Smell complaint from guest Sept 21, 2015 3:22:17 GMT
Post by High Priestess on Sept 21, 2015 3:22:17 GMT
Smell Complaint from long term guest
I'm a 1 year Airbnb veteran with a bit of a sticky situation. I've had a guest come over from the UK for 39 nights. Her stay began this past Thursday and will end in late October.
Today she sent me a message that she needed to talk to me about the room when I got home. When we spoke, she said that there is a mold smell in the room that is really bothering her. My home is a 1928 bungalow, so there may be a bit of an "old house" smell. I personally don't smell anything, but I may be blind to it, since I live here. I had 1 other weekend guest complain of a smell a few moths ago. But no one else in 37 bookings. I offered to plug in a glade plug-in and she acted like she didn't think that would work. I plan to try it tomorrow anyways to see how it goes.
Anyways, she has said that she doesn't want to find another place, but that she would like some "compensation" for the smell issue. I didn't press her for details on exactly what she meant by this. I just told her that I would need to think about it and get back to her sometime tomorrow.
The issue is, that she booked back in March when I had severely reduced my prices because my bookings totally dried up in the winter. I didn't think to make sure my summer/fall prices were at the normal rate because I didn't think anyone would book that far in advance. So when she inquired about September, I just went ahead and honored the advertised price. So she's getting a rate of around $21/night. I usually get around $50.
Also, she didn't notice that I mention in my listing that I have a dog. She REALLY dislikes dogs, so I'm going to have to actively manage keeping my dog away from her for 6 weeks. In addition, she's a bit messy in the restroom (shared). She leaves dirt, hair and makeup on the sink and floor every time she's in there.
So basically, I wouldn't be sorry to see her go. But I know she won't find another $21/night six week listing in this area and she knows that so she's just going to try to pressure me to "compensate" her. I have a hard time with compensating someone AND letting them continue to stay here. I feel like it should be one or the other.
Please let me know your thoughts. Is there something I'm missing? I would greatly value any feedback.
If people have sensitivities to mold, they may confuse it with the 'aged' odor of 1920s house. My gut reaction thought, is that she may be smelling the dog. I have found that guests who don't like dogs. like their odor - no matter how slight - even more.
At $21 a night, I ask her to contact airbnb about her mold and dog issues and ask to be re-homed. I don't know their procedure - if they find something comparable in style or price or both- but I would get to work on getting her out of my house.
I absolutely would not offer her any additional price reduction or refund. I would tell her that she is already receiving a greatly reduced price. Express concern for her comfort and health concerns. I would also offer her a refund under the 'moderate' cancellation policy (50% of all unspent nights) instead of under the 'long term' cancellation policy (where you would keep 100% of the first month). I think it would be in your best interest to be done with her, avoid a bad review (she can't review you if she cancels) and reduce the stress to you and your dog.
Totally agree ...Contact Airbnb and ask them to rehome her since she has sensitivity to your dog and home. You don't want to end up having to prove you don't have mold in your home because of this guest who is trying to squeeze you out of rent.
I agree with Q&T, this woman has to go, otherwise the next 6 weeks will be sheer hell.
I appreciate your perspective. You're right , this may just be an extension of the dog thing. She got this horrified look on her face when she realized there was a dog here. I will reach out to Airbnb to see what options I have. Thanks!
I would just expand on the other posts to note, people that 1. object to the housing we offer 2. but want a discount rather than to be rehomed are what used to be called shysters or grifters. So, let her go try her little game somewhere else.
A Shysters Indeed !!!
"Old house smell" could be a symptom of mildew and mold within the walls, so you'll need to identify the source areas before tackling this issue (mold versus the inherent smells of a very well lived-in dwelling). One product you might want to give a try is called Room Shocker, which is advertised as an odour busting solution which uses chlorine dioxide fumes to penetrate through walls and remove any severe odor from various sources such as cigarette and cigar smoke, pet urine, vomit, soured milk, mold, mildew and bacteria etc. It will also decontaminate treated areas of harmful pathogens, spores and fungi that might also reside inside old walls (we hope this is not the case!). We'll ignore the fact the packaging makes it look like something we'd see offered at the local 7-11.
Chlorine dioxide was the same chemical compound used to eradicate dangerous mold from houses inundated by water after Hurricane Katrina and also has been given a USDA 3-D approval for washing fruits and vegetables to be used as ingredients of meat and poultry products. It is an oxidant like bleach, so keep away from cloth or carpet to prevent discoloration. At $25, it doesn't seem like a risky proposition to try, but maybe one of our readers already has experience with this product?
Just like a charcoal water filter, charcoal briquettes can be used to absorb moisture and odor from the air in your home. A while back, Gregory tipped us off on using charcoal to remove fridge odors, but they definitely work in other rooms, too. We've found them particularly helpful for "old apartment smell" if you're in an old building or moist smells in basement-level units.
As for how to distribute them, you can simply lay a few out in a metal tray. Other options: sew pouches for them or use an old sock, then hang them in inconspicuous areas. Line a basket with foil or plastic and lay the briquettes inside. Or simply set them out on a tray on a shelf or side table: the black little pillows actually look kind of cool!
Be sure to get natural briquettes without mesquite or easy-light additives.
Charcoal is a good idea. Also try a dish of white vinegar and a box of baking soda. Interesting no one has jumped on you for mentioning your guest is from the UK. Had she been from Asia or the Middle East the reaction would have been swift and outraged.
We Brits are known for having a very refined sense of smell Seriously, Fiona, that's a good point! Very true. And for the Andrea with the 1928 bungalow in Atlanta... I can very much imagine the situation because so many houses in Memphis are the same. One good solution would be to open the window. I am guessing that perhaps the window cannot be opened because it is painted shut, like so many older homes here in Memphis where I live. If that is indeed the case, after the guest leaves, could you get a carpenter or builder in to pry open the window and leave it so it can be opened? I do know that British guests in particular like to be able to open the window. And with fall coming around, when it's not so hot, that would be an acceptable thing to do.
All windows in guest rooms should be able to be opened in case of an emergency and it has to be used as an escape route if possible . The cause of the smells need to be resolved , if its from the pets or from mold opening a window will not solve the problem in the long run . If you live in an area with high humidity and poor air circulation , a dehumidifier and dryer may work , but again if its from mold and mildew built up , you are going to need to eliminate the cause or its a losing battle . You don't have to be able to smell it , many people including myself are highly sensitive of it , and even in a dry state it will aerosolize and cause terrible side affects to those with sensitivities to it .
Thank you for the tips on the smell! I definitely plan to investigate the issue once this guest leaves.
Yes, my house actually has new windows, and she did open 2 of the 3 windows in the room when she first got here but my neighbor's air conditioning units are right outside on that side of the house, and she mentioned that the noise bothered her. :-(
If the guest asks for compensation before exploring the possibility of resolving the alleged problem, it's immediately clear that it's not a real problem. Like said, this one's a shyster that should not be appeased.
I would encourage the guest to terminate the remainder of the booking with a full refund of unused days, then freeing your calendar up to re-book at the normal price.
All that said, I wouldn't dismiss the mold issue completely - it's worth investigating before the next guests.
I'm also in Georgia. We have had a hot & wet summer. A 1928 house will most likely have an "old house" smell. My 1886 townhouse smells like an antique store & I kinda like it!! If it is mold/ mildew, some remedies have been mentioned-- you might also try a bleach/cleanser mix that should kill surface mold on contact & regular "airing out" when temps are cooler in the evenings should help a lot. I think this woman is trying to make a terrific deal even better-- I'd insist that she leave (after all, her health is at stake-- not to mention your dangerous animal!!). Don't take no for an answer, she MUST leave-- she's the one who brought it up!! Oops. Every place else is more expensive??? Tough nouggies. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Thanks! I really appreciate all of these thoughtful responses from everyone! I did give her the air freshener this morning. And I'm supposed to talk to her tonight to see if this worked. If she's still not satisfied, I'm prepared to ask her to leave for my own sanity I'm fine with giving her a full refund just to be done. Last night she cooked and left the 3 pots of food sitting out on my stove overnight! :-(. I'm over it!