We are brand new hosts. Just started with Airbnb on Sept 4. Already have completed stays for 9 guests and another 5 booked for upcoming dates. Over 50 nights total So far.
Our SECOND guest ever damaged our kitchen island by burning a hole in it with a spilled HOOKAH Coal. (Repair estimate $750) Guest admitted to damage. Guest even sent email confirming damage. We had our 3rd guest checking in just hours after this guest checked out, and we spent the ENTIRE time between the two cleaning, doing laundry, and resetting the apartment for the next guest.
When we were able to make the call to Airbnb to report the damage their email reply denied our claim in its entirety due to the "technicality" that we did not report the damage before the next guest checked in (just hours after the previous guest checked out). Since we were brand new hosts we were unaware that this was such a hard and fast rule, and since we have an email from the guest owning up to the damage, we did not think it would be an issue. Boy were we wrong.
I strongly suspect that if Airbnb will treat a BRAND NEW host this way, that they will do it to anyone and everyone. Waiting to hear back from an escalation manager, but I suspect we will need to have our corporate counsel deal with this issue.
Really cannot believe that is how they treat their hosts, particularly brand new ones.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?
Sadly like many new (and not so new) hosts you have been taken in by the airbnb dream of it being easy to list your STR and haven’t necessarily familiarised yourself with the nuts and bolts around how Airbnb works before starting on your Airbnb journey. @Jay1435
Airbnb does say when you look on its website and on the Airbnb Help website that you need to start off your claim before the next guest has checked in.
unfortunately if you don’t follow their terms they won’t consider your claim.
will your home insurance for STRs cover this damage?
@Jay1435 Sad to say, these boards are choc-a-bloc with folk who have had a similar experience. (Not me, I've never needed to claim.) Type "host guarantee" & related buzzwords into the search & you will see.... 😞
@Jay1435 Airbnb DO make it very clear in the HG the protocol hosts are to follow if they want to make a claim. It's unfortunate you didn't familiarize yourself with it, but it is all there for anyone to see.
@Jay1435 If the guest is so gung-ho on being cooperative about it, why don't you put the claim through to the guest in a resolution? Go to the reservation and click Send or Request Money. Of course, this request would have to be categorized as a "non-security deposit related issue" to qualify. If it's a security deposit related issue, you have to ask before the next guest checks out.
How is this a non-security deposit related issue, you might ask? No security deposit is actually taken from the guest or held by Airbnb, so it is in that sense a non-security deposit related issue. More to the point, however, to make this work I think you would need to run it by the guest first, and ask if they'd be willing to help you out with this. If they are, Airbnb doesn't need to become involved and can't stop the transaction from occurring on the security-deposit-issue grounds.
I've been shafted many time by Airbnb, especially when the place is trashed, they're an hour late to check out even though I'm there at 11am sharp, and they're taking their sweet, sweet time. So that 4 hours of cleaning leaves me with 3. And it takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to clean. I take photos, start filming for my claim. Sometimes you don't catch everything because it's so disgustingly bad. Next thing you know it's 245pm and the next guest check-in is 15 minutes away. I haven't even gotten home yet, how do I find time to sit on my computer and spend almost 2 hours meticulously filling out each line item.
So either I set a later check-in time or I don't host same-day turnovers. You just can't win. I suppose it begs the question: how do hosts and feel about a 4pm check-in vs a 3pm check-in?
You don’t as you know have to fill in full claim details to make the initial report @William810 . You just need to get on the phone while you are at the listing and start off the claim by contacting the guest about the damage with a summary.
@Jay1435 Welcome to the Host Guarantee 'jungle'. Good luck with your claim. In actuality, as you already surmised...
The whole 'Host Guarantee' program is absurd, it defies logic on many levels. It is like a scam that everyone is 'pretending' its real, for different reasons.
1. Airbnb must have thought it was a grand idea originally because it made them look 'better' than its competitors at first, yet no other platform offers it to date.
2. Causes hosts to lower their guard because it gives them the false feeling it is a 'free' home insurance.
3. It is a nightmare to collect from. Must be the #1 reason of discontent between Airbnb & its hosts.
4. It may also give impetus eventually to cause host fees to rise, higher than the existing 3%.
5. It probably prevents a better system to ever replace it - like a true deposit system.
6. It also causes many listings that should not even be STRs (too high-risk) and even be on Airbnb; I.E. very expensive delicate homes or listings offering a super-low price/high-guest number combination (party favorites). Without the HG how many of these type of listings will dare offer STRs?
7. It is usually the source of awful bad anti-Airbnb press, the 'nightmare' sensational stories which the media relishes.
It must be economically worth it or it continues because of sheer stupidity, or a combination of both. The minute Airbnb becomes a true public company (meaning when shareholders will have a say) it will be dropped instantly.
@Jay1435 I had a similar experience early in hosting with damage (though not as pricey to repair.) Here are some lessons learned:
1. Always leave enough time between guests for emergencies. Airbnb will not be kind if you cancel stays or leave people without enough notice because the last guest made a mess or did damage. As a new host, we had 2 days between each stay. Now with COVID we have 24 hours between each guest to complete the cleaning protocol. I know this cuts into maximizing profit, but it's a better strategy overall to keep your place in shape. You can always raise your nightly rate to cover the lost time.
2. Bad guests target new hosts. Period. They understand how much you need the reviews and work the system.
3. Airbnb greatly prefers you to solve your guest problems on your own. If the guest admitted to damage, submitting a claim through the resolution center as many have said is the way to go. I think you have 14 days. The guest can pay up or refuse. If they refuse, Airbnb will not help in this case (they made their position known). But at least there is a chance that your guest will cooperate.
Best of luck! We had the WORST guests we have had as our first few. Raising rates and getting more reviews helped to get us out of the crosshairs of those who abuse new hosts.
"Since we were brand new hosts we were unaware that this was such a hard and fast rule..."
What you need to understand is that Airbnb isn't your business partner, they don't care if you are successful, they have no sympathy for host issues. Their focus is on their profits, in the form of guest service fees. And just like insurance companies, they will try to use whatever loopholes and rules possible to get out of paying a claim. There are far more hosts than there are guests, so they consider hosts to be expendable.
If there's any silver lining, it's that you have become aware of this at the beginning of your hosting journey, so you can come up with strategies to reduce the likelihood of depending on Airbnb be anything more than a listing service for you.