Back before Airbnb became mostly strange and gross, I stayed in some pretty interesting places. I once booked a room at an old mansion in Gettysburg, Penn. During the Civil War, its property was used as a makeshift hospital for men injured in battle. There was nothing I wanted more than to see the ghost of an old saw blade floating through its dark hallways. Alas, I did not.
What I have never encountered is an intruder in an Airbnb. With so many people going in an out of a property, it stands to reason that an unwanted guest is not unusual. I've always been suspicious of a rotating door code, even though it's usually the last four digits of the renter's phone number. For two Airbnb rental owners, things got weird when they discovered a man hiding under the bed of one of their properties. Was this a Goldilocks situation? I bet the bed itself was more comfortable.
Is that a man under your bed or are you just happy to see me?
Luis Lopez, who goes by @ricanluis on TikTok, went to clean his Airbnb property when he noticed something, or someone, was under one of the beds. In the 31-second TikTok, a shape is visible though it's not immediately obvious that it's a person. All we can see is a lighter on the floor next to the mysterious mass.
In three follow-up TikToks, Luis and his partner go into detail about what happened that day. In Part 1, Luis explains that the male renter met the unhoused man under the bed via a dating app. "We knew exactly what dating app that was," said one of the owners. I'm guessing it was Grindr.
The unhoused person revealed that the two of them did MDMA and crystal meth together, but Luis and his partner quickly realized that's not all they did. When the owners cleaned the bathroom, they discovered human feces in the sink and on the soap dispenser. They also found a brush one uses to clean dishes and a plunger, both covered in feces. The implication being, these were possibly used in anal play.
To be clear, the owners were not judging them for their sexual interests but rather for the fact that these things were left for them to clean. Obviously they threw these items away. The owners called police who, after flipping the bed over, put the unhoused man in handcuffs. He was "so drugged up," all he could do was nod his head yes or no when asked questions. The bed squatter "didn't deny they were doing drugs and did not deny they were hooking up," said Luis.
It was clearly time to get the other side of this story, so Luis and his partner reached out to the renter who confirmed that he did in fact let the unhoused man into the Airbnb. According to him, he "gave him a place to stay the night. He was homeless. I told him to leave at 11. I know I should have told you. If he doesn't leave, call the cops. I was just being a nice person. Sorry for the inconvenience."
Ultimately the homeowners chose not to press charges because the unhoused man didn't actually break into their rental property, explained Luis in Part 2 of this saga. Nothing was damaged, apart from the mess that was made. Because the Airbnb is in a gated residential community, they did alert security about the situation. They told them to be on the lookout for the unhoused man because at that point, he would be trespassing.
At the end of the day, the owners didn't feel comfortable having him arrested as this could gravely affect his life. "I didn't feel the need to harm him any more than he was already harmed," said one owner. In photos Luis took of the unhoused man standing next to a police car, he looked more shocked and embarrassed than anything.
After all was said and done, the owners beefed up security. They always change the door code between guests, but this time they also changed the Wi-Fi password and ordered cameras.
The homeowners also reached out to the Airbnb safety time to figure out if the renter would be allowed to continue using the app. As of the time of this writing we don't have an answer, though Airbnb has launched its own investigation into this matter. "There is nothing more we can do at the moment," said one owner, who noted that the safety of their guests has always been their priority and they've done all they can.
In a third TikTok, Luis and his partner jumped back in to explain why the unhoused man chose to stay, apart from the obvious reason. He was hiding under the bed because, in his words, he wanted to "use their Wi-Fi." He added that he had nowhere else to go and needed to get online in order to plan his next move. Hopefully his next move is somewhere where he can take care of himself, and won't have to rely on dating apps to find a comfortable place to stay. Of course that's easier written than done.