Things happen. We are all human. And just as I accidentally break things in my own home from time to time, obviously things can happen in the Airbnb homes that I rent as well. I do try to specifically and intentionally be extremely careful as an Airbnb guest, because I really do not want to have to spend money replacing things and I don’t want a bad rating.
But…life happens. Things get damaged, things get broken, it happens.
Luckily, so far, I haven’t broken or damaged anything major. And **fingers crossed** it stays that way.
So the question is—as a guest, what do you do if you break or damage something?
I actually find that the answer is really simple.
Do as you’d want someone to do if they broke an item in your home. In my opinion, that really only leaves three choices.
- Fix it.
- Replace it.
- Notify the host of the damage.
Or possibly a combination of all three.
Here are a couple of real-world examples from my Airbnb adventures of times when things got damaged, and how I handled them.
Fix it. It was literally the first home on my adventure. I hadn’t even checked in yet. It was well after 10pm when I had pulled into the driveway, opened the trunk to my car, and out tumbled a bottle of red wine. It hit the ground so hard and so fast. The bottle shattered, and red wine went all over the driveway. I wasn’t sure if it would stain the ground and I really didn’t want THIS to be my first impression in my first Airbnb home. I was exhausted from a long day and long drive. All I wanted to do was get inside, shower, and go to bed. It was late and I couldn’t even see because it was dark, I hadn’t even opened the door to the home, and I was nervous that neighbors would think I was trying to break into a home that I didn’t belong in. But I knew that I would feel horrible if on day 1, I stained the driveway. Despite exhaustion, I searched. In the dark I was able to find the hose, wash down the driveway, collect the glass, and get everything cleaned up. WHEW!!! All was fixed, and all was well. And now I can check into the home and hit the sheets.
Replace it. I will say this. I do feel like there are times that some hosts just leave old dishes they no longer want, for their guests to use. Knowing that dishes are not clean, kinda rusty, or downright unusable, they still stick them in cabinets and drawers, so that they can check the box stating that they have a stocked kitchen. Or it could be that previous guests jacked the dishes up and maybe the host hasn’t realized it. Whatever the case, it’s a little gross and kinda irritating. But we make do. We wash everything super well before we use them, and we line the dishes that we can with aluminum foil when we cook in them. In one home, we used a well-worn baking sheet left by the host. We lined it with foil and cooked our dinner. When we pulled the sheet out of the oven, it was burned too bad to continue to use. The foil had burned through, and had welded itself onto the crud that was already on the baking sheet. Though we didn’t feel like it was our fault, because the thing was crusty to begin with, we still opted to purchase a new set of cookie sheets. We left one sheet at the home to replace the sheet that was no longer usable, and we kept one for our travels. Though we didn’t feel like we should have felt obligated to replace it, we felt like it was easier to replace it without risking a misunderstanding that resulted in a bad rating from the host. At the end of the day, it was $10 and it wouldn’t break us.
Notify the host. At the home in Frederick, one day we looked and just realized the inside of the comforter had a huge rip. We have NO idea how it got there. We don’t know if it was there before we arrived and we just hadn’t noticed. Or whether we damaged the comforter ourselves and just didn’t realize it. We had a choice to make. Ignore it entirely and pretend we didn’t see it, or notify the host. I did what I would want someone to do if I were the host and they were staying at my home. We contacted the host and explained what we noticed. We asked if he preferred that we pay for it or buy another comforter to replace it. We realize that an Airbnb home is not the Marriott. The hosts aren’t sitting around with clean replacement bed linens just waiting to be called into service. I knew there was a chance that the host had potential guests lined up to move in immediately after I checked out, and they may not have had time to search for a new set before new guests arrived. I didn’t want to put them into a situation where they were unprepared for incoming guests. I also didn’t want them to sacrifice their rating by providing (unbeknownst to them) torn linens to guests. Ultimately, I sent the host a note and asked if they wanted us to reimburse them for the comforter, or if they preferred that we go out and buy a replacement comforter set. They asked that we replace it, and we did just that. Was it our fault or our obligation to replace it? I’m not really sure. Should they have a line item in their budget that accounts for guest mishaps? Yes, absolutely. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t a huge deal to us. My boyfriend and I split the cost, we found something comparable, and moved on with our lives. We felt this was the easiest way, even if the onus wasn’t necessarily on us to replace the comforter set.
If you rent an Airbnb, or another vacation home, keep in mind that things happen. Items get worn out, things break, things get damaged. Just be honest about it, and handle it the way you’d like others to handle it if it was your item that was torn, damaged, or broken.
Have you ever had a mishap at an Airbnb? What did you do about it? If you’re a host, how would you like a guest to handle an incident in your home?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.