Guest using Meth in Air BnB

12 Replies

I am still a new host and air bnb has not been what I expected so far to say the least. I have a guest who booked yesterday for a week. He had a new profile and not much info, so I was a little suspicious but let him book anyways. I saw a post from another Omaha host about a guy smoking weed and leaving meth traces (and used needles) scattered at her place, so I asked her who the guy was. Of course it's the same guy! He has 6 more nights booked and I need to get him out asap. Do I have permission to let the cops enter that apartment if I smell drugs? What rights does he have? I found his felony meth arrest from 2014 if that matters.

You may want to contact AirBNB and discuss your options with them. I would think they would step in or advise you in some capacity since letting this turn into a potential mess could really blow up in their face, publicly.

I did send an email to Air BnB and I'm waiting to hear back from a friend in the police department as well. I just don't want to piss off the guest by calling the police and not having their cooperation as this could give him a reason to cause more trouble. Leaving a mess is one thing... but I'd like to avoid him wrecking the whole apartment. I want to make sure I can give them the right to enter the property if necessary without violating the guests rights.

I'm not an AirBnB host so I don't understand the nuances of the platform. Are there any filters that you hosts are able to put in place? I would imagine that you could have that guest blocked from Air BnB but they will just urn around and set up a new profile under a different name. It sounds to me that the instant booking option is not a good idea from what I can tell. 

@Eric Siebert   Airbnb really wants hosts to use the instant book, and will boost your rankings in search results if you have it turned on.  I've gone almost 2 years having instant book on all 3 of my listings, and this is the first really bad scenario I've experienced.  Airbnb did add an option where you can turn off instant book for users who don't have recommendations, and we turned that on as a result of our experience.  I want to give people who are new to Airbnb a chance, but at this point I would rather have a vacancy than what I experienced this week. 

Airbnb requires a verified state ID to book, so if they block someone from the platform completely then he shouldn't be able to turn around and make a new profile.  However, that doesn't stop his friends from creating accounts for the same purpose, or him using a fake ID to create a profile, but at least it is better than nothing.

@Jesse Scroggins they weren't helpful at all. They kept dodging my questions and telling me another department deals with that, or they have procedures in place in case he does break things/refuse to leave/smokes meth in my place, etc. But they don't actually let you talk to a different department to see what these procedures are. 

@Eric Siebert you can definitely set up restrictions, but this will most likely lead to more vacancies. But like Jenessa said, vacancies are better than dealing with these kinds of people. It's hard to figure out how many restrictions to put up because it isn't a luxury property so I can't afford to be that picky or else nobody will ever stay there.

@Jenessa NeSmith I didn't realize it was so common for locals to do this! They just prey on those cheap last-minute bookings (with mine at least). It doesn't turn me off to the whole model, just makes me think twice and ask another question or two each time someone with a new profile and no recommendations tries to book my place. I've found it really isn't that hard to spot the difference between these sketchy guests and someone who won't cause any harm. I even knew it was a little sketchy when I let them book, I just overlooked it to get some revenue/reviews going and minimize vacancies.  Even with the people downstairs that trashed it, I still made more money than I would have if I denied them. And for some reason they still gave me 5 stars! Maybe not a sustainable business model, but I am finding it to be a great learning experience and I'm glad it happened so early.

I went ahead and let the guy stay the week that he paid for. I didn't have any proof that he was doing anything wrong and I didn't want to piss him off and give him any reason to trash my place. I was very nice and accommodating and I haven't hinted at the fact that I know he is probably doing meth in there. That being said, he is supposed to leave tomorrow at noon, so we will see how it all plays out! Update to come...

What would concern me the most is that airbnb did not delete this guy's profile, after the first police report of meth cooking had come in. 

If they had any interest in protecting the host, then this guy wouldn't have been able to book any longer. 

@Max Fleissner it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't have a chance to see it before my cleaner went through, but he said it wasn't terrible. I did go check it out after and it still reeked of the cigarettes they were chainsmoking all week along with some used band-aids hanging from door frame (meth stuff?) my cleaner didn't see, but other than that no permanent damage. 

@Michaela G. yeah I've seen they aren't too strict about background checks for people that use the platform. Doesn't seem to matter if you are a convicted felon or a sex offender.

Side note: The downstairs apartment was vacant during the last 2 days of their stay and someone broke in and stole a couple TVs. Not saying it was them, but it wouldn't have been too hard for them to tell nobody was home down there. It could just have easily been someone that stayed there the past couple weeks. It's not a huge loss, maybe a few hundred bucks, but definitely a wake-up call to increase security. 

The part about people breaking in (potentially former people), what about a Smartkey lock? 4 or 5 different keys to randomly change between guests or as soon a a guest leaves?

@Gagan P. sorry I never saw your reply. I did end up getting Yale smart locks with a Samsung Smartthings Hub. I can create as many codes as I want from an app on my phone, delete them right when a guest leaves, and it allows me to see when a guest uses the code. Great investment for a short-term rental.

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