Airbnb has been putting their customers at a higher risk of their homes being turned into a “pop-up brothel.” Police have issued a warning to be wary when renting their property out for short-term holidays.
One man, who is referred to as “Colin” because of his unwillingness to disclose his real name, approached BBC with his story. The apartment he has been occasionally listing on Airbnb has been turned into a “pop-up brothel”
Someone approached him asking to pay cash for their stay, but he refused as it does not cover him under the protection guarantees of the website. He did, however, allow them to rent from him through the service. The renters texted him asking if they could leave a little later, and their unusual names led him to Google them, discovering they were high-priced escorts.
He raced back into the apartment, which smelled of wine and sex, only to find condom wrappers under the bed and the garbage was overflowing with tissues and used condoms.
It might seem a strange thing to say, but one of the things that really surprises me is that if they want to carry on doing this, how easy would it have been for them to clear up their own tracks? Quite easy.
And then they might even have ended up with a repeat booking. So it actually surprised me that they were that bad at cleaning up after themselves. I called the police and I told them everything. I gave them all the information possible, because what I was worried about was basically ensuring I hadn’t broken the law as well by renting the place out to them.
The police took down all the information. They took my contact details, I got a crime reference number. Then I heard nothing further. I did inquire again about it and follow it up. They basically said, “Well, you may well not hear from us again but we have taken it down as intelligence.”
As far as I know I won’t hear anything back from the police at all. I feel a bit let down. It’s not just that I feel bad for myself but I feel bad for other people as well who might be renting out in good faith then, unwittingly, potentially committing a crime.
I want to sell [the flat] now, I just want rid of it, to be honest. I really, really liked living here. I love the place but unfortunately it’s not worth it at all.