Created over six years ago, AirBNB is a rental-sharing website where people can find places to stay while traveling in over 190 countries. Used by over 17 million people throughout the world, AirBNB aims to create a safe and affordable means for housing travelers, and now has a “Trust and Safety Team” who helps users screen guests before letting them into their homes.
However, even with these safety procedures and precautions in place, there have been a number of bad AirBNB experiences people have had to deal with. Below are just a few. Which do you think are the most terrifying?
The Corpse in the Garden
The Sneaky Adult Film Director
An Airbnb owner in Ojai, California sued the company in 2015, alleging that renters had used her mansion to film an unauthorized gay porn movie. Kristina Knapic claimed she thought she was renting her property to a group of friends, but when she found enema kits, various sexual devices, and brown stains on the linens and carpets, she knew something was up.
Knapic used a business card she discovered among the wreckage to track down the director, Michael Lucas (real name Andrei Treivas), who had even posted on Facebook that he was shooting “on location” at the home. Knapic’s suit asked for compensation for property damage, emotional damages, and breach of contract
The Nosy Neighbor
And you thought your neighbors were uptight. Musician STEFisDOPE and his friends got quite a surprise after settling in to their Decatur, GA Airbnb rental. STEFisDOPE, along with musicians Xali, Willie Howard, and two other men were greeted by police officers after a nosey neighbor spotted them and thought they were robbing the place. According to Xali, cops showed up, “guns out,” to confront the perfectly legal renters. They eventually left them alone when they realized the mistake. The neighbor, however, wasn’t as accommodating. He apparently came over to the house later and opened the door without knocking.
The Housesitter from Hell
A San Francisco couple came home from Burning Man (but don’t hold that against them) and noticed a few changes in their house. Blankets had been moved, a laptop charger was missing, and their cardboard cutout of One Direction’s Niall (ugh) was in the garage. Was it the work of a nefarious One Direction/blanket hater? No– just an opportunistic housesitter who decided to rent out his clients’ place on AIrbnb while they were away.
Burners John and Ed said they found the housesitter on a website called TrustedHousesitters.com (oh the irony!) and had already used him twice before with no incident. But this time, the temptation to make a few bucks off the empty apartment was too much. He would have gotten away with it too, if the people who rented the apartment hadn’t happened to be friends of John and Ed. When they called to the thank the couple for letting them rent their house, things started to make sense. The listing has since been deleted.
The Unhappy Ending
Imagine this scenario: it’s late, it’s dark, you’ve just gotten home from a cross-country fight after being away for months. All you want is to take a hot shower and slip into your own comfortable bed. You open the door, drop your bags, and turn on the light to find a young couple sleeping in your bed. That’s exactly what happened to one part-time Californian after her returned home from Chicago.
Condo owner Robert Corwin thought it was strange that there was a new hookah on his coffee table and no booze in his cupboards, but the real surprise came when he found a man and a woman sleeping in his bed! Turns out, his roommate had been renting out his bedroom while he was gone without telling him. Corwin got rid of the roommate (obviously) and demanded that Airbnb give him some sort of recompense. For their part, the company told CBS Chicago: “This property is no longer listed on Airbnb, and we are reviewing this matter fully.”
In 2011, EJ thought she was doing a good thing by renting her apartment out to strangers for a week-long vacation. However, when she came back home to see a hole smashed into a closet door that had been locked, she knew she had made a huge mistake. Not only had her house guests stolen her passport, credit cards, cash, and jewelry, but they had even gone so far as to take all her digital devices – laptop, camera, iPod – and as well as a hard drive that contained personal photos and journals. As nasty icing on the cake to the tragedy, the guests also left a yellow, smelly, and crusty substance smeared all over the bathroom sink.
Not all AirBNB horror stories stop at people taking things. In Troy Dayton’s case, although his birth certificate and computer were stolen, there were also a number of small gifts his house guests had left behind for him: such as several meth pipes strewn about and the seeming reenactment of The Shiningscene in which Jack Nicholson’s character goes HAM on the bathroom door – only these ax marks were left on Troy’s closet door.
When people rent their homes to guests on AirBNB, most assume they are there to enjoy a nice vacation. However, two Sweden homeowners returned home only to find out from the Stockholm County Police that their guests had actually decided to use their home as a temporary brothel. While the homeowners were gone, the police had raided the home and found the two female renters (prostitutes) performing sexual acts on their clients, which is almost as disturbing as what the homeowners had to find for themselves: pubic hair and a plastic bag of condoms.
Having prostitutes rent your home is bad enough. But what better way to make this terrible AirBNB experience even worse than by having one of those prostitutes stabbed in your apartment? This was the case for Jessica Penzari when she rented her West 43rd Street apartment turned-brothel to a woman who told her that she was in the Army and needed a place to stay before deployment. While she was gone, a hooker was stabbed by a client, and Penzari returned home to find baby wipes and condoms left behind.
No one wants to learn that their home was rented and used primarily for conducting sexual acts. Hearing about it after the fact is gross enough, but having to walk in on it WHILE it is taking place is downright disturbing. Just ask Ari Teman of NYC who walked into his apartment to learn that his guest was using his apartment to host a “panty raid orgy” with plus size women and stuffed animals. Yikes.
The Party Pooper
Rachel Bassini had one hell of a AirBNB horror story to tell after she came home to her NYC East Village apartment to find it completely trashed. But not just “trashed” in the after-party kind of way that involves empty solo cups and beer bottles – “Trashed” in the way that includes condoms and human feces covering her bathroom and furniture. Fortunately, AirBNB paid for the damages.
Sometimes the guests aren’t always to blame. One person had an AirBNB horror story come to life while they were staying at a Berlin rental. There was a knock on the door, and when the renter opened it, the REAL owner of the apartment was standing there, with the paperwork to prove it his ownership. Talk about awkward. But, at least he let the renter stay out the remainder of this trip.
After one renter booked his place and paid 50% of the payment, he was told that the rates were actually triple the amount, and there was nothing AirBNB could do. Although the date and price had already been agreed upon, and the first payment was made, the host told the guest that they could either pay the triple amount or they would cancel the trip.
As repeat users of AirBNB, Maria and her sister knew to be careful when it came to reading comments on the site and treading lightly when choosing a host. When they needed a quick 3-day place to stay, they used AirBNB, though, and were a little less strict about paying attention to the comments. They regretted it. Their host, Leslie (a man), got drunk, and stood over them as they were sleeping. Fortunately, they got out before anything too horrible happened.
When Matt used AirBNB, he was a little upset to learn that his reservation had expired in the middle of the day – because, for whatever reason, the owner had not verified the reservation. Having already paid over $500 for the week’s reservation, Matt had to look for a new place to stay on top of trying to get his money back – which ended up taking over two days.
One California woman decided to rent her apartment for over a month. But once that month was up, she was terrified to learn that the guest was not only refusing to leave, but threatening to sue her. She had to hire a lawyer to go through the entire eviction process!
Again, sometimes the guests aren’t the problem. As was the case with a Business Insider employee who used AirBNB for a Hampton’s weekend get-away with his girlfriend for two nights. Hours after letting them in and leaving, the host showed up drunk and mumbling incoherently, seemingly try to initiate the couple into something. He then tried to take the guest’s wallet and keys but reluctantly put them down. The guests left in the middle of the night and had to find somewhere else to stay.