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Warning! Vacation Rental Listing Site Not Paying Hosts For Bookings!

Imagine if you were out of your money for bookings that have already came and went, how would that make you feel?

9flats is taking money from travelers and not paying the hosts of the properties.

That’s what David Merit of Silver Lake Suite said. David is the owner of a vacation rental property near Disneyland in California.

He reached out to me and asked if I could please help him and others who haven’t been paid by 9flats for bookings .

These are bookings where guests have already checked out of the owner’s properties. I agreed to share his story.


vacation rental listing site 9flats not paying bookings


If you’re not familiar with 9flats the company is a peer to peer rental community and an early competitor of Airbnb.

People with vacation rentals, B&B’s and spare rooms can list their spaces on 9flats for rent to fill their vacancies.

Travelers book these vacation properties through an online booking system facilitated on the 9flats website.

9flats collects the money then pays the owner (minus their fee) – at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.




Unfortunately there are numerous vacation rental managers and owners who’ve been counting on the money from bookings to come in from 9flats, but it hasn’t.

This has many small vacation rental business owners worried and under pressure.

Magnifying their concerns was a statement from 9flats explaining how they now longer have Roman Bach as their CEO, a fact owners and managers seemed to have no knowledge of.

This comes after Founder Stephan Uhrenbacher stepped down as CEO in 2014.

Another change in leadership is unsettling news for the owners and property managers listed on 9Flats, especially to those who are owed money by the vacation rental booking company.

9flats customers are uncertain of who can help them.

Is anyone at the helm steering the 9flats ship? When we looked up Roman Bach he was still listed as the CEO of 9flats on his Linkedin profile, despite news reports of 9flats being sold to a Singapore company.

Is the writing on the wall for 9flats? According to multiple news sources the reason the founders sold 9flats was due to new laws in Berlin that would force them into bankruptcy.

What would happen to travelers and owners if they went under?

What’s alarming is we’re noticing their issues, complaints and bad reviews accelerating with a higher frequency.

Here are a few reviews on Trustpilot from 9flat owners and managers.


9flats_not_paying_bookings 9flats-com_complaints 9flats-com_reviews_complaints 9flats_complaints_reviews


How is 9flats non-payment issue affecting vacation rental owners?

These small vacation rental businesses need their funds to pay the mortgages on their rental properties and operating expenses, many of them are ”rentalpreneurs” who live off of their rental income, some depend on it much like a paycheck.

Here’s what David shared with me on how 9flats problems are affecting his business and personal life.

“funds were supposed to be in the account so we’re getting bill collection calls including the mortgage company, and there are late fees, and maybe my credit rating will be impacted”

How are travelers being affected?

David, still committed to his guest’s satisfaction said: “It didn’t affect the guest, of course — we never mentioned it.”

But that isn’t the case for everyone. One owner said, “Whoever will book my apartment with 9flats will get a nasty surprise as I will not accept them when they arrive!”




The guests aren’t causing the issue, after all, they did pay for the booking.

If this 9flats bubble does bust, could news of guests being refused at vacation rentals create even more problems for us as an industry.

How can we warn families who are unaware their vacation is about to get ruined without harming our industry?

How can we stop others from potentially losing their hard-earned money beacuse both of these situations are terrible.

Should owners refuse guests who are scheduled to arrive through 9flats?

What is the best course of action to take once you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation – what would you do?

There are people who’d love to hear advice from others about this.

The vacation rental community has been expressing their concerns about situations just like this happening when you’re not in control of your money and booking process.

Does this scenario validate some of their concerns?

So, where is all of that money? Is it possible that 9flats could be using the funds of owners and managers to float the company?

Imagine traveling away from your home with your family and arriving at your vacation destination to only be refused access to the property and be left without a place for your family to stay.

This situation is affecting the personal life and businesses of real hard-working people.

That’s why I want to help the owners and managers get the monies they’re owed and need, while helping travelers protect their families.  Please share and comment.

Thank you in advance for helping us advocate for the cause of helping travelers and our fellow owners and managers.

Your Vacation Rental Advocate



  • Mary says:

    That is terrible for owners who are already struggling with all the changes and drop in bookings from other listjng sites.

    And poor travelers, this is horrible!

  • SherwoodOR says:

    It’s called a “CLIENT TRUST ACCOUNT” and I believe booking companies should fall under that law if they are based in the United States. If they don’t, we all need a coordinated effort to get that legislation passed and the Association of Realtors may be able to help. I also suggest contacting your US Senators and Reps in Congress to see about draft legislation. Lastly, they may fall under the “CFPB” but if they don’t it could be necessary to ask that they do or at least another government jurisdiction. I’ve been worried about this situation for quite a while… at least is a “pass through” company… where exactly does Airbnb keep all those millions of dollars collected on prepaid rents??

  • Teena NH says:

    Thank you SO much for letting us know!

    Four Seasons Lodge is signed up with many “listing sites” but no booking sites as yet. I want to be in charge of accepting payments, not the sites!

    Great info… !

    Do you know of any great niche listing sites out there?


    PS We are completely overhauling our website. Watch for changes in the next 2 months

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