Regina mom raising concerns after house party thrown at Airbnb across the street
REGINA -- A Regina woman who lives across the street from an Airbnb short-term rental property says a party thrown at the house lasted well into the early morning hours, shown in a video she posted to social media.
Jodi Sobool posted a video of the house party, taken around 3 a.m. on Jan. 4, which shows multiple people yelling on the lawn of the house, spilling into the street and even into her yard.
“I saw a few people outside, and they looked like they were kind of pushing and shoving a little bit, then it escalated quite quickly where they were throwing somebody to the ground,” Sobool told CTV News. “There was anywhere between 10 and 15 people there at any given moment, outside, and inside probably more.”
Sobool says she eventually contacted the police over what was going on.
“Things were getting really out of control, there was drinking and fighting, people driving away not sure if they’re intoxicated or not.”
Sobool suspects some of the partygoers were underage.
“There was a girl who yelled at my husband from the street, she said ‘you have no right to film us, we’re minors’, so that in itself was a little alarming as well.”
Warning: The video linked below contains profanity.
Sobool says the property has been an Airbnb for about a year and has had no problems with other guests, apart from one previous, more contained get together.
In a statement to CTV News, Airbnb said it takes any unauthorized parties thrown at properties very seriously and the user who booked the house has been banned.
“Unauthorized parties have absolutely no place on Airbnb, and we have removed this guest from our community as a result of this incident,” the statement reads. “With nearly 2 million guests checking in to Airbnb listings every night, negative incidents are extremely rare.”
But Sobool still says her concern comes from what she calls a lack of real consequences for those responsible.
“There just isn’t any repercussions other than the residents of the neighbourhood policing it for everybody,” Sobool said. “These people leave at noon the next day, and that’s it. It’s a very transient thing.”
“There really is not much of a deterrent.”
CTV News reached out to the owner of the property, Meron Tesfay, who has managed Airbnb properties for the last seven years. He says in that time, he has only dealt with two incidents like this.
“Airbnb as well as hosts do quite a bit to make sure that this doesn’t happen often, of course no system is perfect,” Tesfay said, adding a previous bad review about the guest raised red flags, but he gave them the benefit of the doubt. “They just decided to manipulate the scenario and say that they’re parents, they’re bringing their baby and they’re not going to do anything.”
“And I come to find out that they’ve been causing a lot of issues.”
Tesfay says no major repairs were needed to the house the next day, just a deep clean, something Airbnb has supports in place for in the event of something like this.
“In this particular instance, just a lot of thorough cleaning,” Tesfay said. “Nothing too crazy, the house didn’t burn down or anything like that, everything is still there.”
As for Sobool, she’s unsure exactly what a solution looks like, but says one is needed, reiterating that current rules aren’t doing enough.
“It doesn’t prevent it from happening, I don’t know if [Airbnb]’s screening process needs to be enhanced, whether we need regulations within our city and our bylaws for short term rental properties,” Sobool said.
City council is expected to discuss potential rules and regulations for short term rentals at a meeting June, and Sobool says she’s spoken with her city councillor about speaking at that meeting.