95% of the time Airbnb blesses you with nice, considerate guests.
But, every once in a while, you’ll get a nightmare guest that is impossible to please, who’s out to get you from the moment they walk through the door.
When this happens, your only option may be to remove the guest from your house.
And in doing so, almost guaranteeing a Host penalty with serious effects on your Airbnb Ranking.
Here’s how I managed to do it without receiving any penalties from Airbnb.
There was a leaking tap at the property, and it was a public holiday.
It was literally impossible for me to get a plumber out to fix the issue within the duration of the guests stay.
This opened up a can of worms and my guest started complaining about EVERYTHING that she possibly could.
I was forced into a corner.
I had two options:
a. Give the guest a full refund and let them remain in the property. With a guarantee of a horrid review.
b. Remove the guest from the property, and risk a penalty from Airbnb.
What did I do?
I kicked her miserable ass out, that’s what I did!
I had to be super careful, as I didn’t want to receive any penalties from Airbnb. I had to make sure that I didn’t appear unreasonable, and that I was doing everything in my power to make sure that she (the moaning lady) was looked after.
Here’s the dialogue that went down.
Guest: “Hey Rowan Just arrived … Seems only set up for two of us !!! Downstairs couch coveted in crumbs and not much of a bed when pulled out !! Pillows? Duvet?
Me: “Hello Cathy.
Sorry I’m so late to get this message but I’m in a completely different time zone and didn’t get your message until now. I have a cleaning company who’s job it is to clean the property and supply fresh linen etc. Who obviously haven’t done they’re job. I am bitterly disappointed. I take a huge amount of pride in my property and the experience of my guests and this makes me feel so angry. I can’t apologize enough. I am shocked to be honest. I know it’s late there for you now and it’s impossible to rectify the situation at this time. I will be in touch with the cleaners to find out what has gone wrong and get to the bottom of this issue. I feel terrible that I haven’t been able to get to this sooner so that I could sort it out for you. This is something that has never happened to me before so I am a little lost as to where to go from here. I don’t want your trip to be ruined. Can you please let me know when you are available and I will give you a call directly.
My sincerest apologies.
Guest: “Rowan. As you can see it is now 1.30 am !!! There is a more serious problem here for you in that your kitchen tap drips incessantly and cannot be turned off !!! I cannot sleep with this continual water drip and obviously cannot let the sink block or your floor will flood !!! I am furious too !!!!!
Not only is there nothing to dull the noise of a dripping tap all night …. No tea towels etc … There are only 2 towels here …. This is really not acceptable
You need a plumber ASAP … I will not be responsible for this as it was dripping as soon as we arrived and is water down the drain for you but makes it very unpleasant for me trying to sleep downstairs on this lumpy sofa with minimum linen.
I really would like a refund I am unable to contact AirBnB on my phone so hope we can sort something out”
Me: “Things are obviously going from bad to worse for you. I’m so sorry. A refund is obviously fine. I will try and contact Airbnb myself and get them to help you to find another place asap. If you can just make it through tonight this will all get sorted by tomorrow. I can’t apologize enough. A horrible way to spend your first night. Your anger is totally justified. It will all be sorted tomorrow so please hold tight.
Guest: “Thanks, Rowan … We have looked at other accommodation tonight but there is none available here for the 3 of us! Or it is at a much higher cost which is not suitable
The tap needs fixing … Are you able to get this done tomorrow?
It’s the middle of the night now … I am really tired and will be in contact in the morning … Thanks for at least being supportive and trying to help”
Me: “I’ve just called Airbnb just now. They have opened up an urgent case to help resolve the issue.
They are there to help and will do everything they can to get things sorted for you tomorrow. You should be receiving an email shortly.
I’ll do everything I can to get a plumber to come and fix the tap tomorrow. I will keep you updated on progress on that front.
I spoke to our cleaner and he was adamant that he had supplied enough bedding and linen. Could you let me know more on that so that that I can get to the bottom of the issue, and I can find out what went wrong.
I hope you can at least manage to get a bit of rest for tomorrow.
I will be back in touch as soon as I know more.
Guest: “There are only 2 towels 1 bath mat
No hand towel , tea towels or kitchen towels
Found some bedding for sofa bed … Duvet in bag in cupboard with 2 pillows … 4 pillows for 3 of us !! Pillows in poor condition, sofa bed had to be vacuumed when unfolded …. Food and rubbish crumbs over base
Base sheet, duvet cover and 2 pillows slips provided for sofa bed The extra fleece cover is stained and the linen is pilled thin and needs replacing … Not acceptable standard at all..
Kitchen tap dripping incessantly and loudly !!!!! Going mad !! Had to use a pillowslip in sink to dull the noise ALL night … Still dripping this morning …. Will just leave so flows down sink so not to flood
The very bare minimum is here minus an extra towel Had to use stained throws as under sheet on sofa bed … Which is also stained
Majority of glasses and 2 cups chipped … All adds up to unhappy guests unfortunately
Haven’t heard from Air BnB … Actually, don’t think they will help
I don’t always get internet out so if I don’t respond to email try texting
+(PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN)
Me: “Hey Cathy. This all seems to be adding up to a totally miserable experience for you, and unfortunately, I am not there in person to help to solve all of the issues. I have been away from the house for the last 3 months and I was unaware of the problems you have pointed out. I will definitely be bringing the issue up with our cleaner who is responsible for managing these areas on my behalf whilst I’m not there. I don’t think I’m going to be able to get the property to a level that is going to be acceptable for you within the next 24hrs and I don’t pretty sure you wouldn’t want to stay another night with these issues not sorted. There is a place called the Cohort hostel just about 150m away from where you are which is about £23p/person which is super nice and the guys that run it are great. I think this could potentially be an option for you so that you don’t have to have a repeat of last night. I have contacted numerous plumbers but as of yet no reply, so still working on that one.
Please let me know your thoughts.
Kind regards. Rowan”
Guest: “Thanks but not suitable! Air BnB has contacted me too so we will see if we can find somewhere today otherwise we will have to stay … Buy towels and use the pillowslip to muffle drip !! New Zealanders are resourceful !!! But I do think you need to change cleaners … Kitchen drawers are also full of food crumbs and not good !!
Will let you know … Actually just too busy to have to spend the time looking and changing accommodation in such a short time”
Me: “Airbnb are on the case and they will help you find something today that is suitable.
I don’t really feel comfortable with you staying at my house when you’re really not enjoying it. And I’d rather just draw a line under this unfortunate circumstance and move forward to get it rectified.
So please don’t buy cushions etc as they won’t be needed.
I’m saying this in the kindest way possible so please don’t take it the wrong way.
Obviously, you’ll be refunded in full.
Kindest regards. Rowan.”
Guest: “Proving very difficult to communicate with AirBnb on my phone … No
suitable accomodation in the area at such short notice even tho we are
trying very hard …. Also difficult as my phone is not picking up Wifi out
of your house !!!
Sorry but looks like we will have to stay and make the most of it … We
are out all day and just sleep here at night … It is ok”
Me: “Hey. I think Airbnb are going to help us out with all this”
As you can see, it’s pretty easy for things to escalate.
I really did try my best to sort things out for her, but in the end, there was nothing I could do. Her mind was set.
The important thing to note is that when Airbnb steps in to mediate a situation, they read all of the messages between you and your guest. So you really do need to be approaching all communication in the best way possible.
Because of the way I conducted myself, and because of the way I communicated with the Airbnb support officer, I was able to remove the guest amicably with zero penalties.
Here is how my conversation went with Airbnb Support:
Becky: Hi Rowan,
My name is Becky and I’m an Airbnb case manager assigned to this case. I am writing to you from Dublin and I am here to help!
I am really sorry to hear your current guest Cathy is not having a good experience so far, unfortunately. I have tried to call her directly this morning to assist her but could not get through unfortunately so I have emailed her in order to help her further. I saw from your messages that you were happy to refund her for this situation and just wondered as she stayed there last night if you are still happy to refund her in full? I will keep you updated on this situation today when I know more about getting Cathy rebooked elsewhere but if you need anything in the meantime, please let me know!
I look forward to hearing from you.
Me: Happy to refund first night as I don’t think she enjoyed it one bit.
I’d really appreciate it if you could help her get booked in an alternative accommodation so that she can enjoy the rest of her stay.
Please keep me updated on progress.
Thanks again for your help.
Becky: Hi Rowan,
Thanks for getting back and hope my email didn’t wake you!
Of course, don’t worry I have sent her over some rebooking options just now so I will make sure to keep you updated once this is resolved. Really appreciate your support with this, she did mention how kind you have been with trying to assist her so just wanted to also say a big thanks for helping her to your best ability.
Me: No problem.
I’m trying my best but I now don’t feel comfortable with her staying in my house so I would really appreciate all of your help with this.
Thanks once again.
Me: Hey Becky.
I just got a message back from Cathy and she is insinuating that she can’t find anywhere else suitable.
Can you give me some advice as I don’t feel comfortable with her in my house, and I am not willing to refund her whole trip when she has plenty of time and help to find a more appropriate option. I feel like I am in a lose-lose situation.
Is there any way that you can approach this as I feel if it comes from me that it might exacerbate the situation.
Thanks for your help Becky.
Becky Hi Rowan,
I have just spoken with Cathy and she has asked if it is possible to stay for the remaining nights of the reservation as they don’t want to have to relocate it seems. They are happy to continue with the reservation but I have explained that I will need to confirm this with you before going any further.
Let me know if you are happy to continue or would prefer to end the reservation if you are uncomfortable.
Me: Thanks, Becky.
It is with regret that I’d feel more comfortable terminating the reservation.
I think it’s best for all involved.
I sincerely appreciate your help with this and mean no ill feelings whatsoever for Cathy. It’s just an unfortunate incident for all involved.
Thank you once again for your help. Please let me know if there is anything I can do from my side to move things along.
Peace & Love
Becky Hey Rowan,
Do you want me to give you a quick call to discuss this if your up? Of course, if she chooses to stay in the listing, she cannot get a full refund and you would need to be paid for the reservation. Let me know if we can talk and I am happy to call you back.
Me: Hey Becky.
My Skype number is: 0123456789
Reception is pretty good.
Speak to you in a minute
Becky: Hey Rowan,
Sorry, unfortunately, I can’t make calls on Skype, could I get you on either of your mobile numbers?
Me: Unfortunately not as I am out of the country and these numbers aren’t active. My Skype number is the equivalent of a normal landline number if that helps.
Becky: Hi Rowan,
I tried to call the Skype number but it doesn’t work for me, unfortunately, sorry about that.
I am happy to just email you though however, I was only calling to discuss the reasons keeping the reservation made you uncomfortable. If you would like me to cancel this reservation, I will do so and can refund Cathy in full if you wish, however she is quite keen to stay if possible as she has explained she will only be there evening times and if she does stay, I will explain that you will receive the payout as normal and I could possibly offer her a coupon for the cleanliness issues as resolution to help you both resolve this.
If you are happy with this, I will let her know but of course, if you would prefer for this reservation to be canceled, I do understand and will cancel this for you right away and explain that Cathy will need to leave the listing.
Let me know how you would like to proceed and I can take care of this for you.
Me: Hey Becky.
Thanks for the message.
I would like to end the reservation, please. I don’t feel comfortable with someone staying in my house when they really resent being there. Sorry for the inconvenience for all involved. But I think this is best for everyone.
Kindest regards. Rowan.
Becky: Hi Rowan,
Of course I understand, I have now canceled this reservation on your behalf and will get back in touch with Cathy on her next steps for rebooking now. Again, I am really sorry that this reservation didn’t work out this time for you both, unfortunately.
If there is anything further I can do to help, please let me know Rowan.
Me: Thanks, Becky.
You’ve been really kind and a great help through this email process. Unfortunate as it is.
Hopefully never again…
Appreciate your help.
Thanks for getting this issue resolved.
Becky: Hi Rowan,
No problem at all, and also thank you to you for being so cooperative throughout the day with this.
Have a nice evening Rowan!
If you have made it this far, I am pretty sure you are in a similar situation to me.
If so, it pays to try your hardest to resolve the problem with your guest first and foremost. I genuinely tried everything in my power to make things ok for this lady.
If you can stay composed, and handle the situation with integrity you’ll be fine.
By doing this, Airbnb can see that you are genuine, and they’ll resolve the issue without any penalties whatsoever.
Have you been in a similar situation? If so, how did you get on?
Something you need me to explain?
If so, chuck it in the comments.
I personally reply to each and every one.