According to CBS SF, the company facilitated the rental of property where a “mansion” party took place in Orinda, California. On Halloween, a shooter came onto the premise of the party and opened fire, killing five people. Raymon Hill Jr. was one of the victims and his family believes that Airbnb hadn’t done enough to ensure a safe rental on the night of the party. They also accuse the short-term rental company of not following through on promises when they discovered people were killed at the party.
CEO Brian Chesky tweeted on November 2 that Airbnb was “working to support” the families and neighbors impacted by the Orinda incident.
However, Mitchell Law Firm, which is representing the family of Raymon Hill, Jr. issued a statement saying that while they were expecting to grieve privately, “recent statements by Airbnb have compelled them to respond to certain escalating falsehoods,” including the tweets sent out by the CEO of Airbnb.
The law firm claims “that in no way has Airbnb done anything to support the family of Mr. Hill.” The firm further said that the Hill family tried to reach out to Airbnb about the company paying for some of the funeral expense, but they were ignored.
“They haven’t even reached out to apologize,” the statement reads. “They have merely responded in public with platitudes and thoughts and prayers or have made nebulous promises to ‘do better’ and ‘improve trust.’”
The law firm statement also asserts that Chesky and Airbnb should have made these promises “before these senseless deaths” and they further blame “the homeowners, hosts and Airbnb, as well as the city and the police” in being complicit with the occurrence of what’s deemed “essentially unregulated nightclubs” without regulations or rules.
Short term rental properties haven’t had the best reputation recently, especially with a report that claims 42 people have been shot inside or just outside short-term rental properties across the U.S. just in the past six months. Seventeen of these people have died, according to police and news reports.
Airbnb responded to the claims made by the representatives of Hill’s family, stating:
“Following the tragedy in Orinda, we reached out to the city to provide Airbnb’s support, including offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator, and we remain in communication with Orinda PD to fully cooperate with their investigation. We have set aside funds to support the victims’ loved ones with funeral expenses and counseling services, and we have been in contact with those representing Mr. Hill’s family in this regard.”
There’s no word yet if Hill’s family has received said funds. However, according to CBS SF, they are expected to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Airbnb and the homeowners.