Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Couple take revenge on Airbnb host by leaving taps running and gas on for 25 days

More than 120,000 litres of water were wasted during the booking

Benjamin Parker
Wednesday 26 April 2023 04:34 BST
Airbnb Host: I Had a $640 Bill After Couple Ran Water and Gas in Retaliation For Cancellation Policy

An Airbnb owner has been left with a $1,570 (£1,260) bill after a couple took revenge on them when they were unable to cancel their booking.

The pair travelled to a villa in Seoul, South Korea, from China for a 25-day trip to punish the host, reports SBS.

They left the gas on and the taps running during this period, racking up the enormous utilities cost.

According to reports, problems arose after the couple booked their stay at the Airbnb. Although the villa is in Seoul, it is located in an outer suburb of the capital – not the city centre. When the couple realised this, they’d already booked and paid in full for their three-and-a-half-week stay.

But instead of sticking with their booking or discussing the issue with Airbnb, they took matters into their own hands.

According to the host, who has only been identified as Mr Lee, they contacted him and asked whether there were any surveillance cameras in the property. Once he confirmed that there weren’t, the visitors went in and turned on as many lights, taps, electrical applicances and gas taps as they could.

They didn’t stay at the villa, instead travelling across South Korea and returning to the holiday let just five times in 25 days, remaining no more than five minutes each time.

Mr Lee only discovered there was a problem after the pair checked out, and his gas company contacted him about a significant increase in usage, fearing there could be a leak.

When the host went to the villa, he found it empty, the windows open and the gas on. He has been left with a $116 water and electricity bill, a $730 gas bill and $728 for “miscellaneous expenses”.

The couple used up more than 120,000 litres of water during this period.

According to the SBS report, Airbnb customer services said it was “unable to make an exception and help with compensation”.

The Independent has contacted Airbnb for comment.

Airbnb’s AirCover protects hosts by providing cover for damage to the property or host’s belongings but does not cover utility bills. Mr Lee was allegedly told to solve the dispute with the couple directly – but they had already left the country.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in