Pregnant Airbnb Host Loses Home and $300K in Horror Story
The icing on the cake? She also lost her “Superhost” status.
According to Airbnb, it has over 150 million users and hosts more than half a billion guests per year. Many of the hosts decide to rent their homes out so they can make extra money. However, "superhost" claims her short-term rental apartment became a literal "s—tstorm" leaving her pregnant, homeless and in $300,000 of debt.
Coach Erika, a San Francisco Woman, shared about the ordeal on X. She claims that she used her "life savings" to buy her apartment. She explained that she rented out the top unit, living with her husband, dog, and two cats, in a smaller unit below.
"This made it so that when we needed the flat, we could make it available for our families (who would otherwise not be able to afford to stay in SF for more than a long weekend)," she wrote.
On April 14, after renting it out to guests for a month, the entire apartment flooded. She says that her guests "checked out early, no warning," and she soon found out why.
"Waterfalls of water were pouring from the ceiling"
"I woke up on Friday, April 14th to the sound of dripping water. At first, I thought it was raining, but looking out my bedroom window, the sky was bright blue," she said in a now-viral post on X, which has been viewed more than 17 million times. "I jumped out of bed and ran into the hallway. Waterfalls of water were pouring from the ceiling and light fixtures."
They had clogged the bathroom toilet with baby wipes and human waste," she said. "They also damaged the valve that manages water flow from the tank to the bowl. A perfect storm."
She didn't realize that water mixed with feces kept running from the toilet tank into the bowl and poured into her apartment nonstop for 15 hours. "Then I woke up to a nightmare: a literal s—tstorm in my own house, flooding all 3 levels of the building that I bought with my life savings. And remember — it's fecal water," she continued.
She claims that within 15 hours half of the building was destroyed.
She called Airbnb for help, and they told her she needed to either pay for the repairs herself or ask the guests to cover it. If they refused she would be able to "create a case for Host Damage Protection."
"I was aghast. This wasn't a broken lamp. It's a building that's 50% destroyed," Erika said. "It was a multi-hundred thousand dollar, multi-month home destruction and rebuild project."
"And what about that $3M Host AirCover Guarantee? What kind of support was this?" she said about Airbnb's advertised policy for hosts.
A plumbing nightmare
To complicate matters, Erika was 12 weeks pregnant at the time and had another guest scheduled to check in. She called the company to relocate them.
"They were coming in town for surgery and post-op recovery. I wanted to make sure that our booked guests were relocated ASAP so they didn't end up homeless, too," she said. After "dozens of hours trying to get on the phone with Airbnb" they "didn't seem to care or understand that I wasn't going to be able to submit a receipt for 'rebuilding 50% of my entire house' in the 14-day claim window."
She "scrambled to get construction estimates" and sent a $130,000 bill to her guest.
"After the guest clicked 'hell no, I can't pay that' I was finally and officially in the Airbnb case system, as of April 25th, two weeks after the flooding. And $130,000 in debt already," she continued.
"Over the next 6 weeks, I exchanged ~93 emails with Airbnb and the 3rd party adjuster that they assigned to 'investigate' the claim," she added. "Airbnb refused to discuss the case until their 3rd party "investigation" was complete. The 3rd party never came to the house. 5 weeks passed."
It took "nearly 7 weeks" for the 3rd party to get a plumber to look at her toilet. "He confirmed it was the clog (baby wipes + clog feces) and valve," she said. She was forced to pay him $375, because the plumber didn't believe that Airbnb would pay him.
53 e-mails later….
When she went back to Airbnb, they allegedly denied that baby wipes and feces were the issue. "They hinted at concerns about maintenance issues on the toilet (what?) People have lived here for years with no broken valve or flooding or excessive flushing of baby wipes," she explained. Instead of covering the expenses, which totaled $52,743, they offered her $6,000 and asked her to sign away her rights for future payments.
Erika added that the number didn't include "Lost revenue for the entire time that the unit is unusable (X? months), my mortgage payment (which I have to pay despite being homeless), property taxes (still have to pay those too), damaged appliances, other costs not covered by my insurance."
Eventually, after writing 53 emails, she got a case manager to respond to her emails and claims her unreimbursed expenses have climbed to $300,000.
"This week Airbnb offered me a 'final offer' of ~$31,000," she said. "If you're following the math, that's 10% of my total out-of-pocket financial losses to date."
"They claim that the $3M AirCover policy doesn't cover the other 90% of my out-of-pocket expenses," she wrote. According to her, they refuse to reimburse for the flooding, lost revenue from not renting, mold testing, demolition and packing out and storing her belongings.
Airbnb issued a statement
"Airbnb wouldn't lift a finger to help me find temporary housing, either. It's hard with a cat and a dog in SF," she said. "10+ hours house searching every 2-3 weeks while spending 20+ hrs a week trying to fix my house."
Last week Airbnb emailed her to inform her that she lost her Superhost status. "I truly cannot imagine that a company like Airbnb intends to leave hosts homeless and otherwise high and dry in their darkest moments," she said. "Especially when the source of the hardship was 100% caused by guest damages."
Airbnb issued a statement to the New York Post in response. "We take Aircover requests incredibly seriously, including in this case, where we tried to send a third-party investigator to review the damage, but the Host declined, stating that her homeowners insurance company was supporting her with the damage as well as temporary accommodation," they said. "Still, we offered to pay the loss of bookings, her insurance deductible and additional reimbursement as a gesture of goodwill – we have been in continuous contact with the Host, including speaking today, to continue to support her."