Airbnb has revolutionized lodging, making it easy to find your home away from home anywhere in the world on your phone. However, strangers renting homes to strangers comes with its risks; security being the biggest of them all. In 2021, rumours emerged that the home rental company secretly pays millions to hide horror stories involving homes obtained through their apps including murder. That hasn’t prevented some shocking stories about events at homes rented through Airbnb. From a homeowner that killed his tenant for failing to pay up to a pervert homeowner that used to rent out his bedroom to peep at his guests, here are the most shocking things that ever happened at Airbnbs.
Pay up or die
Airbnb released a statement condemning this horrific act that happened in Australia in 2017. The victim was Ramis Jonuzi, a bricklayer who rented a home near Melbourne to get away from home for a few days. Jonuzi first rented a room in the home for three days after which he sought a week-long extension of his stay for A$210. When he was unable to cough out the extra amount, the homeowner and two other men beat him to death.
A Texas Super host that secretly recorded guests
Lots of hosts have been caught recording their guests using secret cameras. Perverts are there and some of them own properties on the homestay company’s network. In March 2022, a 54-year-old man from Comfort, Texas was arrested after a tourist renting his property which had five stars discovered a hidden camera pointed at the bed disguised as a WI-FI router. The police discovered that the pervert had recorded more than 2,000 guests at his house and was charged with inflicting emotional damage, and invading people’s privacy among many other crimes.
Arrested for being black
This one made news worldwide back in 2018 as it involved the granddaughter of the legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley. Donisha Prendergast and her two friends were stopped by seven police cars and a helicopter while trying to leave their Airbnb in California. The police had been called by a neighbour who allegedly accused them of being buglers because they failed to wave and smile at her while checking out of the house. The case came at a time when the media was ablaze with stories of black people having the police called on them for no reason.
The deadly Easter party in Pittsburgh
On April 17th 2022, police were called to a home in Pittsburgh which had been rented by an Airbnb host. The guest hosted an illegal party at the house attended by more than 200 people most of whom were minors. When gunmen showed up and started shooting at the crowd, the party turned into chaos in which two people were killed while many others sustained gunshot wounds and broken limbs and lacerations. The owner of the building didn’t comment but Airbnb banned the guest from the platform for life and even sued them for breaching the company rules which prohibit hosting of parties at rented properties.
Guests that converted a home into a brothel
There have been cases of bad guests who book check into a property and turn it into a commercial venture but these ones took it a step too far. The homeowner rented his property based in Dunedin’s North East Valley in September 2019 while he went to Asia on vacation. The two guests who were named as two women of Asian origin converted the house into a brothel and the homeowner still had to deal with “clients” seeking pleasure long after the guests checked out. He also accumulated more than $600 in power bills and a lot more costs to fix the heating and plumbing which the frequent guests destroyed. The guests also used more than 50 rolls of toilet paper and nearly everything they could in the house.
The guest that shot the host
This happened in May 2022 in Portland, Oregon where a 21-years old Airbnb guest critically injured the host by shooting her in the chest. The host was trying to contact him through the door when the guest fired a 9mm injuring her. The host was taken to the hospital and police said she would make a full recovery. Airbnb went on to ban the guest from the platform forever even as he was arrested for attempted murder. It is always safe to keep a safe distance from your guest, especially when you deem them aggressive and possibly armed.
Guests that refused to leave
The biggest risk of Airbnb guests turning to squatters comes when you agree to extend a guest’s stay off Airbnb and this happens more times than you could imagine. One of the most interesting stories of recent years came from a host named Chris in Sydney Australia. After agreeing to extend the stay of a guest, he started getting complaints from neighbours as the guests started hoarding furniture, planting trees in strange places including other people’s yards and mounting strange flags in the front yard. When the host came to evict the guests, they hired a guard and blocked him from accessing his own home. He was later forced to seek the help of a solicitor and use thousands of dollars to evict them.
Sonoma guests that burned down the house
This one also made headlines in 201although the actual fire occurred in June 2017. The getaway house in the wine country was burned after guests allegedly set a fire on the deck with cigarettes. Now, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t pay in full if you didn’t list your house as a rental in the policy which is why Airbnb promises a $1 million cover in case your house burns to ashes. The hosts in this case went through hell though as the company initially refused to help them rebuild their house that had been burned to the ground.
Guests turned robbers
One of the rules of renting on Airbnb is that you have to give your address and bank details to the company and that is the reason why guests don’t go vandalise homes. In 2016, two London roommates were shocked when they found their Banksy painting valued at $11,000 stolen. The guests who had also deleted their Airbnb account trashed the home. The owners found used condoms, laughing gas containers and cigarette and joint butts all over the house.
Guests who shot porn in a house
You cannot always monitor what happens in your home but the last thing you expect is guests shooting an adult film in there. Sharon Marzouk from Menlo Park, California rented out a part of her home when she was leaving for some time. Upon her return, she realized the room she sublet had been converted into an adult film studio complete with sex toys and shooting equipment. The renter used her bathtub and other parts of the house to do the shoot and left the room flooded with water after destroying the plumbing. She filed a claim on Airbnb seeking a refund for the thousands of dollars in damage incurred.
Do you know of any other Airbnb horror stories that you have heard in recent years? Why not tell us about them in the comments below.