There was a story that was aired on the local news the morning of July 28th, 2019. This story included vague details of a pool party that went wrong and the death of a Clay High School student by gunshot. Including only one side note was that it was an Airbnb listing.
There were many details that the story failed to capture. I am the homeowner of that Airbnb listing. I had listed the home on Airbnb just over a year ago as an entire house rental, private property with horses and country escape at around a $500/night booking fee.
Of the seven or eight bookings I had, it was a great experience, until it wasn’t. I had a one guest for a one-night booking the week prior to July 27th. This person had a verified Airbnb account that included one five-star review. They didn’t offer a lot of details about their stay but like every time before, the house was prepped, the key was left, and I was gone before they arrived.
I was notified by a neighbor around 1:30 AM that something seemed wrong with the amount of cars at my property and traffic in and out. I immediately called the police to assist in removing anyone from the property, as they were all trespassing and likely causing unspeakable damage to the home.
The shooting happened shortly after that, before the police even made it there, leaving one 18-year-old man dead in my driveway. This one guest rental was a 200-300 person party of underage people and dangerous criminals. There were Hennessy bottles thrown at my horses who were on the property during this time, luckily not causing any significant harm to them.
Upon further discovery, the actual verified guest has an extensive criminal background. There was blood throughout the entire home, over $20,000 in building damages and another $30,000 in personal property that was either stolen or ruined. Although the local police recommended bleach and water, I hired a hazmat crew to come and disinfect the home and clean the immense amount of bio waste that was covering my walls, floors and furniture.
People continued to return to the home in the days following so for the safety of my family I hired private security to protect the home and property. These people are and have been at war with each other. My home just happened to be the location that the battle was fought at.
I live with the reality every day that every single person who had access to my home can clearly tell it’s only a young woman and a five-year-old boy who live here. Of all the things damaged and all the pain this has caused, there is no greater fear than the idea that these monsters could come back and harm myself and my son.
My story isn’t about publicly shaming those who did this. My goal, however, is to shed light to the darker side of hosting for Airbnb and the complete lack of restitution that they have offered per their Host Guarantee and the lack of actual vetting they do to verify a guest. Almost three months, over 50 emails and communications, and they have decided to wash their hands of this due to the fact my personal homeowners insurance stepped up and covered just under $20,000 of the damages.
The process of their Host Guarantee is basically a death march to the point hosts rely on personal finances and their own homeowner’s insurance to begin the process of putting their lives back together. Although my insurance was amazing in the process, there is still $30,000 of personal property that was accounted for in detail as a loss.
The Host Guarantee specifically states (per their contractual agreement) that they will pay the difference of insurance claims. The most recent communication is that they took a if/then method stating that if my personal insurance has stepped up, then Airbnb is free and clear of any liability.
I hope to share my experience so those who are simply doing this to share the experience of their home, improve their homes for their families, or even just make some side cash on their primary residence know that if something does go wrong, Airbnb will not stand behind you.