Family 'stranded' after shocking discovery at Byron Bay Airbnb: 'This is appalling'

A woman has shared her family's disastrous experience with an Airbnb in which 12 adults and three young children were left "standing on the side of the road" with nowhere to go.

Mortgage Broker Renee Menzies posted about the incident on TikTok, explaining her sister and her in-laws turned up to Byron Bay for a family wedding on Thursday and were apparently met with an empty Airbnb, which they booked and were provided check-in instructions for.

"My family turned up to this today," Ms Menzies said on TikTok. "A completely vacant home, in the middle of a massive renovation. No warning."

The interior of an Airbnb in Suffolk Park, Byron Bay which was found empty and being renovated when four families including 3 young children were meant to stay there. Source: TikTok / reneescbfs
Four families including 3 young children came to Byron Bay for a wedding to find that their Airbnb in Suffolk Park was empty and in the process of being renovated. Source: TikTok / reneescbfs

The Ulladulla local tagged Airbnb about the home in Suffolk Park and addressed them in the video.

"When they rang you for help you accused them of lying, wouldn't help find somewhere else to stay and wouldn't provide them a refund," she wrote.

"You left four families including three kids under three without accommodation, literally standing on the side of the road."

The Airbnb in Suffolk Park had what looked like cardboard on the floor, as well as an oven and other house appliances outside. Source: TikTok / reneescbfs
The Airbnb in Suffolk Park had what looked like cardboard on the floor, as well as an oven and other house appliances outside. Source: TikTok / reneescbfs

She said the families had paid "good money" for "the shell of a home", and would only be getting a refund of 30 per cent that would take 15 days to process.

"What a joke," Ms Menzies said.

"We will never book through them again. We understand mistakes happen but their response has been AWFUL and lacking any compassion."

However in the latest TikTok she posted, Ms Menzies revealed they had now been granted a full refund, but were waiting to hear whether they will be reimbursed for the accommodation they had to book elsewhere at the last minute.

Ms Menzies said in the comments that she did understand it was the owners of the home who were first and foremost at fault, however also slammed Airbnb for their treatment of her family.

"The landlord in this case is the one in the wrong, we just wanted Airbnb to respond fairly to refund and apologise," she said.

"Shame for the owners who do the right thing that Airbnb is letting the platform down."

Airbnb responds, confirms full refund

An Airbnb spokesman told Yahoo News Australia action has been taken against the host and a refund provided to the family.

“We were disappointed to learn about this experience, and have fully refunded the guest and provided rebooking assistance," they said.

"We have taken appropriate action on the Host while we investigate further, and reached out to the guest to provide further support.

"In the rare event something isn't as expected on arrival for a stay, our Community Support team is on hand 24/7 to help."

TikTok users react to dodgy Airbnb situation in Byron Bay

People in the comments were shocked and slammed the family's treatment as "unacceptable".

"Omg that’s unbelievable, biggest scam I ever heard," one person said.

"This is appalling and one of many such posts I’ve seen lately!" another said.

"Airbnb has lost its spark," a third person said. "Hotels all the way."

After realising they had nowhere to stay for their holidays, the family were fortunately able to book elsewhere with the help of a real estate company.

"Big thanks to the real estate who worked overtime to get them into a vacant rental and reduced the rate," Ms Menzies said.

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