When this young Canadian couple got the chance to make a few extra dollars by renting out their three-bedroom home on Airbnb, they took it immediately. Little did they know that two days later, they would find their beautiful home wrecked beyond imagination.
Mark and Star King bought their house in 2010, in Calgary’s fashionable Sage Hill, for a little over US $300,000 and lived in it with their two sons – five-year-old Vincent and one-year-old Oliver. When a local man offered them about $650 to have the house for a weekend, the Kings, being mortgage-payers, couldn’t refuse. The man told the Kings that he needed the house to accommodate four of his relatives who were in town for a wedding. He was well-dressed, well-mannered, and told them, “You have a beautiful home. God bless you.”
“We use Airbnb when we travel, we love it, it’s a great website, vacation rental by owner type website and my parents are out of town so we were going to go and stay at their house and we get an offer to rent out our house for three days for a family coming for a wedding, it’s going to be four older adults, go through the house rules, they shook my hand,” Mark said.
“The guy met us at 7 o’clock and we gave him a really quick run-through of our house rules which included, no smoking, noise control, it’s a family-friendly neighborhood, and we had some signs where we didn’t want them, some personal storage areas. He was in a little bit of a rush to get the keys and go but that was okay because I think he was headed to a game, so it all seemed pretty normal.”
Trusting the man, the Kings handed over the keys to him and left the house under his care for the weekend. But things turned sour when they received a text from a concerned neighbor on Monday morning, asking what was going on at their house. They rushed back to find it had become the scene of a crazy party, but they couldn’t even get inside because property laws in Calgary state that landlords cannot enter a building without prior notice. So they had to wait until everyone left.
“When we got there people were on the porch telling police to ‘F off’ and taunting them,” Mark told the media. “It took my wife begging and pleading with some wasted girls through the glass for an hour before anyone would come out. We saw about 20 people file out, which was the leftovers. A lot of them had been passed out.”
Later, the Kings found out that shortly after they had left the house that weekend, a bus arrived with about 100 people, who proceeded to have “the craziest party this city has ever seen.” When they were finally able to go inside, they found their home unrecognizable. There were clear signs of drug use – including ecstasy, cannabis, and crack, the walls had been puked on, condoms and underwear were strewn across the stairs, broken glass was everywhere, and barbecue sauce had been splashed all over the 8-foot high ceilings. The children’s bedrooms were wrecked too, with broken toys and destroyed art work.
“I felt shock and horror. My son’s toys were in the midst of trash and condoms,” said Mark. “We felt violated. We had trusted our home and all our possessions to this person, and took them at their word after doing what we thought was due diligence. To see everything so central to your lives defiled like that does a psychological number on you.”
Star recalled how she saw a young woman walking around barefoot on broken glass, so she gave away pair of her own shoes just to get the woman to leave. “I left my home in such immaculate condition. It was so clean and tidy. It was gorgeous and now it looks and smells like a garbage can,” she said in dismay. “This was our sanctuary and we had worked really hard at making it home. Now I can’t stand being in it. At this point it’s not my home.”
“There was gunk all over the walls and our feet were sticking to the floor. I don’t want my baby crawling on that floor. We don’t want to touch anything because everything’s so filthy,” she added.
The police have called it a “drug-induced orgy” that lasted two days. “In my nine years of policing, I’ve never seen anything like it. Especially to a house that you rent over a weekend,” said CPS Constable Attila Horvath. “15 to 20 people at least, left the house after we were there.” The house was completely ruined, and the damages were estimated at about $60,000. The floors and ceilings will have to be replaced, and a biohazard team has been sent in to evaluate the house.
“Everything has to be treated as biohazardous material because of the bodily fluids. It all has to be sanitised before they can even put it in a landfill,” Mark explained. “Our clothes were locked in a wardrobe but we can’t get them out until the fumes have gone.”
Although Airbnb cannot be held directly responsible for the incident, the Kings said that the company is has been “extremely helpful” so far. They’ve provided the family free accommodation in another house until normalcy is restored. They are also going to cover the Kings financially, under the company’s “Host Guarantee”.
“We have zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour and our team is working quickly to make this right,” Airbnb said, in an official statement. “We have banned this guest from Airbnb, and our Trust and Safety team will offer its full assistance to law enforcement in any investigation of this incident.”
Source: CTV News