Homestay Nightmares: The Other Side of Airbnb

Here are some of the worst experiences.
by | August 17, 2017

Everybody loves Airbnb — it’s convenient, more affordable, and offers an authentic local experience, all for the mere price of having to keep the place clean constantly, or oftentimes having to share the home with others.

Still, some horror stories are unavoidable. Not all guests are respectful of house rules, not all hosts are as accommodating as they should be, and not all homes turn out to be as they were advertised.

We’ve collated some of the worst experiences with Airbnb told on the Internet. Which one shocks you the most?

When parties got too wild

New York Post reported back in 2014 that an Airbnb host, Ari Teman, had rented his New York apartment to a man who claimed his in-laws were coming to visit during his stay. Apparently, those “in-laws” turned out to be guests for what would actually be an orgy featuring “Big Beautiful Women.” Teman eventually found out when he came home to the party being shut down by the building management, and to threats of his eviction.

And then there was Rachel Bassini who rented her New York East Village penthouse to a man she thought was on a vacation with his family, only to come home one day to her house completely littered with used condoms and human feces. Business Insider even published Bassini’s photos of the aftermath of that wild party.


When a couple shared their home with a nudist

A Reddit user gladly recounted his experience with a Swedish guest who never wore clothes during her stay at the host’s unit and would act as if it was normal. The couple didn’t seem to mind, though.


When a host showed zero tolerance

Just this year, a host had been banned on Airbnb for canceling the reservation of her guest, Dyne Suh, at the last minute because of Suh’s race. Suh had informed her host that she’d be adding two additional people to her reservation, only to receive a heated reply: “I wouldn’t rent to u if you were the last person on earth. One word says it all. Asian.”

This story has been covered by a number of news outlets, including CNN who had published an interview with Suh who couldn’t help but grow emotional over what she had experienced.

When a guest ransacked the apartment

Back in 2011 during the infancy of Airbnb, a host talked about her traumatic experience of coming home to her apartment completely trashed and ransacked after she rented it out for a week. She said in her long blog post that her guests “smashed a hole through a locked closet door, and found the passport, cash, credit card and grandmother’s jewelry I had hidden inside. They took my camera, my iPod, an old laptop, and my external backup drive filled with photos, journals… my entire life.” She also described in great detail other disturbing things she found while investigating her home, including a “death-like smell emanating from the bathroom.”

Thankfully enough, this incident led Airbnb to implement better measures to protect its hosts.

When a couple found a hidden camera in their rental

A Korean couple discovered a hidden camera disguised as a fire detector in their Japan rental almost by accident after finding the same exact camera up for sale on the internet. The lens had been pointing towards the bed, and they had noticed a green light emanating from it as they readied themselves for bed, as reported by The Jakarta Post. After confirming that it was indeed a hidden camera, they disassembled the fire detector to uncover a microSD memory inside that had recorded everything that happened in their bedroom during their stay.


When a host had no idea about a booking

Three couples once booked a house in Camden, Maine for a week, the fees for which had already been charged by Airbnb to their credit card. But when they arrived at the property, the owner said he was not informed of any booking and that “he hadn’t dealt with Airbnb for over a year.” Luckily, they received a full refund but only after taking the issue up with Mastercard.


When an Airbnb listing didn’t actually exist

An unfortunate couple had booked an Airbnb in New York and took a cab to the address listed. But once they got to the area, they found no such address. According to the guest, “It was rush hour, 85+ degrees and we had gotten up at 4:00 AM. Needless to say, we were frantic.” They were fortunate enough to get full credit for their reservation though but had to shell out more to stay in a hotel instead.


Any bad experiences with Airbnb? Tell us all about it below!


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