Airbnb Horror Stories That’ll Leave You Overstrung

Amazon Prime’s The Rental unveils the story of everyone’s worst travel nightmare. Directed by Dave Franco, the 2021 horror film presents the story of two couples who stay in a beautiful oceanfront vacation rental. All was smooth sailing until the group starts to harbor suspicion that they are being spied on by their host.

Although stories like this are rare, some Airbnb guests have reported nightmare movie plots similar to The Rental that have quickly become reality.

Check out these 10 Airbnb horror stories that are sure to give you the goosies.

*Disclosure: I only recommend travel products and/or services I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. 

Guests Share Airbnb Horror Stories

1. Couple Find Hidden Camera in Florida Airbnb Property

Photo by Vidar Kristiansen/Unsplash

Indiana Couple, Derek Starnes and his unnamed wife, rented out an Airbnb room in Longboat, Florida. When noticing a small hole in the smoke detector, Starnes took it down only to discover a tiny hidden camera with a microphone installed inside the detector. The couple immediately called local authorities.

The owner of the home, Wayne Natt, 56, was arrested, charged, and convicted of one count of video voyeurism.

“My wife and I are distressed by this situation,” Starnes said at the time, according to WFTS.

Natt reportedly told lead investigators that everyone had given consent to be filmed during sex parties he hosted.

“He says that everyone videoed had knowledge he was videoing them,” Longboat Key Police Lt. Bob Bourque said, per WFTS. “What we said to that was … ‘if people are consenting to (record) sexual activity, why is it hidden in a smoke alarm?’”

Airbnb immediately banned Natt from the platform and released the following statement:

“Our team has reached out to local law enforcement to aid them with their investigation of this egregious offense and we hope justice is served,” Airbnb spokesman Benjamin Breit said in a statement. “We take privacy issues extremely seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy against this behavior.”

2. Host Posts Fake Profile Picture Then Drugs Guest During Stay

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Two sisters, one unnamed and one named Maria, rented a room on Airbnb from a blonde-haired female named “Leslie”. Leslie’s photo was taken on the fourth floor of her cozy apartment that was a “five min walk from the subway.”

When the girls arrived the Airbnb property, they quickly found out from their host that “Leslie is a unisex name,” according to the male who opened the front door joking around that he likes to “play with his profile pictures.” As if that should have been enough of a red flag for the girls to leave “Leslie” in the dust, they decided to stay after a long day of travel. It was late and they didn’t feel they had anywhere else to go.

After dinner, Leslie insisted that they take the girls clubbing. After he was turned down, he insisted they drink a “palinka” with him, which was also quickly shut down. Maria finally accepted a tomato juice from him because she felt bad for turning down several of his offers.

The girls woke up in the middle of the night with Leslie staring at them at their bedside. When the unnamed sister screamed at Leslie asking what he wanted, he left the room swaying side to side. The other sister didn’t wake up, leading her to believe Maria was roofied.

Long story short, the girls made it out of Leslie’s house. Maria didn’t wake up until 1.5 days later with vomit on her shirt with no recollection of what happened.

3. Host Attacks Guests In The Middle of Night

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Jaleesa Jackson and Chiedozie Uwandu rented out a guesthouse Airbnb in Southern California by a host named JJ.

JJ was ranked as a “Superhost” on Airbnb’s website.

At 5:30 am on their first morning there was loud knocking on the door. When Jackson approached the door she heard the male saying “I know you’re in there, Kevin”. She told the man to go away and the couple immediately called JJ, but heard the phone ringing on the other side of the door. JJ answered explaining that it was him but that “life is too short” to give them an explanation then hung up.

That following day at 2 AM they woke up to JJ crashing through the window in a gray sweatshirt with a hood pulled over his head. When Uwandu loosened his grip on the man to frees shards of glass (he didn’t know the man was JJ at the time), JJ got loose and ran off. Police soon after found JJ and had him in handcuffs. He told authorities that he was told to evict the couple over “cleaning fees”

If that wasn’t bizarre enough. A woman came out of the main home in a state of confusion. She explained that JJ rented the guest home from her and wasn’t authorized to rent it to others, yet he still did.

“But he rents it all the time,” Uwandu and Jackson said to the homeowner. “Didn’t you notice all the people coming and going?”

“I thought those were JJ’s friends visiting him,” she responded.

4. Group of Guests Find Woman Dead in Garden

Photo by Ján Jakub Naništa/Unsplash

A group of friends rented an Airbnb home in a suburb of Paris for a weekend of celebrations, only to find a woman’s dead corpse in the back garden, “hunched in a dug-out area, her head against the ground, covered in branches and surrounded by wood stumps,” a police source told The Guardian.

“Her body was found at the bottom of the property which opens out into a woods,” the police source said, per The Guardian.

Business Insider reports that foul play is suspected. It was the first time renting out the home for the Airbnb host who says he’s “‘flabbergasted,’ and that he’d never rented out his home before the incident. No word on whether he’ll be doing it again anytime soon.”

5. Quebec Host Paces Backyard With Chainsaw, Neighbor Dog Attacks Son

Photo by Yaopey Yong/Unsplash

One family rented out a Quebec vacation home rental through Airbnb, only to have a host who was a bit off his rocker and a neighbor dog that attacked the little boy of the family.

The host found many reasons to come to the rental house during the family’s stay. Once, to grab a coffee maker that a previous guest allegedly forgot and another time when he thought the guests weren’t at the property.

“He found occasion to come every day,” the guest said, according to “Once, he walked with a chainsaw back and forth in the backyard, which was creepy enough for me. The neighbor is a crazy local drunk that drank wine and then got in her car with a friend of hers. There was a child with them as well.

“She assured me that her dog was very well behaved and I let my children play with him. At one point the dog started chewing my son’s shoes and at the end he attacked my son, knocked him to the ground, and bit him. The dog owner was drunk and didn’t even care enough to do something. Several days later the same dog killed one of the other neighbor’s hens in front of our eyes.”

6. Toronto Host Asks Guests For Passports Upon Arrival

Photo by Kerensa Pickett/Unsplash

‘Seriously Believe We Narrowly Escaped Being Trafficked That Day’

Two siblings arrived at an Airbnb property in Toronto with the host demanding their hand over their passports upon arrival. When the host showed the siblings to their room they noticed a few red flags.

“The rooms did not match the pictures posted at all,” Finnegansmom said, according to “The place reeked of bleach that had been used recently. We took photos of every room, and quietly slipped out when no one was watching. Reported everything to Airbnb and were given a full refund. Their ad was removed and host blocked. Seriously believe we narrowly escaped being trafficked that day.”

7. Guest Privately Complains to Fiance About Items Apartment Needs, Owner Installs Items Next Day

Photo by Abbilyn Zavgorodniaia/Unsplash

A couple was staying at a Helinski Airbnb property during a trip to visit family.

“When we got there and got settled, we were chatting about things we thought were missing in the apartment, specifically I remember saying I wished there was another towel hook in the bathroom (there was only 1 and obviously 2 towels being used),” Reddit User 15Sunflowers said. “The next day we went out and were out pretty much all day, and when we got back that night there was another towel hook in the bathroom…”


8. Host Claims He is Out of Town, Tenant Finds her Missing Phone From Day Before in His Room

Photo by Nathan McDine/Unsplash

While staying in a guest house in a ritzy area of San Diego, two siblings realized the host may have been present, even though he said he’d be out of town.

“The man who lived there was out of town, so some of his stuff was out, he was literally making his own kombucha. He had a bathroom attached to his little house that had a door that led to outside. He shared this bathroom with a tenant in another house who didn’t have one.

“Around 4am (the tenant) comes home drunk, goes into the bathroom, and starting banging on the door to our room viciously. She’s screaming about how he stole her phone yesterday…this man has been out of town for a week. It was scary to wake up to in the middle of the night, but our stay was still great.”

9. “Absent” Host Knows Guests Weren’t In Correct Room

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A married couple from Utah visited Boise, Idaho to attend a Joe Rogan show. Upon arrival, the check-in instructions were to use the code at the front door and that the host wouldn’t be home.

“We pull up and the house is MASSIVE. We walk in and are kind of confused as to where to go. The pictures of the advertisement was a room in the basement with a bathroom next to it. So we went and settled in.

“The comedy show was that same night, so I hopped in the shower, and as I was getting out, my husband told me the host had messaged him [and] told him we were in the wrong room and to go into the room upstairs. Okay… but how did he know we were in the wrong room if he wasn’t home?

“So we took our stuff upstairs and began looking around, trying to figure out which room. We opened a few doors, and there [were] several bedrooms, but the only bedroom that had new towels and water bottles on the nightstand was the master bedroom.”

The couple put their stuff down in the master bedroom but noticed the dressers and closet were full of someone’s personal items. Next to the bedroom was an office filled with dog items like toys and food and water bowls.

Still overwhelmed with confusion, the couple shrugged it off because the host assured them he wouldn’t be home all weekend and to kick their feet up and relax.

“The night came and went, and we went to our show. Explored some of Boise and headed back to the house. We both kept telling each other something felt off, but didn’t know why. We agreed to wake up and take our time getting back on the road and to our kids.

“Fast [forward] to the next morning, and [we woke] up to a dog running down the hallway, and barks echoing throughout the massive house. My husband [hopped] out of bed and opened the door to see if someone was there, but saw nobody… We packed up super early and left way faster than we originally planned. It was SUPER weird… Like we were being watched, and someone was with us the whole time.”

10. Airbnb Guest Fights Off Intruder With a Lamp

Photo by Markus Spiske/Unsplash

A few friends rented out a four-story Airbnb apartment while visiting a suburb of Paris. One guest stayed on the top floor which was an attic converted into a room with two bedrooms and “basic accommodations.”

“It never felt right being up there; it was dark, had no windows, and was just a bit claustrophobic, but I didn’t think I’d mind because we weren’t going to be spending a lot of time there…

“I couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t fall asleep in that attic – it just didn’t feel right… I was tossing and turning all night, spending lots of time staring at the ceiling… [Around] 4 am, I heard footsteps walking up the final staircase (and the only exit), which led directly to the door of [my] attic room.

“The door whispered open, making a disturbingly quiet crescendoing, high-pitched squeal. I don’t think I would’ve heard it if I hadn’t already been awake. It was dark, really dark, and I could barely make out the door slowly peeling open, as if someone was trying to sneak in.

“I stayed laying on my side and kept my eyes locked on the doorway as it continued to open, until I called out thinking it was my friend trying to mess with me. No response, but the door stopped inching open for a second. I called out again and again [and] got no response, but [then] the door swung wide open, slamming against the wall, and I saw a shadow outline of a person, distorted by darkness and [only] illuminated from the… window [behind it, which looked] out onto the streets of Paris.

“The figure started approaching me slowly. It was so dark in there that I couldn’t make out exactly what/who was coming silently towards me, but I didn’t wait to find out. Went full fight or flight mode and sprang up and out of bed grabbing a nearby heavy lamp to use as a blunt weapon.

“My eyes must’ve been better adjusted to the dark than my evening [guest’s], and I was able to keep my distance. I occasionally swung the lamp while moving in a skewed clockwise circle around the figure in the narrow claustrophobic attic as it approached me.

“After what felt like a few minutes but was probably a few seconds, I found myself with a clear path to the doorway and the subsequent staircase, so I threw the lamp at the intruder, breaking it with a shatter, and I flew down all three flights of stairs with so much energy I was lucky not to fall and hurt myself.

“I shook awake my one friend… and said that crazy sh*t was going down upstairs. I looked back, and the door to the apartment was wide open. I told him that I was f*cking leaving right now and calling the cops and that he should join me. He did join me without a second thought. Both of us were in pajamas, and neither of us even grabbed our phones we were trying to get out of there so quick.”

Shortly after the episode, the other friends arrived to the apartment and let the duo know that their Airbnb was safe to come back to but that they were rude to leave the door open and trash the property.

“We did leave the door open, but we did not trash the place. I did totally break a lamp, though.”

Allow These Airbnb Horror Stories To Raise Your Level of Awareness

Photo by Johannes Plenio/Unsplash

To avoid having a similar experience to these Airbnb horror stories, make sure you are raising your level of awareness and always having safety devices in place. The purpose of this article isn’t to deter you from moving forward with staying in a vacation rental home, but to remind you to check host ratings from previous guests and verify the host’s identity, even if finding them on social media.

Be sure to read our article, “15 Safety Devices for Solo Travelers” next in case you’re ever caught up in an emergency situation while staying in an Airbnb. Do you have any vacation home rental horror stories? Share your story in the comments!

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