Tag Archives: Squatter

California “landlord” finds downside of Airbnb

A woman’s Palm Springs condo is like a twisted Hotel California, she can check him in, but he’ll never leave.

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Airbnb (Air Bed and Breakfast) is a great idea. You rent out your property and make a little money on it while it’s not being used. I’ve successfully used a similar service–FlipKey–for a foreign vacation a few years ago and I briefly considered using Airbnb to occupy our unsold house. A neighbor was using the service and I thought, why not? Now I’m glad I didn’t have to confront that eventuality.

In this story, the ‘tenant’ knew how to game the system and took advantage of the condo owner, Cory Tshogl. It will now be put on the list of landlord’s worst nightmares.

I pick up the story from the San Francisco Chronicle,

The guest booked the space for 44 days from May 25 to July 8 and paid for the first month in advance through Airbnb. After 30 days, Airbnb notified Tschogl that its attempts to collect the balance due “did not succeed” without specifying why. 

Under California law, the renter was a ‘tenant’. That means the ‘landlord’ was screwed,

Cory Tschogl says she knew something was amiss when the guest who goes by the name “Maksym” complained that the tap water was cloudy and he didn’t like the gated entry to the complex. Tschogl had a bad feeling so she agreed to his request for a full refund for the 30 days he had paid in advance. But then the guest changed his mind and decided to stay, Tschogl tells the Chronicle.

The man refused to pay the remaining balance due, however, and he refused to leave. Tschogl decided to let him stay for the full 44 days. But the renter still wouldn’t leave, so Tschogl threatened to turn off the power.

His response: He was legally entitled to stay in the condo, and the loss of electricity would threaten his at-home work, which pays up to $7,000 a day, the Chronicle says. He also said his brother visited and became ill from the tap water.

While it’s not clear what was going on inside her condo, it appears the cheat was running servers or some other energy gobbling enterprise from her condo, 

Tschogl realized that she couldn’t legally cut off the electricity, although her SoCal Edison account showed daily usage was triple to quadruple normal. Her father went by the unit several times and photographed it with the sliding glass doors and windows wide open, presumably while the air conditioning was going full blast to combat the 114-degree heat.

She had an even bigger beef with Airbnb for its failure to help her. The start up has since stepped up and helped her defray her legal bills which will undoubtedly be enormous. She’ll have to evict him. 

I wonder if she’ll ever use Airbnb again?