Vacationers sue hosts over bats in their Airbnb

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July 9, 2024

A group of eight women celebrating their 50th high school reunion in a Victorian-style Airbnb, known as “the castle“, in Alpena, MI are suing Airbnb host, property owner and Airbnb after being met with a population of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) in the home.

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The “Historic Castle House” in Alpena, Mich., is currently available on the Air BnB website. (Photo: Airbnb.com)

The bats were first spotted when two women were woken up at night by a bat flying into their room. After fleeing to the hallway, the frightened women reconvened with the other women staying at the house before being swarmed by more bats in the stairway.

The bats were coming coming down the old lath walls and coming out gaps in the floor boards, according to  a statement made by Marko Law.

When the women brought a pest management professional (PMP) in to examine the house, they were told there was evidence of bats present in the building for years.

Little brown bat. PHOTO: GKUCHERA/ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS/GETTY IMAGES

Little brown bat. (Photo: Gkuchera /iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

In the Alpena 26th Circuit Court, there are two cases, one filed on Nov. 2 and another on Feb. 20. Both cases involve the same parties, though the alleged owner of the property was dismissed from the Feb. 20 suit without prejudice May 15. Multiple cases were filed since there was difficulty finding the owner of the Airbnb, but the second is case is actually a continuation of the first.

The lawsuits provide a cautionary tale to property owners in forgoing managing unwanted pests in the home, especially when renting the space to others. The tale gives incentive for pest management professionals to protect their clients from lawsuits and keep unwanted pests out of homes and rentals alike.

 

 

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About the Author

Julia was an intern at North Coast Media, PMP's parent company, during summer 2024 where she contributed as a writer. Julia studies Multimedia Journalism and Political Science at Loyola University Chicago.

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