in

This Woman’s Airbnb Hosting Experience Is The Most Terrifying Thing You’ll Read Today

For many who have space in their home that they do not use, Airbnb has become a way to make a profit off of housing people who need a place to stay while traveling. The company has become immensely popular, as their rates are usually cheaper than hotels for travelers.
But, one woman–Alavia Khawaja–shared the story of the traumatizing experience she had while hosting an Airbnb guest in her home recently. Khawaja has been renting out the spare bedroom in her Texas apartment for guests, and, had been doing so for about a month–until one guest began harassing her.

Khawaja told BuzzFeed News that the guest, Leonard Jackson, arrived at her apartment on October 11th. She said that his profile was normal and positive, with only one red flag. He had claimed he could not stay in an apartment with “other men.” Khawaja said she brushed it off and allowed him to check-in.

However, things got weird when Khawaja went out and returned home with a friend of hers (male). Her friend had entered the apartment first, noticing that Jackson was leaving Khawaja’s room–which was locked. Additionally, he “cleaned” the entire apartment. When Khawaja went into her room, she saw that her closet had been torn apart and all the photos she had of men/male friends were ripped up in the trash.

Khawaja said:

“He denied everything. I essentially kicked him out and he asked for a refund before leaving.”

She then realized he had stolen $500 from her. She decided to contact the police and Airbnb. The police had taken a report, and Airbnb proved to be unhelpful by saying all they could do was have her fill out a “conflict resolution form.”

But, Jackson then began texting and messaging Khawaja from the Airbnb app. According to Khawaja, he was saying uncomfortable and disturbing things such as: “come stay with me, I need you to be my wife one day,” and asked if she had condoms.

Khawaja’s friend suggested that she answer the text messages to try and get Jackson to confess to stealing her money so that she can use the text messages as proof for a police arrest.

BuzzFeed

She called the police again after Jackson said he was coming over to her apartment again. The police, however, told her that they cannot do anything unless he actually shows up. Khawaja decided to get in her car and park nearby her apartment to watch and see if Jackson would come back. As soon as he showed up, she called the police and they arrested him for trespassing. However, they found three pistols on him–which, alarmed Khawaja.

BuzzFeed confirmed that Jackson was arrested for trespassing on October 20th. They also found that Jackson was also arrested on October 17th for unauthorized carrying of a weapon and drug charges. However, he was released from jail both times on bond. Jackson apparently tried calling Khawaja from jail multiple times. And, began messaging her on the Airbnb app again, when he was released.

Khawaja, again, contacted Airbnb–who told her initially all they could do for her was have her fill out a conflict resolution form. After all of this went down, including Jackson’s arrest and warrant issued for theft, it took them two weeks to take down his profile on the app–which means that he could try to rebook a room with Khawaja, or other people on the app.

BuzzFeed reached out to Airbnb, and spokesperson Ben Breit issued a response, admitting the company took too long to respond:

“This reported behavior is abhorrent and unacceptable, and has no place on Airbnb. We have removed this guest from our platform and are in contact with local law enforcement to offer our assistance,” he said.

“Our initial response to this incident was simply too slow and we are working to fully support our host. There have been over 400 million guest arrivals to date and negative incidents are extremely rare.”

However, Khawaja says that she is still worried knowing that Jackson knows where she lives, and feels vulnerable to him returning to her home. She also said she is disappointed and angry at the way Airbnb handled the situation–stating that other women have reached out to her online after sharing her story on Twitter.

If you’re someone who is thinking about renting a room/house out on Airbnb (or other apps and websites), be mindful and careful with who you let in–you never know what can happen.

h/t: BuzzFeed.