WATCH: Airbnb is offering to help find a place for the couple to stay and cover the cost of repairs. The damage estimate was originally pegged at $75,000 but is growing and could be double. Reid Fiest reports.
CALGARY – The damage to a northwest Calgary home trashed by Airbnb renters will likely be twice as high as the original estimate at $150,000, according to the homeowners.
Calgary police initially pegged the cost at closer to $75,000.
“They said the police estimate is very low, and so it will be significantly more than what the police had originally estimated,” said Mark King, standing in his destroyed living room.
Crews say it will take two to three months for all the repairs to be complete.
While Mark and Star King wait for the work to begin, garbage, broken glass and furniture remain scattered around the two-storey home a week since the discovery.
The website Airbnb has told the couple it will cover the costs, and has hired a local adjuster to restore the home.
Hazmat crews say the process will take longer, because they want to decontaminate everything that was damaged or left behind, in what the homeowners said police described as a drug-induced orgy.
“They’re going to have to take everything out of the house, treat it on site to kill the biohazardous substances, before they can put it in the landfill,” King told Global News.
Calgary police say their officers have identified a suspect in the case, and are hopeful they can make an arrest this week.
Watch above: The damage to a Calgary home trashed by Airbnb renters will likely be twice as high as the original estimate at $150,000, according to the homeowners. Carolyn Kury De Castio reports.
In the meantime, the Kings say Airbnb has offered to pay for alternative accommodations and incidentals like clothing and meals.
The couple says they’re very happy the short-term rental site is taking responsible for the damage.
However, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says this terrible experience is a reminder that typical homeowner insurance policies only provide coverage when you’re occupying your own home.
“It’s a completely different story when you use your home or cottage as a rental property,” said IBC’s Steve Kee.
“That’s something that you would have to talk to your insurance representative about and be properly insured to take that into account.”
The Kings’ are also in contact with their insurer about any possible coverage, but didn’t think to add extra coverage when they rented their home.
The Kings also hope their nightmare experience may prompt Airbnb to increase the scrutiny it puts on renters.
“My point of view…it would take a more intense screening process, facilitated through the web service,” said King.
Alberta’s hotel association suggests Airbnb has an unfair advantage since the growing shared rental economy isn’t regulated, and its president said the province is losing out.
“In Alberta they’re not required to pay the 4 per cent tourism levy on accommodation night stays and those dollars go to the province and help pay for to grow our tourism industry,” said Dave Kaiser, president and CEO of the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association.
With a file from Carolyn de Kury Castillo
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