Airbnb Won’t Address Its Bed Bug Problem

‘Bnb at your own risk.

Airbnb working to tackle its discrimination problem. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)
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Scroll through Airbnb subreddits and forums and you’ll find hundreds of reports of bed bug bites and sightings, as well as graphic photos documenting boil-like allergic reactions to the pests. While renters claim that guests are bringing in the bugs, Airbnb users claim renters aren’t keeping their rental spaces clean enough. According to an article by Dara Kerr on, both sides agree Airbnb isn’t doing enough to remedy the situation.

While it is mandatory for hotels to undergo routine health inspections, Airbnb rentals are largely exempt. What’s more, Airbnb refuses to release any data concerning infested rentals. For a company with millions of independent hosts and over 260 million guests, keeping any pest epidemic under control is virtually impossible without regulations. 

“The Airbnb concept leads to less control by the health authorities in general compared with more traditional hotel concepts,” said Bastiaan Meerburg, a director at the Dutch Pest & Wildlife Expertise Centre. “People sub-rent a room in their house to earn some money but do not know who will occupy it, which may lead to bedbug problems and a lot of costs to get rid of those again. Tourists also do not know what to expect.”

But despite the hundreds of accounts of bed bugs infesting the listing service, Airbnb does not provide specific language about the pests on its website. One of its only disclaimers reads the vague statement: “You should not keep unsecured weapons, disease risks, or dangerous animals in your listing.”

According to CNET, Airbnb user Dariele Blain found bedbugs upon arrival, crawling in a room she booked through the lodging app. Instead of providing Blain with a similar rental in the area, Blain and the rest of her party were considered “at risk” and instead moved to a non-affiliated hotel, which Airbnb reimbursed her for. 

“There’s nothing in there [about] what to do if the house is not clean or if there’s bedbugs,” Blain said. “They need to be more proactive with stuff like that because it’s a public health issue.”

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