An Airbnb host has been taken to court by fed-up neighbours after renting a Brixton penthouse out to guests. The people who hired the property threw a party which quickly spiralled out of control after 150 people turned up and riot police had to be called in.
According to a Times report, residents in the block of flats in south London complained about the continuous flow of people entering the property and said they "don't feel safe having strangers every week coming in and out of the flat across the hall."
One reveller reportedly fell onto someone else's balcony from above and found their way back to the party after being permitted to pass through the neighbour's flat. Other problems included noise complaints, fighting and harassment.
A tribunal judge has now ruled that the man had broken a number of terms of his lease agreement. The case marks the first time that an Airbnb host in the UK has been taken to court in the UK.
A number of other cases from angry neighbours are thought to be in the pipeline. "The growing popularity of holiday letting sites such as Airbnb raises serious questions about their potential for abuse," Residential Landlords Association chairman, Alan Ward told the newspaper.
"Ministers must act to clamp down on those property owners using the website to deny tenants safe, legal and secure accommodation. Landlords also need support to address illegal sub-letting of properties by their tenants," he added.
The San Francisco-based company was founded in 2008 and has expanded exponentially since then. The number of rooms booked on the home-sharing service has skyrocketed from 8m nights in 2012 to an estimated 129m nights for 2016.
Despite its rapid growth, the company has not been without its fair share of controversy. Earlier this year it was reported that a woman who rented her Putney property out through Airbnb over New Year's Eve rushed back to her flat to find it completely trashed after receiving calls from angry neighbours.
Christina McQuillan arrived at her flat in southwest London to find drunk partygoers and chaotic scenes, including overturned chairs, a TV which had been torn off the wall, ripped up floorboards and people having sex on the bed while a crowd looked on. As she tried to break the party up, McQuillan was punched in the stomach. Her partner called the police to inform them that she had been assaulted and five emergency vehicles subsequently arrived.