Airbnb: Hosts Oakland Home Vandalized Over New Years Eve – Police Dissolves Party!

An Oakland, CA couple who rented out their home through Airbnb received shocking news as their neighbors informed them of a large party on their premises during New Years Eve.

The party, attended by 40-50 youths, was dissolved by the police but the owners found their home vandalized with beer cans, broken glass, cigarette buds and destroyed furniture. At that point there was little the homeowners can do except assessing the damage and cleaning up the leftovers. They plan to press criminal charges and also file a civil suit to recover damages.

You can read more about the story on CBS Local San Francisco (access here).

An Oakland couple who rented out their home on Airbnb came home to a shocking surprise. Their home had been trashed during a raucous New Year’s Eve party.

There was spilled beer on the floor, cigarette butts everywhere and lingering marijuana smoke in the air. Their new furniture had been put on the deck.

Reshma Vansanwala and Jim Santi-Owen were enjoying a relaxing New Year’s Eve out when they got an alarming message from a neighbor that their Airbnb guest had turned their home into party central.

“Next door neighbor texts me and says, ‘there are 40-50 youth here throwing a party, they’ve been shouting for over an hour and there’s 4 or 5 police out here,” said Santi-Owen.

The couple came home to broken pots, beer cans, even blood splattered on the wall.

From what other news reports on SFgate (see here) say, the ‘hosts’ thought that the person they rent the house to was an older gentleman from the Chicago area. This turned out to be false. I have used Airbnb twice myself and in both cases the key for the apartment was provided to me either via Mail or Management Office at the Building. I found that strange because I wouldn’t really like to rent out my home without at least meeting the temporary tenant in person. I guess some people are more calm than me.

Airbnb released a statement:

“We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and our team is working quickly to make this right. We have banned this guest from Airbnb.”

As if banning this persons profile from the website will have any effect whatsoever. Nevertheless since the company provides insurance they can try and speed up the processing in order to help their host to recover from this.

The article goes on:

Still, the couple claims it took the company hours to connect them with the right people.

“We don’t trust the company anymore, and we don’t feel safe,” said Santi-Owen.

Airbnb covers guest’s up to $1 million for damage. The company said more than a million people used their listings for New Year’s, and problems like the one at this Oakland home are rare.

With cleanup underway, the couple is pressing charges against their guests. It isn’t likely they’ll be listing their home on the vacation rental site anytime soon.

Well, no kidding. It would have been recommendable to actually meet the person you’re renting to instead of just sending someone a key or however else they did the handover.


While probably 98% or more of Airbnb rentals are going without any problems people should realize there is always a certain risk involved when you rent out your home to complete strangers and you’re not personally available to supervise your property.

As a renter I has two great experiences but from the perspective of the host I would be careful who I rent to and try to feel out that person. You can’t eliminate all risks though as it’s the case with everything else in life. There are plenty of cases where Airbnb locations have been misused by renters for parties or adult video shoots, both of which are not exactly sterile happenings and I think we all agree that we wouldn’t want this to be played out in our own living room.

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