After hours of listening to those renting the Airbnb unit screaming, fighting and partying, Azman left to stay at her boyfriend’s. When she returned in the morning, a police car and the building now featured bullet damage.
A Toronto police spokesperson said they received a call around 3:33 a.m. on Sunday after reports of gun shots.
A neighbour told police they had seen someone run into the street and flash what they thought was a gun. Police said no one was located with injuries at the home, but they did locate bullet holes.
“Last night I couldn’t sleep,” said Azman. “This is the first time I’m feeling like very unsafe living in my own house.”
While pointing out the three pockmarks left from bullets on her and her neighbour’s home, Azman discovered another bullet in the front garden.
“We need to protect this street,” said Azman, noting her concern is not just for her and her 15-year-old son, but her neighbours as well.
While this is the first time a party at the Airbnb has resulted in gunfire, Azman said she has voiced concerns over loud parties before. Two weeks ago, she said a band from France used the unit to record music late into the night.
Azman said the homes’ owner Nevil Keogh hasn’t been taking the issue seriously enough and isn’t confident he can prevent further parties.
“It could be good for a couple of months and then this could happen again,” she said.
Keogh told Global News the complaints about loud parties were “exaggerated” and said he rented primarily to families. Later in a written statement, Keogh said “despite extensive interviews and a face-to-face meeting, the young women who stayed at our house let things get out of hand.” He added that his family was shaken by the weekend gunfire.
“We would never want anything to happen to our neighbours who we care about, so we are taking our house off the short-term rental market,” wrote Keogh.
Toronto-Danforth Coun. Paula Fletcher said Keogh’s home shouldn’t have been hosting Airbnb rentals in the first place.
“This is an illegal Airbnb,” said Fletcher, noting the city’s bylaws on short-term rentals which were currently upheld at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal.