By JAMES TEMPERTON Tuesday 11 February 2020


The curious tale of a man called Christian, the Catholic church, David Schwimmer’s wife, a secret hotel and an Airbnb scam running riot on the streets of London.

t’s November 2019 and I’m standing in an Airbnb in Battersea, south London. But this is not the Airbnb I booked. Everything is slightly, confusingly, off. All the rooms are the wrong sizes, all the furniture in the wrong places. There are hints everywhere that something is up: the apartment block, a barely finished newbuild sandwiched between Battersea Park station and a Catholic church, is teeming with cleaning staff. There are cleaners in the hallways, cleaners lobbing bin bags of rubbish out of the front door, cleaners grabbing armfuls of bed linen in the elevator. It’s like a hotel – except there’s no front desk, and the allegedly clean duvet on my bed has a human-sized, yellow sweat stain running down its center.

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