Who doesn't like earning a little extra cash? Hosting a room on Airbnb is a great way to make extra money on your own terms. You can do it as often as you like, charge whatever you like and only have to upkeep the room, which you would have done anyway. However, there are several downsides as well. Homes have been completely destroyed, and debate lingers whether this service is helping or hurting travelers.
Recently, Airbnb hosts opened up on Reddit about their nightmare experiences using the service, and the stories are shocking.
"Rented out my flat in South Bank London to two American teenagers whose parents did it for them. I had to be there to show them how the alarm worked as parents didn't trust someone not to break in when they were sleeping 'And do god knows what to our girls!'
"Skip to two days later and I'm woken up at 2 AM by a call from one of the girls frantic. They were being arrested and didn't know who else to call but couldn't tell me why. Now at this point I was worried because they seemed a little air-headed but nice enough girls. So I called their parents to let them know what was happening and I was going to the station for them and I'd call them as soon as I knew more. When I got there I'm told that they broke into the flat one floor down and were trashing it.
"I was so pissed. I called the parents and let them know and they were just weird about it. I don't know if they didn't believe me or what, but they soon must of [sic] found it real when they got the knowledge that my neighbors were going to press charges." – LittlelLo
Sometimes you can learn a lot about the people you're related to from the stories of strangers.
"We had a guest book our guest home for her birthday weekend. It was just going to be her and her 'brother.' She texted the day before saying it was just going to be her. I thought that no one should have to be alone for their birthday, so we put up a 'Happy Birthday' banner and bought her some cupcake wine with a decorative birthday wine glass and a big cupcake. She cried. Turns out the brother was actually a married guy she'd moved across the country for, but big surprise, hadn't/wouldn't leave the wife. They broke up the day before her romantic beach birthday trip. I hope she's found better people to hang out with." – sol_on_fire
This is an awkward nightmare for all parties involved.
"Our Georgian guest had never left her country before and seemed very anxious about coming to Berlin. Her mom made her send a message to ask if her room was lockable as a male (me) would be living in the same apartment. She needed directions for everything and wanted to Skype with my roommate to see if she was real. We were quite surprised as the girl turned out to be a drug-loving raver who took MDMA in our living room and brought over her neo-nazi cousin." – AwkwardZoneDefeated
"A Swiss couple who had been backpacking up and down the Pacific coast rented my friend's AirBnB for their last couple nights before flying home. The last night they were there, my friend and his wife heard this strange beeping coming from downstairs and the sounds of their guests scrambling around. By the time he got himself awake and pants-on, though, the beeping had stopped. He shrugged and went back to bed. The next morning the Swiss left no problem.
"So my friend goes down to check out the room. These people had left random scraps of trash everywhere. They also left a couple things that they had obviously bought for their trip and didn't want anymore. The most suspicious thing was A) a cooking pot, recently used (and poorly cleaned), and 2) a portable propane tank, also used. My friend stared at this a moment, then, suspicion rising, he looked around. He saw that the smoke detector for the room was fine, but the carbon monoxide detector had had its batteries removed." – CorvidaeSF
Do... do you call the bomb squad or Gordon Ramsey to take care of this mess?
"A 56-year-old woman showed up with two cans of beer, then proceeded to drink them both in under a couple of minutes, start yelling at people in the street and cry. She explained she had been laid off earlier in the day, and was apparently not taking the news lightly. She then vomited a few times, took three very noisy showers between 2 AM and 8 AM and left early with only a post-it note saying, "Thank you, Mumu."" – Alphare
By the way, the Airbnb host wasn't named Mumu, and didn't know who Mumu was either.
"Not me but my brother. A couple rented out the place for a random weekend he was out of town last fall. When he came home he noticed a lot of things just seemed off with his house: furniture not exactly in the same place, paintings on the wall were crooked, carpet really dirty for just two people and his back yard was wrecked. A few days later he runs into his next door neighbor who starts asking him about the wedding. My brother had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and comes to find out the couple who rented his place out to threw a full on wedding at his house.
"He came home the next day and his house was cleaned out. Apparently someone made a copy of his key and let themselves in the next day and cleaned him out during the day, taking everything through the back door and out the garage leading to the alley. Doesn't rent his place out anymore." – ic2ofblue
That last sentence is the biggest "duh" sentence I've ever read.
"One guest left cigarette burns in my carpet that I didn't notice until he was gone. After the next guest left I got an email from Airbnb saying that she complained that the room I was renting was not up to their standards because there were cigarette burns in the carpet." – Veneu38
This type of frustration and stress is what leads people to start smoking again.
"We had someone who rented out a room for a month. He was in his forties, well-dressed and paid ahead through the bank and everything was set up for him to stay over. He went to work but he never came back. We waited a few days before getting a call where he said something was happening at his work and he would be showing up next week. We already had the money so it didn't matter to us.
"Next week rolls around and he's still too busy to show up except now he's expecting a package for his work to our place. We tell him we'll call when it shows up.
"A few days later, I'm sitting at home playing on my Xbox when my door opens and a woman walks in. Looking through the windows I can see more and more people walking through my living room with a purpose, going into every room. They were undercover police officers. My house was surrounded and I was being raided.
"Eventually they took me to the police station and filled me in. Turns out that the guy's package that we were waiting for had arrived at the airport, was tested and came back positive for drugs.
"The guy was a big drug smuggler and the police had been on his tail for a while. He had been paying in advance to stay at places under a fake name and getting packages delivered to them.
"The cops waited at my place and sent him a message saying the package had arrived. He showed up and they ambushed him.
"And that was the worst person who ever rented my room and the best reason for leaving a game on Xbox Live." – spartanatreyu
Worst of all, the cops didn't let him keep the drugs as a thank you for helping catch the guy.
"I sometimes host my 1 bedroom apartment on Airbnb, good way to earn a bit extra now and then. For the most part the guests are good, they keep the place clean and no issues, however have noticed a few red flags when dealing guests.
"Anyone who tries to negotiate a deal turn out to be huge pains in the ass. They will complain about everything and generally take less care, leave the place full of garbage, etc. For memorable guests, the worst was one 'lady' who turned out to be an escort. When I went to clean the place there were condom wrappers left everywhere, suspicious stains, and somehow broke light switches and the front lock on the apartment.
"Never host people without verification and some prior review now. Still meet some interesting people, hosted a couple of cool guys from France, the husband came to work at a local bistro making macarons." - bootwhistle
Whenever anyone asks why I don't rent out my spare room on Airbnb, I'm gonna show them this story.