MINNEAPOLIS - Heather Harnell didn't expect to spend her Monday cleaning up from a wild Super Bowl party. That's because Heather didn't throw a party. She says her guests, staying in her apartment through the website Airbnb, did.
“There's ashes everywhere, burn marks in the coffee table, on the carpet,” Harnell said.
Last year, Harnell and her business partner Luke Tousley stopped renting the duplex to long-term tenants in favor of Airbnb rentals.
She said they were very clear with the guests about expectations when they signed the agreement. For starters, there were only supposed to be two guests in the home.
After seeing security footage of far more than two guests entering the home, Tousley confronted them.
“How are you going to justify all the extra guests?” Tousley can be heard asking over home security footage. A voice can be heard saying it is a “Super Bowl party.”
Tousley, noticing burns in the carpet, said, “You know that we're going to have to pay to replace that, right?”
Then Tousley kicked the extra partiers out.
“If another person walks in this unit, I'm calling the cops,” he said.
But their nightmare didn't end. Because the camera revealed later that night three people hauling out their new smart TV.
And Harnell said they stole even more.
“Some pillows, the blanket over there, one of the stools in the kitchen was stolen,” Harnell said. “They did steal the comforter in this room. There's plates stolen, bowls stolen, cups stolen -- you can see everything is pretty empty here once again.”
The renters left behind little more than a pair of high heels, fake nails and a whole lot of trash.
If the story sounds familiar, it is. This is the second time this has happened to Heather.
Then a local renter trashed it, and stole nearly everything of value, Harnell said, leaving them out $15,000.
“Why in the world would you do this to someone? It's just not how I was raised,” Harnell said.
She estimates losses this time to be at least $3,000.
“It's almost like I'm getting conditioned to seeing this happen, which should not be the case,” Harnell said.
When asked why she kept using Airbnb after that happened the first time, she replied, “That's a great question. I'm wondering myself at this point.”
With next year's Super Bowl held in Minnesota, Heather knows a lot of people will be renting out their homes through vacation rental websites. And that's why she wants to share this story.
“This is to let people know what can happen, and it's not just a one-off,” Harnell said.
She only hopes it was just a two-time thing.
Minneapolis police are investigating, and an Airbnb spokesperson said the company will help them in any way they can. In addition, Airbnb has banned Heather's most recent guest from using the website.
"There have been over 140 million guest arrivals in Airbnb listings and negative incidents are extremely rare. We have no tolerance for this type of behavior and have banned this guest from the platform. We will provide our host with around-the-clock help during this frustrating time and are supporting her under our $1 million host guarantee for both incidents. Our host deserves quicker assistance than she originally received and we are committed to making sure that happens," said spokesperson Benjamin Breit.
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