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DENVER -- The holidays are a busy time of year for those of you who rent out your homes on sites like Airbnb. A Denver woman suffered thousands of dollars in damages from her renters after becoming an Airbnb host earlier this fall.
"New cabinets, new floors, new walls, new lighting just about everything is new down here,” said Airbnb host Jacquelyn Mabry. “I like to use my extra two bedrooms just to have people come in and make extra money."
Mabry has had numerous positive experiences with the site and guests who have come to stay, but one recent visit has her questioning opening up her home in the future.
“I moved the towels to collect the laundry and noticed this huge wet stain on the sleeper sectional,” said Mabry. “To get it back to where it was would be to replace the couch. So, I sent him (the guest) the cost of what it was to buy a new couch, which is over $3,700, and he denied doing anything and said he wouldn’t pay for it.”
Mabry’s next step was filing a claim with Airbnb providing pictures, video and her statement of the incident.
“My first claim was almost immediately denied,” said Mabry.
Airbnb’s response stated the couch was already stained and said you could see it in the listing photos. The response also stated the damages could not be linked to the guest in question.
“I have the invoice showing the couch is brand new, I have a picture of the couch after it was delivered, I have the listing photos showing it was in mint condition,” said Mabry.
“Photos, video, documentation with time stamp is really your best bet,” said Chris Sipes, Co-Founder of Element Consulting Group (ECG).
Sipes manages short term rentals for ECG. He recommends reporting damages right away in order to try to get ahead of any issues.
Mabry plans to continue renting her space on Airbnb, but said she is using this as a learning lesson while also pushing for hosts’ rights when renting out.
“If hosts are the ones that keep this website running they need to be protected,” said Mabry.