I'm absolutely furious! My mother and I checked into an Airbnb in Granada after a long trip from Chicago, through London & Malaga, to Granada. We were eager to check in and get settled and relax. However, I noticed water on the floor of the kitchenette (and the bed wasn't far from there -- it was a one-room place), and I looked under the sink to see if there was a problem with the pipes, and I found BLACK MOLD all over the back wall where there had clearly been water damage. We had smelled something musty when we had first entered the place, but figured it was just an old building -- it was the mold! Worried that we'd be left homeless for the night, I immediately booked another AirBnB nearby (one that had "instant booking"), and we left. Once checked into the new AirBnB down the street, I sent the first place's host a polite message saying what we had found, and told him that unfortunately, we would not be able to stay there, and would like a refund. Well, the guy put up a fight! He said I wasn't behaving "correctly," and that I was trying to find things to complain about! WHY would I want to have to worry about finding another place last-minute like that, if there was no SERIOUS problem with his place? It makes no sense! I had taken photos of the water on the floor and the water damage and BLACK MOLD on the wall, and I sent him the photos. He said, "That's burn." LOL!!! So, he fought me over it, and I told him that if he wouldn't grant the refund for an uninhabitable place, I would involve AirBnB. So I did. And after seeing the photos and hearing the description of the premises, THEY REFUSE TO REFUND ME!!! They said that I didn't abide by the policy of contacting the host and letting him try to resolve the situation! AS IF YOU COULD RESOLVE BLACK MOLD IN AN HOUR!!! Black mold is a toxic, serious problem that affects the air quality -- especially for people with asthma like me, which I also told AirBnB -- and it needs to be professionally eradicated, which takes at least a few days. I told AirBnB that it's not a typical "spill" or something that the host can clean up in a few minutes. It's a serious problem that would take DAYS to resolve, and my mother and I were only in Granada for a few days! And what was I supposed to do, leave us HOMELESS for those 3 days that the host would be resolving his home's MOLD issue???!?!??! It's so unfair, and I'm absolutely FURIOUS about this. I tried writing to customer service again, and after a few days, I've received the same response. I'm incredulous.
Does anyone have any suggestions of how to get through to higher-ups at AirBnB to get this refunded? And to get this guy reported for renting out MOLDY premises? I can't believe that they even saw PHOTOS of the mold, and did nothing about it! I'M SO MAD!
How unusual. I've heard stories from hosts who were upset because guests have been refunded for absolutely ridiculous reasons, yet it seems you have a valid reason for a refund and they refuse to refund.
All I can say is keep trying. As a host, I have found it all depends on who you talk to. Try getting another CS rep on the phone to see if you can get a different outcome.
Thank you for your encouragement. It's good to hear I'm not crazy for thinking that BLACK MOLD is good grounds for a refund! Here are a few images for reference -- and they're refusing to refund me because I didn't give the host the opportunity to "resolve" it! As if you could resolve a mold issue like this in a few minutes! What was I supposed to do, wait in the street with my mother and our luggage while he hired professional cleaners to eradicate the mold and wash all the linens??!??!
Is that it? Good grief, I'd just have got a cloth and cleaned it up. And you don't need to keep capitalizing 'black mould'.
Anyone with access to the internet and some quick research skills can find tons of factual resources about the danger of black mold in the home. It's not as simple as "getting a cloth and cleaning it up." Mold = spores in the air and in all porous materials in the room = more than just a simple clean-up with a cloth. Maybe I have higher hygiene standards than you, but yes, for me -- and for many people in the world -- black mold is not something I want to sleep around, nor do I want to subject my mother, who is an asthmatic, to it.
And I'll capitalize whatever I **bleep** WELL PLEASE, thank you very much.
You can also google black mold and find that it takes large amount of it to make you sick unless you have an alergy. If you have an alergy you should disclose it prior to booking. This amount of mold seems pretty normal to me. It's equivalnt to the what you'd find in shower caulk.
And as others have said, you didn't give the host an oppurtunity to correct the issue which is part of the guest terms.
Yes, exposure to large quanties of any mould over a period is thought to be responsible for health problems. But much of what you read on the internet about the extreme toxicity of 'black mould' is sensationalism, or designed to sell treatment services. Stachybotrys chartarum is the suspected species, but there have been no actual actual scientific studies that have corroborated a suggested link between it and acute symptoms. Stachybotrys chartarumthis happens to be black - but it is not the only mould that is black. Some moulds look black to the naked eye but actually are another colour under the microsope. So unless you have it tested you have no way of knowing whether any mould that you see is stachybotrys chartarum, rather than one of the tens of thousands of other species.
The amount of mould shown in the photos is very small. You probably enter buildings containing that amount of mould (and probably more) every single day - it's in lofts, basements, bathrooms (eg under baths and shower trays where you can't see it), in walls where your plumbing pipes run, behind kitchen cupboards.... Have you pulled out your washing machine recently and checked behind it? Or your fridge? Or pulled apart your AC unit?
Of course, you have the right to capitalize whatever you want - but you may wish to be aware that in an internet forum it makes you come across as hysterical. Especially when combined with a totally disproportionate response to a rather unexceptional occurence.
Well, as I said, our standards for hygiene are clearly different.
And yes, actually, I have recently pulled out my fridge, etc. The mold that is eating away at this guy's kitchen cabinets (and likely the wall behind them) is not "unexceptional," unless you're used to and expect mold to grow in your cabinets. I, for one, do not. And if I'm paying someone to stay in a place they're renting out (not even their actual home -- it's one of these multiple-property AirBnB hosts), I expect a minimum level of hygiene to be that there's not a bunch of black mold I'll have to be breathing in as I sleep a few feet away!
But fine: you're entitled to your opinion. We clearly just have different expectations of basic hygiene in a living space.
@Hillary & Adam I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Whether the issues present were real or not, it’s clear this situation has caused you some distress. I hope you find some way to get past it.
Something I noticed that might be confusing Airbnb is that you seem to be changing your story in regard to who is asthmatic, yourself or your mother (or both?). It might seem trivial, but these kinds of inconsistencies can mean the difference between something they take seriously and something they disregard as “not well founded”.
Specifically, in your first post you say “Black mould is a toxic, serious problem that affects air quality — especially for people with asthma like me, which I also told AirBnB.”
3 posts later you write “Black mould is not something I want to sleep around, nor do I want to subject my mother, who is an asthmatic, to it.”
See the issue here? It looks like you are either changing the owner of a medical issue or extending that medical issue to another party. You may think it trivial, but these little inaccuracies add up over time when a story is revised and revised...
I hope you can put this behind you soon.
Yes, I see what you're saying. If I had known I wasn't posting to an unbiasedu forum, but rather a judgmental tribunal of hosts who tried to pick apart everything I said -- even my photos -- then I would have paid more attention to where and when I mentioned details like that.
For the record, everyone:
1) My mother and I both have asthma (and my mother has allergies on top of it), which is important, but is not some "overreaction" or "sensitivity" to an otherwise clean space. The space was musty, damp, and growing mold. Even those without asthma shouldn't be expected to stay in a place like that without complaint; asthma makes it ten times worse.
2) I contacted the host, who was at work, before we left his place, to tell him about the problem, but I was well aware that a water damage and mold problem like that couldn't be fixed in time for us to stay there. While waiting for him to respond, I decided I needed to ensure my mom and I would have a safe place to stay at least that night, and booked and moved to another Airbnb, and wrote him a follow-up message once we had gotten to the new one.
What I got out of this thread was not people offering truly helpful advice or even helpful criticism. I got a bunch of people questioning my firsthand experience in the first place, and ended up having to argue about how much water was on the floor and if it's mold at all. I added photos, and even those weren't good enough for this jury (which, as I said, I didn't realize was going to be judge and jury in the first place).
So what are you supposed to do when you say things were a certain way, show photos of it, and instead of people assuming the best in you and your integrity and your intelligence, they question your very ability to recognize water from a mop vs. a puddle leaking from under a sink, or mold vs. dirt? There's nowhere reasonable to go from there.
@Hillary & Adam I understand and sympathise. This hasn't been pleasant at all for you.
Please don't take my previous post as an interrogation in any way (I assumed your mother and yourself must both be Asthmatic), that's certainly not my intention. I was more trying to point out (in case helpful if you ever need to raise a complaint again) that consistency is everything.
I think if your complaint unfolded with Airbnb the same way as in this forum, then I can see why their CS team didn't support it. I'm not saying they were right not to support your claim... I can't possibly draw a conclusion from behind a keyboard in New Zealand, based on a couple of photos... but I'm highlighting a future lesson (for anyone reading this) that consistency and complete information "up front" is very important to winning a good outcome. This applies to any accomodation platform, not just Airbnb. You'll find BDC and HomeAway exactly the same in that regard. If they smell a gap in a story they will disregard it's credibility without a second glance. There is also a lot of inconsistency around when they do or don't... it's a moving feast at best! If only customer service was simpler and more logical... it's actually something we've been discussing on here lately, with some suggestions for improvement.
Anyway, not intending to bang on about it. Just wanted to share a few thoughts I had. In particular because your post was asking what to do in this situation. What I'd do is try to analyse what I could do differently next time to influence the outcome. I think you've done that now by the sounds, so I recommend pouring a glass of wine :)
@Hillary & Adam Sorry you had such a disturbing event here as it reads.
Unfortunately you made one really big mistake - didn't alert the host immediately!
Which really surprises me as you were so thorough with your details, photos and description of everything. I have to say that was kinda unfair.....sure you freaked with what you take for black mold.
looks like funk, dirt to me- burn??? sure could be - I'm no mold inspector - under the cabinet photo looks more like acid or something was poured or burned back there - could be mold - ??? But, I don't think unless it is checked by a pro and tested can you say "Black Mold" - that would probably close a place down and cause the hosts great stuggles to bounce back - esp. if it is - and worse if it is NOT.
You can imagine the hosts being so shocked after the fact - you are gone - demanding a refund and they didn't see it coming at all. You decided and took action but forgot the Host!
That water on the floor looks like left over water after being mopped - esp. in Granada. It is not clear where the water is coming from. perhaps you can see it differently in person - but the photo is not clear on that at all.
So I see both sides - NO ONE wants to be around black mold for a minute - AND I bet the host would certainly want to fix a problem - and not be forced to close up shop........ but first they have to know about it.
I would imagine if you called Airbnb and were very excited and pushing and demanding them as your post here reads you are steaming mad - they will quickly push back and shut you down and they have the power to reject.........I've seen and read about it happening alot. Maybe that happened.....maybe not.
If you can just look at it from another angle and talk with the host and CS customer service things might turn around. And just know the harder you push sometimes others will push back --- try flexing just alittle and see what happens......
You can only see it from your angle - for that I'm sorry - and if you get angry at me for my honesty, well, you can pick - you asked for hosts to voice in here. I'm hoping everyone learns here - us included as we have the opportunity every time.
P.s. they do read all your past history and any complaints or if any claims were ever filed. just FYI
unfortunately, there's so many guests working the system and scamming and that probably changes how they deal with claims these days. I'm talking about them NOT YOU here.... I totally get it you were completely concerned for your mother and yourself and your lungs........hope you can appreciate any of what I write - as it is NOT done with anything negative about it nor is my intent.
I wish you well. Clara
Clara, I appreciate your honest opinion. To respond, here's the thing: I, too, have hosted AirBnB before -- many times! -- and I would be absolutely remorseful and helpful if a guest brought something like black mold to my attention. I did contact the host first and foremost, politely and respectfully telling him that there was water damage and black mold causing a musty smell in the air, and letting him know that we would not be able to stay and would need to get another AirBnB immediately or else be left homeless for the night. We arrived around 5pm, and there was a very real risk that we'd not be able to find a place to stay that wasn't super expensive or far away -- it was carnival season, after all, and the city was busy for that and for International Women's Day marches the next days.
I only involved AirBnB once the host refused to give me any part of a refund, and claimed it was "burn." Anyone who's ever lived in a place with pipes or has been a homeowner knows what mold looks like -- where it happens, why it happens, and what it looks like. I'm not stupid nor blind: I know what black mold looks like compared to burn or random dirt.
So, I'd really like to know, from one host to another: should I, as a guest, with my elderly mother and our suitcases at my side in a place we'd never been before and in the evening, have had to wait around for this host to 1) respond to my message, 2) arrive at the apartment, 3) take a look at the mold and deny it's even mold, 4) presumably argue with me about it in person, 5) refuse me a refund and insist I stay in his dirty place? Or if he did agree that it was bad living conditions (which he wouldn't have, judging from our correspondence), I would have had to then scramble with the last couple hours of the day -- and my elderly mother and our suitcases -- to find, book, and transport ourselves to somewhere that was decent?
I've been a host too. There's no way I'd treat a guest this way. I'd be absolutely ashamed if my home were found to have black mold it in, and I'd be bending over backwards not to be kicked off AirBnB for good!
@Hillary & Adam OK.....the problem I have is your initial account very very detailed and EXACT ...photos, captioned and all.........says after you booked another place and went there and got settled in ....THEN you contacted the host and wanted a refund.
So your story seems to have changed. So that seems very unwise now.
Mold will NOT grow on plastic or PVC ----it grows on walls and wood. has to be porous surface!!!
the problem is:
you just didn't do the correct order.
IN all our agreements when we hosts or are a guest
we agree TOS....terms of service and that's where you unfortunately messed up - you didn't give the host an opportunity to correct a problem.... So you don't really want to hear what anyone says unless we are agreeing with YOU. No one wants anyone to be exposed to mold! no one ever!!!
I'm finished here as it seems you've fixed your mind and are the poor VICTIM......... I'm wasting my minutes. happy Airbnb's and whatever you do....