Evicting renter from a vacation rental property

306 Replies

@Cory T.    so sorry to read of all of your trouble, and I'm sure there are a lot of people here saying, "That could have been me." This thread will prove very useful to other vacation rental owners and is a cautionary tale w/great advice. I'm just sorry that the great advice and info is the result of something terrible you've had to go through.

I don't have much to offer on the eviction side of things, but I would like to stress how incredibly useful the press can be. I worked as a newspaper reporter for almost 20 years and have seen first-hand how powerful the negative publicity aspect can be. Reporters live for this kind of thing: a story where they can shine a light on wrongdoing and, through public pressure, change occurs or an organization that was ignoring the little guy suddenly finds a conscience (albeit for show). PR is an amazing thing. In this case, I have little doubt that AirBnB would become much more involved once your story gains some traction. Additionally, the scammer's name would most likely become public and be easily searchable forever - potentially helping future vacation rental owners and landlords alike.

I fully recommend touching base w/print and TV reporters. As others here have said, find out who covers the vacation rental industry and contact them asap. This is a great industry story (in reporter's terms, obviously, not great for you) - you've got the little guy being scammed, a dirtbag renter/squatter, a gigantic company trying to ignore the problem, and a laundry list of "Did you know?" type of info to inform and enlighten readers about the legalities of these situations.

I wish you luck and a fast resolution!

Cory,

Glad to hear you are moving in teh right direction. Sometimes when thngs are at a standstill it can really get you down..

Hang in there. Hopefully sooner rather then later this all will be a thing of the best and you will emerge a smarter more experienced landlord.

Remember, experience is what you get, when you don't get what you want.

best regards,

Chris

Hi Cory, I haven't had the best experiences with Airbnb either. It is difficult but not impossible to get money back from Airbnb. Be sure that all of your expenses are well documented. In addition, if you had any conversations with this renter on Airbnb, print a copy of it as Airbnb can delete the entire conversation as they have done to me in the past. Also, brace yourself as Airbnb may remove you as a host after this experience as they have done this to others as I have read about. It seems like you are on the right track already with a good lawyer and promoting your situation out on social media. Good luck! I'll be following this situation very closely as I have a vacation rental that relies solely on Airbnb.

Does VRBO.com have better support?  Would it be worth switching to that site after this situation?

(Not trying to change the subject, just wondering if this would be a long term solution)

my advise: don't get distracted right now by what airbnb will/will not do. You now have a legal tenancy on your hands. And I don't think airbnb is equipped, or is even responsible, to handle that. 

#1 priority is to work with your lawyer (hopefully s/he is good, and well versed with CA evictions) to get this f*cker out of your unit ASAP! Document everything. My goal would then be for airbnb to pay for all your damages- attorney fees, lost rent, any damages. That, I think, is reasonable for them to do.  Good luck with everything. 

Originally posted by @Amit M.:

my advise: don't get distracted right now by what airbnb will/will not do. You now have a legal tenancy on your hands. And I don't think airbnb is equipped, or is even responsible, to handle that. 

#1 priority is to work with your lawyer (hopefully s/he is good, and well versed with CA evictions) to get this f*cker out of your unit ASAP! Document everything. My goal would then be for airbnb to pay for all your damages- attorney fees, lost rent, any damages. That, I think, is reasonable for them to do.  Good luck with everything. 

I agree.  Lawful eviction first.  Damages from airbnb later. To be fair to airbnb, it would be unreasonable to expect any more from them than damages and reimbursement costs associated with a squatter/tenant situation.  They simply can't manage lawful evictions or ejectments in every state and every country. That would be absurd.  

"They simply can't manage lawful evictions or ejectments in every state and every country. That would be absurd. "

Respectfully, they are an $18 billion company.....if they value their reputation, they absolutely will build a competency in managing lawful evictions or ejectments in every state and every country, or outsourcing to companies that can.

Quick update--today I received payment from airbnb for the unpaid 14 days of this occupier's stay. It is unclear if this is compensation by airbnb, or if airbnb actually collected this payment from the occupiers credit card. That brings him paid up through the original reservation contract that expired July 8th, 12 Noon. 

He still refuses to leave. The attorney I'm working with is moving forward with serving a 30-day notice today. Attorney looking into laws around this squatter using my condo to running some sort business (there is computer equipment all over the living room (seen through sliding glass door from outdoor common area). 

I'm reaching out to my network to get help getting my story out. I'm starting a blog to document my experience on this journey. I'll work on it and aim to have something up by this weekend. I'll post the link once I'm up and running.

@Johnson H.  Darnit I need your advise two days ago!! Airbnb deleted all the conversations I had with this squatter as well. There were two very contentions emails from the squatter, that unfortunately I did not take a screen shot of..hindsight 20/20.

I do still have the email trail from multiple uninformed customer service agents, documenting conflicting information provided by different agents. 

Originally posted by @John D.:

"They simply can't manage lawful evictions or ejectments in every state and every country. That would be absurd. "

Respectfully, they are an $18 billion company.....if they value their reputation, they absolutely will build a competency in managing lawful evictions or ejectments in every state and every country, or outsourcing to companies that can.

Point taken.  If BofA or Chase can outsource property preservation, management and evictions for all their REOs in every state, then there's nothing preventing airbnb from doing the same.  Just a matter of their bottom line I guess.

First , if the guy is making that kind of money , with computers  , is it legal  what he is doing ?  ( if he is scamming you who else is he scamming )   You can't kill the electric , but you can disconnect the cable tv and any internet service you are paying for .   Contact the local police if you believe what he is doing is illegal . If you  need to see the inside of the house , thats easy , be there when the Air Conditioner repair man goes to fix the AC unit .  Of course its broken , those little low voltage wires to the unit always get damaged .

Originally posted by @Cory T.:

Quick update--today I received payment from airbnb for the unpaid 14 days of this occupier's stay. It is unclear if this is compensation by airbnb, or if airbnb actually collected this payment from the occupiers credit card. That brings him paid up through the original reservation contract that expired July 8th, 12 Noon. 

He still refuses to leave. The attorney I'm working with is moving forward with serving a 30-day notice today. Attorney looking into laws around this squatter using my condo to running some sort business (there is computer equipment all over the living room (seen through sliding glass door from outdoor common area). 

I'm reaching out to my network to get help getting my story out. I'm starting a blog to document my experience on this journey. I'll work on it and aim to have something up by this weekend. I'll post the link once I'm up and running.

I suspect the 14-day payment was not collected from the squatter.  It sounds like a customer service move. I'm sorry to hear that airnb deleted your conversations.  It makes them look like they are covering their tracks and want it to look they have no knowledge of details of the issue.  Yuk.  I take back what I said about going after airbnb later.  Let us know how we can help with your online campaign.

That 14-day payment might screw up your eviction.  Technically the squatter is now paid up through yesterday, correct? If the squatter didn't make the payment, I'd ask your attorney about whether you should try to get something in writing from airbnb that says that the payment was a customer service satisfaction payment.  In addition to the 30 day notice, is your attorney also mailing/posting a 3-day pay-or-quit and/or a notice to quit? The squatter owes rent starting today.  Without a rental agreement, CA UD courts will usually look to the existing arrangement, which is the day or week rate the squatter was paying previously (back when he was a paying guest). 

Originally posted by @Cory T.:

Quick update--today I received payment from airbnb for the unpaid 14 days of this occupier's stay. It is unclear if this is compensation by airbnb, or if airbnb actually collected this payment from the occupiers credit card. That brings him paid up through the original reservation contract that expired July 8th, 12 Noon.

He still refuses to leave. The attorney I'm working with is moving forward with serving a 30-day notice today. Attorney looking into laws around this squatter using my condo to running some sort business (there is computer equipment all over the living room (seen through sliding glass door from outdoor common area).

I'm reaching out to my network to get help getting my story out. I'm starting a blog to document my experience on this journey. I'll work on it and aim to have something up by this weekend. I'll post the link once I'm up and running.

OK, I'm wondering now: Is this a misunderstanding? For long term guests (longer than 30 nights), you normally get paid for the first 30 nights and when that period is over, it does take another 24 hour for Airbnb to send you the payment. I have had guests who stayed for 3 months or 2.5 months or even a month and a week. So the timeline was as follows:

- 24 hour after guests check in, I get the 30 nights payment

- Once 30 nights is due, on the 31st night, I get payment for either the following month, or the rest of the nights booked, in your case it was 14 nights.

So that would sound normal to me and if the guests refuse to leave before his reservations ends, that is normal to me as well.

Maybe check the situation with Airbnb first and get all the facts straightened out?

@Cory T.  : I just re-read your original post. Looks like his reservations were already expired. I'm not understanding how you didn't get the 14 days payment on the 31st day tho since Airbnb collects payment in advance from this guest.

But the fact that he doesn't want to leave when the reservations was due definitely confirmed that he's a squatter. Like someone said, lots of us could relate to your situation and hoping you could come out of this stressful situation.

I'm sure if you can work closely with an attorney, chances are good that this is not the first or last time they have heard of this problem.  Take notes and learn from the process

I'm so sorry to hear this is happening to you. I have dozens of rentals listed on Airbnb and never had too much problem, other than a few damage claims I had to fight with them about. Their customer service is mediocre at best. I've had lots of rentals that were 30+ days and never thought much of it. I've never had a problem so far, thank goodness. Because of this post, I'm going to have to figure out a way to get around the 30 day rule. Move them to a hotel for 1 night, then back in? Time to talk to a lawyer. 

Please keep us posted. I'm very interested in how this turns out. It could happen to any of us at any time.

Account Closed No this is not a misunderstanding on my part. Below is one of many many many emails from airbnb that may answer the questions you are asking me. Basically my situation is an exception to the/their norm:

Hi Cory,

Our attempt to charge M----- for the balance due for reservation 2TRTHE during May 25, 2014 - July 08, 2014 did not succeed. This is a fairly common situation that can usually be fixed within a couple days with the cooperation of the guest. We've contacted the guest (CCed here) to facilitate resolving the issue.

The reservation is still being held and we suggest that you honor it for the time being. When we succeed in charging the guest we will send you a follow-up e-mail. If however we do not succeed or the guest cancels in the meantime, we cannot be liable for issuing the payout. If you wish to cancel the reservation, you can do so without penalty.

Regards,
The Airbnb Team

Kristine Marie Poe I cannot express how helpful all of your comments on this thread have been. You clearly have a wealth of knowledge, and I appreciate each piece of info you have shared. Thank you sincerely. I will udpate more related to your most recent post/proposed problem--the 30-day notice/issues with that if the squatter is now "paid up" through July 8th. In a nutshell, we may have found a loop hole due to the fact that he is operating a business out of the condo. I should know more tomorrow, 

Michelle Na Yes Michelle,  now is a good time to do that research. I like the creative idea) check out stay at hotel then come back). Good luck, and may you never have a professional aibnb squatter cross your path!