The Washington Post

Airbnb host can’t get rid of squatter

Here’s one big difference between a hotel and Airbnb: If someone rents a hotel room and refuses to leave, the desk calls security and has him thrown out. If someone rents out a place using Airbnb and the “guest” refuses to leave, there’s no desk, no security and sometimes not much recourse.

That’s what Cory Tschogl is finding out.

Tschogl, like many other Airbnb hosts, listed her place (a Palm Springs vacation condominium) to help her afford San Francisco rent. Tschogl rented the condo to a guest for 44 days, from May 25 to July 8. Now, two weeks after his checkout date, the guest is still there and won’t leave. To make matters worse, because he was there so long, he appears to be protected by a California law designed to keep landlords from summarily evicting tenants once they’ve been in place past 30 days.

This according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Tschogl contacted the the Chronicle and Business Insider in hopes of getting some help. She got some-Airbnb said would make sure she was paid for the full 44-day reservation.

But now she’s had to hire a lawyer “who will cost several thousand dollars and take three to six months to evict the tenant,” reports the Chronicle.

A spokesman for AirBnb told Business Insider: “Our initial response to this inquiry didn’t meet the standards we set for ourselves and we’ve apologized to this host. In the last week, officials from our team have been in incredibly close contact with this host and she has been paid the full cost of the reservation and we’re working with her to provide additional support as we move forward.”

Tschogl told Business Insider that she would “like to see Airbnb expand its $1 million ‘host guarantee’ to cover rental and legal expenses when a guest doesn’t pay and refuses to leave.”

According to the Chronicle’s report, after it contacted Airbnb, the company ramped up its efforts, including an e-mail stating: “We’re prepared to assist with your legal fees … so we can help alleviate the financial stress caused by the stay.”

Meanwhile, Airbnb is getting some unwanted publicity. The story of Tschogl’s dilemma — it’s being called an Airbnb “nightmare” — is being shared far and wide.

Thomas Johnson is a reporter.

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