Bed Bugs in Airbnb

Even though thousands of travelers encounter bed bugs every year, you will have a hard time determining which Airbnbs have a history of past bed bug infestations. Furthermore, if you do end up encountering a bed bug infestation, you may feel confused about what steps to take to address the situation.

And you wouldn’t want to sleep in an infested bed for one more night, would you?

Since Airbnb’s official Terms of Service won’t be of much help to you if you encounter an infestation at one of their properties, we’ve compiled a list of tips on what you can do if you spot bed bugs or get bitten by bed bugs as an Airbnb guest.

Here are your options:

Check for Signs of Bed Bugs

The first thing you should do as an Airbnb guest is check for the tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation. However, before doing that, you need to be aware of the most common signs of bed bugs in an Airbnb.

So how do you tell if you’re dealing with bed bugs?

  • Red and itchy bites, often in zigzag lines, small clusters, and straight rows
  • Blood stains on sheets, mattresses, and bed frames, resembling rust spots
  • Brown exoskeletons on the bed, shed by bed bug critters as they mature
  • Bed bugs themselves, which can be seen with the naked eye

If you’ve been waking up with red and itchy bites on your arms, shoulders, and other parts of your skin that are exposed while you’re sleeping, then check for these signs immediately. Bed bugs, their blood stains, and exoskeletons can also be seen on other furniture, carpets, and curtains in the room as well.

Be sure to inspect everything thoroughly using a flashlight.

Take a Lot of Photographs

If you’ve found any evidence of a bed bug infestation, you need to take photographs immediately.

According to multiple bed bug victims that have complained to the Airbnb community in the past, the booking site’s customer service reps will need you to deliver two pieces of evidence: photographs of the infestation and a doctor’s confirmation. Until you send them both, they won’t be able to open a case.

Get a Doctor’s Confirmation

You may want to consider paying a visit to the nearest doctor to get confirmation that you’ve been bitten by bed bugs in writing.

However, this step can be slightly problematic depending on the country you’re staying in. Keep in mind that after the COVID pandemic, many medical providers are willing to see patients over telemedicine and/or video chats.

Ultimately, it is usually a good idea to have your injuries inspected by a trained medical professional. Not only can untreated bed bug bites lead to scars, but bed bugs have been shown to carry certain types of blood borne pathogens.

Contact Your Airbnb Host

Upon discovering the infestation, report the incident to the Airbnb property owner immediately.

Perhaps you’ll get to reach some kind of mutually beneficial resolution without having to involve Airbnb’s customer service team as a mediator. Maybe your host can find you another place to stay as soon as tonight. Maybe they’ll offer to give you a refund. With either outcome, be sure to save all correspondence with the host. Airbnb is all about trust, so try this approach first.

Open a Case with Airbnb

If the host is unresponsive or refuses to cooperate, you may want to call Airbnb’s customer service team. Armed with evidence, you’ll be able to open a case against the host and seek a refund.

Unfortunately, not everyone receives fair treatment from Airbnb, even when they do everything right. The booking site’s Terms of Service clearly state that “any bookings will be made at the guest’s own risk,” meaning that hosts may not be required to refund your money in this case. It will likely come down to the specific circumstances surrounding your incident.

The best you can do is try and hope that your host—and Airbnb—will do the right thing, or it may be best to consider having a law firm represent you from the onset

What to Do if Your Luggage is Infested 

Itchy bites are not the worst thing about encountering bed bugs. The fact that they’ll probably make a temporary settlement in your clothes and luggage and travel back home with you is far more unsettling. Unfortunately, this means that itchy bites won’t stop for quite some time in the future—and you may experience an infestation in your own home.

Here’s what you can do to hopefully stop bed bugs from entering your home:

  • Pack all your bags and suitcases in large plastic bags before you leave the Airbnb.
  • When you return home, dry wash your clothes on the highest temperature possible.
  • Vacuum suitcases and seal them shut in plastic bags. Remaining bugs will suffocate.
  • Regularly inspect your home for signs of bed bug infestation for a couple of months.

Consult a Bed Bug Lawyer

If you’ve returned from your dream vacation itchy and disappointed, there is one remaining option you should consider. Get in touch with us and we will consult your situation to asses if you have a case against your Airbnb host! Contact us today and explain the circumstances surrounding your incident and we will let you know if you have a case we can assist with! 

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