Airbnb pays Australian tourist $7 million after rape at rental property in New York City

Vacation rental company Airbnb paid a tourist $7 million after she was allegedly raped at a rental property in New York City.

Bloomberg reported an Australian traveller received the payout after an attack on New Year’s Eve in 2015.

The victim and her friends picked up the keys to the property from a nearby shop that evening, it says.

The report suggests the suspect had made a copy of keys to the apartment, which he accessed before an attack. Junior Lee, 24, allegedly hid in the bathroom, Bloomberg reports.

Lee has been charged with predatory sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty, but remains in custody.

After the alleged attack, an Airbnb safety team contacted the local police department to offer its assistance and put the victim in a hotel.

It also offered to pay for costs such as counselling and flew her mother overseas from Australia.

Bloomberg said that, as part of the $7 million settlement, the victim cannot blame or sue Airbnb or the apartment host where the incident took place. It says it was reached two years after the alleged attack.

The latest news is part of a wider Bloomberg investigation into safety standards on the rental platform.

Since the attack, the company has not overhauled its rules on keys and where hosts may leave them.

Hosts on the platform are not required to use keypad locks or change codes for keypads between bookings. They do not have to tell Airbnb who else has a copy of a property’s key either.

However, it has introduced a number of discounts for hosts who want to buy items such as smart locks and noise detectors