domingo, 10 de janeiro de 2016

Airbnb: New Year's Eve disaster stories around the world / Man who let out home on Airbnb for new year suffers £12,000 damage

Airbnb: New Year's Eve disaster stories around the world

Airbnb homeowners count the cost of renting to guests who turned their spaces into party pads on New Year’s Eve

Will Coldwell
Thursday 7 January 2016 18.35 GMT

Having your wedding night interrupted by a drug-fuelled orgy is not the best way to see in 2016, but for one couple who rented out their apartment on Airbnb for New Year’s Eve this is exactly what happened.

Still, some comfort might be found in the fact that they were not the only homesharers who fell foul of unscrupulous guests on the night. Here, we take a look (occasionally through our fingers) at their story, as well as other reports of New Year’s Eve guests from hell that have graced the news this week.

Montreal residents Justine Smith and husband Francisco Peres have two rooms in their apartment which they rent out through Airbnb. The first room was already booked for New Year’s Eve, when a request came through for the second. As it also happened to be Smith and Peres’ wedding night, they hadn’t planned to fill their house with any more visitors, but they’d forgot to turn off the instant booking on Airbnb so decided to roll with it. Plus, they needed the money. According to Buzzfeed, Smith initially tried to cancel, but the renters promised her they’d “be super chill”.

Stepping out of my room I was faced with two naked strangers”
Justine Smith

Cut to 2.30am and the newlyweds return to their flat to find their guests out (presumably partying) and their flat a mess. They decided to deal with it in the morning. Shortly after they were woken by the guests returning, which was followed by the sound of people snorting cocaine in their living room and others having sex in the room next to them. The impressively patient Smith – who detailed the evening in an account for Vice – didn’t lose her temper until the next day, however, when she found two naked strangers on her sofa, surrounded by empty cocaine baggies, and discovered that three extra people had been invited back to stay. After being caught short, the guests did at least tidy up the flat, leaving a five-star rating and a note saying: “Sorry for being such bad guests. We have no excuses for our behavior. We were honestly just fucked up. Congratulations on your wedding!”

Sofas were outside. The TV was in my bathroom”
Reshma Va​n​sanwala

In Oakland, California, Reshma Vasanwala and Jim Santi-Owen found their house had been used for a much bigger party after they rented it to what they thought was an older man from Chicago. Instead, it was an 18-year-old who wanted to celebrate his birthday … and invited around 200 people to the party.

The couple first heard what was going on when a concerned neighbour called them and by the time they returned home, the revellers had dispersed leaving the house looking like a bomb site. “Sofas were outside. The TV was in my bathroom. Objects … photos, memorabilia … I have pictures of my nieces that are on my fridge that were on the floor, trampled on and torn, with shoe prints all over their cute, little faces,” she told local news channel Kron4. To add insult to injury, over the following day the couple had kids showing up trying to find pieces of clothing they’d left behind. Owen has said he plans to press criminal charges.

In London, Airbnb was used once again as a means to book a cheap party venue. Magazine designer Christina McQuillan rented out her apartment for one night, but returned to her home in Putney to find hundreds of people spilling out onto the street outside. Speaking to the Evening Standard, McQuillan said: “We entered the property and we told her to shut it down immediately. This girl just laughed and said, ‘no, I’m holding a party’.” Damage totalling £3,000 included ripped-up floorboards and a television pulled off the wall. There were also reports of (are you noticing a theme here) a couple having sex in the upstairs bedroom while another man watched, cue reports of yet another NYE “orgy”.

This girl just laughed [when we asked her to stop] and said, ‘no, I’m holding a party’
Christina McQuillan

In all three cases, Airbnb has been in touch with the hosts to help resolve the situation, adding that the offending guests had all been banned from using the site. In a statement it said: “We have zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour and when something goes wrong we work quickly to make it right … our Trust and Safety team has reached out to the hosts to work with them under our $1m Host Guarantee, which covers a host’s property in the rare event of damages.”

Though these NYE disasters have struck a chord, it is worth noting events like these are rare. According to Airbnb, over a million guests used the service for their New Year’s Eve accommodation and out of 35m guests last year worldwide, just 540 cases of “significant property damage” – damage costing more than $1,000 (£680) – were reported.

Man who let out home on Airbnb for new year suffers £12,000 damage

Nigel Broome’s south-east London flat was left trashed with holes punched in walls, flooding in kitchen and window ripped out

Ben Quinn
Saturday 9 January 2016 08.00 GMT

The new year had barely rung in when Nigel Broome learned that his decision to rent out a brand new family home on Airbnb to holidaymakers might prove rather more costly than he anticipated.

A week later he is still counting the cost – about £12,000 – after a New Year’s Eve party which Broome suggests rivals any other on a list of alleged disaster stories linked to the short-term homeletting site.

Damage listed by him at the luxury new-build in Forest Hill, south-east London, includes flooring ruined after the kitchen was flooded, holes punched in walls, destroyed furniture, broken crockery and a window ripped from its hinges to create an extra door for dozens of partygoers.

According to Broome, the police were also called on the night to investigate a report of a sexual assault.

“The people who rented it from me presented themselves as holidaymakers, but they basically came and just held a massive New Year’s Eve party,” said Broome, who came back to find the house owned by his family “trashed”, with laughing gas canisters strewn around as a reminder of the festivities.

“I found out about it while I was in Colombia, when I got a message through from one of the neighbours who had 18-year-olds walk around the development looking in people’s windows. She gathered from one of them that they had booked it on Airbnb, so she got on Airbnb and contacted me via an enquiry form about the property.”

Broome’s experience is one of a series of new year-related episodes linked to the company. Others have included the Montreal couple whose wedding night was interrupted by a drug-fuelled orgy, a Californian couple whose 18-year-old client invited 200 people to a birthday party at their house, and a Londoner who hit the headlines over reports she was punched in the stomach when she arrived to try to shut down a party at her apartment.

Airbnb said: “We have zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour and this guest is no longer on Airbnb.

“Our trust and safety team is supporting the host and is working with them under our $1m host guarantee, which covers a host’s property in the rare event of damages. Over 1 million guests stayed on Airbnb on New Year’s Eve, and problems for hosts and guests are extremely rare.”

The company has been in contact with police and is providing assistance in relation to alleged criminal damage at Broome’s property.

The Metropolitan police were unable to confirm to the Guardian on Friday that officers had been called to a report of sexual assault at the property. Airbnb was unaware of an assault.

Airbnb published figures saying it helped 35 million guests make stays worldwide and that only 540 cases of what it described as “significant property damage” were reported to it.

Broome said the person who rented the property quickly cancelled his profile and he has not kept a record of their contact details. He is also not impressed by Airbnb’s handing of the case, saying the repeated calls he made to the company ended up with different junior members of staff in the US, and that information was not passed on and he was not called back.

It was only when Broome contacted the Guardian that the situation began to change and the company has since been in touch. Broome is sceptical of the host guarantee. “They are going to have to sort out the insurance,” he said. “The impression they give is that they have this best possible insurance. But when something happens and you read the terms, it says that it’s basically at their discretion.”

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