Evicting renter from a vacation rental property

306 Replies

I don't know what the goal of further media attention is. 

@Andrew Whicker  - it's a good question, and I believe the answer is that the goal here is to educate the public. Though we've discussed the usefulness of bad PR quite a bit on this thread, there is also the notion that many thousands of vacation rental owners have no idea how vulnerable they are. They need to know, lawmakers need to know, and sites like airbnb need to know (if they don't already) and improve upon their policies and protections. Take a look at how long this thread has become, and you can imagine the interest this topic will stir up among the broader vacation rental community.

And I think the media attention might shame the 'tenant' and will make it more difficult for him in the future to pull that stunt somewhere else, because the media will likely ask him for his opinion, which will put his name out onto the web.

Nice job, @Cory T.  . I had a feeling airbnb would become more responsive as your story gained some traction. ;-) Glad to hear, too, that you'll be getting some help w/your legal fees!

I don't know if other media outlets have expressed interest in the story, but one thing I wish was included was some expanding upon what a landlord might do to avoid this situation. Same as a typical long-term landlord, I suppose - background and credit checks, etc. And I'd like to know if airbnb (and other vacation rental sites) might expand upon its education of rental owners to alert them to this possibility and some tips on how to protect themselves.

Way to keep fighting! Now back to your original battle w/the squatter...

Glad to see the story up so soon.  And really glad to hear that airbnb has said, now publicly, that they will help with legal fees.

I wish the story had addressed the fact that airbnb only collects payment for 30 days at a time for longer stays. There may be legal reasons that they cannot collect the entire amount upfront, but if so I'd like to hear what there are.  Without a secure source of payment for the entire stay, a vacation rental becomes just like any other month to month rental if the guest's credit card or source of payment doesn't go through on Day 31.  Additionally the story doesn't cover how and why an unlawful detainer case is needed in such cases. 

Has your tenant been served yet?  

@Cory T. Thanks for sharing your experience and nice job with the article. Please keep us up to date. There are lessons to be learned for many of us on this forum, and hopefully will result in positive changes regarding awareness and protection of tenant and owner rights.

I wish you the best as you work to resolve this. On the bright side, your experience is growing exponentially. 

Susan

Wow, I hear stories like these, and it's hard to think anyone would do that! It's a reminder that even though I consider myself an honest person, not everyone is. Thank you for sharing your experience, so we can all learn an hopefully avoid similar situations. I know everyone here is pulling for you!

I'm in real estate and was able to locate the owner's condo. It's part of a HOA. The HOA's CCRs forbids leases for "transient or hotel purposes." The typical meaning of this is leases of under 30 days. The CCRs also require that permitted leases be in writing.

The sfgate article says that the owner was renting this out for $450/week to help cover her mortgage and expenses so it is probable that some of her activity was in violation of the CCRs. It also sounds like she didn't actually have a written lease with the squatter tenant who booked a 44 day reservation and therefore has tenants rights.

I am not a fan of AirBNB but AirBNB doesn't deserve blame for this. This owner thought it would be cool to become a real estate investor and she didn't know what she was doing. Now shes paying the price...

Did you read this comment?

"If the Airbnb screenpic of the renter since removed by SFGate was correct the "tenant" is a software engineer from Austin TX whose experience includes "Global platform for web applications that allows to manage bookings for property owners and supports online-booking by travelers"(indeed.com) . Interesting since he presumably works for SoftServe (linkedin.com) the Ukranian company who handled the web development of Airbnb's competitor HomeAway. "

There may be more to this than just a squatter, if the above is correct

Originally posted by @Cory T.:

FYI Article in SF Gate:

http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Squatters-do...

Did anyone read the comments under the article? What a bunch of simpletons responding. I'm amazed that some of them even know how to read and write........

Originally posted by @Rob K:

Did anyone read the comments under the article? What a bunch of simpletons responding. I'm amazed that some of them even know how to read and write........

Yeah, it's amazing how many of them 'know' that there's a difference between a 29 day rental and a 30 day rental and are chastizing her for not knowing. I think many of them are jealous, because they don't own

@Michaela G.  Yes, this "situation" is unfortunately complex... there is more to the story than I've shared here, and much more than what SF Chron reported. And now we have a Venture Capitalist attempting to high-jack this thread for character assassination. Yuck!

If it proves itself to be a scam by a competitor to make airbnb look bad, then I doubt that airbnb will just roll over and play dead. I bet they would file a lawsuit against that competitor for damages and you should be part of that lawsuit and get something as well. 

Originally posted by @Paul Grahamm:

I'm in real estate and was able to locate the owner's condo. It's part of a HOA. The HOA's CCRs forbids leases for "transient or hotel purposes." The typical meaning of this is leases of under 30 days. The CCRs also require that permitted leases be in writing.

The sfgate article says that the owner was renting this out for $450/week to help cover her mortgage and expenses so it is probable that some of her activity was in violation of the CCRs. It also sounds like she didn't actually have a written lease with the squatter tenant who booked a 44 day reservation and therefore has tenants rights.

I am not a fan of AirBNB but AirBNB doesn't deserve blame for this. This owner thought it would be cool to become a real estate investor and she didn't know what she was doing. Now shes paying the price...

You say you're not fan?  Does that mean you are not the same Paul Grahamm that funded airbnb's start-up?  And you signed up just to make this post.  Must be a coincidence.

This thread is focused on airbnb customer service in a non-paying guest situation. Airbnb doesn't dispute the facts. It's definitely on them. It's the condo association's job to go after the OP for violating any CCRs, the City of Palm Springs and the County of Riverside's job to go after her for any licensing issues and/or code violations, and the tax collector's job to go after her for any taxes due. Without any of the facts, I'd not concern yourself about the OP's situation with the HOA.

Originally posted by @Michaela G.:
Originally posted by @Rob K:

Did anyone read the comments under the article? What a bunch of simpletons responding. I'm amazed that some of them even know how to read and write........

Yeah, it's amazing how many of them 'know' that there's a difference between a 29 day rental and a 30 day rental and are chastizing her for not knowing. I think many of them are jealous, because they don't own

 Professional tenants know the difference between 29 and 30 day occupancies. 

I can't believe they are (partially?) paying your legal fees.  They must feel very pressured by the media.  

I guess if you are Airbnb you have to pick your battles, but I'll just say that paying your legal fees seems way above and beyond.  It's the property owner's requirement to know the local laws and pay the consequences of not knowing.  Maybe I mis-understand Airbnb's role in vacation rentals, I thought they were little more than a marketplace.

And now theorizing that there is some competitor thing going on and the property owner needs to be involved in a lawsuit in order to get some money?  

I'm going to stop following this thread because I think it is going in an unhealthy direction.  Good luck and I hope everything works out for the best.

Cheers,

I think only one person on this thread is theorizing about airbnb competitors and additional law suits.  I don't the think the OP is interested in going that route.  She wants her unit back without the squatter, hopefully with minimal damage.

Anyone who's signed up to be a host on airbnb can confirm that its very rah-rah-this-so-easy and that you shouldn't have any worries because we have a $1M guarantee. Most people don't think they are governed by landlord/tenant laws when letting someone use their property as a vacation rental. It's not intuitive. Airbnb isn't disclosing the issue in bold print for their supposedly much beloved customers because it's not in their best interest.  That will change very soon, I think, at least in CA. Even with the known risk of legal tenant issues (it's very minimal), many, many people will continue to be airbnb hosts.

Sorry to here about this Cory... Just a minor setback. Glad you are getting all this help and exposure, and that we can learn from it too. I thought your lawyer was going to serve a 30 or 60 day notice? How was the UD served so quickly? I presume the lawyer must have determined the 3-day notice was sufficient and the 30-60 day not necessary.  

Originally posted by @Daniel Shepstone:

Sorry to here about this Cory... Just a minor setback. Glad you are getting all this help and exposure, and that we can learn from it too. I thought your lawyer was going to serve a 30 or 60 day notice? How was the UD served so quickly? I presume the lawyer must have determined the 3-day notice was sufficient and the 30-60 day not necessary.  

Cory hasn't been paid by the squatter since July 8.  You can post and mail a 3-day pay or quit the first day the rent is past due.  If they don't pay in 3 days you can file the UD.  If the goal is to vacate the unit, it's a good idea to post the 30-day (or 60 day) termination of tenancy notice at the same time as the 3 day pay or quit, just in case the tenant pays. At least that's the way we do it.  It's not cut and dried and nothing is certain.  After being served the unlawful detainer, the defendant has 5 days to answer or the judge will award the landlord a default judgment.  If they answer (and pay the court fee), it will put the case on the calendar which buys them more time.

I believe if you contacted the local news they might be interested and let @Paul Grahamm know that the news media like to question him about his uneducated remarks which I doubt he would show up. Who knows Paul might work for AirBNB.

Joe Gore