Airbnb has been running an in-house safety team that seeks to prevent media reports on trashed party houses and criminality including rapes inside its properties, it has been reported.

The report in Bloomberg Businessweek reveals the problems caused by Airbnb’s free hand in the market; the company has been giving staff blank checks to help victims of crime within Airbnb properties and spent an estimated $50 million every year on pay-outs to hosts and guests when things go wrong.

The website highlights the unregulated nature of Airbnb in contrast to the increasingly close regulation of other kinds of rented property in the UK – a fact Airbnb is attempting to address in its new UK white paper.

Released earlier this month, it calls for a national register for anyone wanting to list their homes on a short-term letting platform or through conventional methods, to help root out bad hosts.

Black box

The secret team – known as the ‘black box’ inside the firm – is made up of about 100 agents across cities across the world who, the company says, are trained to offer ‘comfort and assistance to victims’.

Team members have the power to spend any amount tackling the worst crises at their rentals including party damage, sexual assaults, murders and deaths.

Some have had to arrange for contractors to cover bullet holes in the walls of properties or hire body-fluid crews to clean blood off the floors, the report says.

In extreme cases, they had to deal with hosts who discover dismembered human remains inside their homes.

In one incident, a rape victim received a $7 million pay-out in exchange for agreeing not to imply responsibility or liability on Airbnb after an attack in 2016 at an apartment in New York.

The suspect, 24-year-old Junior Lee, was allegedly already inside the apartment hiding in the bathroom when she returned. It is not clear how he had keys to the property but, under Airbnb rules, hosts aren’t required to disclose to guests who has a copy of the key or change codes on keypad locks in between guests. 


  1. As someone with traditional rental properties and Airbnb properties, this article sounds rather biased against the Airbnb platform.

    When something bad happens in my traditional rental properties, I have to foot the bill myself and then attempt to chase the perpetrator through the courts.

    If something goes wrong in my Airbnb properties, there is cover in place from Airbnb to put things right. I think that should be applauded, not criticised.

  2. Show me one normal Freeholder of any apartment block that permits short-term letting like AirBnB.

    There are very few in the UK.

    Before anyone is allowed to use the AirBnB platform they should provide

    CTL if any lender

    CTL from an insurer.

    CTL from the Council

    Very few would be able to supply this information to AirBnB.

    This would mean that hosts are committing fraud .

    Such AirBnB users CANNOT be lodgers as they would need to comply with RTR regulations.

    Many AirBnB users would not qualify as lodgers

    As the RFRA is meant for lodgers then AirBnB is automatically excluded from the RFRA.

    AirBnB hosts are gaming the RFRA scheme.

    Any lodger even for one day must pass RTR regulations and be issued a Gas cert if gas appliances are in the property..

    AirBnB is based on mass fraud.


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