NerdWallet: Dirty bathrooms, foul odors, bedbugs, a live bat—what to do when you rent a bad Airbnb

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  Airbnb complaints seem to be on the rise. From griping about cleaning fees to complaining about the impact on neighborhoods and real estate markets, it seems like everyone has an opinion of the vacation rental platform. 

Yet this sentiment runs counter to actual behavior — vacation rentals like Airbnb
are more popular than ever. Total U.S. demand was up 19.8% in December 2022 compared with the previous year, and up 31.7% compared with 2019, according to AirDNA, a vacation rental analytics platform. So while some Americans may be getting fed up with vacation rentals, more people are staying at them than ever.  Many frequent travelers have Airbnb “horror stories” — tales of dirty bathrooms, inaccurate photos and unprintable bizarreness. Yet, while it’s easy to complain about these disappointing vacation rentals, it’s harder to know what to do if you don’t like your Airbnb. Should you talk to the host? Contact customer service? Request a refund?  Well, it depends. Communicate with the host first For most problems, such as a leaky faucet or dirty sheets, simply communicating these issues to the host is the best first step. “Communication is key!” said Jenny Radick, an Airbnb Superhost in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania and a vacation rental consultant, via email. “For many hosts, it is just one person running one Airbnb unit. They more than likely put a lot of thought and care into the home, so if there are any small problems, good hosts are quick and eager to remedy them.” Most hosts want to provide a high-quality experience for guests, since their rental’s success depends on positive guest reviews. So it’s always a good idea to give the host the benefit of the doubt, using constructive and kind communication that assumes good intent.  Ideally, hosts will jump to fix any small — or smelly — issues at check-in.  You might like: This style of travel is growing more popular among the 50-plus set, and it can offer a richer, more relaxing experienceDocument everything Even when dealing with an attentive host who is eager to solve any problems that come up, it’s a good idea to document these issues early and thoroughly. A picture of bedbugs or other insects, with a time stamp, will help prove that it wasn’t clean upon arrival or at some other point during your stay. This is especially important for any issues that may pose health or safety concerns, such as faulty locks or malfunctioning fire alarms. Documenting the problem clearly, and sending it …

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