I’ve ranted on AirBnb issues before but sadly I keep going back because I don’t have much of a choice since I’m effectively homeless at the moment.
I’ve rented about 22 places in the last 3 years. I think a couple were not AirBnB. I haven’t written a bad review yet even though given the rant linked above you’d expect I would have.
But, this last place I finally wrote a bad review. Maybe it was all the pent up rage of all the previous places. Maybe it was the particular response from this landlord. In any case I left a bad review. I can only hope that’s incentive for the guy to do better.
So what was the issue? I was just in Hong Kong. I rented a place with great reviews. It might have been an acceptable place but … it was cold in Hong Kong that time, colder than normal. The place was FREEZING cold. So cold I didn’t want to be in the apartment at all. I had rented it for 17 days. It wasn’t unlivable per-se, it was just not pleasant at all. You needed to bundle up and have a freezing nose and not get out of the bed. There was a space heater but unless you were within about 2 feet of it it didn’t help much. The shower was slow and only held at most 5 minutes of hot water. After that you needed to shut it off and wait 15-20 minutes for hot water again. The internet was very intermittent. After the second day I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I rented a hotel. I didn’t ask for a refund. I assumed AirBnB wouldn’t give one anyway and that it was my fault for not asking if it was warm before hand. Plus you have to complain within 24 hrs of checking in.
So, next stop Tokyo again. I found a place in a good location for a reasonable price. I was renting for 4 weeks. I needed a place that’s warm as Tokyo is much colder than Hong Kong. I also needed internet of course as it’s 2015. I maintain several websites, open source projects and other things that require lots of internet. Not crazy amounts but normal amounts for a normal internet savvy person in 2015.
I write to the owner and ask if the place is warm. He says “Yes! It’s got 2 heaters. You’ll be plenty warm”. It’s got internet checked as an included feature so it sounds all good.
So I get there. The first thing I see is a notice that effectively says, “Don’t use the internet much”. WTF!!!
Seriously? I’m renting the place for a month for living not for site sightseeing. This is unacceptable and I complain to the owner. He recommends I go to a co-working space. NO I’M NOT GOING TO A CO-WORKING SPACE! I PAID YOU FOR INTERNET! DELIVER WHAT YOU PROMISED IN YOUR AD!
I check into the cost. He’s paying ~$30 a month. He could be paying ~$40 a month. A mere $10 more and he’d no longer be misrepresenting his listing. So yea, he’s a cheapskate.
I bring this up with AirBnB and their response is pretty much what their reputation suggests. In other words it’s shit. From their POV if he’s providing 15 seconds of internet for the entire month it would be ok because he “provided internet” by that definition. I’m guessing if he had a sign that said “only sleep here from 12am to 7am” they’d also be like “he provided a bedroom and that’s all he claimed to provide”. Fucking AirBnB >:(
Next thing up is one of the heaters is broken. It makes a loud and incredibly annoying sound when on making it unusable unless you want to either wear earplugs or go insane.
AirBnb is more sympathetic to this and they’ll let me cancel the reservation. I bring it up with the landlord and he does absolutely nothing. Doesn’t even attempt to get it looked at. I’m sure some repair person can fix it for a reasonable price but the landlord instead says “put it on low”. It try low but it’s still loud and annoying.
He offers to bring me some blankets. WHAT … THE … FUCK! Seriously? You promised me a warm place. You’re shit is broke and you’r offing me blankets? Am I being unreasonable?
AirBnB is technically illegal in much of Japan. I don’t know all the details but it’s clear at every opportunity owners will emphasize DO NOT TALK TO THE BUILDING MANAGEMENT. It crosses my mind to report him but I decide I won’t go there.
I weigh my options. I can go get my own internet. It will cost $40 a month but that’s with a year contract. There’s no non-contract option. Cancel early and it’s a $200 fine. So it’s a solution but i’ve been scammed out of $240 effectively by the landlord not delivering what he advertised.
Getting a new AirBnb is work as well. It will take a couple of days to contact landlords, ask them if the place is warm and the internet is not shit. Getting a hotel for a month in Tokyo is nearly impossible. If I go the hotel route I’ll have to move about once a week.
So I suck it up. AirBnB/landlord have fucked me over but like many things in life sometimes you have to just accept your losses. If I only run the bedroom heater the bedroom is warm. It’s not enough to heat the whole place at night though or on a cold day but I can get by for 4 weeks. The internet I wait and see.
Other problems with the place. 6 lights out of maybe 14 are burnt out. I replace them all.
I want to clean up the place because the floor is pretty dirty up but the vacuum cleaner is useless.
The towels are filthy but at least he replaces those.
I’ll give one more scammy example. The landlord is a man but his profile picture on AirBnB is some female model clip art. Yea, he’s a scammer.
I keep hoping AirBnB will do something about these issues in general. I don’t know what would compel them to try to help landlords be responsible and honest in their listing and to punish them when they don’t. So, my only recourse is to leave a bad review and hope that the landlord will fix their shit and that people will still rent to me when they see I called out a bad landlord.