Laurie S, who preferred not to give her full name, returned to her 13 square metre apartment after renting it out for three weeks to find it completely trashed and stinking of urine.
The Canadian renter had warped the flooring, the front door was jammed, the shower room and toilet were both badly damaged, and rubbish was strewn across almost every inch of the flat the owner – who lives there – rented out occasionally when she went on a work trip.
“The charming studio had literally been transformed into a vulgar 'squat' full of excrement, urine, and an impressive quantity of empty bottles of booze,” Laurie wrote on the Facebook page – complete with photos of the extensive damage – she set up to highlight her case.
She told The Local she hadn’t met the renter herself but that her neighbours told her he seemed perfectly “nice”. But she said she has since learned that the renter was suffering from alcoholism and depression.
She got in touch with AirBnB to ask for compensation but she said that every time she got through to the US firm’s French offshoot, she was told they would get back in touch with her very soon.
When that didn’t happen she decided to take to social media to mediatise the case of her trashed apartment, which will cost €10,000 to get back in shape, according to an estimate she says she got from a building firm.
Laurie told The Local that it was only when French media began to talk about her case late last week that AirBnB finally got back to her to say they were now examining her claim.
“They say they will send an expert (to evaluate the damage). I am still waiting,” she said.
AirBnB, which has a compensation system in place that offers hosts up to €800,000 in case of damage, said that the renter who allegedly caused the damage had now been banned from using the app.
“This type of bad experience is extremely rare,” AirBnB told France 3 television, noting that of the 30 million flats rented on its site last year, serious damage had been done to only 0.009 percent of them.
By Rory Mulholland