Gulp! These 5 Home-Rental Horror Stories Are the Stuff of Your Vacation Nightmares

Gulp! These 5 Home-Rental Horror Stories Are the Stuff of Your Vacation Nightmares

A stranger’s home can come with a lot of unexpected, um, quirks.

By Michele Laufik

When renting a vacation home or Airbnb crash pad, guests usually inquire about the basic amenities, such as “do you have a hair dryer?” or “Is there off-street parking?” Not necessarily, “Do you have a room full of pot plants?” But as these folks quickly learned, rental properties can come a whole set of unadvertised surprises. Read on for some of the highs, lows, and horror stories of staying in a stranger’s home:

1. Merry Jane Christmas

According to 7News Sydney, police raided a three-bedroom home on Australia’s Gold Coast, just as the renters were prepping for a Christmas barbecue (because that’s how you celebrate Down Under). The cops were searching for drugs, which they did indeed uncover — eight marijuana plants, along with an illegally wired electrical contraception. The owner had warned the unwitting tenants that that room was “off limits.” Is Walter White renting out his digs too?

2. Host Gone Wild

Like a lot of New Yorkers, this Business Insider salesperson and his girlfriend booked a private house in Hampton Bays through Airbnb for a weekend getaway. Everything appeared to be going swimmingly until the host showed up — at 3 a.m., using his own keys to enter the house. The Business Insider employee recounted the story for the publication’s website, saying that the man appeared to be drunk or high and was mumbling incoherently. He was eventually able to persuade the wayward host to leave. The couple quickly followed suit, hightailing it out of the home with their belongings. Airbnb eventually took down the dude’s listing (after being contacted by Business Insider) and banned the host permanently.

3. No Meat Allowed

On Reddit, a guest recalled his ant-infested stay at an apartment in Garden Grove, California. “My host tried to resolve [it] by applying some strong-smelling stuff to the floor. It did not stop the ants very much but it gave me a hell of a nose bleed.” The renter goes on to say that they were “forced to adapt a vegetarian diet” (which, for some, might sound worse than the ant problem). Apparently, the host was a “health guru” who banned junk food, meat, and anything good from her home. “I bought my nephews some Oreo brand snacks to bring home to them while I was there… oh, if looks could kill.”

4. Murder Scene for Rent

At an Airbnb rental home near Paris, a group of twentysomethings found an uninvited guest — a dead body. The Washington Post reports that a woman’s decomposing body was found in a garden near the edge of the property covered in branches. At the time, the seven-bedroom 19th-century home rented for $435 a night and boasted a swimming pool. It sounds — or rather, sounded — lovely, really.

5. Florida’s Phantom Listings

According to FlKeysNews, a Tennessee family who thought they booked a Key West home through "discovered that someone [was] living in the house," and that it wasn’t for rent. Apparently, it wasn’t the first time folks had been fooled by the faux rental listing. "This has happened numerous times and the resident has been forced to turn away several parties who had been scammed," the Florida website reports. And in another part of the Keys on the same day, a fellow online renter "learned the house [she booked was] not there." Pro tip: Check Google Maps if you’re headed to Key West.

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