A man who rented a room on Airbnb for a work trip in the Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth says he was shocked to find a ‘creepy webcam’ between two sofa cushions in the living room after checking in.
Posting on X, Ian Timbrell, 41, from Cardiff, shared a photo of him on Thursday next to the device in the short term rental, saying: ‘My Airbnb has a webcam watching the whole living room. Am I wrong to have unplugged it? Seems like a huge invasion of privacy to me!’
Timbrell, who was travelling to the Welsh town in his role as an LGBT inclusion trainer, paid around £40 for the room in the private home, with one other person staying in the property at the time.
His original post has now been viewed more than 875,000 times.
LGBT inclusion trainer Ian Timbrell travelled to the Welsh town of Aberystwyth for work this week but was shocked to find a camera tucked between two sofa cushions in the Airbnb that he’d rented
He told his followers that he didn’t spot the device when he first arrived at the home, saying: ‘I feel really creeped out as I didn’t notice it earlier.’
He followed up the photo with a video of himself in the rental, saying he’d discovered flies in the kitchen too and made the decision to vacate to a nearby hotel at around 8pm.
He told those watching: ‘So, after finding the creepy webcam in my Airbnb it’s now been infested with flies.’
In the video, he pans around, saying: ‘Look at them all on the floor, there are absolutely hundreds of them in this house. It is disgusting.’
Deciding to make a quick exit, he adds: ‘So, at 8 o’clock at night, I’m going to have to find somewhere else to stay in a town I don’t know at all.’
The camera was situated discreetly on the couch but Timbrell says it took him a while to notice it – Airbnb permits homeowners to record communal areas if they alert their guests to the fact they’re being filmed
MailOnline has contacted Airbnb for comment.
Responding to his original post, people questioned how legal it was to have cameras in Airbnb properties.
On its website, Airbnb states that it forbids recording devices that are ‘intentionally concealed’ and states clearly that homeowners are not allowed security cameras or recording devices ‘in or that observe private spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms, or sleeping areas.’
However, cameras are permitted in communal areas provided the owner is transparent about them being there and tells those renting the rooms or whole property that recordings are taking place – often ahead of booking via the original listing on Airbnb.
Insult to injury: Timbrell told his followers on X shortly after posting the photo that there were hundreds of flies in the house, sharing footage of dead flies on the kitchen floor
The 41-year-old’s video has now been seen more than 875,000 times
The educator told MailOnline that he managed to last about two hours in the property before he decided to find another place to stay.
He said he’d alerted the property owner to the issues and they said a family member would be around to deal with it – but he says they didn’t turn up.
After relocating to a hotel, Timbrell posted another video, saying he’d managed to find a last-minute room with breakfast and he wouldn’t be caught out in the same way again, saying: ‘Lesson learned, hotel stays from now on.’