lock and key

The premise for Airbnb is simple, a homeowner has some extra space or is leaving town – so why not rent it out to someone?  The host makes some extra cash and the guest gets a lodging option that doesn’t involve a thousand hidden fees.  It is a win-win situation, provided that the guest actually pays and leaves.

Cory Tschogl rented her Palm Springs condo to a guy on Airbnb and now, over a month later, he is not paying her and is refusing to leave.  SF Gate reports:

 The guest booked the space for 44 days from May 25 to July 8 and paid for the first month in advance through Airbnb. After 30 days, Airbnb notified Tschogl that its attempts to collect the balance due “did not succeed” without specifying why. The company eventually paid her the two weeks’ missing rent.

After numerous e-mails and calls from Tschogl, Airbnb offered to pay for the man to stay at a hotel for 30 days, but said he didn’t respond to e-mails and his phone was disconnected.

Once the 44 days were up, Tschogl texted the renter that his reservation contract was over and that the power would be shut off in 24 hours.

The guest texted back saying he was legally occupying the condo and that loss of electricity would threaten the work he does at home that brings in $1,000 to $7,000 a day.

Unfortunately, for Tshogl actually shutting off the electricity was not an option:

 Tschogl realized that she couldn’t legally cut off the electricity, although her SoCal Edison account showed daily usage was triple to quadruple normal. Her father went by the unit several times and photographed it with the sliding glass doors and windows wide open, presumably while the air conditioning was going full blast to combat the 114-degree heat.

The occupant (who must be a fan of 90’s Michael Keaton movies) is still in the residence and won’t have to leave anytime soon:

 Now she’s hired a lawyer, who will cost several thousand dollars and take three to six months to evict the tenant, who now has renters’ protections under California law because he has occupied the unit over 30 days.

Airbnb was slow to assist Tschogl at first, but since her story has started getting more attention, have now stepped up their efforts to assist and have offered to help pay legal fees.

(image via afi_cht /CC)

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