Feature image crediti: Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian
Four guests have threatened Airbnb with legal action after the balcony of the holiday home they had booked through its website collapsed, resulting in serious injuries and hospitalization for all.
Alexander Browning, Jessica Paterson, Harry Dee and Claire Corfield ended up spending weeks in a hospital with serious injuries after falling two storeys from a property in Brighton, which had been billed on Airbnb as having a “balcony with a sea view.”
Ms. Corfield was buried under rubble with a broken back, shoulder blade and eye socket, while Mr. Dee, a self-employed carpenter, was impaled on a railing. Given the severity of his injuries, he was compelled to give up his flat because he could not longer afford rent after having to take time off work. Ms. Paterson broke her pelvis and suffered a collapsed lung in the accident, while Mr. Browning broke his wrist in three places and sustained facial injuries.
The victims, who have spent thousands of pounds on medical bills, are now seeking what they consider “meaningful compensation,” their lawyer told MailOnline.
Neither Airbnb nor the owner of the property — which has since been removed from the website — have come forward to offer to cover the four victims medical costs or even to admit liability.
The friends’ lawyer, Jenny Kennedy, remarked on how shocking it was that Airbnb was able to “make so much money in our community” but “when push comes to shove” they didn’t even offer financial support. She added: “This is the problem with an unregulated organisation… They say we get cheap accommodation – but at what cost?”
The group had reportedly booked the £217-a-night flat for a friend’s birthday celebrations in July, when it collapsed underneath them.