airbnb nightmare guest

My Nightmare Airbnb Guest – Why the K9 Cops Were Called

First nightmare guest where the cops were called. I’ve been hosting professionally for over 2 years now. Most of my Airbnb rentals go flawlessly.

By most, I mean over 95% of my reservations.

Occasionally (1~3%) you’ll get guests who would break things without telling you. This is why it’s important to teach your cleaners to follow protocol when that happens.

And that .05% to 1% of the time is when you get the opportunity to deal with a nightmare Airbnb guest. And that’s okay because every business has its drawbacks and Airbnb Arbitrage has its own set of challenges.

This is a story of my first nightmare Airbnb guest where the K9 cops were called. (I’ve written about another bad Airbnb guest and she was nowhere near this level of destruction).

It all started with a late night text.

It was the middle of the night and got a chain of text messages from this nightmare Airbnb guest at 1:30 AM. I was dead asleep so didn’t read it until the morning.

The text messages went like this:

Text message #1: I lost the key

Message #2 (2 minutes later): Can you please help?

Text message #3 (1 minute later): Jello

Message #4 (immediately after): Hello?

As you can probably imagine, receiving multiple text messages in the middle of the night from your guest is not a good sign.

I usually have a habit of rolling over my bed and reach for my phone the moment I wake up. I was very worried when I read his incoherent messages.

If he had lost the key, how did he get into the apartment? Thoughts quickly rushed through my head like bullet trains passing by.

Thought #1: Oh god, I hope he didn’t kick down the door and cause the neighbors to wake up from loud bangs.

bubble #2: No, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and trust that he got a last-minute hotel room.

Thought bubble #3: Maybe he found the key in one of his pockets…we all have those moments where we thought we lost something but later realized it was in our “other” pocket.

bubble #4: what did I do to deserve this?

At about 8:00 AM, I gave him a call, but no answer. Maybe he’s still asleep. So, I quickly followed up with a couple of text messages.

Text #1: Hey “Guest”, did you find the key and get in?

Text #2 (couple minutes later): My cleaner can come and let you in. Please let me know.

Text #3 (an hour later): My cleaner is on her way. Please give me a call back when you get a chance.

At this point, I knew he was ignoring me. I would find out what had happened soon enough from my cleaner. When my cleaner got there, she texted me 2 words:

“Horrible Guest!”

I asked what happened? My cleaner sent me 7 pictures. From these pictures, I was able to parse together a rough story of what had happened that night when this “guest” lost his key.

A picture is worth a thousand words. So let’s check out some of these photos below.

Airbnb nightmare guest

This is the front door screen. As you can see, he ripped it open. Not sure why he had to do that… or if he knew what he’d done. He set me back 60 dollars just for this.

airbnb nightmare guest

The shower rod and curtain are completely destroyed Luckily, no damage to the bathroom walls.

Picture #3 – It gets better…or worse (depending on your perspective).

airbnb nightmare guest

That screen is the bathroom window screen. This gave me the first clue on how this “guest” was able to get inside.


airbnb nightmare guest

Dude…wtf is this stuff? I hope it’s not what I think it is…

How this Airbnb Nightmare Guest Got Inside

Well, you remember that tiny looking window screen? Ha. So, this “guest” took the bathroom window screen off then proceeded to climb through the small opening through the bathroom window.

On his way down from the window to the bathroom tub, he needed to brace his fall and grabbed what he could. Now, this explains how the shower rod and curtain are destroyed.

This whole debauchery cost me $415 to fix.

Now, as you can see, this is the cost of doing business. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about starting an Airbnb Arbitrage.

It’s not always a rosy picture. It might not always be glamorous or easy. But precisely, this is the fun of starting a new business – the unforeseen challenges along the way.

Then again, more than 95% of my reservations go perfectly fine.

Did you call the cops?

airbnb nightmare guest

Well, I thought the damage to my property was the end of it. And my poor cleaner had to deal with our angry neighbor who stormed into the apartment while she was cleaning.

I truly felt sorry for my cleaner and the neighbor. To try and make up for what had happened, I went out and bought two gift cards.

This guest thought my neighbor’s window was part of my property and tried to open their window at 1:30 Am in the morning. Here’s a picture.

Airbnb nightmare guest

The guest tried to gain access to my neighbor’s unit. They thought they were getting robbed and called the police. The police showed up with a K9 unit. I can’t imagine how much stress this has caused them.

Here is the actual text message of what happened from this guest.

airbnb nightmare guest

Instead of owning up to what he did – he decided it was best to blame.

All I’m saying is, shit happens. And if you’re a good human about it, most hosts would understand. This guy was obviously going through a hard time.

I didn’t feel angry, but just bad for him. If this was his attitude in life, then it’s going to be a hard life ahead of him.

What You Can Take Away From This Experience

This was my first truly horrible hosting experience that happened in my 2+ years of Airbnb hosting. There are pros and cons to any business. And if someone tells you this business is easy in any way, please do me a favor and run!

That guy is delusional.

Don’t get me wrong. I benefited enormously from starting my own Airbnb Arbitrage. You can travel within a moment’s notice (just wrapped up a month long vacation where I took a camper van from California to Colorado, visited the jazz epitome of the world – New Orleans, and drank lots of cold Mexican beers and coconuts on the warm sandy beach in the Gulf of Mexico).

You don’t really have to think about affording to eat out every day, and most importantly, You get to grow to be a better person as your profitable business grows (starting a business can do wonders to help your personal growth).

One of my close friends asked: could you have done anything to prevent this?

Not really. He was a business guest that booked my place for 4 nights and had a decent amount of good reviews. And this happened on the 4th night.

Actually, I can only think of one way to prevent this from happening – a keyless smart lock. No key = no mess. So you can learn from this and consider getting one of the best smart locks for your Airbnb in 2019.


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  • Natacha I Easy Busy Vegan Mom
    Posted at 05:15h, 28 April Reply

    As you say, sometimes we can’t do anything to prevent it. Fortunately, most of the guests aren’t getting us into troubles!

    • Sam Zuo
      Posted at 10:11h, 21 June Reply

      Agreed! Most are good people/guests. It only takes 1 idiot to ruin your day/week.

      Recently, I had one of my most scary and horrific experience as an Airbnb host. I’ll write about that later.

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