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Is this even legal? Air BnB booking.


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#1 Hands Up

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:29 PM

We recently stayed in Brisbane for two nights in an Airbnb listing described as being “one of two apartments in a small block”. In actual fact it was a Queenslander split into an upstairs and downstairs flats. The photos were taken very carefully so this wasn’t at all obvious.

We were downstairs and didn’t have any problems the first night as upstairs was empty. The second night was terrible. Basically, the stairs had been closed off halfway up with a thin bit of chipboard so neither side could go up or down. It was badly fitted with large gaps where the bannisters were. There was no sound insulation in our roof, just a bit of gyprock I think and then the floorboards from upstairs. Once the guests arrived upstairs we could hear every word of their conversations. I could hear them opening drawers for cutlery. We heard everything they did and said and I assume vice versa. They arrived at ten thirty at night or I would have moved but it was late and I was on my own with two toddlers. They weren’t being at all loud. It was just not properly set up.

There were also other big issues with the property. It was on a steep block with difficult access (steep driveway hadn’t been cleaned in a while and very slippery). The balcony was covered in bird sh*t in one corner etc.

I’m going to be contacting Airbnb with a complaint but is it worth contacting the local council? Is it even legal to have such a flimsy partition between residences?

#2 Goldenash

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:32 PM

I think it is a lengthy complaint /review on airbnb

#3 Ollie83

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:35 PM

I'm really not sure on the rules, but we've just had a very interesting Air BNB experience myself. Complete with a toilet  that was so small you could barely sit without knocking yourself out, painting tape still on the walls and advertised as child friendly with a small dam in the back yard with no fencing and filthy sheets

#4 Hands Up

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:40 PM

View PostGoldenash, on 12 March 2018 - 03:32 PM, said:

I think it is a lengthy complaint /review on airbnb

The thing is, the property has literally dozens of positive reviews. Makes me wonder if they are all fake but even the Airbnb system rated it as “a rare find”. I think my negative review will get lost amongst others. That’s why I thought going direct to Airbnb would be better. I didn’t take photos for which I am kicking myself.

#5 sandgropergirl

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:50 PM

In the end, AirBnb is largely unregulated. Its the risk you take. Its cheaper than hotels or places managed by professional agencies for a reason. Its very much buyer beware

I would email Airbnb and leave a negative review

#6 seayork2002

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:53 PM

View Postsandgropergirl, on 12 March 2018 - 03:50 PM, said:

In the end, AirBnb is largely unregulated. Its the risk you take. Its cheaper than hotels or places managed by professional agencies for a reason. Its very much buyer beware

I would email Airbnb and leave a negative review

This which to be honest is why I don't use it - I get making a review and stating it but not sure what could be done 'officially'

#7 BadCat

Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:57 PM

I'd leave a bad review and perhaps contact AirBnb to complain.  I doubt it will make a difference but you'll feel better.

I vowed never to venture near AirBnB again after someone tried to rip me off in Melbourne by pretending they'd sold the property and offering me their other, lesser property for the same price.  I said no thanks.  Two days later their "sold" property was listed at a higher price for that weekend with the same owner.  

I'd prefer to pay extra for a known quantity.

#8 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 12 March 2018 - 04:01 PM

When you review it, be very specific. Include good points along with the bad (beautiful house, great location, was perfect as long as we were the only guests). If you are specific then people can work out if the negatives will bother them or not.

#9 Hands Up

Posted 12 March 2018 - 04:45 PM

Yes, it’s my first ever Airbnb booking after many successful stayz bookings. Won’t be doing it again.

#10 green mango

Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:36 PM

Yes, an honest review is in order.

I consider any accommodation that’s not a 4 or 5 star hotel to be taking a risk. We’ve been fine most of the time but have had bad experiences with stayz, Airbnb, and similar sites in NZ.

At a Airbnb place the owner said it was her home but we’d have exclusive use for the duration of the stay as she would be away. She was actually in her caravan on the property the entire time and would come around to say hi, and her young kids kept telling us they missed their home. Some people might be ok with this, but had we known we would have chosen elsewhere.

With another site, we were told there was a spa and full breakfast provisions. The spa was actually on the back porch of their house (ie not at the cottage - and I use the word cottage generously as it was a garage conversion) and we had to ask ahead if we’d wanted to use it. And full breakfast was frozen half loaf of bread in the freezer, with a used jar of jam in the fridge.

And another site did to us similar to what badcat described.

A few other incidents too. I still occasionally use Airbnb but only if a hotel is not an option.

#11 BBC

Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:44 PM

I suspect it is breaching all sorts of council regulations regarding sound insulation and fire safety regarding how it was converted to two flats.  There is more to it than just blocking up the stairs.

If you put a complaint into the relevant council the owners may be made to fix some of the issues.

#12 Mpjp is feral

Posted 12 March 2018 - 07:47 PM

I stayed in a terrible place a year ago. Nothing from Airbnb during or after the stay, I left a negative review. It was up on their page for months. I was then looking for a place in the same location a few weeks ago and that place came up. My review was no longer there, only the positive reviews were there from prior to our stay (but no reviews after). So they must remove them after time!

#13 Chamomile

Posted 12 March 2018 - 10:54 PM

Airbnb tend to take the side of the hosts. They earn a good revenue stream from the hosts over time and often a host has multiple properties.
They earn little revenue from an individual guest, so don't seem too concerned.

#14 Lilith2112

Posted 13 March 2018 - 03:49 AM

TBH it scares me to use Airbnb, just reminds me of dodgy B&B's we used to stay in, in the UK.  eeewwww

#15 qak

Posted 13 March 2018 - 05:18 AM

I doubt AirBNB will do anything, but the council would be very interested in a dodgy conversion as that is what they can inspect and regulate.

#16 SuperMombie3

Posted 13 March 2018 - 06:16 AM

View PostBBC, on 12 March 2018 - 07:44 PM, said:

I suspect it is breaching all sorts of council regulations regarding sound insulation and fire safety regarding how it was converted to two flats.  There is more to it than just blocking up the stairs.

If you put a complaint into the relevant council the owners may be made to fix some of the issues.

The conversion may well be illegal, you could probably find what local council they're a part of online and report it.  I remember something in the media about illegal sublets through airbnb, all sorts of dodgy things going on there.

#17 skicat

Posted 13 March 2018 - 06:57 AM

A friend booked a "family friendly"  Airbnb 4 bedroom house in Cairns. It was a house and detached bungalow- not great with young children. They would never have booked it had they realized that 2 bedrooms were out in the bungalow, This was not made clear on the site.
During the night the house and main bedroom was invaded by a very drunk friend of the owner ( they still don't know how he got in -possibly  a spare key? ) .
The next day the owner was very apologetic about the lack of security and the home invader. On later checking the house was still advertised as "family friendly" no mention of half the bedrooms actually being a bungalow.

#18 born.a.girl

Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:13 AM

I'm obsessive about Airbnb photos.  If I can't see clearly what's going on, I move on.

I don't want five artful photos of the sun shining through your little shampoo bottles (which I don't use anyway), I want to see the layout and whether there's even room to put the suitcase.

Some of them are hilarious.  I accept that some people let out their own premises, having somewhere to move to for the duration, but don't make it so blindingly obvious.


I think the time will come when Airbnb listings have a floor plan, given the nature of the listings and people being put off by experiences.

#19 PixieVee

Posted 13 March 2018 - 07:23 AM

I've use AirBnB a bit and have had a couple of bad experiences. In those cases when I've contacted AirBnB they're very much come down on my side and gave me really good help. Make a complaint and see how you go.

#20 Lifesgood

Posted 13 March 2018 - 09:36 AM

Definitely leave a detailed review. Also contact council and report what is almost certainly an illegal conversion. You can let Airbnb know as an extra step.

WRT Airbnb generally - and any accommodation booking website I find there is a real art to choosing good accommodation. Here is what I do:

1. Many clear photos are required. Grainy, poor quality or few photos be wary.
2. Search the property on google and find as much detail from various websites as you can to cross-check it against.
3. Reviews definitely required. No reviews be wary.
4. Research the reviews to see if they are genuine - does the reviewer have an active profile? Have they reviewed many properties? Are their reviews standard wording? How detailed are the positive reviews? It is possible to get a sense of whether the reviews have been posted by friends of the owner, or are paid for by the owner i.e. they may offer free accommodation to people in return for a positive review to build up a profile.
5. Is the price realistic? If it is too cheap to be true then there may be good reason for that.
6. Research the owner - they could be a bot or a fake profile - usually easy to spot once you get used to it.

So far I haven't had any bad experiences.

#21 Awesome101

Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:35 AM

You wont often see negative reviews on AirBnB. It's set up in a way that the host can leave reviews for the guest in return. If you use the site often as a guest, you don't want a negative review on your profile or you can easily get turned down by hosts when you request a booking. If you look at the reviews for the property you might find little hints of a bad experience wrapped up in a 4-5 star rating.

I would contact the council. It sounds like a fire hazard too.

#22 Mpjp is feral

Posted 13 March 2018 - 11:47 AM

View PostAwesome101, on 13 March 2018 - 11:35 AM, said:

You wont often see negative reviews on AirBnB. It's set up in a way that the host can leave reviews for the guest in return. If you use the site often as a guest, you don't want a negative review on your profile or you can easily get turned down by hosts when you request a booking. If you look at the reviews for the property you might find little hints of a bad experience wrapped up in a 4-5 star rating.

I would contact the council. It sounds like a fire hazard too.


Actually they do the reviews concurrently, and the reviews are not released until either the other party has completed their review, OR the date to do the review has expired. This stops people from worrying about retaliation.

Still doesn't explain the removed negative reviews though...

#23 Awesome101

Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:06 PM

View PostMpjp is feral, on 13 March 2018 - 11:47 AM, said:

Actually they do the reviews concurrently, and the reviews are not released until either the other party has completed their review, OR the date to do the review has expired. This stops people from worrying about retaliation.

Still doesn't explain the removed negative reviews though...

Yes I know, I use AirBnB. But if she kicks up a stink with the host she risks a bad review. That's why I suggested going to council.

#24 born.a.girl

Posted 13 March 2018 - 05:18 PM

View PostAwesome101, on 13 March 2018 - 11:35 AM, said:

You wont often see negative reviews on AirBnB. It's set up in a way that the host can leave reviews for the guest in return. If you use the site often as a guest, you don't want a negative review on your profile or you can easily get turned down by hosts when you request a booking. If you look at the reviews for the property you might find little hints of a bad experience wrapped up in a 4-5 star rating.

I would contact the council. It sounds like a fire hazard too.

Indeed, sometimes you find your place is only up five flights of stairs by the reviews, which might otherwise be positive.  

I don't always baulk at a negative review either.  Not Airbnb, just a motel, but the general consensus was 'drive straight past'.  I must admit 15 of the 17 photos being of the dreary car park were a bit odd, but each of the reviews only talked about how tired and mismatched the place was.  None of them said anything other than the owners were friendly.  When I enquired I was told if we booked directly with them they'd upgrade us to two bedroom for the same extremely low price as one bedroom.   Had a 17 & 21 yo with us, who were two hours behind the local time, and happily played pool in the (admittedly decrepit) pool room until all hours.

I love reading  the negative reviews.  Some of them are hilarious.

#25 SkeptiHandsOnMum

Posted 14 March 2018 - 05:49 PM

View PostHands Up, on 12 March 2018 - 04:45 PM, said:

Yes, it’s my first ever Airbnb booking after many successful stayz bookings. Won’t be doing it again.
I have had fantastic experience with stayz ... until recently. Most properties are now listed on both, so it is six of one, half a dozen of the other as to which site you book through.

I booked an apartment on Stayz back in September for this weekend. Two weeks out from the date, I get an email saying that my booking has been cancelled due to "repairs" being made on said weekend. Apartment was near Olympic Park. It is Ed Sheeran concert weekend. Irreplaceable booking (particularly given it was one that had bedding for 8). Too late now to figure whether they have rented it to someone for a higher price.

The clincher is that you cannot leave a review once they have cancelled your booking! So no one will know that they left us high and dry.




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