AirBnB not all roses

AirBnB hasn’t been all roses. My first experience in Hawaii was awesome but most experiences since then have been less than stellar. Last place I show up. Turns out the advertized wifi is not really his. He’s stealing it from a neighbor. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The fridge is gross. The shower is gross. The bath towels are smelly, there’s no lights in the bedroom they’ve just hung some christmas lights around the window. At least it was in a good location. I cleaned the shower and the fridge. Bought my own towels. Lived with no light in the bedroom.

This time the place is unfinished. There’s no blinds / curtains on the windows so I get to put on a show for the neighbors and there’s a complex of them looking right into the room. There’s no place to set anything down in the bathroom. The sink has no counter so it’s hard to get anything done. I either have to set stuff on the floor or put it back in the bag before I get out something else.

Now they need me to keep appointments with people to fix things. In other words, I can’t do the things on my schedule because I have to be on their schedule.

Previous place had air conditioning as advertized but not in the bedroom. It also had lots of flies. I don’t know what was up with that. At one point there were 6 or 7 at the same time on the window above the shower. I managed to pry the screen off and they all flew out and I didn’t have any issues after that.

This place and the place 2 times ago claimed they included parking but after I show up they’re like. “Yea, there’s parking but it’s in the corner so sometimes it gets blocked by the neighbors and you’ll have to park somewhere else”

The last place in SF was just some guys apt and he had made no effort for guests. His stuff was just all out. The kitchen fridge was loud. I recorded it on some DB app on iOS. It was just under 70db. The water in the bathroom sink would not shut off and however it was structured it made a loud dripping sound forever.

I’m renting whole places, not rooms or couches. I guess it should be obvious but it’s just random people renting their place. They have no experience handling guests.

What about the reviews? I’ve skipped placed based on the reviews. The places I picked had good reviews.

Also, AirBnB asks you to leave reviews and at least for me it’s really hard to be honest. I feel like a dick saying “this was bad, that was bad”. It’s not as impersonal as a hotel. You interact with the owner and they’re trying to be nice.

So far I’ve left __relatively__ good reviews for those places because I can’t get myself to diss the owners. Maybe that’s bad on me. I have tried to mention the issues to the owners though on feedback. I have no idea if they care. For example I told the last guy “I cleaned the fridge, the shower, the dishes, hope the next guy isn’t picky” so hopefully next time they’ll be aware of what was wrong and do better.

But, like I said above, most of them are just normal people renting out their place because (a) they’re going on vacation for a couple of weeks or (b) they’ve moved in with their BF/GF. The point being they aren’t doing it regularly.

In fact that’s another issue. There’s no way to know if the place is really available except to apply. When you apply the owner has 24 hours to respond even though you’ve already had the money reserved on your card. Lots of owners are like “Sorry I’m not going to be away then”. So, unlike a hotel it takes a while to find a place that’s actually available and each place requires 24hrs to find out.

I had one owner, clearly clueless, I tried to rent her place for the month of September. She was like “I can see if I can be out of my place by then but I’m not sure. Maybe you could rent it for a week trial?” I don’t know, maybe that’s a reasonable question but … NO! I can’t effing rent it for a week trial. I need a place to live. But she’s clearly not understanding that this isn’t a slumber party or I don’t know what analogy to use. I can’t be having to find a new place all the time. If I say a month I need a month. Similarly she then suggested maybe October. Uh, no. I need a place in September. I don’t know what was going through her mind that my plans would be so flexible for her.

That’s not uncommon. Another guy was like “Yea, I think I could do that. 3 days later he cancelled my reservation”. The last place with the dirty stuff also had issues. I tried to rent it 7/31 but he was like “can you make it 8/2?” I was out of options at that point so I stayed at a hotel 2 nights. Fortunately he kept his word because actually his plans didn’t happen and so he ended up staying with friends so I could have the place on 8/2 as he’d promised. He was with those friends for a week while he waited for some contract to get executed.

Anyway, the point is, AirBnB is kind of like craigslist with just one category. It’s not professional. It’s just normal people renting their places out with no experience doing so and no idea what it’s like to be the person renting. Some get it. Some don’t


Update: Since I wrote this I’d use AirBnB a few more times. All just as bad. The place in October advertised “parking on premises” yet when I got there the owner said “Oh, my car is in that space and I’m in Europe so you’ll have to park on the street”. Next place in November said “It’s a 1 bedroom apartment”. Show up, no, it’s actually a studio apartment with a wardrobe separating the bed area from the sofa area. The difference is in a one bedroom apartment you can close the door to the bedroom and block out the sound of the fridge. Yes, the fridge in this mislabeled studio was loud enough to keep me awake.

In both of these cases I actually have AirBnB set to filter out studio apartments and places without parking so these lies really hurt. The reviews don’t help either because if the guests don’t care about those features they won’t mention it in their reviews.

I got smarter and started asking directly instead of taking the amenities list for granted. One place in LA that listed “parking on premises” admitted under questioning that no, it was street parking. Another in SF that listed “parking on premises” not only confirmed they were lying but even worse you needed to park several blocks away because their street required permits. WHAT….THE….FUCK!!! Why did that person think it was ok to advertize their apartment as having “parking on premises”. >:(

  • Troy

    Wonder how it is is Japan . . .

  • So far the prices haven’t seemed worth it in Japan. The places listed on AirBnB all look like really crappy places and are not any cheaper than a hotel.

  • JohnIGottschalk

    Only had one AirBnB experience so far in Berlin, and it was nicer than my actual apartment, only problem was no access to the kitchen which seemed weird. Was about 30 euros a night.

    Probably your main problem is you’re looking for a stable place, whereas most people think of AirBnB as a place to stay on vacation for a week or a few days. (That’s why they think you could be flexible, “just go on vacation a week later!”)