The one bit of good news is that the “host” didn’t rent out her primary residence while she happened to be out of town: no, she rented out her vacation home for 44 days. The problem is that 30 days into the stay, the guest quit paying. Why 30 days? After renting a place that long, a tenant, even a temporary one, gains rights to their new “home” under California law. Now it will cost the homeowner thousands of dollars in legal fees and take three to six months to evict the unwanted tenants.
He had complaints about the condo initially, but now isn’t budging. The owner says that the power usage is quadruple the normal levels while the home is occupied or rented out, perhaps because the tenant has been leaving doors and windows open with the air conditioning on.
AirBNB says that they’re compensating the homeowner while the squatter stays, and after the San Francisco Chronicle got involved, the company has also offered to help with her legal fees. “I don’t think they’re equipped to deal with this type of situation,” she told the Chronicle. “I’d like to see them change some policies and improve customer service so they can help people should something like this happen.”
The problem for AirBNB hosts is that in a crisis like this, they can expect to get an e-mail response from the company within 48 hours, and there’s no “guest won’t leave my home” crisis hotline.