Hello Everyone, this is a long and nuanced one. We’re just looking for advice and help. We feel like our hosts are completely insane and Airbnb support is willfully negligent but we are looking for third parties to verify or refute.
My girlfriend and I booked a long-term stay (~2.5 months) back in early March for mid-June through early-September. The place said it was pet-friendly, although the house rules asked for a “well-behaved and friendly dog (we do not allow any dog who is aggressive to either people or other animals in anyway, including lunging, loud barking or growling) who is trained to follow the rules below is allowed with an additional pet fee of $50. Payment of this fee will be requested separately through air b and b. Pets are not permitted on the furniture or beds and guest agrees to pay an additional cleaning and/or repair fees associated with failure to comply. If your pet is not able to be in the in the space quietly and comfortably when you are away (i.e. minimal barking or jumping up on the furniture) you will either need to take them with you at all times, or we unfortunately cannot accommodate you. If your dog is kennel trained, we can loan you a kennel during your stay.” It said any violation of this would allow the hosts to kick us out and charge us $300. We did not have our puppy at the time of booking, we picked up a new puppy just before arriving to the Airbnb. However, it is a Bernedoodle (smart, highly-trainable breed) and we paid to get it trained for a month from age 2 months to age 3 months before we picked her up. We figured that with her training and our ability to adapt that we would be able to have a “well-behaved” dog who fits the description. We told the hosts we were bringing a dog, and they were cool with that. We did not specify “puppy” but also did not intentionally withhold that. We thought “pet-friendly” meant as such.
It is also worth mentioning that we are fully nomadic, in other words we live at long-term Airbnbs and have been doing so without issue for the past 13 months. We have a car jam-packed with our stuff and a rooftop bag. Moving from one location to another is a lot of work.
Timeline of Events:
- Day 1: we check in late at night, do not see hosts.
- Day 2: we meet the husband host (hereby known as Husband Host). He meets our puppy and asks her age. We tell him she’s 3 months old. He seems fine with it. The wife host (hereby known as Wife Host) is away for the week.
- Days 2-7: we unpack everything and set up our lives. It’s a ton of work. We join a local gym. We find out they don’t have air conditioning as advertised but instead they have temperature-controlled floors that are fairly ineffective. Temperature never gets below 70 and is usually at 73-75 which is uncomfortable for us and difficult to sleep in.
- Day 8: Wife Host and Husband Host come by our place and tell us that they have a “no puppy” rule and that they took a lot of time to write up their description and that we should have let them know we were bringing a puppy, and that they want us to leave, but that they’ll let us stay a little while to find new accommodations. They are very concerned for their “very expensive floors and furniture.” We tell them that a week in she has been entirely non-destructive to furniture or floors, and that the only issue is that she is peeing on the rugs. She was housebroken by her trainer on indoor pee-pads so it ended up taking her a week to adjust to a new environment and to outdoor potty time. We ask is there anything we can do to mitigate their concerns, including payment for any damages. They say it’s not about money and that they want us to leave and that’s the only option. We are both confused because we don’t remember seeing anything about a no puppy rule, but maybe we missed it, so we say that we’ll talk about it and let them know what we’re going to do next. We check the listing and it turns out there is a “no puppy” rule, not in the house rules but in the house description space which is about 4 pages long and this text is toward the bottom. We are mildly suspicious that they made up this rule and put it on the listing after realizing we brought a puppy, but in the meantime we assume responsibility. We start looking on Airbnb and VRBO for alternative options for long-term stays in the area that are somewhat immediately available, but there is nothing remotely within our price range, and everything is booked for a few weeks out at the minimum anyway. We call Airbnb immediately and explain the situation. We tell them that we feel a bit left out to dry…kicked out a week into a 2.5 month stay after we drove across the country with all of our stuff to get there, and ask them if they can help us find/afford new accommodations. Airbnb tells us that they will try to help and they create a case.
- Days 8-11: we keep calling and messaging Airbnb and get almost no response. Everyone on the phone says they can’t connect us to the right person handling our case. On Day 10 we find out that no one has been assigned to our case yet, still. Seems like it got sent to the wrong department or something. On Day 10-11 we write up a letter to the hosts and my girlfriend stays up all night baking them cookies. The letter does the following 1) apologizes for us misreading their rules and the resulting discomfort we caused, 2) begs them to let us stay with a list of potential issues with a puppy and how we feel we can mitigate them, and again offering financial compensation, and 3) we say that ultimately we do not want to cause them any trouble so if the answer is still no then we respect that and will get out of their way ASAP and no hard feelings. No response. On Day 11 we find out that the original listing when we booked said nothing about puppies, age limits, or housebroken rules. Now we’re pissed off and REALLY need Airbnb to help us out, whether by pushing back on the host or by finding us a new place to stay.
- Day 12: The host sends us a copy of a message they sent to Airbnb: “we specify that we only friendly, well-behaved dogs over the age of 2 (no puppies or older dogs who do not have good bladder control)- it is ridiculous that they assumed that they could buy a new puppy and train it in our home. It is completely unacceptable that they think it is ok to bring an animal who will poop and pee in the house, potentially chew on and damage the furniture). Our dog just turned 1 year old so we just finished training a dog and went to a lot of effort to protect the floors and furniture for the first year. we’ve had many dogs and have had them professionally trained as well as trained them ourselves and every dog has accidents and ruins thing no matter how carefully you watch them. When we confronted them about the puppy, who is 12 weeks old, they claimed that they had it professionally trained (that is just ludicrous it routinely takes at least 16-20 weeks to fully house train a dog, and even then they will still have frequent accidents for several months after). we asked them if they had ever had a puppy before and they said as children (i.e. their parents trained them) and assured me that she was cleaning up after the dog when it has accidents. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT, WE DO NOT WANT A DOG IN OUR HOME THAT WE ARE NOT DIRECTLY SUPERVISING HAVING ACCIDENTS.Even if this was not in direct violation of our rules, no normal, polite and considerate person would ever take a new puppy into someone else’s home without permission and expect that they would be ok with the dog having accidents in their home. We have a very nice, expensive home with concrete floors and lots of custom made furniture. It is completely unacceptable that air b and b is dragging their feet in addressing this situation. I will only assume that you are willing through your insurance policy to pay the 10’s of 1000’s of dollars it will cost to have the floor refinished to remove all trace of urine odor. we did not even allow our own puppy in that space until she was potty trained, i cannot believe we are being forced to endure an inconsiderate, sneaky guest who claims that they did not know the rules and now expect that is their problem that they cannot find another spot to stay that will allow them to have a new puppy (any normal person who cares for their home would not allow this, so i’m not surprised that they are having a hard time finding another place.” We don’t understand what happened or why the hosts would accuse us of deceit, sneakiness, or why they would react negatively to our letter at all. In a later direct conversation Wife Host tells us that after reading our letter they were convinced we would not leave, even though our letter explicitly states that we will and “no hard feelings.” In retrospect, it is our belief that from the moment they learned we brought a puppy that they thought that we willfully deceived them, and as a result everything that followed they chose to believe nothing that we said. The hosts tell us they want us out by Day 15, and we say that we want to leave ASAP but we don’t have anywhere to go and that we want to work this through Airbnb and are waiting for them to get back to us. We are calling Airbnb like crazy people multiple times a day and messaging nonstop, to no avail. We’re scared to talk directly with the hosts again.
- Day 13: The hosts threatens legal action, and we go to a hotel.
- Day 14: We ask our host to cancel the reservation. The host refuses and says we must cancel because she doesn’t want us having our full refund and that we should pay for the time we stayed. We think that because we were kicked out for violating rules that didn’t exist that we deserve a full refund, not to mention the lying, accusations, and threats we received. They violated the Terms of Service where it says hosts should “Act with integrity and treat others with respect”. Furthermore, on the Trust & Safety page it says that hosts “should not fail to disclose hazards and habitability issues”. In the Canceling During Your Stay article it says that “If your Host cancels your reservation, you will always get a full refund, including all fees and taxes.” Airbnb told the hosts they can’t kick us out for the nonexistent puppy rule, so the hosts instead tell them we violated the rules mentioned in the opening paragraph: that our 6.5lb dog was aggressive toward them and that she kept them up barking at night. Our puppy did a soft play-growl with their dog, completely non-threatening as she loves all dogs and just wants to play. Husband Host was there when it happened and even said “aww she just wants to play.” Our dog did bark a bit at night as we got her used to crate training, but after a week she was good. Here’s our issue with these alleged “rule violations”: 1) the aggressiveness thing is a straight up lie / intentional misrepresentation and 2) the hosts NEVER came to us with these issues. As stated in the Guest Reliability Standards, the host is supposed to communicate issues with the guest to find resolutions. Not to mention, they only brought this up to Airbnb 6 days after telling us to leave and 1 day after we left for a hotel, and again only after getting caught lying about the “no puppy” rule. We typed this all out to Airbnb (because of course we can’t get them on the phone), but nevertheless they “determined” we violated the rules and are therefore ineligible for a full refund.
- Day 15: We go back to the residence to grab all of our stuff and move it out. We spend 9 hours cleaning the place because we are paranoid that they’re going to try to charge us for damages. Admittedly our dog peed on the rugs (not carpets) a bit and those may need professional cleaning even though we did our best. The host mentioned “10s of thousands of dollars” for replacing their floors, although our dog never peed on their floor for whatever reason. We hand scrubbed the entire floor and treated all the rugs with stain and odor remover. Obviously we also cleaned up the best we could each time our dog peed, immediately, as we always had our eyes on her. If we damaged their rugs, we’re happy to pay for them.
Now we are at a hotel with all of our stuff, paying 30% higher nightly rate than our Airbnb, with a puppy, both working from home, and desperately trying to find new housing. Airbnb has not responded to our messages for 48 hours and I think they are willfully ignoring us. Despite saying they’d help, they haven’t helped us with housing at all. We are trying to decide whether to accept the hosts’ proposal to shorten the stay to the time we spent there and pay them for 2+ weeks of rent, and obviously minus the service fee, or whether to go to the Resolution Center and ask for a full refund. The other option is to pursue a dispute through our Capital One credit card. I spoke with them today and they said it would be tough to get back the money for the days that we stayed at the home. At the end of the day we feel like even if we should have been more aware there could have been sensitivity to a puppy vs a dog, that the host 1) should not allow any dogs in a home with such EXPENSIVE FLOORS because even housebroken dogs pee in new environments sometimes, 2) should have written that rule out explicitly, 3) should have checked to see the age / condition of our dog when we mentioned we were bringing one if they’re so sensitive about it, 4) SHOULD NOT HAVE LIED TO US about the no puppy rule they made up retroactively, 5) should have made an earnest effort to work something out or accept compensation for damages, 6) should not have willfully misinterpreted our genuine, thoughtful letter, 7) should not have called us deceitful or sneaky when they are the ones who actually got caught lying, and 8 ) should not have threatened legal action. As awful as they have been to us, we feel like Airbnb dropped the ball even harder because if they responded with a person dedicated to our case who worked with any sort of care that 1) we could have gotten out of there quicker and 2) tensions would not have blown up over the course of the week. Why did Airbnb tell us they would help us with finding / affording a new place if they never intended to? If we knew they wouldn’t do anything, WE WOULDN’T HAVE WAITED FOR THEM TO HELP US AND WE WOULD HAVE LEFT SOONER! We felt like their customer service system was designed to not be of assistance for mediation and instead they intentionally ignored us to have us hash it out ourselves, but when your host doesn’t believe anything you say and makes threats how are we as guests supposed to deal with that?
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations. Open to any and all feedback, critical or supportive of us. Please provide recommended next steps if possible.
Edit: formatting & typos