Airbnb Damages Claim Dispute

How to Win an Airbnb Damages Dispute with a Host (as a Guest)

Airbnb Damages Claim Dispute

How to Win an Airbnb Damages Dispute with a Host (as a Guest)


After 5 years on Airbnb and 25 positive experiences, I was bound to come across a host I didn’t get along with. That day came this past March, when upon leaving the studio I rented in Paris for one month, the host bombarded me with a series of nasty messages saying I left her apartment the “dirtiest” she’s ever seen.

Despite taking out all my trash before leaving, the host was pissed that she had to wash the sheets and towels and vacuum my hair from the floor. Now, I will say my hair is very long (waist-length) and so it does tend to pile up faster than the average person. But vacuuming and laundry are simply part of the job as an Airbnb host. I didn’t leave any sort of abnormal mess that would require extra or specialized cleaning. No spills, stains, broken items, nothing. I didn’t even cook while I was there.

In any case, I realized right away that this host had an abnormally high expectation of cleanliness for her departing guests, and no amount of reasoning would calm her.

I was notified by Airbnb that she wrote me a review the very next day. I knew it wouldn’t be good, and I had an important meeting that week, so I didn’t write a review of her apartment right away.

The Host’s Claim

The following day, I received a notification that the host made a claim on my security deposit for 100€. She wanted 80€ for a new sliding curtain, claiming I broke one of the 3 layers and 20€ for using “ALL the towels” in the apartment.

I was in shock.

After 5 years, no host has ever made a claim on my Airbnb deposit. I’ve never been accused of intentionally, nor accidentally, breaking something inside a host’s place. I’ve gotten constructive feedback, sure, but to go so far as to make a falsified claim on my deposit was a first for me.

In case it’s not obvious: no I did not break her sliding curtain (it was broken the day I arrived). And no, I did not use all her towels. I washed and folded two of them before leaving, and the other two could easily be washed in one load.

I began to frantically search for what to do in this scenario. To make matters worse, I had no photos or video of the apartment that I could use to exonerate myself. I have done this in the past as “insurance” but this particular day, I had an 8am flight, so I was rushing to leave and didn’t take any photos or video.

How to Handle an Airbnb Dispute

I’d like to be clear that this post is not intended to help tenants avoid paying for things they broke. My intention with this post is to help others who have been falsely accused of breaking something by a disgruntled host rightfully exonerate themselves.

If you did break something in your host’s place, then kindly offer to pay for it or just replace it while you’re there. The majority of (good) hosts will not expect you to pay for the item, as many are aware that things need to be replaced from time to time.

In my case, I truly wasn’t responsible for her stuck sliding curtain, nor the fact that she had to do laundry between guests.

The way Airbnb disputes work is either party can create a claim with the Airbnb Resolution Center. The other party must respond within 3 days, otherwise the claim is processed as reported. The host actually has 60 days to make a claim on a deposit, but the earlier this is done, the better chance the host has of winning. If the other party denies to pay the claim, the complainer can then elect to involve a mediator at Airbnb. The mediator’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Analyzing the Damage Claim

In my case, the host made a claim 2 days after I departed. Here is what the host submitted to Airbnb:

Airbnb Host Asking For More Money

Now, there are several red flags with this host’s claim that I’ll go over:

  1. She didn’t provide photos of the actual damage
  2. She included a “cleaning fee” with photos of the sheets and towels I used
  3. She did not include any receipts nor repair estimates or invoices
  4. She stated in a text message that her mother changed out the curtain immediately before my arrival
  5. She stated the sliding curtain was made by Ikea

Read over your host’s claim several times before responding. Read over their private messages to you and re-familiarize yourself with everything.

Responding to the Host

In my first response to the host’s claim, I wrote a very simple message. Airbnb also allows you include a private message to the Airbnb Resolution Center team, in which I went into more detail.

My Response to the Host's Initial Damage Report

As expected, the host involved Airbnb in the request shortly after. At that point, I called Airbnb and asked what to expect.

The customer service agent was very kind and told me not to worry. They reassured me that the host has to prove that I caused damage in order to be awarded the money. If I didn’t cause the damage, then I likely wouldn’t have to pay for it. They acknowledged that it doesn’t feel good to be accused of something you didn’t do and said things would likely work out for me.

Responding to the Airbnb Mediator

Late that night, I received a message from the Airbnb Resolution Center.

Airbnb Mediator Initial Email Asking For Details

As I mentioned, I had no photos of the apartment to support my case.

I knew I had to use my words to convince the Airbnb mediator that I was innocent.

From that point forward, I treated this situation just like a legal case brought against me. Even though I was the “defendant,” the burden of proof still lied with the “plaintiff” to prove my alleged wrongdoing.

I was lucky that my host made overly emotional falsified claims that gave me a lot to work with in my defense.

  • Lack of Photos: It helped me that the host included no photos of the actual damage to her apartment. Airbnb gave her time to submit photos, but in the meantime, I used this to my advantage to prove that the host just wanted to charge a cleaning fee and was making up damages in order to get it. If the claim were truly about damages, there would be detailed photos and it would be the only item on her list.
  • Cleaning Fee: The host’s addition of a cleaning fee on this claim did not help her case. According to Airbnb, you cannot charge a cleaning fee to a guest after they leave, unless it results in the damage to your property. Ordinary cleaning fees cannot be extracted from a security deposit. When she added a cleaning fee, it immediately lowers a host’s credibility for true damage to an apartment.
  • No Receipts: The host did not include an original receipt for her curtain, nor a repair estimate. You cannot simply make up a number to charge someone, even if you found the same product online.
  • The Mother’s Involvement: The host wrote text messages stating her mother changed out the curtains immediately before my arrival to clean them. It’s therefore reasonable to conclude that the mother did not properly reinstall the curtains, which explains why one did not work upon my arrival.
  • Ikea: If a product is made by Ikea, the world’s least durable product maker, it’s reasonable to conclude that the sliding curtain broke on its own, as a result of “wear and tear.” I wouldn’t voluntarily offer this information if I were the host, but she did.

Using the information the host gave me, I drafted a long response to the Airbnb mediator. Here is what I said:

My Airbnb Dispute Response

Looking back, I probably went a little overboard in my detailed response, but I really had no idea what to expect.

Airbnb’s Final Decision

I did not hear back from Nick even after the three days had passed. I submitted a support request, and finally Nick wrote back saying he had received my response, and was still waiting on photos and documents from the host.

I was frustrated by this, but let it go.

About a week later, I received an email saying Airbnb was closing the dispute.

Thankfully, I won!

Lessons Learned

I hope this post was helpful to you if you find yourself involved in an Airbnb dispute on either side. If you want to win a dispute, here is my advice.

Take photos of everything before you leave, and make a video too if you can. This will help you against any claims. Report any damage you notice the day you arrive. Don’t assume the host is aware of it, like I did! Most hosts will apologize for things not working, and attempt to replace them, but some will apparently try to charge you for them!

Of course, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely you’ve already found yourself in this predicament and it’s too late for that.

So, my best tip when dealing with an Airbnb damage dispute is to use the phrase “ordinary wear and tear” in your defense as a guest. Airbnb rightfully does not hold guests responsible for items that break in a host’s residence, provided they broke due to normal wear and tear.

In my response to Airbnb’s mediator, my goal was to:

  • Highlight my positive reviews on the platform
  • Point out other shortcomings of the apartment
  • Position myself as a flexible and easygoing traveler
  • Provide a reasonable explanation for the damage

I avoided making any extreme statements and made my words as non-emotional as possible.

For example, instead of saying “This apartment was the dirtiest I’ve ever rented,” it’s better to write, “The apartment was unusually dusty.” Instead of saying, “The host is a nasty person,” it’s better to say, “We didn’t get along but I am a polite and flexible traveler, used to interacting with different hosts and cultures.”

Being dramatic and overly emotional reduces your credibility.

Again, my wish for this article is not to provide an escape route for damaging guests, but there are scenarios where hosts try to maliciously extract money from guests and my hope is that this guide will help you avoid extortion from unethical hosts.

There are bad hosts and there are bad guests. I wish Airbnb rental expectations were standardized to avoid situations like this, but for now, it’s a free for all. I personally am left with a sour taste in my mouth after this experience and will think twice before using Airbnb again.

Have you won an Airbnb dispute against a host?


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  1. Great blog post! I really enjoyed reading your tips on how to win an Airbnb dispute. Dealing with conflicts can be stressful, especially when it comes to accommodation during travel.

    The information you shared about understanding the Airbnb dispute resolution process and gathering evidence is invaluable. It’s crucial to stay calm, document the issues, and communicate effectively with the host or Airbnb support to resolve the dispute.

    I particularly found the advice on providing clear and concise evidence, such as photos and timestamps, very helpful. It’s important to present a strong case to support your claims and increase the chances of a favorable outcome.

    Your blog post provides practical and actionable tips that empower travelers to navigate potential disputes effectively. Thank you for sharing your insights and helping readers feel more confident in handling Airbnb conflicts.

    Keep up the excellent work, and I’m looking forward to more informative and useful content from you!

  2. I am being charged $2,400 for damages to an apartment in Philadelphia. We are a group of 3 older sisters (70,69, and 54) and 2 nieces. The charges are all bogus. I am so upset. They charged us with Marijuana use and property damage. One of the photos from the host was not our apartment. I have denied all claims.

  3. Happened to me as well. The host claimed damages that didn’t exist and the resolution center got involved. I pointed out the host provided false information and fabricated documents. The process took over a week, I was very stressed out and the case wasn’t resolved until I declined the payment twice. The host was compensated for the alleged damages by Airbnb, so they basically rewarded him for scamming.

    1. Hi Amanda, I am also in same situation where Host is asking for her window damage and huge bill of over 800$, though it was Switzerland which is great place with great people but you never know if some certain community is running AirBnb there to make profit out of it.. Is there a way we all can come up collectively to present our side where guests are being accused however they are not genuinely involved in false claim. These hosts are taking advantage of after guest gone claiming, rather checking those things before guest going or give us checklist to send pictures. i will wait for your reply and then we can discuss for contact and fight together for all such false host claims.

  4. Well, I have never used AirBnB in my life. About a week ago, I opened an account because I found a property I wanted to stay at. I made reservations, which were accepted the following day. About 4 days later, I received an email from AirBnB stating they had canceled the reservation, refunded my money, and were closing my account due to a policy violation. I was dumbfounded because, as I said, I’ve never even had an account, let alone stay in a property. When I reached out, they stated rather vaguely it was due to some sort of alleged damages and refused to give me any more information, only that I would have to respond to emails from some claims department. Well, of course I don’t have any emails from a claims department. Why would I, considering I’ve never used AirBnB before? Maybe they are just bypassing hosts entirely and accusing people who open new accounts? AirBnB seems like a giant scam to me. I highly recommend everyone, including hosts, to stay as far away as possible.

  5. Hi Victoria,
    We were in a dispute for damages and “missing sheets’. We did not do any of it and because we have used Airbnbs frequently did not make a big deal out if shortcomings of this property. We have great reviews from all our hosts. The host of this property gave us a great review and then the dispute came. We felt confidant that the host would not win his claim after the great review but as we went through resolution process ( never seeing any pictures pronging we damaged it. ) Airbnb suspended account and canceled two upcoming trips. We have hired an attorney because we are so upset by this false claim and outcome. Any recommendations?

  6. We stayed in Woodland Hills, Ca. We had forgotten a couple of items and called the host the same day to say we would come and pick them up, but he refused to hand them back to us and stated he had “trashed” them as he thought they were “abandoned”. I can only guess that he decided to keep them for himself. I contacted Airbnb for help, and soon after, the host texted me that it was “shady” for us to contact Airbnb, supposedly because he gave us a good deal. He proceeded to bully us on Airbnb chat, and called us garbage and other insults, and we never saw the items again. It was bedding and a lamp I carry around to write at night. Although I contacted Airbnb again, there was no resolution. He left us a horrible review and although I tried to reply to his review the same day it was published, the option was not available. He wrote that the room smelled like pee and other horrors, which are all untrue and probably a means to bully us to keep our items. We are left with no resources but perhaps contact Better business bureau. Suggestions are welcome.

    1. Yes much the same I made a request to refund after host charged a cleaning fee and a host of charges prior to our stay but upon entry , no instructions and the unit was cluttered with children’s toys and personal belongs it was like the host had just left the unit 5 minutes before we entered . After my refund request I was sent an email by Airbnb that a review was posted by the host and of course the lies came out , messy kitchen and not communicated clearly which I found hilarious as lucky I did send photos and videos of the unit before and after and still Airbnb have refused to remove the hosts lies which has now effected me and my 3 guests and that review is now on there profile even though I was the principal guest. Go figure

  7. Victoria thank you for sharing this information. When we are accused of something falsely and then charged for it in top of that for the hosts monetary gain, it’s so wrong in so many ways and hard to think straight out of the anger and disappointment. This was me, until tonight I decided to stop being angry and start making this into a project, en route I found your post! So I used your letter as a loose template and your wonderful advice to look deeper into the host, their reply’s and the evidence and found out that the invoices for the repair damage we were accuse of, were supplied by the hosts own personal construction company, a serious conflict of interest, which is critical to our rebuttal. Had I not read your clear and thoughtful blog I don’t know if I ever would have come out of the weeds and had a clear direction to follow. Ever thanks to you.

  8. Hello Victoria! Thank you for this article. I hope you can give me advice on my situation.

    During my AIRBNB stay my roommates were responsible for breaking a glass cup. That is all. However, the host is not only trying to charge us an insane amount for the cup without proving a receipt, but he is ALSO additionally making up and charging us hundreds of dollars for damages that we did not make. He did provide picture of said “damages” but they are not from us. I denied the request to pay that amount for all of those false damages and he got AIRBNB involved. The other guests and myself are willing to pay for the cup but I wonder that if we admit to only causing one damage then Airbnb will take the hosts side and charge us for all the damages we DIDNT make. I also only have one picture of uncleaned sheets, but not of anything else support my case. I am not sure what to do on this situation. Is it possible for Airbnb to allow only a certain amount to be paid for the damage or will they want to charge me for all?

    1. Hi Star,
      Unfortunately, I do not know how Airbnb will handle your situation. Perhaps another reader will chime in. Good luck!

  9. Thanks for the great article. Do you know where AirBnB in its terms and conditions explicitly talks about “ordinary wear-and-tear”? I haven’t found it.

  10. Thank you for the information. I am currently in one myself. 1st time and so awful to be wrongfully accused. He claims we broke the base of the toilet that was not leaking water nor damaged. I cleaned the house nicely just didn’t fix the beds as told on the manuel. He then goes to say we left the house a big mess!!. I was just in awww! Could not beleive it. I’m in dispute now. His pics do not show damage only where they removed it. Why I don’t know. Although the neighbor was not so friendly but hey I didn’t want to say anything bad so I left a good one for him. Just sad that we have to put one first in order to read theirs. Hope all goes well for me.

  11. Ramona, well done. Sometimes you have to go into every nit picky detail in order to win.
    I am so happy to be able to share here. I really connect with the comment from Victoria who says, she quit because of the stress. The stress of my French experiences on Airbnb led me to close my account yesterday. Being a member cost me in terms of health and well-being. The positive energy that should be going into the trip gets spent on resolving the issues with mean hosts. All I wanted from an Airbnb host was a very clean place to stay and, even with the Covid 19 crisis, it has been rarely the case that I found one. My reviews were excellent until I went to Bordeaux. I complained about a host refusing to heat the room. If one host leaves a bad comment then that can fuel other hosts with the ammunition they need to treat you badly too. It might seem paranoid to mention this, but there is a complicity between hosts here in France. For example in Bordeaux I complained that the host refused to heat the room, then in Lille, the host too, refused to heat the bedroom. The lies from the hosts in Bordeaux were what caused me the most stress. One host by the name of SVASTI said that I put serviettes down the toilet. I am 59 years old. He said he had to get a plumber in. I asked Airbnb did they have to pay for a plumber. They replied, no. He made no claim and thankfully Airbnb removed what he wrote. I honour and respected everyone’s home I went to, only to be treated so shabbily. Some of the homes look fine in the photos but in reality are Social lodgings in rundown areas. Some hosts are perverse people even the ones that obtain badges. The last host in Lille asked me, Why would anyone come to Lille with a swimsuit? She had been through my bag when I was out, and saw that there was a swimsuit in it. She then asked me, Would you like to come swimming with me tomorrow night. I replied no, as I only like swimming in the sea. She never went swimming. Another host stole my USB key just to annoy and I saw her take it off the desk and put it in her pocket and it later dawned on me when I was searching for it, that that was the key. I couldn’t prove it. I will never use the sight again. It is a pity because I had lovely airbnb experiences Germany and the Netherlands.

    1. So sorry to read this. There is the same complicity with hosts in the US. We just had a horrible experience in CA which I describe in this thread.

  12. Hello, thank you for this insight. It gives me relief that I might not be charged. I recently stayed in a home that had lots of damages. I didn’t notice some of it because we were only there overnight and during the days were gone. The third day of our stay was more relaxing at the home and we went to open the doors of the entertainment stand and the bottom of it fell off leaving the doors hanging, my husbands and I fixed it, I took photos and notified the host as we were departing (that next morning). However, when this happened I got curious and started looking around because we already noticed the faucet was broken and there was a giant hole in a cupboard that was covered by cardboard and painted over. There were so many other damages, I took photos of EVERYTHING and when we left I notified the host. I told her that I appreciated her kindness and responsiveness however the condition of the home was another thing. She got super defensive, made up a bunch of excuses and got really rude with me, so I reported her to Airbnb. I paid over $550 to stay at her place for 4 nights. Anyway, a week goes by and Airbnb sided with me and gave me a small refund, not what I had asked for but it was enough to make me drop the case. Until 2 hours after their decision she decided to make a claim for $920, stating I broke things, that I literally brought to her attention and Airbnb. She even used the same photos that I submitted as proof for my case. With the addition of a bed frame being broke. I actually pulled the sheets off to see if the bed was nasty but never looked under it. So it was probably broken before, however I am very upset at the fact that they even let her submit a claim when she clearly did it out of retaliation for me winning my claim. This is super stressful, and what is worse, is this is the 1st time I have ever used Airbnb. She was a super host. She left a review saying “tried to report me for using duct tape on my cupboards”. Nothing about damages or anything. Furthermore, the day she “discovered” the damages, was a day I was still checked in. Unfortunately I don’t think I will EVER use Airbnb again. This has been stressful and traumatic.

      1. Dear Victoria, I totally understand. I spent hours trying to fix an issue where the host was bullying us and stole property from us, and it lead to nothing. The host left a horrid review about us and Airbnb did nothing to help us recover our items. At some point, you need to move on with your life and enjoy it.

  13. Victoria, thank you for this helpful post. I am currently going through a nightmare situation where a host has accused my guests of breaking a bed. We went away to a house in upstate New York for about 36 hours for my birthday weekend. According to my friend the bed was broken when we got there. I wish he would have told me, but I kind of understand him not wanting to burden me with it / as soon as we got there he and his partner were like, “the host is insane,” who apparently made a racist remark about the house cleaner. She also accused me of not following the closeout instructions because the dishtowels were “dirty” – is that not what dishtowels are for? Here’s also the kicker: she wanted me to Venmo her if I wanted “to avoid Airbnb.” Why on earth would I want to avoid a process? Where is the receipt for the bed? Have you contacted someone to try and repair it? Can you get a replacement part?

    Meanwhile this bed – which we did not do anything to! – is particleboard and not even solid wood. It is so clearly wear and tear and could probably be repaired for less than $100. I researched beds on West Elm that amount to $1K that have solid wood legs that you’d SERIOUSLY have to do a lot to damage. I cannot conceive that this bed cost a grand.

    I am so anxious over this bed and feel so lousy over being gaslit and spoken to by this manager. We had a great weekend and it was completely overshadowed by this incident.

  14. Hello, and thank you for your very informative post. We just dealt for the first time ever with a very nasty Airbnb host. I’m waiting for him to lodge a dispute about a broken toilet seat. It’s definitely stressful to come back from a vacation where you have had to compromise on an Airbnb site which did not meet your expectations and then to have nasty accusations from the host. I too am going to think twice about using this platform, and will look for places with a kitchenette which are run by a hotel chain. Thanks again.

  15. I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this! I too was also recently accused of damages that were already there upon my arrival. Being an easygoing person, I also made the mistake of not taking pictures of everything when I checked in and out. I’m currently disputing with Airbnb, your article was really helpful in what to say. Fingers crossed I have a fair outcome.

    1. This is happening to me right now over a bed. Did everything get resolved for you? I am so stressed out!

  16. I am sure many people who are hosts do this, I am equally sure there are many guests who try to take advantage of a host’s property.

    The host often provides significant value to the guest in kitchenware, lounge accessories etc etc with the expectation they will be treated properly.

    My experience is that this does not happen and as a host, I have had items damaged through lack of care, taken from my property, and used recklessly.

    The items I provide in my house are for use within the house and not to be dragged around beaches which is what has happened to some of my items.

    Well done for not being taken advantage of but there are hosts out there who are not too happy about what guests do especially when they specifically ask that items should not be removed from the property.

  17. Hi Victoria,
    Thanks so much for this informative post! I too have a very similar situation thats happening to me at the moment. Its quite frustrating because the host falsely charged me $250 for “severe structural damage” that afternoon when we checked out in the morning. She did take a photo of the wooden post that supports one of the landings, of the staircase outside that had the “severe damage” that I supposedly made. It looked like a 3-4″ chip to the wooden post that most likely have been caused by something heavy and huge, like a dishwasher or an AC unit. We only carried 5 polyester bags individually up and down the stairs thats no bigger than a big back back. The whole place had shown normal wear and tear so I just thought it was such and didn’t really complain about it other than the clogged drain of the bathroom sink! Unfortunately for me, this is only my 2nd time renting out an airbnb and don’t have the ratings to put me in a more favorable light.

    Before all of this mess, I had originally wanted cancel this trip because one of my family members that was coming with just found out that she had to go to an important conference and couldn’t be there. And this whole trip was basically to celebrate her birthday… Mind you, I booked this trip a month in advance and tried calling her if i could cancel and get a full refund 2 weeks before the dated trip. But it turns out i could only get half b/c AIRBNB only gives half the refund after the 48 hrs you booked the trip…I misread it thinking it was 48hrs before the dated trip. I think it was worded such that a person could misunderstand…like me. Anyway, we ended up coming to this trip b/c we didn’t want to waste the money and came without her…and then this happened with the host.

    I don’t know, I think the host has a chip on her shoulder because I tried to cancel but came anyway and then supposedly to get back at me, is accusing me of “severely damaging” her property! 0_0

    1. Honestly, some hosts on Airbnb are really nasty. Their properties are falling apart or they installed cheap fixtures, and then they want to blame you for a random section that’s deteriorating because of their cheapness! I wish you the best of luck. Just keep saying “wear and tear” when you speak with the Airbnb mediator and I have full confidence that they will not hold you liable! I personally have quit using Airbnb after the experience I detailed above.

      1. It is so accurate what you write. Some hosts are just after the money, the ones here in France gave me the absolute minimum. I did not complain about the last host in Lille because she has SuperHost status. Airbnb stays in France turn into disputes nearly every time with the exception of one or two. The notion of hospitality is gone. Like you say it is GREED. It is upsetting and bad memories of these Hosts play on one’s mind.

  18. I just recently bought my friend an Airbnb gift card. The second I did so, I noticed I typed his email address wrong. Jamie not Jaime. Stupid autocorrect. Anyway I instantly notified Airbnb who without even trying to help and ignoring my questions only sent me a link to send to Jaime. Then had to send another link because apparently I was supposed to know not to click on the link. Anyway by the time Jaime gets the link the gift card has been “redeemed”. That was 5/3, it is now 5/14 and I am getting no where with Airbnb. Just this morning a message from the person I thought would help me “at this point it’s possible the unintended recipient might have redeemed the gift card” with a link to Airbnb’s gift card help page. I am at my wits end and ready to scream. They will not give me direct answers, they don’t reply to my questions. It’s been a week and half and they tell me that the person I accidentally sent it to, must’ve (because they can’t look it up?) redeemed the gift card. I made them aware mere moments after the mistake, enough time to cancel the gift card, change the recipient, whatever. Instead they let it happen, and they let enough time pass that they feel they can just tell me I’m screwed.

    1. Ah I’m so sorry about that Devin! I agree, they are a terrible company. I’ve completely stopped using Airbnb since I wrote this article a few years ago. For what happened above and other reasons. Airbnb has also driven up rental costs for locals. When I need a long-term place, I use Extended Stay America. Best of luck with your situation!

      1. Hi Victoria – stumbled on your post due to a recent experience with an awful Airbnb host who accused us of leaving her home dirty and damaged. Neither were true of course and it’s especially upsetting because we gave the hosts the benefit of the doubt for things like a bug problem. That said, it’s reassuring (though disheartening) to see that others have been through this too. Do you have a recommendation for alt vacation rental sites you’ve turned to since your Airbnb debacles? Thanks!

        1. Hi Nadia,
          I started using Extended Stay America for long-term national trips. Abroad I haven’t found a good solution. I’ve quit traveling long-term like I used to, so now I just book hotels for short term stays! Unfortunately, you’re going to have the same problem if you get a bad host using another platform like VRBO or Morning Croissant. It’s a he-said/she-said situation. For what it’s worth, Airbnb did not make me pay for the fake damages the host accused me of!

          1. May I suggest for stays in France – Gites de France. Gites are really well serviced and usually very clean. Not sure if they work in Paris though. Check out their properties on-line. Gites are usually for family but they often have places for couples.

  19. Thank you for this incredibly helpful post. Me and my partner were on our way back from a weekend away in an airbnb in Paris and a message from the host appeared in our account accusing us of stealing the host’s xbox. The host in question was incredibly threatening in all her messages to us, accepted no suggestions from us to check the CCTV for people entering the flat that day after we checked out (it was a self-check in/ check out system) and eventually demanded €2000 from us which she claimed was to make up for the loss of jewellery, hard drives, cheque books and a tablet, as well as the xbox which she originally claimed had been stolen. She sent photos of the flat which we had made sure was pristine before we left looking ransacked, with drawers tipped over the bed and floor. The whole episode was incredibly anxiety inducing for me and my partner, but I found your post and the step-by-step way in which you have written it told us what to expect next which was so so helpful in a process in which we are totally unfamiliar with. At present we have just sent the email to the airbnb mediator with lots of supporting evidence and will now wait and see what the outcome of this horrible case is. Not sure if a scam or if another person genuinely broke into their flat, although it is a very secure building… Either way, your post has been a godsend to us. Thank you, sincerely, for writing it!

    1. Hello Naomi,

      It does not surprise me to read about your Airbnb expérience in Paris. Just until recently I used Airbnb a lot in France and know that there are hosts especially in Paris, that will use guests to make false claims. There are lots of scams. But I am surprised that this host didn’t take a security deposit to cover those claims?

  20. Hey there! Informative post. Thanks for that. We recently stayed in the Middle East for 4 days. The price per night was approx. 120 USD. (Pricey by our standards). Everything seem to have gone well. We adjusted to many of the apartment’s short comings. The AC simply never worked properly. The bread toaster sparked and my wife jumped out scared. The water in the tap was dirty green until we let out 5-6litres out everytime! But we adjusted somehow even though the price we paid was high. But to our shock,
    the host simply sent us the payment link to pay for damages. 500 Dirhams!! And for what: it seems one week , yeah 1 week after we checked out she found out that her wall had a crack!! And she said it was a damage done by us. How ridiculous can this get? Even with all my might I couldn’t have caused a big sound on the wall, forget a crack. I’m not superman and my wife is not Wonder Woman. then she also sent a photo an artwork that has crack below its surface? But this is the kind of world we live in. The house is luxury and the owner seems to be rich given that the house is walking distance from downtown. Plus she own two other flats in the same premises. But she still wants to fleece us? She simply says these damages (cracks on the walls and the surface below the artwork) were not there before we arrived. But strangely she says they were there 1 week after we left.

    1. It’s unfortunate but Airbnb hosts have gotten greedy. What used to be a community platform has turned into a money-sucking pit. I’m sorry you’re dealing with a nasty host, I wish I could say they are an exception, but the more I use Airbnb, the more I realize they are actually starting to be the norm!! Good luck with your situation.

  21. Thank you for this information! My family and I have used AirB and B several times and have no issues. But it’s always wise to be careful and you pointed out several things to be aware of. So, thank you again and I love reading about your adventures!

    1. Hi Ramona! I was really surprised at the host’s reaction, too. I have used Airbnb plenty of times with no issue. Yes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Glad you enjoy reading! :)


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