REN­TAL GONE BAD

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA - Cas­san­dra Szk­larski

• Thieves made off with a 50- inch TV, trea­sured fam­ily heir­looms and a care­fully cu­rated sneaker col­lec­tion, but it’s their son’s plun­dered piggy bank that re­ally up­sets Daniel Habashi and An­drea Van Leeuwen.

The Toronto home­own­ers say they were shocked to find their cen­tury- old Vic­to­rian row­house trashed and ran­sacked af­ter rent­ing it out for a week­end in July on the Airbnb-like web­site Kid & Coe.

They are now su­ing the New York- based com­pany and es­ti­mate dam­ages to the home and the value of stolen prop­erty to­tal $100,000.

“The ( renters) ran­sacked our home, they emp­tied draw­ers out, cleared out clos­ets, they used our own lug­gage to sort through all our be­long­ings to de­ter­mine what to take, what to sell,” said Van Leeuwen, who sus­pects more than 50 peo­ple tram­pled through their house.

Habashi said they be­lieved they were rent­ing to a young cou­ple with a tod­dler, but later learned the renter had used fraud­u­lent credit card in­for­ma­tion. They learned some­thing was wrong July 22, the day af­ter the guest checked in.

They were vis­it­ing New York when a neighbour emailed a noise com­plaint that evening. Early the next morn­ing, Habashi no­ticed sev­eral alerts on his mo­bile phone re­port­ing smoke in the house. They called a se­cu­rity com­pany to in­ves­ti­gate, and it dis­cov­ered eight adults sleep­ing in the home. They were evicted, and a rel­a­tive filed a po­lice re­port.

Van Leeuwen said she was es­pe­cially dis­tressed to find her chil­dren’s toys bro­ken and ap­par­ently used as drug para­pher­na­lia, and their books burned by cig­a­rettes.

Ever since, she said her four- and five- year- old sons have been “highly dis­tressed.”

“I can still smell the hint of the smoke that was in the home, it’s a con­stant re­minder for me of what has hap­pened in the home as well as our son just ask­ing ques­tions — ask­ing if he’s safe, ask­ing if his stuff is OK.”

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