Mold In Airbnb Rental: Here’s What I Did After Discovering The Infestation

Mold In Airbnb Rental

Like most people, we look forward to our family vacations, we work hard, and when it’s time to take a break, everyone gets excited and can’t wait.

So, you booked your vacation, found the location, then reserved an Airbnb.

Only to discover that there is some form of mold problem in the home you reserved.

Unfortunately, this is a frequent occurrence and we have heard horror stories about vacations getting ruined because the house reserved has a mold or water damage problem.

Recently we were one of the unfortunate ones who had the displeasure of being placed in an Air Bed and Breakfast (Air B&B) where one of the bathrooms on the lower level of the home had water damage and apparent mold growth.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, my family and I rarely vacation due to obvious reasons.  However, this year we decided to take a trip for Christmas to a ski resort in Virginia.

We arrived at the house late at night after a long day on the road and at first, we didn’t realize that there were any issues.

Everything seemed normal and the home was clean for the most part. 

So, we unpacked and settled in. The home we reserved had three levels. 

A first and second floor and a finished basement with bedrooms and a full bath. 

Because it was late and everyone was tired, we decided to get something to eat then went to bed.  The next morning, I was the first to wake up.

So, I took the opportunity to walk around the house to get a feel for the place. 

When I opened the door to the lower level or basement area, I smelled something that resembled an earthy musty odor

Being in the business of mold remediation, I decided to do a quick look around to see where the smell was coming from. 

As I walked down the stairs, the smell became stronger and stronger.

At first everything looked normal however when I opened the door to the bathroom, It was apparent that there was some form of moisture issue because the floors were wet, and the baseboards were discolored.

I opened the vanity to see if there was a leak however there was no leak.

The longer I stayed in the bathroom the more irritated my sinus became, being in such a small, confined space it’s easy to understand where the smell can become overpowering.

The Mold Growth Discovery

On closer observation, I noticed that the baseboards were swollen and discolored.

The affected baseboard and drywall ran from behind the toilet, under the bathroom vanity, and continued into the hallway.

Clearly there was a previous leak, and someone had done their best to clean it up.

However, they did not take the right steps to make sure that the moisture was removed from the building materials.

Nor did they attempt to remove the moldy items. As a result, the mold had spread from the bathroom into the hallway. 

This is usually what happens when a homeowner or property owner does not take the right steps to get mold and moisture issues resolved correctly or by a professional.

What We Did After Discovering The Mold In Our AirBnB Rental

After we found the problem, I notified the host/agent of the mold growth issue that was discovered in the rental.

We provided the pictures and requested that they had someone come over and inspect the area for active leaks and to fix the mold issue.

They agreed and apologized for the inconvenience we experienced after just spending one night in the house. 

We requested that they found us another suitable location, however, because of the busy holiday season they were not able to provide any new accommodations. So, we stayed in the home for the duration of our vacation.

If we were to stay in that home, I was adamant that they seal of the door leading to the basement where the issue was found. We did not want to take the chance of anyone getting any allergies on our vacation so far away from home.  

For the remainder of the stay, we didn’t go in that area, and fortunately, that area had a different air conditioning system so there was no chance of cross contamination of fowl smells coming into the areas where we stayed.

Quick Tips To Avoid Staying In A Mold Infested Airbnb

  • Upon checking in, inspect the home by checking the bathroom areas for signs of mold growth, fowl smells, water damaged items, or standing water. Report anything you find to the host promptly.  
  • Look for any signs of mold growth on furniture, walls, or ceiling areas.
  • If you get into a home and you smell a musty earthy odor, there could be a mold problem that needs to be addressed, so it is important to report that information to the host right away. It is not a good idea to ignore those warning signs.
  • If you can, look for any mold or discoloration on the air conditioning vents or any moldy odor that gets worse when the vents are blowing air.
  • If your host does not respond to your concerns, contact Airbnb help center directly at  

One very important thing to keep in mind when booking an Airbnb’s is to look at past reviews from guests. 

This is a lesson we learned the hard way.

Because of the issue that we found in the home, we went ahead and looked at the past reviews to see if any other guests mentioned anything about bad odors in the home.

To our surprise, one of the previous guests from two months earlier noted that the bathroom downstairs had a mold issue and the smell was too bad for anyone to stay in the rooms on the lower level.

Looking back, if I saw that review, chances are that we would not have reserved that home.  

I would recommend, always checking reviews before reserving an Airbnb. 

While some reviews can be picky, some have good information about the host and the accommodations. 

Final Thoughts

An Airbnb offers the perfect accommodations for you and your family to get away.

Paying attention to any maintenance issues or mold infestation problems is important to keep you and your family safe during your stay. 

Always inform the host of any issues you find so they can be addressed promptly.

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