Owner Discovers Home Rented Out Online When Guests Show Up. Airbnb Wouldn’t Remove Listing

Just because you own a home, and live there, doesn’t mean that it’s not also listed for rental on Airbnb. There are so many scams out there, including listing homes for rent that are not – in fact – for rent. People pay the scammer, show up at the front door. And do you think Airbnb takes swift action?

Natalie Siburt purchased her first home in Charlotte last month and, until recently, she’d been settling in nicely. But last Tuesday evening, she spotted a man dropping off luggage at her door. When Siburt approached him, he asked about checking in to the Airbnb located inside her condo…She had no idea her home had been listed on the popular short-term rental site by the previous homeowner’s tenant.

The person who lived there, as a tenant of the previous owner, was still renting out the place on Airbnb even though he did not live there, did not own it, and did not lease it. But hey, he knew the community and had photos! Plus he had some positive reviews from when he was leasing it and used it as an unauthorized short-term rental property.

The previous owner only discovered an Airbnb after checking on the property and finding “locks on closet doors and a note on the refrigerator that read, ‘Help yourself to whatever you want!’” The listing read “Welcome to our charming condominium in the heart of shopping, dining, and entertainment in the Carolinas. Suitable for practically any traveler.” It had over 25 reviews, and had a rating of 4.77 (out of 5).

Naturally the property owner didn’t want her home listed on Airbnb by someone else and since the listing was fraudulent she figured she could get Airbnb to take it down. Not so easy!

Terunuma initially began her efforts to get the listing taken down in April, reaching out to Airbnb more than 10 times, according to documents she showed the Observer. Siburt, the current homeowner, said she called Airbnb multiple times, providing details and documentation that she now owned the property.

“I said here’s the listing, this needs to be taken down,” Siburt told the Observer. “They then said that they’re just a platform and have nothing to do with it and that I’d have to contact the host directly.”

Siburt claims she was able to get in contact with the host but was told the listing couldn’t be taken down because she no longer had access to the Airbnb account. “I just don’t understand what’s in it for (Airbnb) to keep it up because that seems like a terrible client experience,” Siburt said. “I don’t know why a company would want that.” ‘VERY DISTURBING’ Siburt and Terunuma claimed their continued attempts to get the listing taken down were met with “canned responses” and few answers.

The actual homeowner was told to get in touch with the fraudulent host, who had been evicted from the property, to ask them to stop being a fraudulent host. Finally the listing did come down and then it got re-listed. But Airbnb did take it down when a newspaper asked, hey, why don’t you remove listings after they are reported to you as fraudulent?

According to Airbnb,

Issues like the experience reported are rare, and following investigation we have removed the listing from the platform…All hosts on Airbnb must certify that they have permission to list their space, and in the event a concern is reported to us we investigate and take appropriate action.

@nsibzzz #greenscreen #airbnb #airbnbexperience #airbnbnightmare #airbnbhost #airbnbbusiness #airbnbfinds #airbnbtips @airbnb @Axios Charlotte @cnbc @ugolord @jordanismylawyer ♬ original sound – nsibzzz

Normally if you stick to Airbnb Superhosts offering properties with numerous good reviews, you figure you’re safe. But just because a property has been rented in the past, doesn’t mean the listing isn’t a scam now.

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