Family being watched by Airbnb host

Font Size:

IT consultant Andrew Barker and his family were holidaying in the UK when they discovered a hidden camera live streaming footage to an Airbnb host.

The family stumbled on the find when connecting to the free house wifi and discovering a camera on the list of networks.

Mr Barker then found the actual device, hidden in a smoke alarm in the living room and sending a live video feed to the Airbnb host.

“It felt like a huge invasion of our privacy,” Mr Barker’s wife, Nealie, told the ABC.

“The kids felt worried that the host might be a scary stalker type and we knew he had remote access to the front door, so could, in theory, enter the property.

“We really had no clue whether our safety was at risk or not or whether there were other cameras in the house.”

The family approached the Airbnb host who denied the existence of the camera. When presented with the irrefutable evidence, he said he installed it to protect his property, but would not say whether footage was being recorded.

Photo: Facebook 

The family was also upset at Airbnb’s response to the incident. Airbnb refused both to remove the accommodation listing and to mention that a hidden camera was onsite. This type of information is required by Airbnb Standards & Expectations, which states:

“We prohibit any surveillance devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (such as bedrooms and bathrooms) regardless of whether they’ve been disclosed.”

Airbnb later said its “original handling” of the matter wasn’t up to scratch and has offered the Barkers a full refund.

It also claimed that matters such as these were quite rare, which also turns out to be a furphy.

The ABC found that it may not be as rare as travellers may hope.

In a study of 1000 complaints lodged with Airbnb about “unsafe and unacceptable conditions”, the third most common complaint included mentions of hidden cameras.

The Barkers are now lobbying Airbnb for stricter rules regarding hidden cameras as well as harsher penalties for breaking these rules.

Read more at Travel Weekly.

What would you do if you found a hidden camera in your Airbnb or hotel room?

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


How to find a hidden camera in your hotel room

Is there a hidden camera in your hotel room? Here's how to find out.

Is it legal for Airbnb hosts to spy on guests?

Will you be spied upon during your next Airbnb stay?

Airbnb is great until it’s not – beware changing rules

The rules are changing in several major cities. Don't get caught out.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 7
  1. 0

    Check up with your travel insurance that if you lost your ducument did it cover when you stay in airbnb. Because there are thing that are hard to tell if you stay with airbnb not a hotel. Hotel are more safe than airbnb, it might cause more but they are well taken care of when you had a problem. You don,t want to ruin your holiday like that. I am not opposing you, because when that a problem you are on your own..

  2. 0

    We never liked the idea of Air b’n’b too many uncertainties, and this is one of them. If the owners were being awkward and you could not get any satisfaction from them I think I would go to the Police – but then again that would depend on where the Air b’n’b was!!
    Our preferred accommodation is a nice Bed and Breakfast place, with good reviews

  3. 0

    Here’s how to tell if there is a camera watching you. This works.
    Most (all?) surveillance cameras have night vision: Infra-red LEDs light the space. We humans cant see infra-red light. But your mobile phone (and camera) can.
    So switch your phone’s camera on and “scan” around the room, especially areas you suspect a camera to be in.
    You will see, on the camera screen, a circle of very bright white lights. The camera is in the middle.
    Use tape to cover up the area or you could get very creative with some other gunk! (After you write out an appropriate sign and hold it up to the camera!).
    Then please, put that fact in your reviews! Spread the word. This particular Airbnb wont get any more customers.

  4. 0

    I would stand on a chair and short circuit the device or cut the wires. I always carry a tool bag with me.

  5. 0

    I personally steer clear of any of the ‘new’ business models like Airbnb, Uber and the like. A proper hotel, BnB or hostel and a proper taxi or hire car give me more confidence I am dealing with reputable people. I am suspicious that some of these ‘sharing’ business models do not carry an appropriate level of insurance or nave criminal background checks on the operators.



continue reading

Age Pension

CPI figures point to an increase in the Age Pension in March

After pensioners were denied an Age Pension increase in September last year, due to a rare case of deflation in...


MND breakthrough offers hope damaged nerve cells can be repaired

There is hope of a breakthrough in treating motor neurone disease (MND) after Edinburgh researchers found a way to repair...


Avoid these common mistakes people make with bleach

Bleach is one of the most effective and least expensive disinfectants around, but it pays to remember it's not an...


Concerns over limited data on how vaccine will affect over-65s

There are growing concerns that the vaccine expected to be given to the majority of Australians when the rollout starts...


Making healthy eating more affordable

Eating a healthy diet is crucial to our mental and emotional health as well as our physical wellbeing. It can...


Hands up who's in the club that is wrecking the planet

Alex Baumann, Western Sydney University and Samuel Alexander, University of Melbourne Among the many hard truths exposed by COVID-19 is...


The most iconic handbags of all time

While countless clothing trends have come and gone, certain handbags have remained desirable across the decades, as coveted now as...

Health news

Health check finds Australia is stressed and obese

One quarter (25.6 per cent) of Australians undergoing a health check have been identified as at risk of developing diabetes....