Cory Tschogl used to be an Airbnb host. She's now a landlord -- sort of. Her "tenant" is an Airbnb "squatter," who rented her Palm Springs condo via the online hotelier and now refuses to leave.
And the law may be on the squatters' side.
Tschogl, a Bay Area professional, rented out the condo she bought as an investment to "Maksym," a verified Airbnb user from Texas who forked over $450 a week to live there for 44 days.
But, after 30 days, he stopped paying, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Tschogl tried to remove him, but was confronted with legal threats: Maksym said he is now a "legal occupant" and cannot be removed.
Tschogl says she's asked Airbnb for help "without getting much assistance," the newspaper reported. So she's hired a lawyer, and may need to pay thousands of dollars and spend as much as six months removing her problem "tenant."
An expert in landlord-tenant law said the apartment owner is in trouble.
“The person’s not a trespasser,” attorney Michael Hall said. “The person had permission to come in so, if you were to, say, call the police and ask the police to eject the person, the police would likely say, ‘Hey, it’s a civil matter.’”
Such a civil matter could take months to resolve.
“If it’s uncontested, it could take six to eight weeks,” Hall said. “And, if it becomes contested, at least another month. So, easily three months.”
Meanwhile, the tenant seems to be taking every luxury: He appears to be running the air-conditioning full blast while leaving the condo's sliding doors wide open. Power usage is at about four times its normal level, the newspaper reported.
Hall said renters that put their property up on Airbnb often don’t understand the risks. “I see a lot of naivety,” he said.
Airbnb says it will offer unspecified legal assistance to the San Francisco owner of the Palm Springs apartment and in a statement told NBC Bay Area that “the company is reviewing its procedures and making changes to its platform to give hosts more information about long-term reservations.”
Airbnb is advising property owners to check up on potential renters online to see if they’ve been reviewed by other renters.