Airbnb host fights for refunds after guests beat condo – NBC 7 San Diego
An Airbnb host in San Diego is receiving financial relief from the company after guests severely damaged his home twice in five weeks.
The most recent damage occurred over the weekend of April 12-14, according to the host.
He asked not to be identified to protect himself, his neighbors and the security guard from further harassment from guests staying at his apartment.
He’s been renting out his entire apartment for two years to different Airbnb guests, but the last guest, he said, left his crumbling house.
“I felt extremely violated,” he said. “It was an overwhelming smell of smoke, cigarettes, marijuana and the trash cans were full of alcohol and tobacco rolling papers.”
His neighbors yelled at him and said his tenant had dozens of young guests, and complained that his guests were skateboarding all over the property and cursing at them and the security guard.
“They said they could see them jumping on their skateboards inside my apartment through the windows,” the host said. He suspects indoor skating is what caused extensive damage to the floor of his apartment.
“It’s sunk in here, you can feel where it’s sunk in and you can hear the ground crumbling where they must have jumped,” he said.
The host’s bills for the carpet and subfloor are nearly $10,000, but the cost of restoring smoke damage and new paint is over $27,000 . He said they stole his four watches from his bedroom closet, totaling an additional $5,000. He also received seven fines from his HOA, which amounted to hundreds of additional dollars.
He said the first time he had suffered property damage from a guest was five weeks earlier. He said that when it happened, the only way he could contact Airbnb was after emailing the company for days. The vacation rental company did not respond until local media began asking questions and applying pressure.
Unfortunately for the host, it took the same effort to get a response the second time his apartment was damaged. He showed NBC 7 all of the emails he sent to Airbnb explaining the situation and sent the company documented receipts from each cleaning and restoration company. He also included complaints from his HOA to further legitimize his situation.
NBC 7 contacted Airbnb the morning of Tuesday, April 23. In the afternoon, Airbnb not only returned calls from NBC 7, but also emailed the host and told him he would pay his HOA fines and what it would cost to cancel. an upcoming reservation he had. They didn’t say they would pay his cleaning or restoration bills, but they did say they would send three of their own experts to assess the damage.
The host said he would have canceled this second guest’s booking because he saw several warning signs about him. For example, he thought his account looked like the previous customer who had booked his spot the previous month in March, even though it listed it as a verified account. The police told him that the people who damaged his house the first time were gang-related guests. She also used a new account that showed no previous rental history. And she says when he met her and showed her around, he saw that there was a man in his car lying like he was hiding and said he would not come out to meet him.
However, the host says he couldn’t cancel the reservation because according to Airbnb’s hospitality policy, hosts are penalized for canceling without extenuating circumstances which can be detailed and explained later.
“Even if you’ve decided something’s really wrong, or really fishy, or something’s wrong, or they’re acting suspiciously, you can’t cancel them or you’ll be penalized by Airbnb. They won’t don’t care about the reason,” the host said.
An Airbnb spokesperson also sent this statement to NBC 7:
“We fully support (the host) under our Million Dollar Host Guarantee program and this support should have happened sooner. We apologized to (the host) that in In this case, our customer service has fallen below our standards. We have also removed this guest from our community.