The rise of Airbnb, the online home rental company, is undeniable. More than 50 million guests have rented lodging through the site since it was launched in 2008. There are now more than 1.5 million listings on the site.
With that growth comes a serious question of safety and security. We’ve all heard the stories of Airbnb guests trashing rental properties or disturbing the neighbors. But now a horrifying story from an Airbnb traveler who says his host locked him in his room and sexually abused him has renters on edge over just how safe it is to rent a room from a complete stranger.
Don’t be afraid to ask the renter questions or even to reach out to past guests for more information about their stay.
On July 4, Jacob Lopez was renting a room from an Airbnb host in Madrid when he says his host locked him in the apartment, began rattling knives in the kitchen and begged him to engage in sexual acts with him, according to the New York TImes.
Lopez frantically texted his mother back in the United States. She called the police station in Madrid but got no response. She called Airbnb, but she says they were unable to tell her exactly where her son was.
It’s a traveler’s worst nightmare, and while the Airbnb host denies the charges, it’s not surprising that Airbnb renters can find themselves in scary situations when trusting that the information provided on the listing is correct. . . . .