The woman owns a two-bedroom unit in what’s known as a tenancy-in-common building, which means the people living in the apartment units split ownership of the whole building and share responsibilities and finances for maintenance and the like.
She and her boyfriend — who also owns two units in the building — claim in a lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court that their neighbor rented out the apartment for 60 days in April and May 2015 under a fake name, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. And not just any neighbor, one they’d been feuding with over building business, a sort of live-in nemesis who owned a studio on the top floor.
After two months living there with his mother and a friend — during which time the owners say they never came into contact with him, only an associate — he claimed he qualified for tenants’ rights and said he was staying put, to the “shock and horror” of the owner, the woman’s lawyer said. He claimed he could do this under city regulations that give residents the right to convert extended housing situations into ongoing month-to-month tenancies.
So why would he go to such lengths to do this? Just to mess with the woman and her boyfriend, court documents claim.
“Defendants’ reprehensible actions were intentionally calculated to cause plaintiffs severe emotional distress,” says their case against their neighbor and his associates for fraud, trespass and ejectment. “In particular, defendant Sandeep stated that he intended to drive plaintiffs from their property and to ‘inflict maximum pain’ upon them.”
The renter says he hasn’t done anything wrong, and in fact, claims that he’s the one being bullied by his neighbors and is being forced to move out. He says he just wanted somewhere for his mom and friend to stay while he was renovating his own apartment, and now that those repairs are done, his place still isn’t large enough to accommodate them all, so he figured he’d stay.
A Rental Board administrative law judge agreed, ruling that the man and his associates were entitled to tenants’ protections under San Francisco’s rent ordinance based on having occupied the unit for more than 32 continuous days. As for why he didn’t let his neighbors know it was actually him staying in the apartment, he didn’t have an answer.
“Unfortunate situations like this are rare and we are always working to improve,” Airbnb said in a statement regarding the dispute. “We provide tools so that our hosts can review and research their guests before they accept a reservation. You can read a person’s profile, look for their reviews.”
While the case is ongoing, the homeowner has refused to accept rent, so as to avoid legitimizing the tenancy. It’s been deposited in an escrow account pending a final appeal of the Rent Board decision. The court case is on hold until that ruling as well.
The entire complicated saga is definitely worth a read over at the San Francisco Chronicle, including a perfect “pox on both their houses” references.
The most bizarre, outrageous Airbnb feud story you’ll ever read [San Francisco Chronicle]