I have a one-bedroom vacation rental condo in Palm Springs that has been listed on AirBnB for about a year now. I have my first stressful problem: a vacation renter with a 44 day reservation who will NOT leave now that the reservation has expired. (Payment was received for first 30 days, but not for the remaining 14 days). This is all new, to me, and I believe I have a professional scammer on my hands.
Unfortunately Airbnb has not provided support, and is only helping me via email responses every 48 hours or so. The information from Airbnb has been confusing, convoluded and contradictory at best. The summary is that somehow Airbnb collected payment for the first 30 days rental, and was unable to collect payment for the remaining 14 days. The renter has been there 14 days without paying. Today is the date that this reservation expires. (Original reservation May 25-July 8th.)
The tenant is refusing to leave, and sent me a text message this morning that borders on blackmail. I believe he is a professional scammer, and I now need to hire an attorney.
Has anyone had to deal with a similiar situation, or have advice to offer? Does anyone have a landlord-tenant attorney recommendation for the Palm Springs area?
Thanks for reading, and thanks for potential suggestions/solutions.
Is this a landlord/tenant issue, or more of a hotel/non paying guest issue? The laws are certainly different, and the latter would be quicker to resolve. Not sure the legalities involved in your arrangement. What do you mean "borders on blackmail"?
Did Airbnb screen this tenant?
This is the long text message I received this morning from "the renter" after I informed thim that the electricity will be shut off the day after his reservation expires:
Cory, I have consulted my attorney. As I said multiple times already, I am LEGALLY occupying the domicile (E104). My nature of work fr
om home is dependent on having electricity, and my income while working averages $1000-$7000 per day, involving over 2000 customers in U.S. alone. IF THE
ELECTRICITY GETS CUT OFF I WILL BE LOSING MONEY EVERY DAY.
I am pressing charges for blackmail and damages caused by your negligence and malicious misconduct, including $3800 PID Espresso machine as well as medical bills for my brother's hospital visit after he got sick here drinking unfiltered tap water (Ulcer). Not only what you do is illegal, it is also extremely discriminatory in nature and had caused me and my brother a lot of stress and suffering."
@Joe Gore Yes, Airbnb screened this tenant.
You should go and have the police go with you for your safety and take a look at your unit and see if he is running a business out of the unit.
Take no prisoners on this one. Con man all the way. Get an attorney and get after it. This guy is certainly familiar with what he's doing, and of course full of BS. If it's legally a hotel/guest arrangement, I'm sure your options are better. Biker buddies would actually be the best solution for this, unknown to you of course:).
Yes most likely he is breaking the lease contract between him and Airbnb or you by working from your condo so it should be straightforward to have him evicted
Wayne brings up a good point about jurisdictions. Do you have a contract with AirBnB to review?
The other item I think you have to get clarity on is the payment history. Don't settle for emails every other day. Call and demand to talk to the highest level manager to get what you need. Any attorney will likely do a double take off you come in and say you think your renter is there illegally.
Best of luck - wish I had more to offer.
P.S. Once you prove he's there illegally, and knowing no more than what you've shared with is, I wouldn't be concerned with the text. Have you done anything illegal, discriminatory, etc. to be worried about?
Don't allow bookings of 44 days in a state where 30 days residence results in tenant rights;
Before renting on Airbnb, be sure that doing so is legal in your state/allowed by your condo association;
No self-help. Get a lawyer, right away.
I read about a case where someone rented a high end condo somewhere and ran huge parties out of it. tend of thousands of damages. Airbnb did nothing until the media got involved. They they offered to pay for the damages.
So, you might want to 'sell' this as an interesting case to the media - airbnb does not like that kind of publicity.
Thanks so much for all the responses to date. I've been on the phone all morning handling this situation...working to find a landlord attorney in that area...did a phone consult, and I will continue to update on the progress.
Do not do anymore texting with this person! They are obviously trying to intimidate you with nonsense. Remain calm and be tenancious. You can not lose another minute. Lawyer up. Do an inspection immediately! Get photos/videos of what is going on in there! Be careful about shutting off utilities until you know what category of business this falls into and which laws you must follow.
Glad you're finding a lawyer. I wish you the best and that this ends quickly. Just don't take it personally. Get him out and move on. :-) He's probably all talk anyway. He made all those threats in hopes that you'll just allow him to stay there. Let us know what you find out regarding if he has tenant rights or if it'll be simpler than that.
First off, I have NO legal advice to give, but this thread raised a few thoughts.
IF the brother is "stupid" enough to drink the water, wouldn't his gripe be w/ the city of Palm Springs?
IF he is making $1000 - $7000 daily, why would payment be an issue. ( wish I made $1000/day )
Not sure how the Espresso machine plays into anything.
What IF the "motorcycle club's" reservation started today?
And a little off topic, I believe, in Florida, if someone spends one (1) night in a building, they can claim residency.
So sorry to hear of this unfortunate issue you have to deal with. I echo wht others have said.. HE is DEFINITELY a professional Tennant/scammer trying to use intimidation to try and scare you.
Don't back down and make it clear to him you won't be scared by his tatics. Find the right kind of attorney and hopefully get him served ASAP. Sounds pretty clear he is in direct violation of any lease that was in place (which has already expired)
Good luck and keep us posted.
I CANNOT stand these types of people who think they can get away with this!!!!
I will work with an local attorney on this one...however the situation is not pretty. Because this "vacation" renter has been there more than 30 days, we have to treat it like a regular rental.
I was advised that the only way to proceed is with an unlawful detainer, and advised to proceed immediately. Tomorrow the plan is to have all notices served: 3-day notice to pay or quit, Notice to quit, and 60-day notice to quit. Attorney says leave all utilities as is. Tenants have 5 days to respond. If no response, its an automatic default (attorney reports this is the case 90% of the time). If they do respond, we go to court within 20 days. Fun stuff.
@Joe Gore Thanks for the suggestion.
@Wayne Brooks undefined Thanks for your support. Where are those biker buddies when you need them? :-)
@Mike M. Hi Mike, no I have not done anything illegal, or discriminatory. I think they just like throwing around those types of words.
@Mikael S. Unfortunately, Airbnb is not providing support.
@Mike M. undefined Yes, unfortunately Airbnb is lacking in the customer service dept. I could go on a rant, but the bottom line is I have to hold for 35 minutes to an hour each time I call them which is just not very practical. Depending on what happens next I may have to unleash my PR hounds. Shame on Aribnb.com
@Richard C. Good advice. Hindsight is 20/20!
@Michaela G. Great suggestion Michaela, some one mention blowing up the airbnb twiiter feed as well.
@Marcia Maynard Thanks Marcia, the texting has ceased! Good advise, I feel better being lawyered up for sure. Good idea about inspection with a camera/video. And I have been advised not to touch ultiliies. Too bad they are blasting the AC with 110 desert heat, and leaving windows and sliding glass door open all day.
@Nicole W. Thanks so much for the support Nicole. It helps to be reminded to "just breathe." ;-)
@Michael Lemieux You speak the truth! My one bedroom vacation condo is by no means fancy, so I would assume someone making minimum of $1000 would stay somewhere more posh. Too bad the motorcycle club didnt' book with me. Espresso maker and tap water complaints are lost on me for sure.