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Another Toronto Airbnb party ends in gunshots prompting calls for action

Click to play video 'Another Toronto Airbnb party ends in gunshots prompting calls for more regulations' Another Toronto Airbnb party ends in gunshots prompting calls for more regulations
WATCH ABOVE: After another Airbnb party ended in gunfire over the weekend, a neighbour and city councillor are calling for more to be done to crack down on short-term rental locations. This after the company already announced it would be doing more to stop violent parties. Matthew Bingley reports.

A woman living next door to an Airbnb location and her city councillor are calling for action to crack down on an Airbnb location after a weekend party resulted in early morning gunfire.

Tatjana Azman said the party began around at around 6 p.m. on Saturday at the house connected to her semi-detached home near Pape and Danforth Avenue.

After hours of listening to those renting the Airbnb unit screaming, fighting and partying, Azman left to stay at her boyfriend’s. When she returned in the morning, a police car and the building now featured bullet damage.

A Toronto police spokesperson said they received a call around 3:33 a.m. on Sunday after reports of gun shots.

READ MORE: Airbnb sued, accused of ‘negligence’ by Toronto man shot at house party

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A neighbour told police they had seen someone run into the street and flash what they thought was a gun. Police said no one was located with injuries at the home, but they did locate bullet holes.

“Last night I couldn’t sleep,” said Azman. “This is the first time I’m feeling like very unsafe living in my own house.”

While pointing out the three pockmarks left from bullets on her and her neighbour’s home, Azman discovered another bullet in the front garden.

“We need to protect this street,” said Azman, noting her concern is not just for her and her 15-year-old son, but her neighbours as well.

One of three pockmarks left by bullets following an Airbnb party on Saturday night.
One of three pockmarks left by bullets following an Airbnb party on Saturday night. Matthew Bingley/Global News

While this is the first time a party at the Airbnb has resulted in gunfire, Azman said she has voiced concerns over loud parties before. Two weeks ago, she said a band from France used the unit to record music late into the night.

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Azman said the homes’ owner Nevil Keogh hasn’t been taking the issue seriously enough and isn’t confident he can prevent further parties.

“It could be good for a couple of months and then this could happen again,” she said.

Keogh told Global News the complaints about loud parties were “exaggerated” and said he rented primarily to families. Later in a written statement, Keogh said “despite extensive interviews and a face-to-face meeting, the young women who stayed at our house let things get out of hand.” He added that his family was shaken by the weekend gunfire.

Police were called to the Airbnb location near Pape and Danforth Avenue around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday after reports of gunshots.
Police were called to the Airbnb location near Pape and Danforth Avenue around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday after reports of gunshots. Matthew Bingley / Global News

“We would never want anything to happen to our neighbours who we care about, so we are taking our house off the short-term rental market,” wrote Keogh.

Toronto-Danforth Coun. Paula Fletcher said Keogh’s home shouldn’t have been hosting Airbnb rentals in the first place.

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“This is an illegal Airbnb,” said Fletcher, noting the city’s bylaws on short-term rentals which were currently upheld at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal.

READ MORE: Ontario tribunal upholds Toronto rules on short-term rentals like Airbnb

Under the city’s rules for short-term rentals (less than 28-consecutive days), only people using their principal residence can rent a unit on Airbnb. But a city spokesperson said in an email that staff are only responding to issues on a complaint basis.

Fletcher said the city needs to move faster to begin enforcing the bylaw. “I’m writing to them to say ‘when will (the rules) be in place?’” she said.

This hasn’t been the first time a party at an Airbnb ended with violence. Following a Halloween shooting in a San Francisco suburb, the company took steps to crack down on open parties advertising on social media.

But Airbnb’s policy doesn’t impact parties that are approved by hosts. The company does provide ways to report rowdy parties, with the threat of removing an account.

READ MORE: Airbnb to ban ‘party houses’ in wake of deadly California shooting, CEO says

Airbnb spokesperson Lindsey Scully said in a statement that the company is outraged at the reported behaviour over the weekend.

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“We have removed the booking guest from our community and suspended the listing as we investigate further,” she wrote.

Fairbnb Canada, an advocacy group calling for a crackdown on short-term rentals, told Global News this latest incident shows the policy isn’t working.

“To our knowledge, Airbnb has not removed any known party houses in Toronto,” said Thorben Wieditz in an email.