In a chilling Airbnb horror story, Erika Gemzer, a pregnant woman from California, found herself in a nightmarish situation when her home was flooded by Airbnb guests, leaving her and her husband homeless and drowning in debt. The couple, who had been renting out a unit of their San Francisco property on Airbnb, saw their dreams shatter as guests caused extensive damage, leading to a financial catastrophe.
Airbnb Disaster Strikes
Gemzer and her husband, owners of a two-unit building in San Francisco, decided to rent out their upstairs unit on Airbnb to ease their mortgage burden. However, their lives took a devastating turn when a month-long guest wreaked havoc. The guest, without any warning, clogged the bathroom toilet with baby wipes and human waste, leading to a perfect storm of plumbing mishaps that resulted in the entire building being flooded. Gemzer, unaware of the disaster unfolding above, faced the nightmare of dealing with the aftermath, all while heavily pregnant.
A Pregnant Woman’s Struggle
The heavily pregnant Gemzer, whose due date had passed, faced a daunting task of repairing the damages that had left both units in ruins. Forced out of their home due to the extensive damage, the couple struggled with bills, lost revenue, and ongoing repairs. The cost of merely drying out the house amounted to a staggering $130,000. Although homeowner’s insurance covered a portion of the expenses, Gemzer faced gaps in costs, particularly for water damage demolition, leaving her in dire financial straits.
Airbnb’s Response Raises Questions
Gemzer’s communication with Airbnb, which boasts of its AirCover Guarantee and Host Liability Insurance, turned into another nightmare. Initially, Airbnb suggested that Gemzer ask the guests to cover the expenses, an effort that proved futile. The company then assigned her case to a third-party adjuster, complicating matters further. Gemzer’s attempts to navigate the process were met with frustration, with Airbnb demanding detailed quotes for repairs without assurance of coverage. Despite her ordeal, Gemzer received a call from an Airbnb executive only after her story gained public attention.
Seeking Support and Resolution
Desperate to end her financial woes, Gemzer reached out for support, urging Airbnb to fulfill its promises of assistance during crises. While Airbnb stated it offered to pay for lost bookings, her insurance deductible, and additional reimbursement as a goodwill gesture, Gemzer felt unsupported and unheard. The company’s attempts to send a third-party investigator were declined by Gemzer, who relied on her homeowners insurance for temporary accommodation and damage support.
In the face of this harrowing experience, Gemzer’s story raises questions about Airbnb’s responsibility toward its hosts. As she battles financial losses and a disrupted life, her case underscores the challenges faced by hosts when Airbnb guests turn their homes into disaster zones. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities faced by hosts in the sharing economy, urging platforms like Airbnb to reevaluate their policies and provide genuine support to hosts when unforeseen disasters strike.
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