This man had $21,000 worth of items stolen by Airbnb guests he thought were a ‘nice family’
By Ramna Shahzad
28 March 2017
Lyn says he
doesn't know who actually stayed in his apartment when he rented it out
earlier this month to a 'nice woman with a family.' (Paul Borkwood/CBC)
A Toronto photographer says his Airbnb guests seemed like a "nice
family," until he realized about $21,000 worth of his possessions and
SIN card had been stolen.
Matthew Lyn thought he was hosting a woman, her husband and her child between March 5-10.
After the family missed their first day of arrival, Lyn decided to get
them some snacks and a bottle of wine to make them feel welcome.
When he returned to his apartment after the guests had left, he found
that not only did they take the wine — they also took off with a whole
After seeing his cabinets left open, his stuff strewn across the floor,
his most prized possessions gone, and his SIN card and spare driver's
licence missing, Lyn realized quickly what had happened.
"My door was already open, all the lights were on. It was a mess, all
my dishes were used, there were towels on the floor, condoms lying
about … It was terrible."
His coat and scarves had been taken, his socks had been worn and left
lying about and his hard drives full of years worth of his fashion and
celebrity photographs were gone.
"I immediately got on the phone with Airbnb. I was such a wreck when I
called them. I was so mad. I felt so violated. I talked to them about
an hour and a half and they could understand my frustration and I just
kept realizing more and more stuff was missing," he said.
Among the items stolen were an iPad, two iPhones, a Nintendo Wii video
game console, expensive designer clothing, memory cards, professional
cameras and a drone camera. He said groceries, bottles of alcohol and
toiletries like shampoos and face scrubs were also taken.
Lyn said he isn't even sure if it was a family that rented his
apartment. He only communicated with the guest through the Airbnb app.
He said the guest had an existing positive review on the app from
someone who had given many other reviews on the website.
Lyn now says he wishes he had been more diligent in checking out the guest.
"On her profile it looked like a woman in her late 30s or 40s with a
child. Also one of the messages she sent me was about her son needing
to get on the internet, the code is not working."
Lyn reviewed building security footage of the time the "family" would
have arrived and he couldn't even see a woman at the front door, only a
"I don't know what went on in my apartment, I don't think I want to
know what went on in my apartment," he said. "But the police gave me a
possibility of what may have occurred. They said there was possibly
someone in here, using it as a drug stash but on the side, also hiring
Toronto police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft and
say they have seen an increase in crimes like this one over the last
few months. Police are warning those who may be considering short-term
rentals using services like Airbnb, VRBO or HomeAway to be extra
careful when trusting someone with your keys.
"If you're going to be renting your place out to total strangers, you
need to know who they are. You need to meet with them, you need to get
their identification in person. You need to verify it is them who is
renting your property and try and get an idea what they're going to be
using it for," said Const. David Hopkinson.
"Your online persona is not necessarily truthful. So if you're going to
be engaging in transactions, trying to trust somebody… you should be
backing that up [and] taking every effort in meeting with them."
In a statement sent to CBC Toronto, Airbnb said negative experiences
like Lyn's are rare and that the company is working with local
authorities and reviewing the guest account in question.
"At the end of the day, we obviously can't eliminate all the risk in
hosting, travelling or going on adventurous experiences, nor can we
guarantee safety," said Airbnb spokesperson Lindsey Scully.
"But we work very hard to help hosts and guests have the ability to make the most informed decisions they can."
Airbnb fully reimburses man who had $21K worth of items stolen by guests
By Ramna Shahzad
31 March 2017
Airbnb has fully reimbursed Matthew Lyn after his guests he thought
were a "nice family" stole $21,000 worth of items from his apartment.
Lyn says he is pleased his case was resolved on Thursday.
"I feel relieved... a large weight has been lifted off my shoulder," he said. "It feels really good."
Helps when your Airbnb horror story is a lead story in the national media.