A short-term rental property in North Melbourne has become a "nightmare" for neighbours and the owner who today will be counting the cost of an out-of-control house party that saw the premises — and attending police vehicles — trashed.
The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Shands Lane is advertised on a number of websites including Booking.com and Airbnb for A$158-a-night and comfortably hosts two couples or four singles reports news.com.au.
Pictures show domestic bliss — a bright, open lounge, comfortable bedrooms, clean bathrooms and a fully-functioning kitchen.
Today, it looks like a bomb hit it. The television has been stolen and so has the microwave. Holes have been punched and kicked in walls and furniture has been up-ended.
More than 50 people packed into the small property 2.5kms from the CBD for the second time in a fortnight. What started as a party ended up in wild scenes when police responded to a noise complaint.
A group of young people who were partying there jumped on police cars, kicking in windscreens and knocking mirrors off. They threw rubbish bins and firewood over the fence and forced police to shelter inside a garage.
Resident Meg Moorhouse told reporters the group was "aggressive" and residents were afraid. She said nobody wants to live next door to a property that hosts wild parties.
"It's a resident's nightmare to have short-term property starting up a business in your street," she said.
Sen-Sgt Adam Tanner said the behaviour was "outrageous" and unacceptable.
"It's criminal. It's not something that we tolerate," he told a press conference on Sunday.
The property is managed by Melbourne-based company Roomerang on behalf of an owner who lives overseas. Roomerang markets itself as "an end-to-end short stays team" helping owners "achieve higher rental cashflow".
9 News reports a representative from Roomerang texted neighbours, telling them to "calmly speak ... instead of blowing steam".
Airbnb told news.com.au the property was not rented on their platform and that they have strict rules that other accommodation providers didn't necessarily have.
The North Melbourne home is advertised for rent on a number of websites where the owners declare "strict house rules" include "no smoking, no parties, no pets, maximum number of guests is shown on the listing, please do not have more guests without notifying us".
As the party was broken up, police say a number of the youths fled. Many were taken in for questioning but police have made no arrests at this stage.
It's not the first time a short-term rental property in Melbourne has been trashed. In December last year, police were forced to use pepper spray after attending an out-of-control party in Werribee, 32kms southwest of the CBD.
Rooms were trashed, neighbours terrorised and heavily-armed police were pelted with rocks after they rushed to what witnesses described as a "war zone".
Pictures from the scene showed walls covered in pepper spray residue, blood spatter and graffiti. Just like on Saturday night in North Melbourne, holes were kicked in plaster walls and cars outside were trashed.
Neighbours said as many as 40 youths attended and, once the party was broken up by riot police, the party continued in the street.
"As soon as they started throwing rocks at the police they thought they could do anything and it started getting worse," neighbour Chantelle said, adding there had been troubles a night earlier.
"They treat it as a game."
Locks on the gate at the North Melbourne property were being replaced on Sunday. The property managers said the home was being rented out for three months on Monday.
News.com.au has reached out to Roomerang for comment.