Oakland Couple Says Home Trashed By New Year's Airbnb Renter

An Oakland couple says their home was trashed by an Airbnb renter on New Year's Eve.

Reshma Vasanwala and Jim Santi Owen thought they were renting to an older man from Chicago. Turns out it was a 19-year-old, who used it for a house party and invited hundreds of teenagers.

The couple said they came home to dirty furniture, beer cans, cigarettes, broken glass and even blood stains.

“The house was trashed. We thought everything was stolen because they had stripped everything,” said Santi Owen.

Santi Owen rented his home through Airbnb to a man claiming he was visiting from Chicago. “He seemed like a mature person” he said.

Santi Owen and his partner were in Sausalito enjoying New Year’s when a neighbor sent a text around 10:30 p.m. Santi Owen rushed home, but the scene had cleared.

According to Oakland Police, a 19-year-old from Berkeley used the home for a house party. A cell phone video shows the aftermath.

“There were 50 to 60 kids just in our backyard,” Santi Owen said. “Beer and alcohol spilled everywhere. They were smoking cigarettes, cigars and marijuana in the house.”

Police arrested the teen renter for vandalism. Owen says he plans to press charges and file a civil suit.

Airbnb says they banned the guest and will work with the homeowner on the cost of cleanup and repair.

In a statement to NBC Bay Area, the company said: “We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and have banned this guest from Airbnb. They will work with the homeowner under their $1 Million Host Guarantee, which covers property and damages.”

They also said the profile was created just days before New Year's, had no reviews, and the identity was not verified through the site. The company suggests users go with verified profiles.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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