Bed bugs turned stay at Airbnb into nightmare, traveller says

Cleveland experience of Toronto man not typical, service says

A road trip from Toronto turned into a nightmare for Geoff Mosher after he checked into an Airbnb in Cleveland.

“I’m pretty familiar with bed bugs and, when we walked in, the apartment had that musty bed bug smell,” Mosher said.

Riddled in bites, he had to cut his trip short and spent his short stay at a laundromat, Mosher said.

“I started getting bites on the first night — I had probably 35 bites by the end of the second day,” he said. “We just got out of there.”

Airbnb apartments are inexpensive, easy to book and can be done from the palm of your hand. Airbnb is an online hospitality service that lets users rent or list an apartment. Last year subscribers on the highly used app skyrocketed in central Toronto and, while it may be great for users, some condo tenants are not impressed.

In an interview earlier this year, Airbnb spokesperson Nick Shapiro said the majority of Airbnb guests are respectful and problems among the millions of listings are rare. He said the company also offers an online tool called Neighbours. Neighbours is a forum where anyone can share concerns about a listing in their community. A team at Airbnb reviews every concern and addresses them accordingly.

Mosher said his bad experience with Airbnb also comes closer to home. He lives in a condo in Regent Park, an Airbnb hot spot. He said his biggest concern is with the company’s accountability.

Toronto city council began drafting Airbnb regulations late last year to address concerns from the public. Meanwhile, some condo buildings in the city have revamped their tenant contracts to keep room-sharing services out.