Nigel Broome, a London man who rented out his luxury apartment in Forest Hill for New Year’s Eve through the popular lodging rental website Airbnb, returned home to find £12,000 worth of damage after partygoers completely trashed his home.
Broome decided to rent out his apartment on the famous website while he visited Colombia, but he got more than he bargained for when he returned home to find holes punched in the walls, ruined flooring, and a flooded kitchen. There was also destroyed furniture, broken dishes, and even a window ripped entirely off its hinges to create an “extra door.” There were also laughing gas canisters lying around. According to Nigel, quoted in Mirror, the people who rented the south-east London home from Airbnb presented themselves as simple holiday vacationers.
“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.”
Broome was also quoted by the Guardian as saying the police had been called out to investigate a report of a sexual assault, although Mirror says the Metropolitan police have not confirmed this, and Airbnb is also not aware of an assault taking place.
“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.”
The person who rented the home quickly deleted their profile, and Broome has not kept their contact information. Airbnb is currently working with the police in the criminal investigation of the damage caused to Broome’s property. For their part, Airbnb strongly defended their business practices as well as insurance protections offered to customers and hosts to the Guardian.
“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.”
However, it should be noted Broome made numerous calls to the company and ended up only speaking with junior staff members located in the United States, and that they would not return his calls. It was only after Broome contacted the Guardian, who originally broke the story, that the company remained in contact and the situation began to change for the better. Broome remains skeptical of Airbnb’s insurance guarantee for hosts.
“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.”
Significant Airbnb guest damage to rented homes, while statistically small relative to the website’s number of customers, is by no means limited to this incident. In fact, the Inquisitr reported that damage to rented properties rented through Airbnb recently spiked with the new year. Over one million people used the website on New Year’s Eve. Airbnb guests who cause property damage to homes usually bring alcohol, hard drugs, and strangers onto the host’s property for parties, which leave the home subject to thousands of dollars worth of damage.
In a recent incident reported by Inquisitr, Reshma Vasanwala and Jim Santi Owen rented their Oakland home through Airbnb to what they thought was an older man from Chicago but turned out to be a teenager from Berkeley, who promptly threw a party with over 200 guests. The couple returned home to find their house filthy and covered in alcohol bottles, cigarettes, and broken glass. Police eventually arrested the teenager for vandalism.
In another infamous incident reported by Vice, newlywed Montreal couple Justine Smith and Francisco Peres rented out extra rooms around 50 times since the spring of 2015, but on their wedding night, they booked both rooms through Airbnb and inadvertently ended up hosting a cocaine-fueled orgy in their living room.
Letter we got from our airbnb guests who had a coke-fuelled orgy in our living room on our wedding night pic.twitter.com/KvgvnrEzPj
— Justine A. Smith (@redroomrantings) January 2, 2016
According to a different report by the Guardian, last year, Airbnb had 540 reports of “significant property damage,” which is defined as damage caused by guests that cost more than $1,000. The site had about 35 million guests during that time period, making the destructive guests a very small percentage of Airbnb users, although a frightening one nonetheless.
[Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]