Airbnb Guest Blasts Host for Recording Audio Without Letting Them Know

An Airbnb guest blasted its hosts for recording audio via the kitchen camera without their permission. Read on for all the known details.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Jun. 27 2023, Published 11:17 a.m. ET

Is Airbnb even worth it these days? There's been a recent flow of videos on social media with Airbnb guests finding hidden cameras in their rentals, and it seems the billion-dollar company isn't doing anything to crack down on hosts who secretly record their tenants.

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Now, there's also the alarming issue of hosts secretly using audio recording devices — talk about creepy! On June 25, 2023, Reddit user u/D34thbygh0st took to the Airbnb subreddit and slammed their host for recording audio without their permission. Read on for all the known details.

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Airbnb guest blasts its host for secretly recording audio.

The guest first provided context, revealing that the hosts have a camera in the kitchen to "ensure people are following the 'clean as you go' rules." However, the Redditor spoke with the maintenance worker who installed the cameras and learned they also have the ability to record audio.

"The camera is listed in the listing; however, there is no mention of any audio recording," they explained before asking fellow Redditors if the hosts are legally allowed to do this. But before the OP could receive any answers, they offered readers an update on the situation.

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The OP revealed that it's a "long-term rental" and has been their place of residence for the past five months. They then went into Airbnb policies, which stated, "the camera is allowed since it is in a common area of the apartment unit with three separate listings in the unit itself."

"I don't care about the camera at all, the issue I'm having is the supposed audio recording," the Redditor added.

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Luckily, many Redditors flooded the comment section and agreed that the host is in the wrong.

"As a host, what an awkward place to have a camera! We only have a ring cam at the door to ensure no house parties [and] protect guests by deterring break-ins or theft," one person commented. "I would not imagine having a camera in the kitchen on my guests to babysit them! Crazy."

The OP responded, "Part of the house rules is you have to wash, dry, and put away dishes IMMEDIATELY or else she'll send a giant a-- message through the app with pictures and time stamps and tells you you need to rewash them cause they've been recontaminated." Now, that's really creepy.

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A commenter who said they were a former surveillance agent and loss prevention specialist also jumped into the discussion, explaining that since the OP resides in California (an all-party consent state), it's illegal for the Airbnb host to record audio.

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They wrote, "In an all-party state, the landlord would have to have direct consent from you and all others involved in the conversation. The fact your host uses the camera to monitor your activity (to enforce the 'clean as you go' rules) may constitute unlawful surveillance in of itself, as they are using the surveillance footage to monitor/track your daily movements and actions and may harass you due to the content of any video they obtain."

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Many said they would feel uncomfortable staying in a home where they were being spied on, while others pointed out that the audio recording feature may not be in use. Therefore, it's not listed for the guests.

"Just because a camera has audio capability doesn't mean that option is turned on," one Redditor said.

Another user wrote, "I believe most cameras have the ability to record audio, but it doesn't mean that feature is being used. From the description provided, I would say the host doesn't have audio turned on because if she did, she would just tell you via the camera to do the dishes and not be texting you."

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