Wellesley woman who says she was assaulted in Barcelona rental sues 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 claiming a stay in Barcelona left her with two broken necks and a broken arm following an attack and a potential kidnapping, The Boston Globe reported.

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

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

When she arrived at the rental at 9:30 p.m. that evening, Yardanova said the host, a woman named Tamara, was nowhere to be found and was unable to enter the apartment. She said she eventually contacted Tamara, who told her it was too late and moved Yordanova to another apartment, The Globe reported.

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

According to the lawsuit, Yordanova woke up with the three men dragging her out of bed and down a flight of stairs. When she began to fight and scream, Yardanova said the men threw her down the stairs, injuring her.

The lawsuit reports that her screams 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 has been immobilized for two months and has a titanium rod in her arm that cannot be removed, according to the Globe. Her attorney, George A. McLaughlin, said she was still suffering from psychological and physical side effects three years later and had numerous visible scars.

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

Although Airbnb did not comment on the incident when contacted by the Globe, they did confirm that Tamara has since been removed from the app. Airbnb also said in a press release sent to The Globe that “between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, only 0.086% of trips included a safety issue reported by a host or guest.”

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

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

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