Airbnb says host 'not obligated' to provide hot water in chilly response to friends on Tahoe trip

Michael Finney Image
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Airbnb tells ski trip group host 'not obligated' to provide hot water
A group of friends went to Tahoe on a ski trip -- but when the hot water ran out at their Airbnb, they were told it wasn't required if not listed.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Alexander Yee of Alameda and his friends went up to Tahoe. They were up there for this year's great snow and rented a great place through Airbnb.

On the first night everything went well, on the second pretty good, but the place seemed to be running out of hot water. On the third day, there were more hot water problems.

"Because of that, we had no hot water at the Airbnb, and we reached out to the host," Yee said. "Just let them know that there was an issue with the hot water, and that we were taking cold showers. Which wasn't great in the cold Tahoe weather, of course."

Yee and his buddies also let Airbnb know what happened, too.

MORE: Bay Area family arrives on holiday trip to find rental full of trash; why Airbnb refused a refund

The family described the unit they rented as uninhabitable. The discovery forced them find alternate arrangements on a busy holiday weekend.

"When we heard back from the Airbnb customer service, we were quite surprised by the response," he said. "They had mentioned that because hot water wasn't specifically included as an amenity at the Airbnb that we were staying at, the host was under no obligation to provide hot water."

That didn't seem right, so Yee contacted 7 On Your Side. After looking at the Airbnb listing, sure enough, hot water is not on the amenities list. A hot tub is listed.

Airbnb said, "We do allow hosts to self-select hot water as an amenity, however this is meant to be used for remote, off-the-grid listings so that guests can plan properly. For this particular case, our team did follow up with the host to inquire about any amenity issues that may need to be addressed."

"So, thanks to you, after you contacted Airbnb they provided us with a resolution, and that resolution was, they refunded us Airbnb's service fee, as well as a cleaning fee which was equivalent to about one night stay, so I thought that was a fair resolution from Airbnb," Yee said.

MORE: Airbnb: Booking success different because of perceived racial bias

It gets even better. The host also refunded a portion of their payment. 7 On Your Side reached out to the host, but they have not responded.

7 On Your Side wants to thank Airbnb and the host.

Some advice: read the amenities list very carefully when booking through Airbnb.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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