Airbnb renter smashes up Corstorphine couple's family home
TEARAWAY teens trashed a couple's family home in a quiet Capital street after renting it for a wild party on Airbnb.
Shocked Elaine and George Stevens returned from holiday to find radiators ripped from the walls, doors demolished and picture frames smashed.
So out-of-control were the feral revellers, when police were called by neighbours in Corstorphine, an officer and patrol car were attacked.
“We were just flabbergasted,” said retired senior manager George, 63.
“They’d torn radiators off the walls and not just taken the doors off the hinges but smashed them up as well.”
On hearing of the carnage on September 21, the couple’s daughter Sara, 40, raced round the next morning to find one party-goer still sleeping it off in a spare room upstairs.
“We were going to come back from holiday early but Sara told us to stay as we’d find it more upsetting,” said George. “She was fantastic and even got professional cleaners in.”
The couple rented out their three-bedroom terraced house on the popular online portal for one night for £90 before jetting off for a week in Croatia.
But just two days into their break, they heard from neighbours who had to call out police at 3.40am as the party still raged.
“There’s cigarette burns in the carpets and broken glass everywhere,” said former bank worker Elaine, 61.
“We had a closet full of alcohol – they drank it all and smashed the bottles. There was vomit and blood everywhere. I suppose it could’ve been worse – nobody died.”
Family pictures were snatched off the walls and had their frames smashed while a white powder, thought to be cocaine, was found.
“It’s our family home where we have our two daughters and seven grandchildren round every Christmas,” said George.
“We want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed officers were called at about 3.40am on September 22 “following a report of a loud party.”
She added: “An 18-year-old female was arrested and subsequently charged in connection with the assault of an officer and resisting arrest.
“A 17-year-old female was arrested and charged following a breach of the peace and damage to a police vehicle.”
The 18-year-old was held in custody to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on September 24. While the 17-year-old is also expected to appear in court.
“The property was found to have substantial internal damage, and enquiries continue into this,” added the spokeswoman.
Elaine and George have now called in workmen and expect the final clean-up bill to run into the thousands – hoping to claim through Airbnb’s cover.
A spokeswoman for Airbnb said: “We have removed the guest from our platform and are supporting the host under our Host Guarantee.
“There have been over 400 million guest arrivals on Airbnb and negative experiences are extremely rare.”
The Evening News reported in August how the number of people staying in Airbnb accommodation in Edinburgh rocketed by 70 per cent in the space of a year.
A survey found almost one third of Airbnb listings in the Capital are being offered by landlords with three or more properties on the site.
Critics said the revelations highlighted the extent to which property “barons” are using Airbnb lets as a platform for commercial business and effectively gaming the system to get round taxation and regulation.
Research from Colliers International found that Airbnb’s share of the visitor accommodation market in the city grew from 13 per cent in 2016 to 20 per cent in 2017.
But Airbnb dismissed the worries as a smear campaign by the hotel industry.
The company, an official partner of the Fringe, took around 120,000 bookings for August in Edinburgh.
Colliers findings revealed that there were more than 1.1 million overnight stays in Airbnb accommodation in the Capital during 2017 – a 70 per cent rise from 2016.
Council officials believe there are more than 9,000 properties listed on Airbnb – while many more are available through other companies offering short term letting.
The city council will ask the Scottish Government to allow it to introduce a licensing system for short term lets, which could allow the number of Airbnb properties to be capped and ensure certain standards are met by landlords.