Airbnb Horror Stories (& How You Can Prevent Your Own)

A Horror Story By AirBnB owners of what you should know.

October is the perfect time for snack size candy, questionable costumes and entertaining your worst fears in life. And for those that love a good horror story (my mother), this month’s Airbnb news could definitely feed those fears (more on that later), but for those that might want to try it, aren’t sure, but would like to hear about all the stuff that doesn’t make the news but could potentially be a nightmare, we’ve listed our personal worst Airbnb stories below (as well as tips on how to avoid having your very own house of horror.) The listing said there would be a cat that needed to be fed, but the listing did not say that there would be a cat that needed to be fed, medicated three times a day, was prone to meowing all night, preferred the bathtub to its litter box, and was owned by a very neurotic part-time actor who liked harassing Airbnb guests with texts such as … HAVE YOU PET THE CAT TODAY? And … IF THE CAT MEOWS, SHE NEEDS LOVE … These are all things you should not do as an Airbnb host.

Suffice it to say, this was our worst Airbnb experience as guests, but there were warning signs. First, he mentioned a cat and some cat maintenance. Second, some of his Airbnb descriptions included language that suggested he was a wee bit demanding and didn’t have the strongest grasp of customer service “will TEXT YOU if time permits, otherwise, google it.” Take away on this one: read between the lines and be clear on expectations. If there’s something about a place that seems or feels a little different (I don’t know, like … paying to be a cat sitter), then ask for clarification will be expected of you. Okay, so this one was 100% our fault. After checking a guest in on a Friday around 3 PM, we left for a mountain get away with spotty cell service. It wasn’t until 9 the next morning that we heard our guest’s multiple voicemails starting around 6 PM letting us know that she had locked herself on the balcony. Worse yet, by the third voicemail, she … needed to use the restroom.

Between the time she left her messages and the time we heard those message, some good samaritan on the street had heard her pleas, notified the front desk and helped her back into the studio and off the balcony (but not before she had to pee in a cup outside on our balcony). Sorry! We owed it to our guest to be reachable during their stay. They pay us. They depend on us. It’s about trust and it wasn’t cool that we couldn’t help her. If you’re out of town or otherwise unavailable, make sure there is someone nearby that you trust to take care of your guests and who can help them in emergencies (in many cities, including Denver, this is actually now part of the law.) We used more colorful language than rest in peace for the $2400 condominium garage door we had to replace, but the point is it died after our guest ran into it with his jeep.

And we know our guest did this because our condo security cameras caught it and checked who was staying at our place during that time and a month later let us know we had a $2400 bill to pay because buildings like working garage doors. We won’t bore you with the details, but know that we did get the money back. The good news is Airbnb has all sorts of safeguards in place to help you in this kind of situation. First, they encourage (we encourage) conducting correspondence through the Airbnb site so they can mediate when they see it. Second, you can give reviews and review people before they stay, and finally- there’s insurance. Airbnb offers host guarantees (which we don’t think is enough) and you can also get private short-term insurance which will cover you in such disasters.

And, finally, there’s been a lot of press this month about someone in Florida using a modified smoke alarm to film their Airbnb guests in the bedroom. That’s truly creepy and a legitimate horror story. While I feel terrible for the people involved, Airbnb has had over 50 million users and relatively few horror stories (and we’ve had over 150 guests and minimal issues). The review system on the site helps keep (most) people honest and it’s proven to be a fairly safe platform for almost everyone that’s used it. Try not to let the occasional one-off spook you too much. With BiggerPockets.com my name is James & I’m Erin, thank you for watching and if you enjoyed this video make sure to give us a thumbs up and leave a comment! Be safe & have a Happy Halloween! And for more information on short term rentals or to connect with us click the links in the description of this video..

As found on Youtube


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