Basic requirements or am I asking too much?

Aleksandr312
Level 2
Strasbourg, France

Basic requirements or am I asking too much?

As a guest, I had only positive experience with my airbnb hosts, until the last one.

 

Based on my prior experience, I thought that by default, if I rent out a whole apartment for 2 nights, it will come free of the host's clothing and personal hygiene items and also without semi-consumed quickly perishable foods in the refrigerator.

 

When we arrived, we were very unhappy to find all of that. That is in addition to a very poor check-in experience and lousy bedding (heavily pilled sheets).

 

My girlfriend was especially unhappy with all of this and we had to book a hotel for the 2nd night to get our of this mess.

 

I asked the host for a refund for the 2nd night, but managed only to obtain it through the airbnb's intervention.

 

Am I asking too much or this is not the experience I should have gotten absent agreement to the contrary?

8 Replies 8
Aleksandr312
Level 2
Strasbourg, France

Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Andrew0  thanks for the sleuthing. +1 to your post. My first thought was, "bet the guest didn't read the listing, and it was cheap". If the photos are accurate then you can't complain  @Aleksandr312  you got what you paid for, a budget offering in a good location. Just looking at it, not sure what you were expecting, the photos are taken on the host's phone, so this alone says his attention to detail is lacking. the bed looks less than inviting, the kitchen has a lived in look but otherwise it seems clean. If you want a hotel experience, then book that, but the joys of airbnb is that you get to live like a local. In your case, the local was a person doesn't quite have the same standards of cleanliness, but that's pretty obvious from the listing. 

 

Aleksandr312
Level 2
Strasbourg, France

I was expecting the same basics I had with all of my previous airbnb bookings:

- no pilled bedsheets

- no semi-consumed food in the kitchen

- no host's personal clothing and hygiene items in the drawers

 

I didn't assume I must clarify such basics before I book, now I will know better.

But to be fair, you cannot honestly say you could deduce the above from the photos.

 

The condition of the premises depicted on the photos was otherwise factual and acceptable for me for the price advertised.

Andrew0
Level 10
Berlin, Germany

@Aleksandr312   "Pilled" bedsheets aren't anyone's favorite, but it's not a requirement on Airbnb for the linens to be non-pilled. You're really grasping at straws there.

 

It's also hard to see how the contents of the fridge would have any real effect on your 3-night stay in one of the world's greatest restaurant cities. Could you not move aside the half-bottle of mayonnaise to make room for your Camembert? 

 

Hosts' personal items are going to be in the house when it's the place that they live. Hosts with larger homes tend to separate their clothes and stuff into locked-off rooms or cabinets to clear way for guests, but a small apartment in Paris probably doesn't offer much space for the host to vacate all their belongings to.

 

I totally agree with you that the host should have made it clearer that the home was his primary residence and contained his stuff. But sorry, if your petty quibbles were such a big deal to you that you had to flee to a hotel, you might have to admit to yourself that you're not cut out for budget travel. 

Aleksandr312
Level 2
Strasbourg, France

Dear Andrew, I really appreciate the feedback you gave so far, but please let us leave my budget out of this discussion. 

 

The actual thing is, prior to this incident I dealt only with hosts who were professionally renting out their premises on airbnb and with whom I was on the same page about what basics are.

 

Thanks to the comments here I now understand that I was just lucky and there are also hosts who are unprofessional, don't care abouth such disgusting things as semi-consumed perishables in the fridge and such.

 

I will therefore pay more attention to the descriptions and hosts on this platform in the future.

Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Aleksandr312 

 

As @Andrew0 explained, there is no standard airbnb set up. The whole concept started with the idea of renting out an airbed on your living room floor, hence the name 'Airbnb'. Today, an airbnb could be a castle or it could be a caravan. Some listings are luxury, some are budget. Some hosts provide welcome baskets full of fancy goods and some hosts don't even supply toilet paper. So, what you consider 'basics' based on your previous experience, others might not.

 

The thing is, if something is not promised on the listing, e.g. the host's belongings not being there, then I don't think it's a genuine complaint. I'm really surprised you got a refund based on the three things you mentioned above. I would not have high expectations at all if I booked this listing.

 

Sure, the host could be a bit clearer about the set up, e.g. specify that his belongings are there. I don't know if he changed it after his experience with you, but the listing does say that the apartment is lived in full time, so I wouldn't expect it to be empty of the host's belongings.

 

There used to be a section host's could fill in when creating a listing that specified whether the host's belongings were also shared there, but it seems to have disappeared from the settings, which is a shame, as that's quite useful information for guests.

Fred13
Level 10
Placencia, Belize

@Aleksandr312You are not asking too much, but perhaps you stumbled on a listing run by a rookie, brand new to the game. If not that, is a very sloppy host.

Andrew0
Level 10
Berlin, Germany

@Aleksandr312  With Airbnb rentals, there is no such thing as default - by their nature, they're not standardized like hotels, and the only thing resembling quality control is guests' reviews. Some entire-home listings are full-time vacation rentals (which is deeply problematic in overtouristed cities with major housing shortages like Paris), but many others are the host's primary residence and only let to guests occasionally when they're away - which naturally means it will contain some personal belongings. You don't always know which one you're getting, though the number of reviews and the photos give you some clues.

 

The listing you booked was just 3 months old, had only 9 reviews before yours, and the photos clearly showed some personal items and perishable food in the flat. They also showed close-ups of some very basic and worn-out furniture and bedding. There's no photo of any dedicated clothes storage for guests (which is definitely preferable, but not required).  I can see why you chose the flat anyway - it's an extremely popular location at a very low price for Paris. But you can't honestly say you were surprised by your experience if you'd actually paid one minute's attention to the listing.

 

There's a lot that the host could have done better here, starting with writing more detailed descriptions of the home setup.  And if he were serious about hospitality, of course he would have cleared perishables from the fridge, set up somewhere for guests to store clothes, and invested in better linens. But then again, in that location you can rent out an absolute hovel and people will still book it, so there's little incentive for this amateur host to step up his game.

 

In short, I don't think you're asking too much from accommodation in general, but you have to get better at finding places that are up to your standards and budgeting accordingly. 

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