If you are looking for a quick summer getaway, Airbnb is a great resource to find housing. But one Tacoma family learned it’s not always as good as it may seem.
“My daughter was getting married and so we thought we had people coming from out of town, there’s not a lot of places to stay, so we thought we’d rent a house,” Melody Kahl said.
Kahl rented the Bonney Lake home quickly, but decided to drive by the property before her stay. That’s when Kahl discovered the home she rented was actually for sale.
Kahl looked up the real estate listing online and knew she was being scammed.
“I was really disappointed,” Kahl said.
Kahl called me, and I contacted the realtor, Joe Drazich with Skyline Properties. Drazich said the property is not for rent and that this is at least the second time this has happened.
The first time, the renters showed up at the door bags in hand!
“The cleaning lady actually called the owner and said ‘hey there’s two gentlemen saying they are going to stay here over the weekend,’” Drazich explained. “We called the police and it turned out they rented the house on Airbnb and none of us even knew about it.”
Airbnb said it investigated this case. It said in a statement:
“We have banned this host from our community and fully refunded the affected guests. We apologize to the homeowners and our guests for this incident.”
Drazich said the fake listing is booked for many weeks ahead, and he’s afraid the scammers will strike again, leaving guests with nowhere to stay.
“Who knows how many owners that aren’t even aware,” Drazich said.
So what do you do? Here are a few tips.
First, pay and communicate through the Airbnb website. That way you will be protected if something goes wrong.
Check out the reviews for the property. Few reviews or a bunch of bad reviews could be a red flag.
Finally, ask lots of questions of the owner. Their attention to detail may give away their intentions.