messy bed
Chantel Brink
Chantel Brink
February 28, 2024 ·  6 min read

Airbnb Nightmare: Couple leaves taps, gas, and lights on to get revenge on host

According to reports, a couple who had made a reservation through Airbnb for a property in South Korea took matters into their own hands when their host refused to cancel their booking. In an act of retaliation, the couple allegedly left the taps running and the gas on for nearly a month. Resulting in exorbitant utility bills for the host.

The couple, who remain unidentified, had initially booked the property in Seoul for a period of 25 days. They also paid the full amount in advance. However, upon realizing the location of the property, they regretted their decision and requested a cancellation. Which was declined by the host.

They tried to reason things out beforehand, but when that failed, they decided to get revenge on the Airbnb host

Upon realizing that the property was located in the outer suburbs of the city, rather than in the central area, the couple requested to cancel their booking. However, their host, who was identified as Mr. Lee, declined their request. Citing the fact that the booking had already been confirmed and payment had been processed.

This decision left the guests dissatisfied. And they responded by leaving all the taps, lights, electrical appliances, and gas running throughout their stay. According to a report by NetEase News, the couple’s actions resulted in a waste of 120 tonnes of water and an electricity bill of $116. As well as a gas bill of approximately $730.

Dripping tap
Image Credit: Nithin PA / Pexels

The total cost of their actions must have been painful for the host to bear. To add insult to injury, the couple barely spent any time at the villa during their 25-day stay. Opting instead to travel to various parts of South Korea. When they did return, it was for only a few minutes at a time, every three or four days.

Despite their infrequent visits, the couple’s actions resulted in exorbitant utility bills for the Airbnb host. Which he only became aware of after the gas company contacted him about the significant increase in usage. Mr. Lee, the host, also discovered that water consumption during the 25-day period was five times higher than usual. Which was particularly peculiar given the couple’s limited time spent at the property.

According to the South China Morning Post, Mr. Lee stated, “They used 120 tonnes of water in five days.” The couple had reportedly attempted to cancel their booking by claiming to have contracted COVID-19, but were unsuccessful.

Image Credit: SBS TV

They also inquired about the presence of surveillance cameras at the property but were informed that there were none

The situation came to light when an external CCTV camera captured footage of the couple arriving at the property. However, despite Mr. Lee’s attempts to contact them, the couple had already returned to China. Leaving him to foot the massive utility bills. Mr. Lee attempted to seek assistance from Airbnb’s customer service team, but he claims that the company has not taken any responsibility for the matter, insisting that it is a dispute between him and the guests.

Following local media coverage of the incident, the story has generated significant online discussion, with many expressing their disapproval of the couple’s actions. One individual commented, “Wasting 120 tonnes of water is a huge environmental concern.” Another stated, “The couple’s behavior is deplorable, and they should be held accountable for their actions.”

People share their nightmare Airbnb experiences

My boyfriend and I stayed in an apartment that was owned by the woman living upstairs, who spent the first 10 minutes of our visit bragging about how she was a single mom taking care of three kids and was still able to make money off of the Airbnb. My boyfriend, tired and jet-lagged from the long trip, mostly just nodded along, and as soon as she left, we hopped into bed for the night.”

I was awoken early in the morning to the feeling of something tugging on our blankets and assumed that an animal had gotten in or something. When I opened my eyes, the OWNER’S SON was making his way onto the blanket to try to crawl into bed with us! He was maybe 7 years old, and at first I had no idea who he was.

I was so shocked I didn’t move, just went, ‘Uh…hello??’ His mother came downstairs, and her explanation was something like, ‘Oh yeah, he does that sometimes.’ It turns out that when she wasn’t renting the lower apartment to tenants, this woman just gave her kids free rein of the lower apartment whenever they wanted. This still didn’t explain how he got into the apartment, which was locked at the time, or WHY HE WAS CRAWLING INTO BED WITH US.” —Anonymous, 33, CA

Airbnb App on smartphone
Image Credit: ready made / Pexels

Another that would send us packing…

Funnily enough, I had the same issues all three times. Now, granted, I have never booked one myself but tagged along with people for weddings and birthdays and paid our portion. All of them had a binder with lists and lists of nothing but rules. One actually stated no cooking in the kitchen after 6 p.m. — you know, normal dinnertime for the average person. One had a hot tub that we couldn’t use at all, even though it was advertised on the initial site. Two of them had you clean extensively but pay a cleaning fee. One also changed the code every 12 hours and would be late texting it out. Awesome.” —witchyribbon84

Parties and gunshots

We stayed in a fancy condo in Toronto that turned out to be a nightmare. The building looked great, but the unit was totally different from the listing. We contacted the owners and were told to call a property management company with shady representatives. They refused to acknowledge that we were in a totally different unit despite the obvious differences and photos. Ultimately, we stayed because we didn’t want to be without a place to stay for a month when we’d just traveled across the country with a toddler.

Turns out that most of the building was Airbnbs, many of them rented for parties. At 7 p.m., it would take 10-plus minutes to get on an elevator because so many (unmasked) people would come for parties (in the fall of 2020). We were on the 48th floor, so we couldn’t take the stairs and ultimately stopped going out at that time. In our last week, there was a shooting in the building at one of the parties. A bullet strayed into another unit and almost hit a resident.” —puhleezlegalese

When all else fails, make sure to report your unpleasant stay properly

Looks like the rational thing to do is to make sure that when booking your Airbnb stay, you verify the host by their online reviews. And if you still end up being dissatisfied with your stay, report any complaints immediately to the host. If all else fails, make sure to follow proper protocol when lodging a complaint with Airbnb in order to claim a refund successfully.

Keep Reading: Airbnb backlash: Travelers upset with chore lists that tell guests to mow the lawn, do the laundry, and take out the trash — on top of paying $125 cleaning fees


  1. Couple leaves taps, gas and lights on in Airbnb as they get revenge on host.” Lad Bible. Jess Hardiman. April 20, 2023
  2. People Reveal The Worst Airbnb They Ever Stayed At, And It’s Enough To Make You Book A Hotel.” BuzzFeed. Maya Ogolini.