Peachland AirBnB host implores users to read this — and the ad — first | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Peachland AirBnB host implores users to read this — and the ad — first

Grant Powell's Peachland Airbnb.
Image Credit: Airbnb Grant Powell
April 06, 2021 - 9:00 AM

As the weather warms up and Interior residents begin thinking about summer vacations within the province, a Peachland Airbnb host is urging prospective vacationers to read the ad fully before booking.

After six years of letting his property out on Airbnb, first in Vancouver and now in Peachland, Grant Powell thought his multiple five star reviews and happy guests meant he was doing everything right.

Then in June last year, he ended up in the small claims court.

Powell's guests argued he'd advertised his place as an "entire house" on the Airbnb website, when in fact he lived in a suite downstairs.

They also made other unsubstantiated claims that the court rejected.

READ MORE: Airbnb dispute over 'entire house' in B.C. costs unhappy guests $1,700

Powell won the case, and the Civil Resolution Tribunal ordered the plaintiffs to pay him $1,700 to cover his lost earnings.

But either way, the situation could have been easily avoided.

"It wasn't a good experience," Powell told iNFOnews.ca. "They threatened a lawyer on me first... it was a long process."

While the Tribunal ruled the fact that Powell lived in the downstairs suite wasn't reason enough the plaintiffs should get a refund regardless of what was advertised, the issue still remains that the popular website classification of "entire house" can be quite misleading.

When guests book on Airbnb they have the choice to select, Entire Place, with the definition, "Have a place to yourself" or Private Room, which states "Have your own room and share some common spaces."

There are no other options. So while Powell's ad said Entire Place he was still living in a downstairs suite, which he wrote in his ad.

"It was at the bottom of the first paragraph... then at the bottom of the second paragraph, it said 'please make sure to read the entire listing,'" he said.

Since his legal debacle last year he moved the line higher up in the paragraph.

READ MORE: Kelowna vacation rental forced to return deposit to partying guests who broke the rules

And anyone that's ever spent much time looking to book a vacation rental on the site will likely have seen guest reviews expressing their disappointment when they find out upon arrival that the owner is living in the basement when they thought they were renting the "entire" house.

Popular site vrbo.com doesn't use the term "entire" house, but again there doesn't appear to be an indicator that the owner lives on-site, without the exception of it being written in the ad.

All prospective guests need to do is read the ad in full.

READ MORE: B.C. vacation rental refused refund, despite 2017 wildfires

Powell also encourages guests and hosts to make sure they keep their booking through the official channels.

If guests wanted to rent for a month or longer Powell had done the agreement privately, using a B.C. Residential Tenancy Branch agreement.

And that was the method he used when he was taken to the small claims court over the cancellation.

Powell said if the booking had gone through Airbnb, both parties would have been protected and the legal dispute would never have happened.

He also has tips for people wanting to book places.

"Tell me a story... paint the picture of why you want to stay," he said. "(Airbnb) is like-minded people sharing their spaces."

READ MORE: Kelowna luxury vacation rental forced to return deposit after owners separated, blamed each other

— This story was originally published at April 4, 2021.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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