An Airbnb guest was left appalled after the “stunning” Edinburgh flat she’d booked at a cost of more than £390 per night was “shabby and dirty” and littered with mould.
The unnamed mother and her daughter had booked the property for a week from 20-27 August during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, spending £2,745 in total.
Although the listing had described the apartment as “stunning” and spacious, the pair arrived to find the flat in a state of disrepair.
The mother told EdinburghLive: “When I discovered how shabby and dirty the flat was, I decided to complain when I returned home.
“It was not just a quick tidy-up that was needed, it required a deep clean and much more to call it a ‘stunning flat’.
“I was there with my daughter, for the Fringe, and would not have been able to find alternative accommodation, so, because we would be spending much of our time out of the flat, and we could eat out, and we would just use the flat for sleeping, we decided to put up with it.”
She took pictures around the property showing cracked and broken skirting boards, cupboards strewn with black dirt and dust, mould in the fridge and chipped crockery.
“On the second day, we began to notice that the flat was not clean and there were parts of the flat that were in desperate need of repair,” she said. “The door handle in the sitting room fell off because there were no screws holding it in place.
“The bathroom door handle was held in position with parcel tape, as wired on the floor in the entrance to the bathroom.
“The exposed wooden floor also looked very rough, perhaps the tape was covering splintered wood too.
“In the kitchen, there were cupboards and drawers that had not been wiped clean, a very dirty oven, chipped crockery, and a fridge that had not seen a cleaning cloth on the outside and the water dispenser was mouldy.”
She sent a long letter of complaint to the Airbnb host upon her return, but was ignored.
After escalating the complaint through the home sharing platform, she was initially told she wasn’t entitled to support as she hadn’t reported the problems within 72 hours of her arrival.
The guest was told to upload her complaint and refund request via the site’s Resolution Centre, only discovering after the fact that the request went straight to the host, who declined it.
“I asked Airbnb what their responsibility was in allowing this process to support hosts who rent out properties in this condition. I got nowhere,” she said.
“Eventually, after much badgering to speak with a supervisor, I received a message from someone who claimed to be a supervisor.
“She reiterated that they could not make a refund without the support of the host.”
However, after EdinburghLive got in touch, Airbnb has since apologised and offered the guest a partial refund.
A spokesperson said: “We were disappointed to learn about this experience and we have reached out to the guest to provide a partial refund – worth £750 – and a coupon as a gesture of goodwill.
“All our guests are protected by AirCover for free on every booking and in the rare event that something isn’t as expected, we will help immediately when contacted within 72 hours of check-in.”