'Not OK:' Woman Shares Wild Tale After Finding Own Home Listed on Airbnb

A woman has shared a wild tale after her own home ended up on Airbnb, with someone else trying to list it as their own rental.

Shireen Heidari tweeted the company after spotting her home on the rental site, which allows people to book rooms or entire houses as an alternative to traditional hotels.

Heidari, whose bio states she works in palliative care at the Stanford Department of Medicine in California, said: "Hi @Airbnb - I would really appreciate you contacting me.

"Someone has listed my home as their rental, and when I messaged them asking them to take it down, they offered option to book my own home.

"We reported it, but the listing is still active. This is not ok."

She explained how she discovered the listing, saying: "The city mailed letters to previous owners at our address about needing to report rental taxes. Called the city and employee shared Airbnb listing links that prompted letters. Grateful they caught it. Otherwise we might have found out by people showing up at our home. (!!)"

And responding to someone who called the situation "awful," Heidari replied: "Agreed. Thanks! I called again this evening after the person listing it extended an offer to stay - the rep was very helpful and I'm hoping we will get a resolution. Still scary."

The day after the initial tweet the official Airbnb Help account responded, saying: "Hi there, the team is aware of the issue and are working on it. You can disregard the email sent regarding this."

The post, shared last week, amassed more than 40,000 likes, and can be seen here, as people were gobsmacked by the situation.

Kirk Klocke wrote: "Seems odd @AirBNB doesn't do some due diligence before allowing a listing on their platform- like an ID matching a title/mortgage or document from a landlord/HOA verifying that they allow sub-leasing. Scary (and for the insane fees they charge, you know they *could* do better.)"

Katy E thought: "This is unbelievable! It looks like you're getting it sorted out, thankfully. What I don't understand is the motivation for someone to do this. Is it financial?

People also weighed in with their old wild rental tales, as Spiderhole wrote: "My old landlord here in Chicago was using images of my home to rent out other apartments. I only found out when I was online looking for a new place to live and saw *my* apartment with all my stuff etc, which meant they came into my house when I wasn't home and took pictures."

Lover of Equality said: "When we were selling our house, someone hijacked the pictures and we're trying to rent it. Several people came over to tour it. Be careful."

"What does one do if someone shows up your home because someone fraudulently listed it on Airbnb?" @BtCmon asked.

David Wing advised: "Courteously explain that your house is not an Airbnb and that they need to contact the company. If they get mean, tell them they are now trespassing, and you will be calling the police."

BirdResQR commented: "I had that happen when I sold my last home. I was home and had a family on my patio, peering in the sliding glass door into my kitchen. It was very unnerving."

Wilbur claimed: "This happened in Jackson WY - some poor family put down 10k and showed up at someone's house that they had never listed as a rental."

After her initial post blew up, Heidari shared two updates, confirming the listing had been taken down.

She wrote: "Update: the listing is down after being reported as fraudulent. We provided proof of ownership. Still not clear what next steps are.

"There were many messages and calls throughout today. With gratitude to the customer service rep who stayed on line at 11pm to help sort it."

Addressing the widespread interest the tweet received, she posted: "Appreciate the support all. After this tweet, another call to customer service, and a DM from @Airbnb - the listing has been removed. Want to recognize the customer service rep on the phone who stuck with me at 11pm to sort this and called back to let me know it was removed."

Explaining what happened, a spokesperson for Airbnb told Newsweek: "We've been able to clear up the confusion here. The homeowner recently bought the home. The old listing was legitimate and was attached to the previous homeowner, who previously used the home as a short-term rental and we believe simply forgot to deactivate it. We've been able to clear things up and were glad to be able to support Ms. Heidari."

Airbnb was set up in 2007, and since then has grown into a global company, with the platform valued at $113 billion in 2021, Statista reported.

The site noted: "While Airbnb's speedy growth has caused bad press due to issues such as property rental shortages for locals, illegal sub-letting & safety concerns, it has still got a substantial number of loyal users.

"The privately-owned accommodation rental and sharing website has becoming increasingly well-known all over the world, mostly due to the company providing cheaper more 'authentic' alternatives to a hotel room."

Newsweek has reached out to Heidari for comment.

File photo of floorplan.
File photo of floorplan. A woman has shared the wild tale of how she found her own home listed on Airbnb. kzenon/Getty Images