In December 2015 my husband, our two young children, and I decided to holiday in Malta. We decided we should give Airbnb a go because at least we would have our own pool and jacuzzi. The stay was fine; the farmhouse was cold and took nearly a week to warm the rooms. Also, the jacuzzi was on the cold side. Looking back I realized this property was probably empty for a few months as it wasn’t high season.
On our return to London my husband started feeling very unwell. Within one week he was in a coma. The following week he was dead. The tests came back that it was Legionella from the jacuzzi. I have lawyers on the case but apart from Airbnb calling me from San Francisco and reimbursing me the fee, I have heard nothing.
My husband was 45 and I’m left with two children to raise alone. We had to move from London; we’ve lost everything. I’ve moved back to New Zealand to be close to my family, so our life has had a full shake up, I’m finding it difficult to get work in my field and am living with a brother who turns out has severe mental health issues. My children do not feel safe and require counselling. I’m looking at going into a female refuge.
I’m very bitter towards Airbnb. I feel they need to pay for the wrongful death of my husband so I can at least give my children a safe place to live. The biggest regret of my life was ever booking an Airbnb. They couldn’t care less about people and they don’t consider themselves one bit responsible. It’s their responsibility to make sure every host property is safe.
I feel Airbnb are responsible because they need to have the means to check every property. Clearly it’s not possible, therefore it’s a very bad and unsafe business.
The fact that they promote themselves as professional, you are led to believe they actually are, but they are not. They care only about the money.
The health authorities have tested the property, and the lawyers told the hosts not to disclose the findings, which is in fact illegal.
There have been two other cases of death in Airbnb that I know if, one where the son received compensation from the hosts insurers, the second one was paid by the insurers, who were in fact paid by Airbnb to avoid bad press. I really don’t believe they aren’t somewhat accountable.
I am so sorry for your loss. And that you didn’t feel able to stay in London.
As others have said unless tests have been carried out, you will not know where the disease came from and this in any case is not related to Airbnb who are simply a company who connect hosts with properties to those who have properties to let.
Any case you might have would be against the property owners. You say you have lawyers so I am sure they have already advised you on this.
As parents it is up to us to provide our children with a safe place to live. I don’t know your circumstances in London, but you must have decided you could provide your children with a better quality of life in New Zealand before making such a major change.
Hopefully you will be in a position to get full time work soon so you can support yourself and your children during this difficult time and move into your own accommodation.
How sad this may be, I fail to see why AirBnB is responsible. AirBnB is not the owner of that property. And why to be surprised that a house is cold in December on Malta? It’s in the middle of the winter. People with normal good health condition are usually NOT affected by Legionella. How come the hospital in London could not safe your husband?
Sad story, but just that – a story.
Without testing the water from this jacuzzi, there is no way of knowing where your late husband contracted the disease.
It is far more likely to have come from airborne spores. For example, from an air conditioning unit, or water waste tank on a high building.