The victim's mother asks the authorities to regulate the activity of providers such as Booking or Airbnb, which are booming in the Mexican capital, which is attracting more and more visitors.
A total of four young people died at the end of October in Mexico City in private accommodation rented out on these two platforms.
Gloria Ojeda's daughter, Angelica Arce, 29, had come with her two brothers to attend the Formula 1 Grand Prix on October 30.
Originally from Tijuana (northwest), the siblings had rented an apartment on Booking.com in a central and trendy area of the capital (Roma-Condesa).
The three young people were hospitalized after they began to feel unwell.
Angelica died on the morning of October 30.
The young woman was the victim of a leak of carbon monoxide, an invisible and odorless gas, caused by a faulty installation of a water heater in the accommodation, according to initial investigations by the prosecution.
This same weekend, in an apartment rented on Airbnb, three American tourists succumbed to gas poisoning, according to a report from the prosecution.
The fiancé of one of the victims disputes this official version, citing the trail of poisoning.
- How many deaths?
"I don't understand what the authorities are doing. How many more deaths do they want?"
asks AFP Gloria Ojeda.
"We need changes. I don't want what happened to me to happen to someone else. It seems like an absurd death to me," adds the mother, who bursts into tears.
After the death of her daughter, Booking offered her the reimbursement of the rental price, ie 600 dollars, in the form of vouchers, she denounces.
The family filed a complaint against the site and the landlord of the apartment, who "didn't even message him to say he was sorry".
Their lawyer, Cecilia Rodriguez, explains to AFP that they have only obtained timid progress in a procedure complicated by the absence of a law on the obligations of sites and owners.
The lawyer believes that Booking should "have offices" on site to assume its responsibilities in the event of faulty services.
The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, possible candidate for the presidency in 2024, recently mentioned a "working group" on the subject of the regulation of platforms, with "businesses and citizens".
View of the Revolution monument at sunset in Mexico City, January 25, 2023 © David GANNON / AFP
Opposition MP Frida Guillén is behind a bill that the parliament of the capital city could examine in February.
“We want the owners to comply with requirements such as being listed in a register of service providers, giving security guarantees (…), taking out insurance, and for the platforms to act as a solidary third party”, details- she.
The debate arises as Mexico City attracts more and more visitors and teleworkers, especially Americans.
Long-term stays increased by 30% between the second quarter of 2019 and the same period of 2022, according to Airbnb.
At the end of October, this site also announced a partnership with the local government to promote the Mexican capital as a "global center for remote workers".
With the arrival of "digital nomads" (digital nomads) Americans, the owners are transforming their housing into seasonal rental, dismissing their former tenants, according to the testimonies.
“There are uncertainties,” sighs Hector Flores, a 30-year-old playwright, who believes his lease will not be renewed in August.
Mr. Flores and his roommate Josue Maychi, cast member of the Marvel blockbuster "Wakanda For Ever", pay $500 monthly rent for their two-bedroom apartment in a central neighborhood.
In neighboring buildings, long-term Airbnb rentals already cost double…
© 2023 AFP