Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Hagerstown, MD
Level 3
1,795 Views

We hosted the guests from hell who totally trashed our house, stole things, and broke every rule including having a party. We documented everything they did and got a cleaning quote for a deep clean, and submitted it on the last day possible because it took that long to get everything together and airbnb took 3 days to get back to me and said it was outside of the claim date when their poor customer service took that many days to respond. We took our listing down for many months as we were so mad but eventually put it up with some new protections of our own in place that airbnb does not give you tips for because they only care about making money.

 

Here’s what we did that has really helped not getting those awful guests and has worked for us in the last year -

Raised our prices

Raised our minimum stay

Lowered our maximum guests

Charge $10 pp for guests over 4

Turned off auto book and decline shady inquiries

Install a front door camera so you can see if extra people outside of the reservation are coming

Left a notice about $250 cleaning fee for leaving it in a poor condition

DECLINE ALL LOCAL GUESTS (these have been everything from prostitutes, drug dealers, and people looking for a place to party) 

And most importantly, check the condition immediately after the guest checks out and start a claim right away.

 

Air bnb doesn’t care it takes time to notice things are missing or find new damage, they care about themselves and making money, not you as a host or your place.

 

25 Replies

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Arkansas, United States
Level 10

@Heather1338 

 

Those are all excellent suggestions and should be provided to all new hosts as well as anyone who is encountering problem guests.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

Level 4

Maybe @Catherine-Powell might like to chime in, as she is head of hosting ...


Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Dave1074  Haha. I can't think of one positive change for hosts since her hiring was announced. She's even stopped putting out those feel-good videos full of promises that never materialized.  I wonder what she gets paid for? 

I think Airbnb just came up with "Head of Hosting" title to try to make us think someone cares. Such a joke.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Dave1074 Sadly @Catherine-Powell doesn't even reply to posts in the threads she starts so there is no chance of her responding here. It is a shame really as her threads don't generate more than a dozen or so replies these days which suggests she has become an expensive PR irrelevance.

Talking about irrelevances - It must be close to the HAB's first birthday. I wonder if they will post their achievements over the last year.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Placencia, Belize
Level 10

@Heather1338 All those suggestions and many more you could have gathered here by reading this forum anytime the last 5 years. They been covered here over and over. All of them suggest - take personal responsibility for your place.

 

While here, your statement - "And most importantly, check the condition immediately after the guest checks out and start a claim right away." is true, but perhaps needs an additional sentence to it: "Do everything in your power to not start a claim in the first place, unless you enjoy being frustrated." Meaning do not rely on the Host Guarantee option, and remove what may cause a reason for a claim in your listing. In essence - keep it all very simple and bulletproof with Airbnb.

 

And this one: "Left a notice about $250 cleaning fee for leaving it in a poor condition. " This one may spook potential guests and it is hard to enforce (and collect) anyway, because 'poor condition' is subject to interpretation and may cause ax-battles with reviews.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

One of the best solutions ( if/when the prevention fails) was posted here by one very experienced host, she said: My gas and electricity valves and meters are outside the house and I can turn them off.

We too... + wifi router is also out of their reach 🙂

 

 

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Heather1338 we are in the same basic region and I understand your pain about bad guests. We have had some really terrible ones. However when I look at the profile that may have been the partier, all I see is a very short review mentioning that they were a bit messy. Maybe this wasn't the person? If it was, consider that you might want to leave more honest reviews. That is the only way other hosts can avoid the terrible guests who are floating around. 

 

I would humbly suggest that since you only have 2 beds your guest count should be 4. We have the same set up-- 2 bedrooms-- and constantly have requests for more than 4. We have further limited our counts to 4 living beings which means if someone stays with 2 dogs there can only be 2 people, 3 people can stay with one pet, etc. We do not charge for pets and our cleaning fee is very low--we feel its only fair to count any living creature that could require extra clean up or potential damage. Nonetheless we ALWAYS have people asking or begging for an extra couple, an extra person, small kids, all of the above, etc. And we have guests who routinely arrive with more people than booked.  I would strongly considering lowering it to the number of adults who can comfortably sleep in your actual beds.  We are currently considering taking one of the bedrooms off of the listing and just renting to couples and singles. 

 

Also, if you are charging an extra guest fee over so many, I would take out the 'no extra fees' in your title as it could be confusing. If you are on instant book, make sure your filters are set to "recommended by other hosts" and "must have verified ID" etc. This seems to weed out some of the local guests looking to destroy a house that isn't theirs. 

 

Your place is really cute! I am sorry you have had poor guests. It really does take a long time to recover from a particularly bad experience so I am glad you had the chance to take some time off. 

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

I was very sorry to read about the situation you described, @Heather1338. I have now contacted CS and provided the information from your post. I will update you with a Direct Message here on the CC when they get back to me.

 

Thank you


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Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Placencia, Belize
Level 10

Good catch on the odd 6 guests / 2 bedrooms / 4 bed combination.  There is a huge difference between 4 and 6 guests and the option to allow 6 should be reserved when dealing with families with small children.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
New Jersey, United States
Level 1

Air bnb host guarantee is an absolute joke I had my first incident where a guest stole things trashed my home and flooded my toilet with paper towels which caused severe water damage  it was the most horrible customer service experience ever they didn’t give a **bleep** they kept reading scripts to me I could get anyone that actually spoke English they didn’t send anyone out to come review the damage everyone kept reading the same script to me we are sorry you didn’t get the outcome you were looking for ... total BS!  If you ever thought the host guarantee gave you a sense of security think again  be very selective of who you invite! Use other platforms 

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Symone11 so sorry to hear this happened. I do notice that you have a large, lovely home with 12 guest capacity, and that you don't address parties and events not being allowed. I think making those things VERY clear in your house rules, screening all large groups, listing consequences for this happening (will they be fined? Guests who show up with more people than reserved turned away? etc) and just fleshing out your listing a bit may help. It may even be useful to cut down on the number of guests allowed while keeping your pricing the same. Higher cost per night typically equals a much better quality of guest. But yes, there are other platforms. Good luck!

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Symone11  "they didn’t send anyone out to come review the damage"

 

I'm not sure where you got the idea that Airbnb has field agents they send to expect damage. They most certainly don't.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
D.C., DC
Level 2

My experience with Airbnb exactly (in February and March of 2021), but thankfully only with a guest that was seeking excuses for requesting (and easily getting) a full refund, and not a guest that damaged my place. Airbnb was quick to refund the guest, and just kept reading me the same script over and over again. It was only after spending about 20 hours on zillions of phone calls that I finally got someone at Airbnb that took the time to listen to me and credited me back the rental income.  Frankly, if there was an equal competitor I would have switched hosting sites from Airbnb in a New York minute. But alas, Airbnb has no serious competition (that I know of) so am still here out of necessity, not choice.

Re: Airbnb does not protect you from damage or awful guests - Here’s what to do to protect yourself

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

Sorry to hear of your experience.

 

However Airbnb is not an insurance company . They don't send out lost adjusters . Their process for claiming under the guarantee is laid out in the Airbnb Help Centre .

 

it helps to remember the guarantee they offer is limited and you should always have your own home insurance for STR to cover the many areas not covered by Airbnb's guarantee @Symone11 

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