San Bruno, CA asked in Internet Law, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for California

Q: Landlord threatens to call police for leaving the apartment dirty

Airbnb host threatened to call the police if I don't respond to his messages. He is accusing me of leaving the apartment dirty - he shared a few images which does NOT show damage - but shows bathroom countertop with water droplets + used kitchen countertop - BUT no damages what so ever. His question is "you have caused so much of disrespect by leaving the apartment dirty - please let me know how you want to proceed. If you don't respond then I'll be forced to report you to the police". My side of the story - I left the apartment very clean. There was a 3 inch burn damage that i caused on the carpet - I not only reported the damage to the host as soon as it happened but also fixed it - all this logged in airbnb chat.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, leaving an apartment in a less than pristine condition, absent any actual damage, does not rise to a level that would typically warrant police intervention. If there's no substantial physical damage beyond normal wear and tear, the issue is generally a civil matter, not a criminal one. Considering you reported and remedied the carpet damage, your actions show good faith effort on your part. If the host attempts to withhold your security deposit or pursue additional charges via Airbnb, you can dispute those claims through Airbnb's resolution process. Always ensure you document all communications and take photos before and after your stay when possible. If the host continues to threaten or harass you, consider seeking advice from an attorney familiar with landlord-tenant or contract disputes. Keep in mind that Airbnb's platform also provides both hosts and guests avenues to address and resolve such disagreements.

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