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Women sue Airbnb after staying in 'house of horror' filled with bats

A group of women is suing Airbnb, a homeowner and a rental manager after they claim a horde of bats attacked them in a Michigan home.
Women sue Airbnb after staying in 'house of horror' filled with bats
Posted at 7:44 PM, Oct 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-31 20:44:06-04

A group of women who booked a Michigan Airbnb advertised as "bursting with charm" were greeted instead by a home bursting with bats, according to a lawsuit they filed — fittingly — a day before Halloween against the company, the homeowner and the rental's manager.

The women booked the Victorian-style home nicknamed "The Castle" in Alpena to celebrate their 50th high school reunion in late July, the suit filed by Marko Law says. 

They had a nice time at The Castle for three nights, then as they were going to sleep on the fourth night, bats suddenly began screeching and flying into the rooms, coming through baseboards and other narrow openings in the old home and "dive-bombing" the women in their beds, according to the suit.

Initially believing only one bat was the culprit, the women realized they were wrong when hordes of bats soon began pouring out of the attic into the bedrooms, hallway and stairwell, allegedly forcing the women back to their beds to hide under their bedsheets as they couldn't escape the home.

This continued throughout the night, with bats becoming entangled in some of the women's hair and one woman even sustaining bites from the animals, the law firm said.

Following their stay, an exterminator called to the property found The Castle's attic was infested with a large colony of Michigan brown bats that the expert estimated had been there for multiple years.

The group's close encounter with the animals prompted each to undergo rabies vaccinations that incurred medical expenses, and they suffered emotionally and mentally, the suit states.

The group filed because they say Airbnb "negligently allowed the bat-infested home to be advertised on the platform" and that the homeowners and maintenance workers "had a responsibility to ensure that the home was safe when renting it," the law firm said.

"This is every renter's worst nightmare," attorney Jon Marko said in a press release. "What was supposed to be a fun vacation turned into a house of horror for my clients. No one expects to be attacked by a horde of bats. This played out like a scene from a Halloween horror movie."

A review on The Castle's Airbnb listing page from July appears to be from one of the women. It says, "The host did not respond to our 11 calls during our terrifying night with the bats, beginning at 12:08 a.m. The co-host answered my call but could not offer any help. We did not hear from the host until I checked Airbnb and saw he had responded via Airbnb email at 7:30 the morning following the invasion."

The rental's host replied to the comment, calling the situation "incredibly random and unfortunate." He also said the women were immediately refunded and offered additional funds for hotel lodging and dinner.

"No expense or effort was spared to rectify this as promptly and professionally as possible," the host continued. "Ultimately, the expert was only able to find one (likely transient) bat. Bats are very active this time of year in Northern Michigan and it's unfortunate one found its way inside."

Airbnb told NBC News it had not been served with the lawsuit yet.

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