Airbnb stay turns into nightmare for evicted couple while they sleep

A New Zealand couple who spent over $4,500 renting an Airbnb in Toronto were evicted by police in the middle of the night after a man showed up claiming the unit was his.

Syeda Farhana Shariff and Shariff Masudul Haque have rented the apartment, advertised as a “luxury two-bedroom condo”, located next to the CN Tower on Front Street, for a month.

“It was nowhere near luxury,” Haque told CTV News Toronto on Friday. “It didn’t look good and it’s a poorly maintained property.”

The tourists were more than two weeks into their month-long stay in Toronto when around 1 a.m. Wednesday, they received an unexpected knock on the door from a stranger.

“He said we had to leave. I was really surprised by that,” Haque said.

According to Haque, the man claimed he was the rightful tenant of the apartment.

CTV News Toronto viewed the couple’s Airbnb confirmation email, which shows they paid to rent the apartment from July 5 to August 2.

Haque and his wife said they initially refused to leave, but the man then called the police.

“He called the cops, and the cops said they were convinced by the paperwork that he was the leaseholder,” Haque said. “The police told us to leave the place within 30 minutes before things got out of hand. They didn’t care how we did it, they just wanted us out.”

Haque said they decided there was no point in arguing with the police, packed their things and went to the lobby of the building.

Haque said he spent two hours on hold to speak to someone with Airbnb.

“They didn’t do anything except say they will review the situation,” Haque said.

Haque said the couple found another place to stay for the rest of the night, but had to pay $580.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto, police said they responded to a call Wednesday for an “unwanted guest in a building.”

Police say a man arrived at an apartment to find two people he doesn’t know.

“The couple collected their belongings and left the unit upon police arrival and confirmation that the complainant is the rightful tenant of the unit,” police said.

Haque said the couple received a message from Airbnb on Thursday afternoon saying they would be refunded, but still had no response as to what actually led to the incident.

In a statement to CTV News Toronto on Friday, an Airbnb spokesperson said they “take this incredibly seriously.”

“After an investigation, the listing has been deactivated and we have fully refunded customers for this experience.”

Haque said they were grateful for the refund, but thinks Airbnb could have been “more proactive” in helping them in the moment.

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