A grandmother is suing Airbnb over Sandy Hill accommodations. Photo: Parker Townes.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hotels can better control their environment, so try that option first

If you were in Ottawa last summer you probably heard about the high prices for hotels and accomodations in the city during the Canada 150 celebrations. One tourist is now suing Airbnb after her accomodation was moved, forcing the woman and her family to spend their Canada Day in Sandy Hill instead of on Albert St. as they had been promised. I would love to give a definitive opinion on this case, but the honest answer is that there are so many moving parts and so many issues, so I’m going break it down for you as best as I can.

First of all, if AirBnb actually did mess up, as the woman alleges in her lawsuit, and moved the booking from Albert to Stewart St., that’s awful. I can only imagine that the Albert location was calmer and more family-friendly. If that’s the the case then it’s certainly on AirBnb to offer some form of monetary compensation. This issue also lays some blame on the host of the home, as well as Airbnb.

On the other hand, the woman’s attitude can only be described as annoying. Albert and Stewart are drastically different environments, but the woman’s description of her accommodations are far from pleasant. According to the CBC, the final straw for this trip after being relocated was when the family returned to their AirBnb on Canada Day and found students playing beer pong on the front lawn of the rental. This combined, with the smell of marijuana over the course of their stay forced the family to move to a hotel for “their peace of mind.”

This woman told CBC that her friends told her that Sandy Hill was a “university pot ghetto,” (come on, there’s no way I’m not going to use that quote) and that the area was “not suitable for anyone wanting to sleep.” But such comments are too generalizing and give students a bad rap. It is more than a little funny to imagine a grandmother shaking her fists at a bunch of kids, but this is more than just that.

That’s clearly not the trip this grandmother intended on sharing with her family, but can she really blame students who  want to celebrate on Canada Day? She has every right to be frustrated with AirBnb, and the host of the home, but if she could afford a hotel the whole time, why didn’t she book a room there to begin with? Part of the AirBnb experience is not just cheaper accommodations, but also a chance to experience life with locals. Sometimes that can mean classy relaxing neighbourhoods, and sometimes that means dodging Gee-Gees with the summer off playing pong.