Tenants in a luxury apartment block say they are enduring an “ongoing nightmare” due to repeated lockdown parties being held in two online rental flats within the building.
The residents have complained about drug use, vandalism, litter and noise which they say took place around the clock at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One tenant said his four-year-old young son woke up struggling to breathe after his apartment filled with cannabis smoke from a party at Luxury Grange Apartments.
Complaints have also been made about revellers vomiting in hedgerows, dumping rubbish and kicking the communal front door in, with the illegal parties said to have been almost constant throughout March at the Victorian-era building in Gwendolyn Drive, Lower Stoke.
Airbnb, which currently lists the two ‘luxurious’ flats for rent, responded this week to say it has taken steps to prevent rental properties being used for house parties and has a “zero tolerance” approach to disruptive and illegal behaviour by guests.
The flats are also listed on the Booking.com and BedandBreakfast websites.
One tenant, who gave his name as Adam, said: “It’s been an ongoing nightmare since December.
“At first I thought it was just noisy neighbours but after a month or so I realised there were people coming in with suitcases to set up the parties and the two apartments were being let out on Airbnb.
“It was almost continuous at the height of the lockdown in March, a group of lads would arrive at ten in the morning and they’d go through to four the next morning.
“There was the constant thud of music, cannabis smoke coming into my apartment and people throwing up outside in the shrubbery and leaving engines constantly running in the car park.”
Adam has reported the problems to Morris Homes, which manages the block, West Midlands Police and Airbnb but feels “powerless” to prevent the issues.
He said: “On the worst occasion my son, who has asthma, and who might have had Covid-19, though it was never diagnosed, was struggling to breathe.
“He woke up crying for air. I went into his room and it smelled of cannabis from a party of nearly twenty people in one of the apartments. I brought him to my room at about three in the morning and while I was trying to give him medicine, all I could smell was cannabis smoke.
“I was in two minds as to whether to take him to University Hospital, as I was worried that if he didn’t have Covid then he could contract it at the hospital.
“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare when your child can’t breathe. You feel so helpless.
“As well as people smoking cannabis in the flats they were smoking it in the lobby and in the car park where there were people riding round on electric scooters.
“The littering and vandalism included loads of discarded nitrous oxide canisters and they threw food and drink up a wall in the lobby. They must have got bored of ringing the intercom because they repeatedly kicked the door open throughout March so they could come and go as they pleased.
“It went on throughout the month, with groups of lads turning up in cars and taxis.
“There would be three or four cars in the car park and there would be one car with people in it at all times. They would open the cars, dump their rubbish on the ground and just drive off.
“I’ve told my son not to touch the bannisters or any other surfaces on the way up to my apartment because of the steady stream of people coming in and out.
“I have complained to Airbnb at least a dozen times but I keep getting the same ‘copy and paste’ response each time. I’ve also called the police, who have not come out, either because they are too busy or they have said there is no way of proving it is not a community bubble.
“It’s not what you want in an apartment building where you have children and young families, but nothing has happened. I feel powerless and it makes me want to move out.”
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Two other residents, who did not want to be named, also told CoventryLive on Wednesday (September 2) that there have been problems with noise and anti-social behaviour at the block of flats.
One said: “It’s at the weekends. There are lots of people going in and out all through the night. There is noise and people being sick outside. It carries on until four in the morning.”
A spokesman for Airbnb said: “While we’ve found no link between the reports and active Airbnb reservations, we have zero tolerance for illegal or disruptive behaviour and take action on issues brought to our attention.
“We recently announced a global ban on all parties and events at Airbnb listings, and have launched a new pilot restriction for the UK to crackdown on anti-social behaviour and unauthorised parties.”
The pilot measure will restrict certain bookings by UK guests under the age of 25 for ‘entire home’ listings in their local area. Between April and July, Airbnb limited all new UK bookings to key workers and ‘essential stays’ in line with Government guidance aimed at allaying the Covid-19 pandemic.
West Midlands Police were unable to retrieve details of the force’s response based on the information provided by Adam, but used the example of a rented ‘party house’ that was closed by officers in August as an example of its pro-active approach.
A spokesman said: “Generally speaking we’ve been successful in tackling issues at rental properties and securing closure orders, including the recent closure of a party house in Halesowen.
“We would encourage anyone experiencing these types of issues to contact us as soon as possible.
“We will continue to ensure that we work with our partners and the courts to close addresses when issues are reported to us.”
Morris Homes did not respond to a request for comment.