One Thing You Should Always Do Before Checking Out Of Your Airbnb

A good Airbnb can take your whole vacation to the next level. With the space, convenience, and creature comforts you'd find at home, it's the obvious accommodation for many. On the other hand, there are horror stories that crop up from time to time, like getting the run-around from customer support, finding hidden cameras, or being falsely accused of damage you didn't cause — also known as the "damage scam."


Here's how it works. You leave the place pristine, thinking all is well. You send your host a thank-you note and go on about your travels. A few hours later, you open your app to find that your host is requesting funds for damages you didn't cause, accusing you of egregious behavior like breaking appliances and leaving the place in a pitiful state. The message says you have 24 hours to respond, otherwise the case can be escalated to Airbnb's support team and your card could be automatically charged for damages.

Ouch. What gives? Well, there are a couple of possibilities. Perhaps the damage was already in the vacation rental from prior guests and the housecleaner didn't notice it earlier, framing you as the culprit. The other option is that the host knows you left the place spotless, but they are trying to get as much money from you as possible. Either way, there is one measure you can take that will help you 100% of the time: taking footage of everything.


Do a walkthrough and take footage of each room

Before you leave the key and check out, walk through your Airbnb and take photos of every space, including the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen, the living room, and the backyard. Remove any food and beverages from the fridge and take footage of the empty shelves. Take videos of the appliances and expensive items (like a pull-out couch), proving that they work. If you have pets, pick up their "treasures" from the lawn and photograph the garden space. It doesn't hurt to wash your dirty dishes and stack your dirty towels, bearing in mind that you did pay for paradise and you're getting charged a cleaning fee, so it doesn't have to look perfect.


While it can be a pain, remember that footage is your insurance policy. Your Airbnb host has 14 days to file a claim after you checkout. Airbnb's customer service team will rely on messages and responses from both parties and proof of the incident, like receipts or footage. If you get accused of something you didn't do, it's easy enough to prove your innocence with photos and videos. The same goes for when you arrive, by the way. Per Airbnb policy, you have 72 hours to let the host know of any existing issues. If you see something — even a small issue, like a stain — send a note to your host as soon as possible. A little communication goes a long way.