Crime

Wellesley woman who says she was attacked at a Barcelona rental is suing Airbnb

“It was supposed to be the best semester of my life"

Victoria Yordanova posed for a portrait near Boston Children's Hospital, where she works. Yordanova was attacked in an Airbnb apartment in Barcelona and is still traumatized by the incident, which took place in 2018. CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF

A Wellesley woman is suing Airbnb – the popular home rental service –  after she said a stay in Barcelona left her with two neck fractures and a broken arm from an attack and potential abduction, The Boston Globe reported.

In 2018, Victoria Yordanova was a 21-year-old college student at Simmons University studying abroad in Dublin, according to the Globe. She said she decided to take a trip with friends to Barcelona and scheduled an Airbnb to arrive a night before them.

“It was supposed to be the best semester of my life,” Yordanova, now a technician at Boston Children’s Hospital, told the Globe.

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When she arrived at the rental at 9:30 p.m. that night, Yardanova said the host, a woman named Tamara, was nowhere to be found and was unable get into the apartment. She said she eventually got in touch with Tamara, who told her it was too late and sent Yordanova to a different apartment, the Globe reported. 

She said she was finally able to sleep at the other apartment – which had many other visitors and no lock on the door – when Yardanova said three men attempted to abduct her. A door lock is an Airbnb requirement.

According to the lawsuit, Yordanova woke up to the three men carrying her out of her bed and down a staircase. When she began fighting and screaming, Yardanova said the men threw her down the stairs, which led to her injuries. 

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The lawsuit reports that her screaming alerted neighbors, who found her in an alley at the bottom of the stairs and quickly contacted police. She suffered life-threatening injuries and was hospitalized for more than a week, including four days in the intensive care unit, the Globe reported. 

Yardanova was immobilized for two months and has a titanium rod in her arm that cannot be removed, according to the Globe. Her lawyer, George A. McLaughlin, said she still suffers from psychological and physical side effects three years later, and has many visible scars. 

According to the Globe, Yardanova is suing Airbnb because they “failed to provide a safe place for her to stay when she arrived in Barcelona.”

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While Airbnb did not comment on the incident when contacted by the Globe, they did confirm Tamara has since been removed from the app. Airbnb also said in a news release sent to the Globe that “between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020, only .086 percent of trips included a safety issue reported by a host or guest.” 

However, the Globe reported an incident in 2018 in which an Airbnb host crashed through the window of a guest’s room. Bloomberg reported another incident where a woman was raped in a Manhattan Airbnb and was paid $7 million by the company to prevent public complaints.

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“I want people to know this can happen,” Yordanova told the Globe. “You can get an Airbnb and you can end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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