Seattle family worked for months to get reimbursement from Airbnb after guests made drugs in property
SEATTLE - A family in West Seattle is dealing with a nightmare after they say a group of people used and made drugs in their rental property, and they have not been able to get reimbursed from Airbnb.
The Coopers bought their home about two years ago. They say it was perfect for them, as they got ready to take the next steps in life.
"We definitely chose this spot to start and grow our family," said Abigail Cooper.
The property also came with a space for rentals, something that stood out to the family, as they had been hosts on Airbnb since 2015.
In their time as hosts, the Coopers say hundreds of people have stayed in their property, but that came to an end last Summer.
Back in August, the Coopers say people renting from them made drugs on the property.
"I can see them breaking up weird looking crystal substances off of a baking sheet, like you would see like on ‘Breaking Bad’ or something," said Justin Cooper.
The Coopers called the police.
They also sent samples to a lab, and say the results confirmed remnants of several drugs.
The Coopers say they called a professional hazardous material cleaning company who quoted the work would cost $37,840.37 to clean the space.
"But in that moment, like the back of my mind, I was thinking, ‘yeah but Airbnb, like they do so well. They promise so much.’ Good thing we have such a good company," said Abigail Cooper.
According to Airbnb’s website, Aircover for hosts lists a $1 million damage protect that states "we cover damage by guests to your space and belongings, including valuables."
The coverage also offers "quick reimbursements" which states "we reimburse you for guest damages quickly – typically within two weeks."
However, the Coopers say that is not what happened.
They claim Airbnb did not want them to get tests done, and instead the Coopers claim Airbnb offered them $500 to get a deep cleaning.
The family says with what happened on the property, they did not feel that was safe for guests.
For months, the Coopers say they worked with Airbnb, providing documents and information.
The Coopers say finally after months, Airbnb offered to pay half the cost of the cleanup, but the Coopers claim that agreeing to that offer required them not talk about the incident.
After months of waiting, months of lost rental revenue, the mounting repair for the costs to the property, and the loss of their peace of mind, the Coopers say they turned down the money and instead chose to share their story.
"For guests, like Abigail was saying, like Airbnb doesn’t seem to care about your personal safety. And then for people who are Airbnb hosts, or might think of becoming an Airbnb hosts, this is how they behave when they claim to have this AirCover policy that's supposed to resolve guest damages within two weeks," said Justin Cooper.
Editor's note: Following our broadcast of this story, a representative from Airbnb disputed the Coopers' claim that the company required their silence about this incident.
Instead, Airbnb emphasized a clause in their policy which says: "if requested, to treat as ‘confidential information' the amount of any payment made under the Host Damage Protection;" in other words, according to this representative, the couple was free to talk about the incident, just not any potential payout.
However, the Cooper family provided FOX 13 with their full agreement with the company, which includes language they feel supersedes the policy provided to us by Airbnb:
The clause reads, in part:
"I acknowledge that the terms and conditions and existence of the Payment Request Form, the Approved Payment Request and this Host Damage Protection Approved Payment Agreement are confidential information belonging to Airbnb. I will not disclose such information to any other person except (i) owners or co-owners of Covered Property that is the subject of the Approved Payment Request; (ii) my accountants, attorneys and professional financial advisers who agree to keep the information confidential; and (iii) governmental agencies, courts or other agencies as required by law, regulation or court order."