When you’re renting out your home for the first time, there’s an endless list of tasks to do. You’ll spend a lot of time polishing every aspect for your arriving visitors, from automating check-in to organizing your vacation rental agreement.
But what if these visitors aren’t who they seem to be? What if it turns out to be a complete nightmare?
While the vast majority of Airbnb hosts and vacation rental owners will have nothing but positive guest experiences to relate to, there are a few instances when things don’t go as planned.
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Horror tales about Airbnb
We’ve combed the internet for some of the awful Airbnb horror tales of the previous several years, and we’re not trying to frighten you.
Hopefully, after reading these stories, you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that it’s exceedingly improbable to happen to you. Remember, if you want to keep the dangers to a minimum, establishing some house rules ahead of time will save you a lot of grief afterward. You can get our free Airbnb house rules template by filling out the form above or scrolling down to the bottom of the page.
Here are some of the worst Airbnb tales we could locate, without further ado!
1. “Should have been aware” The New Year’s Eve debacle
Christina McQuillian accepted Rikki Campbell’s booking for “New Year’s parties” at her London apartment without hesitation. After a few hours and thousands of pounds in damage, McQuillian’s neighbors contacted to warn her about a 100-person party at her London house. The partygoers not only left a whiff of marijuana behind, but they also managed to break flooring and take a television from the wall.
2. The jittery customer
From the standpoint of the host, you’re admitting many strangers into your house and sleeping on your property without knowing anything about them. There’s an assumption of trust and even skepticism, but what about guests?
They were live-in hosts who rented out the main floor of their house. One client, in particular, was certain that her Airbnb was equipped with concealed cameras throughout the property. Even though the hosts were live-in, her anxieties were unassailable. “She demolished the lighting fixtures, picture frames, medicine cabinets, remote controls, and so on,” says Reddit user HTwatter. She also destroyed her mobile phone, de-potted plants, uninstalled smoke alarms, concealed all refrigerator magnets, and de-potted plants.”
3. Receiving a negative review from a visitor who has never stayed at your vacation property.
A lady with five-star Airbnb ratings reserved a holiday property for the MotoGP weekend. The owner’s account had quick booking enabled. Thus, she was instantly approved. The issue is that she never returned to her home. Her fiancé and his male pals wrecked her home, leaving bags of garbage and food all around. They also took bottles of booze from the house’s concealed areas.
While her fiancé and friends were wrecking the property, the lady who booked never complained, but once they checked out, she filed a negative review about her and her rental.
4. The Airbnb property was transformed into a “junkie den.”
Holly, a host in Sydney, leased out her flat for ten days in the hopes of paying off some credit card debt. Holly returned home after check-out to check on her property and do some cleaning, which is when she discovered the visitor had lied about the reason for her stay.
Holly’s flat had been thoroughly destroyed, with costly stuff taken, fine carpets used as ashtrays, and only blood-soaked towels left behind. The damage caused by the guest and her guests totaled more than AUD 10,000. Yikes!
5. An Airbnb adventure went awry
The music experiences concept was recently established by Airbnb to bring people together for small, private events. On the other hand, tourists were not expected to take advantage of this by holding all-night parties in residents’ residences.
The issuing party had a professional sound system and even a bouncer to authorize tickets, with an estimated 200 people crammed into a one-bedroom flat and dancing until 6 a.m. The Airbnb host was in Vietnam and unable to assist all the time.
6. The hosts who would have liked their home to be destroyed by fire
People who have parties at Airbnbs do so for a purpose, as many of these tales go: they don’t want to wreck their own houses. Unfortunately, this is just what occurred to Star and Mark King’s Calgary house when they leased it on Airbnb.
Police said they’d never seen a house trashed so badly, and the owners said they wished the house had burned down rather than the destruction that occurred – food was all over the place, occupants had urinated all over the place, and furniture like sofas and tables were completely broken beyond repair. The incident was characterized by police as a “drug-induced orgy,” with damage estimated to be in the range of $50-75,000.
7. Guests that refused to leave their Airbnb flat
Cory Tshcogl leased her Palm Springs vacation rental condo to two brothers for six weeks. The booking procedure passed without a hitch, and everything seemed in order. They, on the other hand, refused to go. They highlighted California’s tenant rights, making it impossible to expel guests/tenants without paying a relocation fee after 30 days. (Airbnb has promised to cover the legal costs.) fortunately, owing to a media frenzy and the assistance of a handful of attorneys, the Pashanin brothers, were able to go quietly in the night after two months without causing any harm.
8. Set from the movie “The Hangover.”
Heather Harnell chose to rent her property on Airbnb to generate some money during the Ryder Cup. Who were her very first visitors? They left her flat looking like a scene from The Hangover. The host discovered cigarette burns throughout the bedrooms and living area, garbage was strewn about, the TV had been taken, and just about everything else was destroyed or gone, in addition to reports of over 60 individuals in the flat. What is the total cost of the damage? $14,000, to be exact!
9. An Airbnb that isn’t an Airbnb
Despite the occasional tragedy, being an Airbnb host and owning a holiday home may be rewarding. Meeting and exchanging experiences with individuals from all over the world makes the work worthwhile, but what if you didn’t sign up to be an Airbnb host in the first place? Worse, your home isn’t even available for rent!
This is precisely what happened to one host. Who isn’t even a host? A property owner discovered that his house was listed on Airbnb. Even though he had never signed up or hosted anybody! This was a typical homeowner who discovered his main house had been offered on Airbnb by someone else. Imagine returning home to discover visitors with baggage in tow from an Airbnb you had no idea about? It’s an absolute nightmare!
10. After a double booking blunder, a guest breaks through the glass.
When visitors are dissatisfied with a situation, they can take things into their own hands. We want our visitors to feel at ease, but only to a point. Are they entering the property by climbing via the window? That’s probably past the point of no return.
One host experienced this when he mistakenly double-booked his property. Despite having a reservation, the visitor climbed through the window to enter the residence when the door was closed, only to discover another guest already there.
Oh, the pleasures of not having a channel manager, don’t you think? By employing channel management software, you can prevent nightmares like this and never have another double booking-related break-in!
11. The stench of death
Owners who leased out their cottage to five young people returned to find a foul stench of death. They discovered the only thing to explain the strange odor was six dead deer under the home.
12. The home that was destroyed by fire
While most of these stories come from the perspective of hosts, one equally terrifying Airbnb story comes from a former employee who published their story on Reddit.
“I used to work for Airbnb as a Customer Service Representative. At approximately 4 a.m., I received a call from a visitor informing me that their leased property was on fire. Twenty minutes later, I received a call from a host informing me that a visitor had set fire to their apartment. It wasn’t my responsibility to find out who was to blame or even what had occurred, but one thing was clear. That building was destroyed by fire.”
(Please note that Airbnb customer service is not the fire department.) If the rental you’re staying in begins to burn down, always contact 911 before calling anybody else.)
13. The apartment that was turned into a pop-up brothel
Colin learned the hard way that an Airbnb visitor who wanted to pay cash (rather than via the website’s safe method) should’ve been a red signal from the start. Colin discovered the visitors were high-profile escorts utilizing the home with their clients after doing a fast Google search of their identities.
When he arrived, the dumpster was filled with empty wine and Prosecco bottles, as well as discarded condoms and wrappers. During their two-night stay at his £85/night apartment, he believes the escorts earned more than £5,000 in total.
14. Forcible admission and pardon
After a long and arduous travel, all you want is a quick and painless check-in process. It happens to the best of us from time to time: you’re lugging around a lot of baggage, you’re tired, and you have to wait to get into your Airbnb. For some, it is irritating, while for others, it is intolerable.
On a particularly dreary and rainy day in Washington, one visitor arrived at the house only to discover the key was gone. After some back-and-forth with the owner, the visitor insisted on finding a way inside the property and hung up; not exactly what a vacation rental owner likes to hear.
To gain access to the home, the visitor decided to hurl a rock through the glass of the rear door. He promised to pay for the replacement after entering and, maybe, second-guessing his choice to break through the door, then went the following day to cover it with insulating film until the new glass came. A nice conclusion to a scary tale!