Two Montreal Airbnb hosts who happen to be cousins say they were robbed within less than two days of each other by the same Airbnb renter.
Samia Bendhamane said red flags went off as soon as she first handed off the keys to her apartment to an Airbnb customer. She said he looked too young to be driving a Porsche Cayenne. He also had no reviews on the home-renting service site.
But his profile indicated he had been a client with Airbnb since 2011 so, after some contemplation, Bendhamane decided to hand him the keys.
"I just thought, OK, I guess he's a rich kid," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
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But on Friday, Aug. 12, she received a call from police notifying her that her place had been robbed. Stolen were a Canada Goose jacket, a Louis Vuitton purse and a console.
The robbery took place, according to Bendhamane, between Thursday and Friday. She said police told her that they made an arrest.
CBC contacted the Montreal police department, but no one could comment on the case for the time being.
But Bendhamane's story didn't end there: On Saturday she found out that her cousin was robbed too – by the same renter.
A related incident
Outremont resident Othmane Zniber said he was stood up by an Airbnb client who had originally planned to rent with him on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
On Thursday, Aug. 11 , he called Airbnb to tell them he was worried and questioned the "trustworthiness" of the client.
"She told me his name, and I freaked out. It's the guy!" - Othmane Zniber, Airbnb host in Montreal
Zniber says Airbnb told him not to worry.
He left the key in a flower pot and went to eat dinner. But he started to feel uneasy and messaged the renter, telling him that he would cancel his stay.
On Friday, Aug. 12, the renter contacted him back and asked to rent his place.
"I gave him the key at 7:40 p.m. and I went to my girlfriend's place for the night," said Zniber.
On Saturday, his brother mentioned that their cousin, Bendhamane, had been robbed. It was only when Zniber phoned her to ask if she had any details about the robber that they realized it was the same person who rented out both their homes.
"She told me his name, and I freaked out. It's the guy!" said Zniber.
He went back home to find that his television and clothes were stolen.
"Airbnb had hours to alert us to let us know that this guy had robbed my cousin – to let me know and anyone else know that he was a thief. And they did nothing."
Both Zniber and Bendhamane said they filed police reports.
Zniber said he is charging Airbnb $8,000 for his valuables as well as for the cost of the days he had to cancel for a visitor who wanted to rent his apartment for 20 days.
So far, the company has given him a $600 deposit fee.
In a statement to CBC News, an Airbnb spokesperson said it is "extremely rare" for its users to have negative experiences.
The service has a number of measures designed to protect hosts and renters, including employing a trust-and-safety team that is on call to help those who run into trouble.
Airbnb also offers insurance for hosts and will reimburse eligible hosts for damages up to $1 million.