Owners I’m always disappointed when I see reporting in the media such as this story from our own Canadian based CTV News. It’s about a couple from British Columbia who rented an apartment in Paris from a private listing on Airbnb. On one day of their vacation they inadvertently locked themselves out of the apartment and when unable to locate the owner, who was out of the country, had to employ a locksmith to let them in , and then replace the lock at a cost of over $2000. They contacted Airbnb who they claimed were little help.“Here we were in France, in a foreign country with a foreign language with my wife, and we were completely abandoned by Airbnb, it was absolutely no support, no backup” said Mawhinney. However, with the help of the consumer watchdog at BC CTV who intervened on their behalf they got their money back from Airbnb but that was not enough for the ‘hapless couple’ as according to the story: The experience has soured Mawhinney and his wife on both Paris and Airbnb. “When you most need your travel support, when you most need a champion in your corner, I think is when you're going to a foreign country and I’m not sure that I would use them again,” said Mawhinney.Isn’t this like saying Auto Trader should compensate if you buy a car listed in the classified section and the brakes fail?I was gratified that the comments almost unequivocally say what I am thinking in this instance. What has happened to personal responsibility? Since when do you blame a listing company for the consequences of an action you take i.e. for leaving the property without the keys in your hand?Having said that, some responsibility lays with the owner for not providing an alternative method of entry but the media article doesn’t mention the owner at all. For all we know, the neighbour or building supervisor had a spare key, but of course that would not have made the news.This brings to mind a story of my own from earlier this summer. One of our rental agency clients called us to say they had been locked out of the cottage they had rented and were completely incensed this had happened, blaming us entirely for the fact they had left the cottage, forgotten the key and the latched door had locked behind them. Because there was no cell signal around the property they had to walk ten minutes to call us – it was after hours so it was another 5 minutes before our on-call person got back to them with the location of a spare key. More angst because they had ‘not been told earlier’ that there was a spare key which would have saved them ‘all the distress the situation had caused’. When they were told the property manual had details of where the spare key was, the response floored us:“We’re on vacation, not here to read a bunch of instructions”These stories highlight an important issue for all of us – that we need to keep one step ahead of the new generation of guests, who are less self reliant and more in need of guidance and hand-holding. We can do this by brainstorming worst-case scenarios and solutions so damage control can be swift and effective. Such as what happens if:guests get locked outthere is a power outagethe septic tank backs upan essential appliance failsWe don’t know the whole story behind the Mawhinney’s predicament. If indeed there was no other method of entry and there was no-one available to help them out, then the owner does need to accept some responsibility for the costs of replacing the lock. Maybe Airbnb will be following up with them – we don’t know that – but we can learn from the situation and be prepared for a similar one in our own properties.