Post navigation

Prev: (07/06/16) | Next: (07/06/16)

Unwanted Airbnb guests ransack Capitol Hill apartment

Seattle Police are looking for a duo who might be some of the worst Airbnb guests ever after a man reported finding his Capitol Hill apartment trashed, and two strange men inside with a bogus story. Adding insult to injury, the unwanted guests were reportedly wearing the host’s clothes.

According to the report on the June 29th incident, police were called to the building in the 300 block of Summit Ave E around 9 PM to investigate the ransacking. The victim told police that he had rented the apartment to a woman through Airbnb and that his building management called him the day before to report “that someone from his apartment had parked in the wrong assigned parking space.” When the apartment manager called about the problem again on the 29th, the victim said he went to the apartment and found two men inside and his apartment trashed. The men — described only as two white males, one bald, one with a “blonde buzz cut” — were also wearing the victim’s clothes.

According to the report, the men told the victim they knew the woman renting the apartment and were leaving to pick up her mother from Harborview. As the suspects left, the victim found that his apartment had been ransacked:

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 3.00.52 PM

Police are investigating the incident as a burglary and there have been no arrests. The victim, however, might have found a few clues for detectives to work with. According to the report, the victim discovered “a notebook with what he believed to be the information of previous victims of the suspects” among the debris left behind in the apartment and contacted police to hand over the possible evidence.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

25 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
caphill
caphill
4 years ago

Woah! I didn’t know Randy Quaid was in Seattle.

eric1972sea
4 years ago

Does one make enough from Airbnb to justify having your stuff looked through and your place possibly ransacked., I don’t think so.

Andy E.
4 years ago
Reply to  eric1972sea

A friend of mine made 70K renting out two in his house on the hill last year.

Andy E.
4 years ago
Reply to  eric1972sea

oops I meant to say two rooms.

Truth
Truth
4 years ago
Reply to  eric1972sea

@Andy: Can’t tell if legitimate post or one of those spams about making $XXX/month working from home.

c doom
c doom
4 years ago

AirBnB has plastered King St Station and Pioneer Square station with ads promoting all the wonders of AirBnB. Strangely missing was the data point “I really need to have strangers go through all my stuff for me.”

RealityBItes
RealityBItes
4 years ago

I have no sympathy for the victim. It should be illegal for him to rent his apartment out on AirBnB in the first place. It’s not his place to decide to rent out.

Whichever
Whichever
4 years ago
Reply to  RealityBItes

Agreed. Every time I see someone in my building I haven’t seen before and they’re carting luggage around with a blank stare in their eyes, I assume they’re AirBnB or something. I didn’t know I pay this much money to live in a hotel.

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
4 years ago
Reply to  RealityBItes

I keep wondering why so many apartment leases and condo bylaws allow this?

grumphill
grumphill
4 years ago
Reply to  RealityBItes

Chances are building management don’t know people do this. We had someone open a hotel room next to us. I sent a link to the airbnb listing to the building manager and they were evicted next month.

ERF
ERF
4 years ago

I’m reading the police report and it hits me; ‘Holy crap! He’s a HB1 visa worker for Amazon or something! Is he even paying rent out of his own pocket or is that a corporate rental?!?’

Jim98122x
Jim98122x
4 years ago
Reply to  ERF

Being on an H1B visa doesn’t mean your employer rents your apartment for you. Actually all of my coworkers on visas paid their own rents. If you’ve got a really scarce skill set you could probably negotiate for it, though.

ERF
ERF
4 years ago
Reply to  ERF

Hi Jim98122x,

I didn’t mean to imply that all/most/some H1B visa holders get all their expenses paid for. I know of a few that do, so the question popped up in my head. In the case of a furnished, corporate owned or leased unit it would probably be a huge scandal for someone to sublet it out for any reason.

Bob Knudson
Bob Knudson
4 years ago

This is a risk you take when you let complete, unvetted strangers occupy your apartment. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

ERF
ERF
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Knudson

It happens often. There are websites devoted to airbnb horror stories. This is a better known one:

http://www.airbnbhell.com/

Airbnb
Airbnb
4 years ago

HA!!! I love it!

Scooter
4 years ago

New Rules next year are coming that will only allow owner-occupied homes to rent out year-round:
Hosts must have a business license, adhere to dispersion requirements, establish quiet hours, must be operated by the principal owner and the owner must live on site, must notify neighbors,have limited signage, and meet parking requirements. In
multi-family zones, bed and breakfasts have similar but slightly
less restrictive requirements (SMC 23.45.545G)

Buh
Buh
4 years ago

Sucks to get your stuff stolen, but isn’t it at least borderline illegal to rent out an entire unit as if it were a hotel? I know in SF, NYC, Paris that’s the case. It is most definitely taking yet another unit off of the rental market.

le.gai.savant
le.gai.savant
4 years ago

AirBnB trolls here in force! Um, of the millions of AirBnB transactions, there have been a few bad ones, like this, apparently. Manyburglaries happen every day but we don’t see people getting up in arms about that.

Some people use AirBnB to supplement their income so they can afford the ever-increasing rents or for some cash. If the city curtails this, it will disfavor them. Meanwhile, condo owners and homeowners will get a big benefit if the city restricts rentals because lower supply will drive AirBnB prices up for them. Business as usual down at city hall, I guess.

Do we really want laws prohibiting sublets like this? I think it’s between the landlord and the tenant, and if anything, tenants should be given some rights here rather than landlords just unilaterally imposing rules. Most AirBnB transactions are positive and good for both parties. If it’s a nuisance to other tenants (like noise and other obnoxious behavior) I think we already have ordinances covering it.

AirBnB has a reference system renters can use to evaluate potential visitors, helping protect against problems like this – though it also opens the door to various kinds of discrimination, so like all systems it has some potential for abuse. If these transactions are not covered by the anti-discrimination laws, the city should certainly extend coverage.

ERF
ERF
4 years ago
Reply to  le.gai.savant

“Do we really want laws prohibiting sublets like this?”

The heart of the argument between Socialism and capitalism is the private ownership of property.
For the capitalist, the view is that it is my property, therefore I should be able to rent or NOT rent my property to whomever I chose.
In Socialism, everything is owned by the collective whole. There is no private ownership. For people who agree with that viewpoint, the argument that the party renting has some stake in the asset just through usage and should be able to sublet regardless of what the owner says, makes perfect sense.

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

It is probably in violation of most tenant-landlord agreements to sublet or rent to something like AirBnB without approval of the property owner. And why is someone a “troll” for pointing out the flaws and risks in something. Those who pay to reside in a building and are following their agreements have every right to be concerned about strangers with suitcases wandering the halls looking for their AirBnB spot. Yes, government should be held accountable but I trust the judgement of random other people even less.

grumphill
grumphill
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul

100% agree. I hope people who live in a building with an makeshift airbnb hotel alert their landlords. Our building now has a specific no airbnb clause, but most already do as you can’t run a business out of your apartment.

Bob Knudson
Bob Knudson
4 years ago

My question is: Where do the people who are subletting via AirBnB live while their apartment or home is occupied? Surely not all of them are vacationing out of town.

Mattypoo
Mattypoo
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Knudson

Our neighbors do it. They go stay at their parent’s house.

grumphill
grumphill
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob Knudson

Some people rent out apartments solely for the purpose of re-renting them on airbnb. One “20-something entrepreneur from New York” did this in our building until I alerted building management who evicted him. But this guy rents 4 other apartments simultaneously in Capitol Hill and turns them into his private, tax-free, neighbor-disregarding hotel rooms. A good reason why we’re facing a housing crisis here.