'˜They left excrement in the stairwell' Resident's hell from New Town Airbnb tourist chaos

A New Town family is living in short-term rent hell as a parade of anti-social guests create mayhem in their flat stairwell.

Monday, 13th August 2018, 8:32 am
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 8:33 am

A flat in Dundonald Street is being used for short-term lets and residents living in the same town house said behaviour from guests had become “intolerable”.

Permanent resident Tanya Ivackovic, who has 12-year-old and 16-year-old sons, said she was at her wits’ end with the thoughtless behaviour of visitors staying in a neighbouring flat, leased through the short-term let site Airbnb.

She said drunken antics, screaming, shouting and loud conversations from large groups in the early hours of the morning was making her life a misery.

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Dundonald Street which has mostly rental flats and Air BNB flats

Ms Ivackovic said repeated attempts to engage with the property owners and management company had made no difference as the flow of guests was constant and any action against “offenders” was too late to make a difference to her family’s life.

The situation reached a crescendo when she discovered a pile of human excrement in the stairwell.

“I had to get my gloves and bottles of bleach,” Ms Ivackovic said.

“The stink was appalling and it is not the responsibility of the Airbnb cleaners. The owners of the flat aren’t there to do it, so we are left to clean up after them.”

Ms Ivackovic said, to add insult to injury, her personal house insurance was rendered void if the lock box – used to access keys to short-term rent properties – was visible near a front door.

Neighbour Stuart Briggs, 72, has suffered a heart attack and a stroke recently and said the situation was frightening and stressful.

He has been left scared after guests staying in the Airbnb mistook his front door for their own late at night.

Ms Ivackovic said she was not adverse to Airbnb as she herself has run a property on the site, but called for responsible management and an understanding of the impact poor guests can have on neighbours.

She said: “I am not adverse to Airbnb. I have a small property I let, but I am far more on top of the management and am careful who I let it too.”

Ms Ivackovic said the situation at her New Town home was so dire she is considering moving.

A new strategy to regulate Airbnb and other short-term lets in the city centre has been vowed by Edinburgh city councillors to safeguard Capital communities.

Edinburgh City Council leadership has outlined minimum standards they would expect from a licensing regime for short-term lets – if permission was granted by the Scottish Government.

A licence would be required for anyone either operating a property on a commercial or professional basis – or for at least 45 days a year.

The council said the licensing rules would ensure any owners or operators were “fit and proper” and certain safety standards were met.

The council also wants the ability to control or cap the number of properties licensed.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said: “We have a zero tolerance policy on bad behaviour in listings and are actively investigating these claims.

“The overwhelming majority of hosts and guests on Airbnb are good neighbours and respectful travellers. When we are made aware of issues, we take appropriate action, including permanently banning bad 
actors from the platform.”