Recently I had to deal with a party held in my listing. I'd like to share my experience with the claim process.
A guest from LA booked my listing, which is a three bedroom house. He booked with six guests. It was not a local booking. To avoid party from locals, I set a minimum booking of three nights for the listing.
On the first night, two groups of people arrived at the property. The first group had 5 while the second group had 6. These were all recorded in the front door video doorbell. On the second day, there were more people coming. But those people were all left around 2-3 am on the second night. Definitely there was a party going. All 11 people who stayed for two night left on the third day and did not stay for the third night.
On the second day, when they had the party, we were out of town. Therefore, we could not go there to stop the party. I called Airbnb support and ask them to contact the guests and told them to stop the party. Eventually nobody from Airbnb support called the guests to stop the party.
The house was left fine with no damage. But the oven bottom was covered with a thick layer of grease and burned food residual. It took the cleaner two hours to clean the oven. On kitchen floor, there were many food and juice stains, residues, which were hard to be removed.
We do have a no party rule with a $300 fine stated in the house rule for the no party violation. After I submitted the claim to Airbnb, it took two weeks with no success to get the claimed amount for party fine, extra guests, and extra cleaning fee claimed.
In the resolution center, only pictures could be attached. There were indeed pictures showing many people, dirty oven and floor, and some empty big olive oil bottles, and alcohol bottles. I stated those in my message to Airbnb resolution center. But Airbnb support just ignored those and wrote in their response that only recorded video could be used as evidence. After Airbnb contacted me with email, they asked me to send them the video. I sent them the video through email attachment. But they claimed that they could not open the video files, which were normal MP4 file. Therefore, they tried to deny the party by saying that I could not provide evidence of party. They indicated that they would not resolve the case and compensate me without the video and wanted to close the case in 24 hour after a case manager was assigned two weeks later.
I then contacted Airbnb twitter for help. After a couple of hours, I got response from Airbnb twitter help and they would arrange somebody to contact me for a resolution. On the same day, I received a call and a senior case manager explained to me that party fine could not claimed because there is there is no articles in Terms of Service agreement defined with such penalties of violation. He did compensate my claim for five extra guests stayed for two nights, and the extra cleaning fee, which I sent the invoice from the cleaner.
In summary, it is a hard and painful process to file a claim in resolution center for party damages. Indeed, Airbnb could only allow you to claim the actual costs encountered. In my case, the extra people who stayed (note that they will not allow you to claim for the people who attended the party) for two nights, and the extra cleaning fee. Please note that you will not be compensated if you do the cleaning by yourself since they require an invoice. Not only you need to provide necessary invoices/receipts for damages, but also you need to have pictures/videos to prove/support your claim.
@Lan1 One night stay for a large group is usually from local people. If you stick with one night minimum, you really cannot avoid locals without lowering your acceptance rate.
Large group of people coming from out of town normally stay more than one night. Therefore, you may consider the option for increasing the minimum nights.
There is another option. You may list each bedroom separately to get bookings from individual guests. That will avoid the party issue as well. In the meantime, you can use linked calendar feature to still list the entire house. This is what I did for my listing. I found that my entire house listing is usually booked for weekends while my individual room listings are booked for week days.
But this way, it may increase your management time. You may try this change and see how it goes.
I would also recommend contacting them again. And again and again! This is what happened to me:
I had a booking request asking whether we had stairs. I confirmed that there were 13 stairs and I suggested they not book. Well they booked anyway for 6 nights. After 1 night a representative called me that they wanted a refund because they couldn’t do Stairs!! I said they needed to officially cancel the booking and if somebody else booked the nights, they could have a refund. 5 days went by and the booking disappeared from my calendar (now there is not even evidence that the guests stayed at my place) and they got a FULL refund.
I cannot tell you how many times I called and started. A new case.
- ABNB refunded me the wrong amount and told me that because I had smart pricing on the nights were set lower than my set lowest price (of course that is wrong). I talked to several people till this got resolved and no apology was given. Even though I got an ok for getting refund back, it did not get put in my account and I had to call again and start the whole process all over again - it was a nightmare!
- Guest left me a 2 star review (even though no evidence of stay on my calendar)because I didn’t have safety strips on the stairs. I just about lost my mind at this point.
we are expected to give a 5 star service but my experience w ABNB is a 2 star customer service. (By the way, I did not get 1 email to rate the reps I talked to)
@Lan1 I'm sorry you had such a bad guest scene and that you aren't being supported by Airbnb.
But one theme that comes up again and again on this forum is not to host locals if possible, and the way you can hopefully avoid this is to increase your minumum stay. Also try through messaging to determine where the guest is coming from or whether they are local.
It may seem like you would be missing out on bookings by not accepting 1 or 2 nighters, but having these locals take advantage of you by bringing in more people they booked for and trashing out your house costs you far more than the income you might lose by having a longer minimum stay.
@Sarah977 @Alice595 Thank you both! It is getting so serious to learn how to prevent local party/drug bookings. I realized it is matter of choice: increasing minimum night requirement, could be less booking, or increasing damages and frustration from more bookings. Overall I have been doing well with Airbnb for many years, also had some excellent experiences with CS, just recently maybe bad luck, frequently got hit by local party/drug guests. I am still learning how to prevent those happening and how to get support from Airbnb.
@Lan1 Also if you use Instant Book, I'd shut it off- these kinds of people tend to IB. Make guests send you a Booking Request so you can ask the right questions and get a sense if they are scamming or not. You'll also then have a record through the Airbnb messaging of the conversation if they show up with more people or have misrepresented their intentions.
It's far better to concentrate on quality of guests than quantity. It'll make your hosting much less stressful.
Airbnb can be very inconsistent about unauthorized parties/usage, but usually are not great in covering damages.
Also fun note, you're not even allowed to take videos/pictures of guests in your space without their permission, technically.
I fully agree that Airbnb's now infamous policy of favouring guest over host, and their notoriety for rewarding nightmare guests with full refunds and assisted re-housing following destructive/anti-social behaviour, have systematically stripped hosts of their rights and autonomy over their own homes and businesses. It's indisputable that their abusive, exploitative ratings and review system has created a phenomenon where hosts have become too petrified and intimidated to take control of challenging situations and problematic guests, for fear that they will be the ones penalised/delisted if they don't pander to the guests'/Airbnb's every whim.
I also agree that the company's lax/non-existent screening/vetting measures and the many, many ways in which they're now stealthily removing all barriers to booking - and essentially forcing/coercing hosts into accepting all sorts of hazardous bookings that override their chosen parameters/security settings (under the guise of "glitches", of course) - has engendered a volatile, dangerous and extremely risky operating environment, particularly for hosts who list larger properties and cater for bigger groups. (And if anyone thinks for one moment thats an exaggeration, swing on over and check out the FB Airbnb Guests Blacklist, for an eye-opening education on what's really going on out there in Airbnb-land)
The reality is, if a listing can hold more than 3-4 people, it's 100% going to be an instant target for the party crowds. Make no mistske, "BnB parties" are now a "thing", and are disrupting neighbourhoods and destroying local residents' quality of life, every night of the week, in towns and cities the whole world over. That's a fact.
Therefore, It's become a massive, reckless gamble for hosts to leave town and allow guests self check-in and free reign, without having someone responsible and reliable on the ground, who can get to the property within minutes, to deal swiftly and effectively with any and all eventualities. It's foolhardy to expect Airbnb to shut down raging parties in the middle of the night - realistically, there's not a whole lot some clueless CX kid in a cubicle hundreds or thousands of miles away, can do to contain the situation.
Our homes, our neighbours, our duty and responsibility to deal with any disruption or disturbances, as and when they happen. Because the bottom line is, Airbnb don't - and won't - have your back.
@Susan17 I wish that you were hired by Airbnb to lead their Trust and Security team because you understand all the issues.
Without strict policy setting up by Airbnb, what each individual host can do is very limited. And it could encounter risk as well. Some party goers are really dangerous. Back a couple of months ago, a host from San Francisco posted shooting incidence during a party in his listing. If a host tries to intervene in person when a party is going on in the listing, there is potential risk.
It seems the slow season brings the worst lowest quality crowd where you get a lot of locals wanting to book because they notice prices drop.
Just in the past few weeks, I am getting tons of requests for discounts even though are prices are already at the break even point and a lot of requests from locals. STR is so crappy in the slow season. You have to be extra vigilant especially when it is low season.
You are very lucky we just had a similar experience with out the party. We had a group of 5 book for a long term stay of 3 months. In the first week there were twice as many guests there 10 total. We contacted the guest who booked and informed him of the additional guest charge. From his response we realized that he was not one of the 10 guests that were there. We called AirBnb for guidance. They said to record evidence of extra guests and submit all of it if the guest did not accept the additional charges through the resolution center. After 2 weeks of no response from the first case manager and 3 phone calls to AirBnb we were assigned a new case manager. Sent all the evidence again to her and had questions. Again no response for 3 days and just this morning an email stating:
"Unfortunately, the additional guest penalty you are claiming for is not eligible for reimbursement by Airbnb. _ The Host Guarantee terms state that Fees charged to a Guest by a Host for additional
individuals invited to, or otherwise provided access to, the Covered Accommodation who are not
included in the Guest’s booking of such Covered Accommodation is not covered."
So after 3 months of collecting videos as evidence it means nothing and we received nothing from our claim.
@Kienyn1 Do you have charge for additional guest? I have a $20/night charge for each additional guest in the listing. In the resolution center, you can claim for extra service provided. That is how I got paid for.
There are are a lot of hosts who have got paid for extra guests. You may try to change a new case manager to have your case reviewed.
Unfortunately the party fine was not granted by Airbnb.
I also have a security deposit of $600 specified on the listing. According to Airbnb Host Guarantee, any claim above security deposit is claimed through host guarantee.
Yes we have an additional guest charge of $48.75 a night for each additional guest. Over the course of their 3 month stay it added up to 96 additional guest charges.
We also have our security deposit set to the max of $2000.
We have contacted the resolution center again this morning (Guam time) and are hoping to get a new case manager. We have all of our videos (2.5 hrs worth) ready to send as evidence.
Hopefully we will have a better response time from AirBnb than last go around.