When Cory Tshogl was priced out of buying a home in San Francisco, she instead bought a second home in Palm Springs, and rents it out to vacationers through Airbnb to help cover her high Bay Area rent. Everything was going fine… until along came a squatter.
A man with the Airbnb handle "Maksym" contacted her about an extended stay, longer than 30 days, for "an extended business trip." They agreed on a rental period from May 25 through July 8, and Airbnb collected the first 30 days' worth of payment from Maksym.
Within two days, Maksym was already issuing complaints, about "cloudiness" in the tap water, and about the community being gated. He asked for a full refund, and Tshogl agreed, as she had a growing bad gut feeling about the renter. She contacted Airbnb, who did not respond for several days, but when they did they told Tshogl she was entitled to keep the pro-rated rent for the period that Maksym had stayed, and they contacted Maksym, asking him to leave. Except he didn't leave, so Airbnb did not refund him any money.
Trouble continued shortly thereafter when Airbnb went to collect the money from Maksym for the remainder of his stay… and was unable to collect the money from his preset payment method. Airbnb and Tshogl both contacted him demanding he immediately vacate the vacation rental property, but he refused, saying he was "legally occuping the domicile", and claiming that his brother (who was now apparently occupying the property too) had developed an ulcer from the "cloudy tap water".
Then the real kicker came: after Tshogl hired an attorney, she discovered that, under California law, any renter who occupies a property (even a vacation rental property) for 30 days is considered a tenant on a month-to-month rental agreement. California landlord-tenant law is famously tenant-friendly, and Tshogl will now have to go through the court process for eviction:
"To get the tenant out would require the whole eviction shebang, which could take three to six months and $3,000 to $5,000 in legal fees. She couldn't just ask the police to haul the guy out."
To read the full story, along with commentary about how Airbnb might expand their insurance to cover legal expenses and lost housing payments, read Business Insider's full story, and the comments provide some entertaining reader viewpoints as well.