Airbnb users find decomposing corpse of woman in garden of French rental property. Getty Images

Airbnb renters who hired out a house near Paris have made the shocking discovery of a rotting corpse hidden in the back garden of the property.

In a report by AFP the users of the popular property-renting service were planning to host a party in the French house but celebrations were postponed after the "decomposing" body of a woman was found "hunched in a dug-out area, her head against the ground, covered in branches and surrounded by wood stumps," said a police source.

The body was believed to have been in an "advanced" state of decomposition and found near woodland at the rear of the property, away from the house which is situated in the town of Palaiseau – 10 miles from the city of Paris. The body remains unidentified as there was no documentation or clues on the corpse for the police to release a name. The woman, whose approximate age was not disclosed, was described as clothed but wearing no shoes and had a "ring with a large stone" on her person.

Suspicious discovery

The nature of the discovery has thrown up suspicion, shock and mystery and with the effort for the body to be covered up it is giving police reason to follow a case for foul play. With the severity of the decomposition it suggests the body has been there for some time so an investigation is ongoing into previous renters and guests. The police have questioned the group who made the discovery of the body and will carry out an autopsy to find the cause of death.

Airbnb, the Californian startup began in 2008, allowing anybody to rent out a room or their entire house on for holidays at preferable rates over hotels and bed and breakfasts, and a way for people to earn extra income. It is now found in 190 countries around the world with over two million listings but has had its fair share of controversy with some owners accused of running illegal hotels, brothels and stories of owners assaulting guests.