14 Jan 2020

Airbnb offers counselling, reimbursement after Dunedin man's home used as a brothel

10:18 am on 14 January 2020

By Jono Edwards for the Otago Daily Times

Airbnb is offering money for counselling and a security system to a Dunedin man whose house was turned into a brothel for two weeks.

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Photo: AFP

The North East Valley property owner and sole occupant, who requested anonymity, said he was on holiday in Asia for a month in July and August and his daughter helped him rent his home to two women through Airbnb.

Over that time neighbours saw many men coming in and out of the property, and the hot water system broke from overuse.

A plumber who came to fix it described scenes of a brothel.

The house required extensive cleaning and the owner's power usage quadrupled in August, costing him more than $600 for the month.

Emails between the owner and Airbnb show the company has agreed to pay a total of $1474.

This includes $624 for electricity, $70 for missing bath towels, $200 for a plumber, $80 for an electrician and $500 for 20 hours of cleaning.

The owner described menacing figures returning to his house after he returned asking if the women were still around and acting aggressively.

Airbnb said it was concerned about these instances.

"From our side, we would want to offer a reimbursement for a security service if you could provide us a receipt for the cost."

It offered up to $1000 for the purchase and installation of a security system.

The company said it was concerned about the man's wellbeing and would "work to support the reimbursement" of counselling if he required it.

The owner said the company's willingness to pay was "of course positive", however he was unsure what level of compensation would make up for the experience.

"My response to them ... is this was a shocker of an experience to have in your life, as some women have said, 'do you get rid of all the bedding including the mattresses?'"

He had spoken to a lawyer who he said was interested in looking at the case.

Airbnb did not respond to a request for comment.

- This article was first published on the Otago Daily Times website.