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VIC No Contract Through Airbnb - Are We Liable for Damages?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Marnie White, 25 November 2015.

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  1. Marnie White

    Marnie White Member

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    Hi,

    We rented out a house which we located through airbnb to film a music video. The host requested we transact offline, as they did not want to pay income tax or fees to airbnb. We were transparent about our use of the property and they gave permission to move anything around and use whatever we wanted. They are now accusing us of damaging the house - are we liable for this damage given there was no airbnb contract?
     
  2. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    What damage is disputed? A chipped mug? Or, slashed couches and a cracked tv? When you moved furniture did you scrape the polish off the wooden floors? ie, how severe is the alleged damage in dispute? Please fill us in on those details


    By not using the AirBnB platform they expose themselves to more risk as do you in my opinion, especially as AirBnB will often serve as an initial means of dispute resolution


    Just because you don’t use a particular platform (AirBnB) to book something and just because there isn’t a written contract between the parties does NOT remove all obligations from you or the owner


    To get the ball rolling, please fill in the details, then we can address your situation rather than respond in more or less the abstract
     
  3. Marnie White

    Marnie White Member

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    Hi Hugh,

    Thanks for your response. There is a combination of damage levels. For example, there was a broken vase, which blew over in the wind, and a stained towel, which we concede we did damage and we told them about. We said that we were happy to pay for this damage and if they got quotes for it to send it through and we would reimburse them for it. However, they then sent us a quote of $8000, which included a lot of other damage to the house which we dispute we caused. The most expensive stuff included a small scratch on their very expensive table, which they want us to pay 4000$ to repair, which we didn't cause as we only had 4 plates on the table for the entire filming process as this was part of the set design; and scratches on the floorboard (want us to pay 2000$ for this), which we really don't think we caused.

    Everything that was moved around the house was moved by two men who ensured they lifted everything/ didn't drag anything to minimise damage. We feel like they saw that we were willing to reimburse them and then started looking for as much damage as they could find, which would've been caused by people that have previously stayed at the house. The house wasn't very well cared for prior to us staying there, and there was a lot of dust in the house and used condoms under the bed etc.

    I hope this provides more detail?
     
  4. DennisD

    DennisD Well-Known Member

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    Ok, let me begin by saying this is probably not the response you would like to hear, which I get, nevertheless it’s how I see things. Maybe other contributors will see it in a totally different light, so it’s worth canvassing their responses too. Let me also apologize in advance for the length of this reply


    Dust and used condoms and previous tenants, irrelevant in my opinion. What is relevant is the state of the 4 things below, at 2 times, being when you came in the house and when you left the house, that’s what’s at issue.


    At those two times, did you take photos of the four things below? If so that will help greatly to resolve things


    1. The vase, about how much $?

    Ok, speaking candidly, if I let out my place and someone told me that a vase (an expensive vase?) simply “blew over in the wind” I would probably question myself quite seriously whether I could have a reasonable conversation with them. How did it blow over? Was it moved adjacent to the window, or window was left open amid a very strong breeze? Fans from the set? How?


    2. The towel, about how much $?

    What happened to it? What was the stain from? Perhaps not that relevant as you have said you will pay for it, but I’d like to know for the fuller picture.


    3. The floorboard scratches, about $2k

    “scratches on the floorboard (want us to pay 2000$ for this), which we really don't think we caused. Everything that was moved around the house, was moved by two men who ensured they lifted everything/ didn't drag anything to minimise damage.”

    The interesting word here is “minimize”. Sure, let’s say they did minimize damage, that is not to say they prevented it altogether while moving stuff around for a chunk of time (few hours? few days?) You don’t sound that adamant when you say “... which we really don’t think we caused”. It sounds more like “... which we really don’t want to pay for” Sorry, but to my ears anyway, it does sound that way, please don’t shoot me


    4. The table scratch, about $4k

    “which we didn't cause as we only had 4 plates on the table for the entire filming process as this was part of the set design” Ok, here you are more adamant. As it was part of the set, do you have any film footage where the scratch is not there? If so, you know you caused it. Do you have detailed photos of the table before you moved into the house?


    What you’re offering to pay for is the towel, which is what 50 bucks? All of the other expensive stuff (say, 7950 bucks) you’re saying it wasn’t you guys and already there. I don’t think it’s cool here to mention used condoms or dust as a sign that the house was in general in a poor state. Better to look for tangible, photo evidence of the four things above. Oh yeah, in my experience scratches to expensive pieces of furniture, even small scratches, cost A LOT. That’s why I asked about any scratches to the floorboards


    I think maybe you guys did cause some of that stuff but you won’t pay for it (after realizing the actual cost of things) judging by the way you described the situation. Anyway that’s my read of the situation however I don’t know the full picture including your landlord, and anyway as mentioned at the very start, it’s likely other contributors will take a different take on this altogether
     
  5. Marnie White

    Marnie White Member

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    Sorry, I was focusing on something else when I wrote this, and was probably too vague - we definitely didn't cause the damage to the floorboards, the men who moved the stuff had professional experience in moving and nothing was damaged in this process.
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully you have insurance.

    If the owner has before and after pictures and genuine quotes, then you may need to your insurance company.

    re: Professional movers. Think many here have used professional movers with differing degrees of unhappiness. I still remember a huge scratch on a good timber table at work caused by professional office movers. Their fix was wood coloured crayon and a buff and shine :(
     

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