Getty Images/Nordic Photos
Christopher Tkaczyk
August 11, 2016

A woman in Menlo Park, California, came home to discover that an Airbnb renter had let the water overflow from a second floor bathtub, causing a flood and damages that are estimated to amount to more than $25,000 in repairs.

She also believes the renter had been using her home to film porn, based on evidence she collected after surveying the damage.

Sharon Marzouk says she’s not sure if she would use peer-to-peer rental site Airbnb again because, as she wrote in a letter to CEO Brian Chesky: “I am genuinely concerned for all people who choose to host through Airbnb. I trusted your company and apparently that trust was severely misplaced.”

At the center of Marzouk’s complaint is Airbnb’s verification policy for renters, which Marouk believes isn’t thorough enough. The company has different verification policies for different geographical areas, depending on local laws. As Marouk recounts in a lengthy Facebook post, “By default in my area one only needs a phone number, email address and payment method. NO ID REQUIRED. Which opens up a great and un-needed [sic] additional risks to hosts.”

An Airbnb spokesperson tells Travel + Leisure: "Negative experiences are extremely rare as more than 100 million guest arrivals have had safe and positive experiences on Airbnb. We have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior and have removed this guest from our platform.”

The spokesperson said the company is working to support the host under the $1 Million Host Guarantee, referring to the company’s commitment to protect its hosts and their property.

So far, Marzouk’s letter to Chesky remains unanswered, but she has been in contact with Airbnb, which she says will be sending a claims representative to her house.

You can read Marzouk’s letter to Chesky, as well as a lengthy account of the incident with the renter.

And there is also a video of the damage:

Christopher Tkaczyk is the Senior News Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ctkaczyk.

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