Sometimes Airbnb listings can be deceiving—rentals may be smaller, less well-maintained, and dirtier than they appear online. And in some cases, they may even be secret brothels.
A Swedish medical student was shocked to find out his Airbnb rental in Long Island City was doubling as a brothel while its tenants were away, the Post reports. Axel Brorson checked into his room in a five-bedroom duplex on August 18th, which he fled this past Monday after realizing the bedrooms weren't just being used by renters.
Brorson told the Post that he "watched in disbelief" as a man and woman who weren't staying in the apartment "were led into an adjacent room" by a male house cleaner for the building who then stood watch outside the door. Brorson "heard the zippers go down and... heard noises. Moaning," he said. After the couple left the room, which was being (officially) occupied by a Chilean tourist, Brorson went in and saw that the bed had been used and there was "toilet paper with bodily liquids lying on the floor."
He also claims that his own room, which he paid $1,500 for, was being used by more than just him. Once after returning from his research gig at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, he found that the pillows on his bed had been moved.
Brorson did what most people would do after discovering his bed was probably covered in strangers' bodily fluids: he called his Airbnb host, said he no longer felt safe in the rental, and demanded a refund.
"We had an agreement and the agreement still stands," Brorson's host, who he had never met in person, allegedly told him before threatening to sue him for spreading "false rumors."
"You have chosen to believe innapropriste [sic] activity was taking place. But the people that entered the room were there to repair the bed," the host wrote in a text message. According to the Post, Airbnb initially refused to refund Brorson since the host had offered to install a lock on his bedroom door, but have since refunded Brorson in full.
"While we strive for perfection, we recognize we don't always get it right and we are glad we were able to ultimately help him out," Airbnb spokesman Peter Schottenfels told Gothamist.
"We have removed the host from our platform and are refunding the guest entirely," Schottenfels added. "Prostitution is not allowed and we have a zero tolerance policy on it. We are constantly reviewing the platform to be sure any activity in listings are in line with what hosts would be ok with in their home."