No compensation for damages, hosts be warned! Anti air bnb

14 Replies

Excuse the rant:

This is the second time air bnb had screwed me on damages. First time my place was trashed by some festival goers (puke and urin on beds, beer everywhere) and my maid cleaned up and disposed of the trash before airbnb told me I needed to take photos.  That is probably something they should explain when you sign up. 

This time I took photos of them breaking all the house rules-leaving 1.5 hrs late, extra guests, spilled liquids on the floor and some unknown substance staining the sheets, photos of a cigarette box, cigarette butts, cigarette ashes. The next guest even complained about the smoke smell so I called the guy out for a second time with this machine to get rid of the smell. The POS guests doesn't reply to my request for about %50 of the damages so it went to resolution. After about a week the resolution guy told me I have 24 hours to provide invoices for the services. Well I pay my handy man and maid in cash and its someone I trust so we don't have invoices. I got a professional quote for smoke repair and it was 4 times as much as I am requesting. I explained this all to air bnb and they said too bad I need an invoice. I called my guy, got him to scan over an invoice and then air bnb said too bad we don't accept this invoice. They did not provide an explanation.  I have all this on my house rules and even have a $1000 deposit, but apparently that does not matter. 

Bottom line is air bnb is so completely anti host. I am currently signing up for every other travel site I can find. I hate air bnb resolutions. You think they would at least explain to a host what is needed to get compensated fairly in the first place. I am also writing everything I can think of in my house rules with very high fines attached so that hopefully I will get something next time. 

Formatting got all screwed up, I'm going to try to post again how I actually want it to appear. :p 

I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences with guests and AirBNB!  While AirBNB is certainly imperfect about how they handle resolutions, I think there are some valuable insights here about the necessity of documentation.

Putting myself in AirBNB's shoes, photos and invoices are absolutely critical to resolving disputes and damage/expense claims - otherwise, they would be at the mercy of people who wanted to abuse the system and make frivolous or false claims.  Insurance companies require evidence of damages and expenses - it stands to reason AirBNB would also require such things.

That said, they should be more specific about things such as why the invoices you did submit were not adequate.  I certainly understand your aggravation!

Your experience underscores the importance of me communicating with my cleaning staff regarding photographing any damages they notice, and making sure I have proper documentation for all services (which is not only beneficial for potential claims, but also for tax time!).  There are ways I could be more on top of this, so thanks for motivating me to do it!

I like how I hold the deposit with VRBO/Homeaway much better than how airbnb handles deposits even though I have only needed to apply the deposit to damages one time and the renter made good on the rest of the damage bill.

Your experience is a good example of why I just use Craigslist and meet people personally before renting to them. I also collect rent in person each week. But my STR's are a different situation than your VR's.

@John Underwood unfortunately VRBO has followed the airbnb path on this one too. I recently noticed they are no longer paying out the security deposit. Called them and learned that it was part of that famous big change "email announcement" of last June. They confirmed they now keep the deposit and return it to the guests if no claim. In other words both VRBO and airbnb want to play the judge in case of dispute.

@Chris Moore Yeah you way want to get some short term rental insurance through your regular home owners insurance. I'm a huge Airbnb advocate but their customer service sucks. If things are damaged I don't even bother talking to them. It's going to turn into a hassle and you will find yourself jumping through hoops. As soon as you think you see light at the end of Airbnb's customer service tunnel they will hit you with another policy that was nowhere to be found on their policy page 5 minutes before your complaint. Best advice is get short term rental insurance. 

Originally posted by @Julie McCoy :

I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences with guests and AirBNB!  While AirBNB is certainly imperfect about how they handle resolutions, I think there are some valuable insights here about the necessity of documentation.

Putting myself in AirBNB's shoes, photos and invoices are absolutely critical to resolving disputes and damage/expense claims - otherwise, they would be at the mercy of people who wanted to abuse the system and make frivolous or false claims.  Insurance companies require evidence of damages and expenses - it stands to reason AirBNB would also require such things.

That said, they should be more specific about things such as why the invoices you did submit were not adequate.  I certainly understand your aggravation!

Your experience underscores the importance of me communicating with my cleaning staff regarding photographing any damages they notice, and making sure I have proper documentation for all services (which is not only beneficial for potential claims, but also for tax time!).  There are ways I could be more on top of this, so thanks for motivating me to do it!

 Totally agree and I can see if from their side as well, however they should remember we are clients too. When a guest has one review and a host has 30 5 star review 6 months and have only asked for damages twice....

I do expect to have to prove my side, but when photos and the next unrelated guests confirms my side, but my claim is denied because the invoice doesn't meet their standards? That is pretty reasonable when (due to the late check out) I have 3 hours to get the unit ready for the next person? Its not like I have a week to call a contractor and schedule something. I need to call a handyman that can drop everything and come now.  

Originally posted by @Paul Sandhu :

Your experience is a good example of why I just use Craigslist and meet people personally before renting to them. I also collect rent in person each week. But my STR's are a different situation than your VR's.

That is very tempting, have you noticed any loss of income from doing it that way?

Originally posted by @Myka Artis :

@Chris Moore Yeah you way want to get some short term rental insurance through your regular home owners insurance. I'm a huge Airbnb advocate but their customer service sucks. If things are damaged I don't even bother talking to them. It's going to turn into a hassle and you will find yourself jumping through hoops. As soon as you think you see light at the end of Airbnb's customer service tunnel they will hit you with another policy that was nowhere to be found on their policy page 5 minutes before your complaint. Best advice is get short term rental insurance. 

Interesting, but don't you have a deductible? or do your rates rise for every claim?

Originally posted by @Chris Moore :
Originally posted by @Paul Sandhu:

Your experience is a good example of why I just use Craigslist and meet people personally before renting to them. I also collect rent in person each week. But my STR's are a different situation than your VR's.

That is very tempting, have you noticed any loss of income from doing it that way?

Think about it Chris. I collect rent personally from each STR. Why would I have any loss of income?. It's cash in pocket or a credit card swiped on my Square Reader when I collect rent.

Originally posted by @Paul Sandhu :
Originally posted by @Chris Moore:
Originally posted by @Paul Sandhu:

Your experience is a good example of why I just use Craigslist and meet people personally before renting to them. I also collect rent in person each week. But my STR's are a different situation than your VR's.

That is very tempting, have you noticed any loss of income from doing it that way?

Think about it Chris. I collect rent personally from each STR. Why would I have any loss of income?. It's cash in pocket or a credit card swiped on my Square Reader when I collect rent.

 haha I did think about it Paul. I have a huge demand on air bnb. They bring renters to me. I usually have only 3-4 empty days a month. Changing to Craigslist could result in more vacancy or possibly lower nightly rate which would equate to loss of income. 

@Chris Moore

Those problems you had with some of your renters are just part of the cost of doing business.  It's going to happen.  When you make a lot of money, you are going to have a proportionately larger amount of problems.  

Look at people working a 9-5 job.  Their income and expenses and problems are pretty predictable.  

You and I have variable incomes, expenses and problems.  That's the price we pay for having higher incomes.  

My biggest or most unusual problems were: abandoned vehicles, a person escaped from a mental institution, tenants with pet rattlesnakes that escaped their container, a round trip visit to the dentist for a wisdom tooth removal, a one way bus ticket from Kansas to Georgia, cashing $25,000 worth of checks each week for a group of guys from out of state, etc.  

@Chris Moore

You wrote: "Well I pay my handy man and maid in cash and it's someone I trust so we don't have invoices." Your tax person is going to love you at the end of the year.  If you pay in cash you don't even have documentation to allow you to prepare a 1099 for your contractors, which you're required to do if you pay them over $600/year.  Moreover, if you go to an audit, you don't even have the documentation to justify writing off those expenses, given you don't get any kind of invoice from either of them. And drop and pray that the maid doesn't claim before the IRS that she thought you were collecting the taxes and she was an employee.  That situation has cost more than one person I know of not only the income taxes they didn't collect, but both sides of the FICA and Medicare for the person along with interest, penalties and fines. While I realize you meant to rant about Air BnB's business practices, you may wish to evaluate some of your own before you find yourself in a difficult spot in the upcoming tax season. At the very least talk with your tax professional ASAP. Good Luck.

Originally posted by @Robert Heider :

@Chris Moore

You wrote: "Well I pay my handy man and maid in cash and it's someone I trust so we don't have invoices." Your tax person is going to love you at the end of the year.  If you pay in cash you don't even have documentation to allow you to prepare a 1099 for your contractors, which you're required to do if you pay them over $600/year.  Moreover, if you go to an audit, you don't even have the documentation to justify writing off those expenses, given you don't get any kind of invoice from either of them. And drop and pray that the maid doesn't claim before the IRS that she thought you were collecting the taxes and she was an employee.  That situation has cost more than one person I know of not only the income taxes they didn't collect, but both sides of the FICA and Medicare for the person along with interest, penalties and fines. While I realize you meant to rant about Air BnB's business practices, you may wish to evaluate some of your own before you find yourself in a difficult spot in the upcoming tax season. At the very least talk with your tax professional ASAP. Good Luck.

 I don't remember asking for your tax advice, but thanks. 

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