sensor. I’m sure there are others now, but I recall seeing one designed for Landlords and Hotels called AirGuard or Fresh Air.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/airguard-smoke-detector-marijuana-tobacco/

 

 

 

Mary1211
Level 5
Somerville, MA

Thank you Ben! That was really wonderful, I appreciate the time you took to answer my question.

 

I've definitely modified my post a little bit with regards to events.  

 

I'm also figuring I'll probably get some sort of front door camera (doorbell, or set above one, or one in the front hallway that watches people coming/going). 

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