Damages At An Airbnb Property (Fine, Lawsuit & Things To Do)

Airbnb is just a platform that helps guests to find a potential rental place. They work as an arbitrator between the hosts and guests.

This article discusses property damage at an Airbnb rental and what to do in those situations to save money.

What Happens If You Damage Something At An Airbnb?

According to Airbnb policy, you should contact the Host if you damage something at an Airbnb rental.

However, several things can happen if you contact the Host about the property damage.

  • There are Airbnb hosts who will work with you to solve the problem. Sometimes, they will be happy if you pay them to mitigate the damage.
  • Some Hosts will become very angry. They will give you a bad review and ask you to pay the total price to replace the damaged item.

Either way, the Host will try to collect money from you or through Airbnb insurance.

If you damage something and contact the Host about it, it proves that you caused the damage because you already admit the guilt. 

Therefore, later you will not be able to deny the damage claim, and Airbnb will side with the Host.

Assess the damage and determine whether you or the previous renter caused it.

Take pictures, and gather evidence for your protection.

If you feel sorry, contact the Host and tell them about the damage. However, don’t take responsibility if you think you are not liable for it.

What To Do If An Airbnb Host Accuses You of Damages?

Many Airbnb hosts are taking advantage of good guests like you.

After an Airbnb guest checks out, these Hosts wait until they get a good review from the guest. When the guest leaves a review, the Host files a fake damage claim to Airbnb.

As the guest wrote the review already, they can’t change it to include that the Airbnb host filed a phony damage claim. 

On these claims, hosts typically provide pictures and repair bills to prove that a guest has damaged some property. However, remember that, even though the picture may prove damage, it DOESN’T prove that you did it. 

Some Airbnb hosts do it to earn some extra money from unsuspected guests.

The Host can’t prove that you did the damage unless they have video proof. In Airbnb, it’s rare to have video proof.

If the Host accuses you of damage, you should deny it and refuse to pay any money.

There are excellent and terrible hosts. You shouldn’t admit to something that you didn’t do.

Many bad actors in the Airbnb hosting business are taking advantage of the system to scam guests for money.

Due to a lack of transparency, many guests pay the money out of fear of lawsuits or collection agencies. If you didn’t cause the damage, don’t pay and dispute the charges. 

What Happens If You Refuse to Pay Airbnb Damages?

There are two scenarios. 

  • You didn’t cause any damage to Airbnb, but the Host is lying to you. 
  • You caused damage at the Airbnb.

In either case, it’s the Host’s responsibility to prove that you caused the damage.

If the Host sends you a damage fine, and you believe that the amount the Airbnb host is asking is too large, you decline the request and refuse to pay.

If you refuse to pay, the dispute will go to Airbnb Support. 

Airbnb will review the photos, videos, and other evidence the Host provided and judge the damage cost. If Airbnb Support agrees with the Host, Airbnb will first ask you to pay the fine.

Airbnb can’t charge your card without your permission. 

If you have already closed your card account and Airbnb fails to collect money, they can do three things —

  • If the Host has AirCover insurance, Airbnb will pay them the damages through it.
  • Airbnb can ban your account.
  • They can send your debt to collection agencies.

However, Airbnb rarely sends the debt to collections. 

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Airbnb Damages?

Whether you caused the damage or not, the Airbnb host has to prove that you did it. The burden of proof is on them.

Unless the Host has a video that shows you are doing the damage on the Airbnb property, the Host can’t prove that you caused the damage according to law.

Sometimes, Hosts, their family members, or their cleaners damage Airbnb and blame it on guests. Blame without proof is nothing.

If the Host accuses you of damage, keep denying it. They can’t prove anything under the law.

Airbnb can’t charge your card if you don’t agree with the damage amount. It’s a credit card; therefore, if Airbnb charges you without your permission, you dispute those charges. The credit card company will reverse those bills.

Don’t pay the Airbnb damage if you didn’t do it. 

However, if you don’t pay the damages, Airbnb will ban your account. Therefore, you will not be able to use Airbnb anymore.

Even though Airbnb says in their terms and conditions that they can send your debt to collection agencies, they rarely involve collection agencies.

If the damage charge is fraudulent, the claim doesn’t have any value.

Keep denying the charges. Airbnb will eventually cover the cost with their damage insurance on your behalf.

Remove the credit or debit card that is associated with the Airbnb account. Remember, Airbnb can’t charge your credit card without your permission. 

Can Airbnb Force You to Pay Damages?

When a host accuses you of damages, Airbnb will first ask you to pay a fine to the Host.

If you disagree with it and deny the charges, the case will go to Airbnb Support. They will decide what the actual damage amount is.

Even if Airbnb supports sides with the Host, Airbnb can’t force you to pay the damages. If you deny the damage claim, they will eventually go through their insurance and pay on your behalf. However, they may ban your account.

Airbnb can’t charge your credit card without your permission. With every major credit card, such as Visa, Amex, or Mastercard, merchants can’t charge you without your authorization. If Airbnb charges your account, you can dispute these charges.

How Much Can Airbnb Charge for Damages?

If you damage something on an Airbnb property, the Host is only allowed to charge the depreciated value of the things.

Suppose you broke a vase that the Airbnb host purchased from Hobby Lobby for $120. After six months, the vase price isn’t $120 because its value has depreciated over time. 

Thus, the Host can’t charge you the full replacement price. They can only ask you for a reasonable depreciated value.

However, the Host will always try to collect the total replacement price in these situations. But, according to Airbnb policy, they are not allowed to do that. 

Can Airbnb Sue For Damages?

We have never heard of any case where Airbnb sued a guest to recover damage costs. 

If the damage isn’t substantial, Airbnb first will ask you to pay the damaging fine. If you reject, they will eventually go through their insurance agency to cover the damage cost. 

In the history of Airbnb, we have never seen the news where they sued a guest for damages.

Therefore, keep calm and don’t worry. Airbnb isn’t going to sue you.

Can Airbnb Host Sue Guests?

If a guest causes damage to the Airbnb property, the Host can ask the guest for money to repair the damage. The guest can deny the claim and refuse to pay the money. 

In this country, anyone can sue anyone. Thus an Airbnb host can sue a guest. However, whether the damage claim is provable in court is debatable.

There must be substantial and undeniable proof to show that the guest has caused the damage. As the Host is suing, the burden of proof is on them.

However, the court is time-consuming, and lawyers are costly. Therefore, Airbnb hosts never sue guests.

Most of the time, the Host’s rental damages get covered by Airbnb insurance. Thus, they will not go in that route.

Most Airbnb hosts are small business owners. Thus, they don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to collect property damage money.

Some hosts may tell you they will take you to small claims court. However, remember that everything on Airbnb must go through the Airbnb resolution center. Thus, their threat holds no value.

Moreover, we never heard of any incident where an Airbnb host has sued a guest. It never happens.

Can Airbnb Send You to Collections?

According to Airbnb terms and conditions, when you book an Airbnb rental, you agree that Airbnb can send your unpaid debt to collections.

However, over the last decade, we have never heard of any story in the news media where Airbnb sent someone’s debt to collections. It never happens.

If you don’t pay Airbnb, they will typically ban your account. Later they will recover the cost through their insurance. Because going through insurance is easier, cost savings and faster for them.

Thus, don’t fret or worry too much. Airbnb isn’t going to send your debt to collections. 

Airbnb is in the hospitality business. The last thing they want is bad press. Reputation is everything for them. Thus, they will do everything to minimize bad press.

However, if, in rare situations, they do send your debt to collections, fight back with the proof you have in your hand. Question the validity of the charges.