I’ve just had the worst two days as an AirBnB host and am feeling very stressed.
Where to start….I have a couple of houses with Airbnb, both 4 bedroom house shares. I’m currently full.
The drama focuses on one house. Let’s call the guests A, B, C, D.
When guest A moved in he was very friendly and chatty and made me aware he has his own gardening and handyman business. I broke my own rule and offered some work to him at the houses. A few weeks in to the stay and the guest offered to come back after Christmas as a private booking. He was obviously enjoying his stay. He even paid a deposit to hold the room.
Things were going well then until I noticed some pictures from my cleaner. The bathroom looked a bit cluttered. I have house rules which are listed on the description AND emailed to guests prior to check-in. One of which is personal items cannot be left out in the bathroom or kitchen, they must be kept in their assigned kitchen cupboard or the bathroom basket I provide for them to take bathroom items back to their bedrooms. I do this because I used to get bad reviews for the house being untidy.
Guest A’s attitude changed straight away and reported back that he’d asked the other guests and they’re all fine with leaving things out. I stuck to my guns and said no. I then received a complaint from Airbnb – the guest had complained that the dryer wasn’t working. Not one guest had told me this. Guest A was requesting early cancellation and a refund. He also wrote to me threatening a bad review if I didn’t agree. I immediately contacted my appliance insurance company. I showed Airbnb proof of this as well as screen shots of guest A stating he doesn’t want to follow house rules. Airbnb turned down his request.
Now let’s introduce guest B (C and D were already living at the property). Before booking she told me she was a student nurse and asked how busy the house would be. I said it wasn’t very busy but that might change and there could be up to five people in the house but normally there’s four. She said “I appreciate it may be busy.”
Before checking in she requested to reduce her 6 week stay by 1 week saying she had just received her schedule. I stupidly agreed. After checking in she then made a further change request, which was automatically accepted by Airbnb, with a further reduction of several days. The she sent me a third request which would reduce her stay to just 2 weeks. I refused explaining that I don’t normally accept changes and sorry if I gave the wrong impression.
Next thing I know is Airbnb have contacted me, she’s put a complaint into them – the dryer isn’t working. I went through the same process with Airbnb for guest B as I did for guest A. But guest A went a bit further. She then told me she’s working on a high risk ward with COVID patients and would hate to give it to the other guests. A lengthy conversation then ensued with Airbnb about the legalities of her previously withholding this information and what it could mean moving forward. When I questioned the guest as to why they withheld this key information they then denied saying it. It’s in her message! I was getting very frustrated at this point and said if she can’t give me a clear answer as to whether she’s working with infected covid patients then I have a duty of care to check this with her course supervisor as I may or may not need to alert the other guests.
She’s taken this to be harassment and a threat to destroy her career. I’ve reiterated several times I simply want an answer to whether she’s working with covid patients or not and she refused to answer this question.
She put another complaint into Airbnb saying the oven isn’t working (at this point an engineer had been and a replacement part ordered for the dryer). I’ve also bought clothes hangers for each room so guests can dry their clothes. In actual fact it works fine but the setting label has rubbed off the knob so I’m looking for a manual.
In the mean time my cleaners bagged up the mess that was in the bathroom and kitchen. Guest A called me and then wrote to me to complain about this. When I stated again that rules must be followed and will be enforced, Airbnb contact me again to say guest A has further complained that the oven isn’t working. This is the guest that cleaned it himself as part of his handyman business and uses it every day. This is a new case manager who refuses to read the previous correspondence (with both the guest and with AirBnB) on the matter and is saying that if the oven is not working or if the dryer is not working then the guest is entitled to a 50% refund for his entire stay. The guest doesn’t even use the dryer, he has an electric one, which he stated in writing and I’ve sent a picture of this to Airbnb. This case manager is not interested. I’ve requested twice that the case be transferred to a supervisor but he has refused. The case manager for guest B though is very nice and has confirmed I should in fact be able to request a new case manager.
So now I’m on the precipice of Airbnb awarding a 50% discount to a guy who whenever the house rules gets enforced lodges a spurious complaint with Airbnb. And I’ve just received an email asking me to review guest B with no explanation as to whether she’s moved out or not (end date supposed to be Nov 28). Much of this happened in the last two days and has been incredibly stressful.
Throughout all this, and indeed, since they moved in, guests C and D have not reported a single issue to me or Airbnb, except that guest C says guest A complains about the rules often. For peace it would be great to be rid of both guests but their combined payout is nearly £2000.
Can Airbnb really award a 50% refund even if the host can show they have taken immediate action to resolve a problem, especially when the problem was never reported to the host by any guest but came via Airbnb as the result of the host enforcing house rules?
I’ve had a few difficult guests in the past, but never two in the same house at the same time 😞
@Sean14 I am amazed these are the only problems you are having as a house share with this many people and no landlord present is usually, according to other forum posts, a recipe for disaster.
Do you have an HMO licence for the house? if not then your difficult guests could make your life a whole lot harder..
@Mike-And-Jane0 There is a landlord in my town with 14 HMOs on Airbnb and SpareRoom, and it seems to work for him!
I think @Sean14 has been very unlucky! Yes, we read about these things on this forum, and American hosts express your view.... I thought we British were above such dastardly manipulations; Sadly not ... 😞
Sean, M&J answer every tale of woe with "It's your own silly fault for having done XY &Z....."
I wish I could help... Like you say, chuck these guests out is a solution, before they manipulate you more.... I expect others will say the same.... But you want the money.... Difficult one.... I suppose it's a question of what is more important; peace of mind or the money?
@Helen3 , You're an NHS administrator, do you have an informed view of Sean's rights and duties re this ?Covid ward nurse in his HMO?
I am not an NHS admin ☺️ @Helen350 I do work for the NHS.
I would not offer a room in a shared home situation to a frontline NHS worker, particularly one working on a Covid ward.
But then I wouldn’t offer multiple rooms in a shared home situation to those travelling individually at all under Covid regardless of what they do.
As I’ve already advised @Sean14 - he should have checked with the guest in advance of her stay when he knew she was coming to train as a nurse as to whether this would include on ward placements.
If I knew she was doing a placement in a hospital I wouldn’t have taken the booking.
in his situation I would have turned it into a whole listing rather than let four rooms individually.
Although illegal to discriminate, I also wouldn't offer a room to a front-line covid nurse either. The issue here is before moving in she said she was studying nursing at the University and she was concerned about catching covid from other guests. Then during her stay, and when I turned down her alteration request, she then changed this to being a front line nurse on a covid ward and afraid of giving it to other guests (i.e baiting me to release her early). She has since denied saying this, despite it being clearly written in her messages, which is quite madness. I don't think she's on a covid ward at all and was simply trying to scare me into releasing her early.
A single listing does not work for me, there's no demand for 4 bedroom houses for anywhere near the rates that 4 individual rooms rent out at.
So you are renting out 4 rooms in a house to 4 unrelated people who share common spaces, which is a serious health hazard re COVID and would seem to be illegal as far as current health mandates, but that's okay because you can make more money that way?
It's people with mind sets like yours who are ensuring that this virus just goes on and on and on, infecting and killing people.
@Sarah977 Illegal where? Mexico?
I've run HMOs for 15 years. I haven't suddenly started doing to to 'make more money'. I provide a service that is appreciated and needed by the local community. Not everyone is privileged enough to be able to afford to rent their own apartment or house. It's people with mindsets like yours that makes me very reluctant to even post on these forums. Have a nice day.
PS these guests are renting for months at a time, not days.
Yes, I understand you've been doing this successfully for many years, and I also understand that there's a need for what you offer.
But there hasn't been an often deadly, highly contagious pandemic for those 15 years has there?
People the world over have had to alter the way they've been living their lives since this pandemic started, sacrificing all kinds of things and over a million losing their lives or dear family and friends to this virus. Many hosts have invested money into turning formerly shared spaces into units with kitchenettes and their own bathrooms so that they can host safely.
No one is suggesting you turn your places into whole house rentals forever, only until this virus has been beaten. The UK doesn't exactly have admirable COVID infection and death rates.
@Helen350 Thank you for your message. Sometimes I feel there's only one way to run an airbnb and it ain't mine based on the replies I get. People seem quite anti-HMO even in non-covid times. There's demand for it. I charge maybe 20% more than a 6 month house share would cost. People need short-term options. Have a super Sunday 🙂
HMOs are often money-spinners, but the 20% extra (in your case) revenue might equate to an even higher rate of hassle. And, you only need a couple of bad apples (guest A and B in this case) to collaborate if they no longer approve of the status quo.
I think many hosts see HMOs as so far removed from the 'here's a cup of tea and a home-made scone' type of hosting, but as you say, where there's a demand...
Personally, I couldn't cope with the demands of a HMO, and I fear Airbnb will always take the guests' side (in the end) no matter what, so while Airbnb agent A may stand up for you, agent B (who takes over the next morning) may well cave and hit that 'refund' button.
Good luck getting through this, @Sean14.
@Gordon0 Thanks for the message. I'm used to running HMOs (15 years) and have been on Airbnb for 5 years now. I've had bad apples before but this is the first time I've had two at the same house. Had to happen eventually I suppose 😉
@Sean14 Ugh, I hate Guest A. Not too enamored of Guest B, either.
If you could get them out, how likely are you to get bookings to replace the loss of 2,000 GBP? It's at this point I'd be doing a cost/benefit analysis - my stress level would have a price in that equation. There comes a point in hosting when we have to cut our losses to save our sanity.
Wishing you the best.
@Sarah977 during this time there have been many strange epidemics in the world, but this is still the most unexplored and the reaction to it is so inadequate that it is worth thinking whether it is so simple (no, I am not one of the idiots who thinks only about conspiracy theory, 5G towers, chipping, etc.). It's too early to draw conclusions, and certainly not about renting rooms. Hotels work, public transport works, why is the person renting rooms Mr. Evil?
I agree that actions to optimize a separate room (installation of coffee machine, microwave, etc.) is always a plus for the owner and guests.