A cautionary tale to hosts who make use of the temporary-rental site Airbnb: It may be good to keep a lawyer on retainer. Cory Tschogl, 39, had to hire a lawyer when the guest at her Palm Springs condo refused to leave at the end of his 44-day contract. Her attorney informed her that under California law, the squatter has tenants’ rights, because he has been living at the property for longer than 30 days. The New York Daily News reports:
Cory Tschogl, 39, thought she’d found the perfect temporary tenant when the man, known online only as “Maksym,” asked to rent out the 600-square-foot property for 44 days.
But the deal turned into a “horror story” when, soon after checking in, he complained about cloudy tap water. He then demanded a refund of the 30 days rent he’d paid up front.
Fearing he was a “shady character,” San Francisco-based rehabilitation therapist Tschogl agreed to refund the cash.
She contacted Airbnb to ask him to leave, but the company didn’t respond to her emails or phone calls for two days.
Finally, a representative got in touch saying they’d ordered the guest out. However, Maksym decided to stay put. . . .
After the 44 days were up, Tschogl texted Maksym to say his contract had ended and she was going to shut off the power.
He replied saying he was legally allowed to remain at the property and that having no electricity would harm his work.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports he also threatened to press charges for “blackmail and damages caused by your negligence and malicious misconduct, including $3,800 PID Espresso machine as well as medical bills for my brother’s hospital visit after he got sick here drinking unfiltered tap water,” he said via text messages.
The Palm Springs-area Desert Sun reports that Airbnb has agreed to pay the full cost of Maksym’s reservation, and will provide additional legal assistance as Tschogl works to get the squatter out. Eviction proceedings in California typically require three to six months.
This is not the first abuse of Airbnb’s services. Escort services have used the site to find apartments in which to ply their wares, a Manhattan resident discovered that his Airbnb guest planned to use his apartment for a “XXX Freak Fest,” and an Airbnb renter threw an out-of-control party at the home of a Maryland man, who returned to find major property damage — that even spilled over to his neighbor’s property.
More than 350,000 people worldwide open their homes via Airbnb, and millions have used the site to find temporary accommodations.