The owner of an Edmonton Airbnb rental rushed to the city as soon as he found out his house was the scene of a weekend shooting.
Land title records identify the homeowners as a married couple who live in Toronto. At their request, CBC has agreed not to identify the owners, who said they are concerned for their safety while a shooter or shooters are still at large.
“We’re extremely upset and heartsick over the incident that occurred over the weekend and arrived home to Edmonton early Sunday morning,” the homeowner said in a written statement.
“Work requires us to travel frequently, including back to Edmonton. We make sure our home is well taken care of and monitored continuously.”
The shooting occurred around 3:20 a.m. Sunday morning in the otherwise quiet Bonnie Doon neighbourhood. Three bullet holes were clearly visible in the windshield and two driver’s side windows of a black Nissan Altima parked along the street.
A pair of 24-year old men remain in hospital recovering from gunshot wounds. A police spokesman said they are in serious but stable condition.
No arrests have been made and the homeowner has pulled down his rental listing while the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, Airbnb has removed the guest who rented the house on Friday and Saturday night from their platform, alleging the renter broke the rules.
“Unauthorized parties represent a clear breach of trust,” Airbnb spokesperson Lindsey Scully wrote in an email. “We take reports of unauthorized parties incredibly seriously and when we learn of guests violating the trust of their host by throwing an unauthorized party, we take swift and appropriate action while we investigate the reported incident.”
Neighbour Dale Askey said he saw police breaking up what appeared to be a house party.
“Basically they were saying, ‘We need to empty the house to make sure everyone is safe. And we’re coming in with a canine unit and the dog bites. And if you’re in the house, you’re going to get bitten,'” he said.
Another neighbour was shocked as he watched people pour out of the house in the middle of the night.
“About 15 people came out and I thought, ‘Oh, that’s quite a few people in there,'” Bob Burton said. Then it was 20, 30, 40, 50, 60. Sixty young people in that house!”
‘They can’t possibly know who’s using their house’
Askey said the situation raises questions about Edmonton’s policy toward Airbnb.
“It irritates me,” he said.
“It makes me think about absentee owners and how well they scrutinize people to whom they’re renting.”
Askey said he’d been told the homeowners live in Toronto.
“They can’t possibly know who’s using their house,” Askey said. “They can’t possibly check in. That’s just irresponsible.”
The homeowner said he is careful to take precautions with his property.
“We highly scrutinize the renters who request our home on Airbnb, and having parties is strictly not permitted as a house rule,” the homeowner said.
“It’s a luxury property. Usually, families attending weddings rent it out. We’ve never had a problem like this before.”
The homeowner added he is working with Airbnb to increase security.
The City of Edmonton website does not list any requirements for short-term rentals. In August, the city released a report indicating consideration is being given to imposing new guidelines.
The report suggested that hosts should obtain a $92 business licence to rent out properties on home-sharing sites like Airbnb. A council committee agreed with the proposal, but it must go before all of council for a vote.
The city began investigating regulation options after multiple complaints regarding disruptive and untidy short-term rental properties were filed.