Marijuana Smell Sparks Airbnb Controversy: A Tale of Excessive Damages

Editor’s column

In a recent incident that unfolded after a weekend concert, an Airbnb guest found themselves embroiled in a dispute with their host over a $200 charge for a lingering marijuana smell in the apartment. The situation raises questions about the fairness and reasonableness of such a demand, especially considering the lack of explicit guidelines regarding additional fees for odors. Let’s delve into the details and explore the various perspectives surrounding this peculiar incident.

The Concert Experience

Attending a lively concert, the couple, seeking convenience, opted for an Airbnb located within close proximity to the venue. As is customary at concerts, the air was filled with the unmistakable aroma of cannabis. In the spirit of camaraderie, they joined in and made new friends, sharing joints that circulated throughout the venue. The pungent scent of the “stickiest of the ickiest” permeated the entire concert hall, creating an atmosphere that was difficult to avoid.

Trash Disposal and Departure

Following the unforgettable show, the couple returned to their car, where they indulged in a few more moments of relaxation by rolling up another joint. Mindful of cleanliness, they bagged up their trash and, unable to find a suitable dumpster, disposed of it in the Airbnb’s trash can before departing. Little did they know that this seemingly innocent act would lead to unforeseen consequences.

The $200 “Damages”

To their surprise, several hours after their departure, the Airbnb host issued a damages request, demanding $200 due to the lingering smell of marijuana left in the apartment. The host provided photographic evidence, including a cigar wrapper, some remnants, and a tiny nug on a napkin as proof of the alleged violation. Speculating that the host had rummaged through their trash to detect the scent, the guests vehemently denied smoking inside the accommodation, emphasizing their adherence to house rules and their reputation as respectful guests, even when accompanied by their children.

The Debate:

The crux of the dispute lies in the absence of explicit guidelines regarding additional fees for odors. While the guests acknowledged the rule against smoking, they rightfully argue that they did not break this rule. The mere presence of a residual smell, which is difficult to entirely eliminate, does not necessarily equate to a violation warranting a significant financial penalty.

Fairness and Reasonableness

Critics argue that demanding $200 for what essentially amounts to an odor issue seems excessive. To put it into perspective, this sum could cover a substantial cleaning service or repairs for actual damages. Surely, a thorough airing out, some quality air fresheners, and a bit of Febreze should be sufficient to eliminate the smell.

Airbnb’s Policies

Considering Airbnb’s policies, it is important to note that the platform typically encourages open communication between hosts and guests to resolve any issues or disputes. In this case, the guests could try engaging in a conversation with the host to express their concerns and negotiate a more reasonable resolution.


This incident serves as a reminder of the intricacies and potential pitfalls of the shared accommodation experience. While rules regarding smoking were established, the lack of explicit guidelines regarding additional fees for odors has left the guests in a difficult position. The controversy surrounding the $200 damages charge for a marijuana smell prompts a broader discussion about fairness and reasonableness in such situations. As the story unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the guests and the host can find a mutually satisfactory resolution to this contentious issue.

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Author and Editor-in-Chief at the TravelQ blog

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