Homeowners across the country have been looking for ways to pay down their mortgages amid the soaring inflation crisis. Some have turned to Airbnb as an alternative.
Savvy landlords could potentially generate extra cash for monthly mortgage payments by opening up their homes to guests for a short stay but beware. Things can get real ugly if a visitor decides to stay well beyond their agreed timeframe.
This week, an alleged Airbnb experience took social media by firestorm. In the over 3-minute-long clip, the unidentified woman explained that she joined the vacation rental platform to find a subletter for one of the rooms in her home, hoping that the move would allow her to pay off her mortgage “quicker.”
What she thought would be a “smooth transaction” quickly turned into a disaster.
Initially, the guest agreed to leave “3 days prior” to her stay, but upon her return, the homeowner discovered that the guest was still living in her home, “refusing to f****ing leave.”
Throughout the jarring video, the woman can be seen arguing with the unruly guest, who at one point shouts, “I ain’t going nowhere, so deal with it!” before warning the landlord to stay away from her door.
“This is my house! How about you get the f*ck out of my house!?” the woman shouts back.
Tenant laws prevent homeowners from lawfully evicting squatters
According to the frustrated homeowner’s story, she went down to the courthouse to obtain all the necessary paperwork to have the “disrespectful” guest evicted, but officials informed her that the process could take months as the squatter had lawfully gained tenant rights by staying on the premise.
The laws regarding tenant rights vary in each state, so it’s unclear how long it took before this guest, in particular, was deemed a lawful tenant. In general, if someone develops tenant rights, a landlord may have difficulty lawfully removing a squatter from their property. According to AirHostAcademy, the formal eviction process can be very long and can cost thousands of dollars.
To make matters even worse, Airbnb doesn’t have the legal authority to help mitigate these issues because of varying state laws. Most landlords will need to hire independent legal assistance to help with the eviction process. Stessa notes that a residential eviction can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $7,000, including court costs, repair expenses, and lost rental income.
Towards the end of the video, the rude visitor threatens to call the cops on the woman.
“Don’t touch that door or I’m calling the police on you and they are going to arrest you,” she says before lighting up a cigarette at the landlord’s kitchen table.
Judging by the video’s abrupt ending, it looks like things didn’t end well for either party.
What you should do to prevent visitors from overstaying
This is a cautionary tale. Make sure to carefully study the tenant laws in your state before listing your home on Airbnb. Landlords should be picky about who they choose to stay at their property. Check your guest’s social media and see if they have past recommendations from previous hosts on the platform.
Landlords should issue a contract clearly stating the length of stay and additional terms for visitors, but sometimes, written agreements can create a false sense of security.
A contract might not always hold up in court because tenant rights automatically come into effect after a certain period of time in many states. In order to avoid this, do not offer stays of 30 days or more and don’t give guests the option to extend their stay.