It’s probably a decent bet that if you’ve done any kind of traveling in the last few years, you’re familiar with AirBnB.com, a site that allows travellers to rent apartments and houses on vacation as opposed to hotel rooms. For renters, the site is a great way to find upscale accommodations on the cheap; for owners, it’s a good way to make money off a second home or when you’re on vacation. Of course, the catch is that by using AirBnB, you run the risk of inviting a loon into your home.
Such was the case for Palm Springs, California resident, Cory Tschogl, who originally planned to lease out her 600-square-foot apartment for a little over a month. On Monday, though, she told Business Insider that the man refuses to leave and is threatening legal action.
Tschogl routinely uses online short stay sites like AirBnB and Flipkey to find vacationers to occupy her little condo in Palm Springs. A few weeks ago, she was contacted by a user named “Maksym” who asked to book her condo for 44 days for “an extended business trip.” Tschogl determined that the man seemed nice enough and agreed to the deal, even receiving 30 days pay up front.
Unfortunately, problems arose as soon as the new tenant moved in. On the first day, he complained to Tschogl that the faucet water was too cloudy and that the community’s gated entrance was a nuisance. Naturally, he felt these issues entitled him to a full refund. Tschogl agreed, thinking that giving the man his money back would get him off the premises (and out of her life) all the sooner.
So, AirBnB set to work getting Maksym a refund and getting him out of her property. Unfortunately for Tschogl and AirBnB, however, the squatter refused to leave. “It became a confusing situation. Both I and Airbnb told the guest to leave, but he would not,” Tschogl told Business Insider.
At the end of the original 30 days, Tschogl informed Maksym that if he didn’t vacate the property, she’d have the utilities shut off. Shockingly, Makysm wasn’t ready to concede defeat. He responded with his own message to Tschogl:
Hi Cory, this is Maksym. I have consulted my attorney. As I said multiple times already, I am LEGALLY occupying the domicile (E104). My nature of work from home is dependent on having electricity, and my income while working average $1000-$7000 per day, involving over 2000 customers in the U.S. alone. IF THE ELECTRICITY GETS CUT OFF I WILL BE LOSING MONEY EVERY DAY. I am pressing charges for blackmail and damages caused by your negligence and malicious misconduct, including $3800 PID Espresso machine as well as medical bills for my brother’s hospital visit after he got sick here drinking unfiltered tap water (Ulcer). Not only what you do is illegal, it is also extremely discriminatory in nature and had caused me and my brother a lot of stress and suffering.
So, to recap: the guy told her that he was in town for a business trip, but he works from home. He makes as much as 7 grand a day (I think I saw that job on a craigslist ad …) and he’ll sue Tschogl if she threatens that income. Also, apparently it’s possible to get ulcers from cloudy tap water.
Best of all, Mr. Maksym isn’t entirely at fault, because apparently, “in California, once someone rents a property for 30 days, that person is considered a tenant on a month-to-month lease.” In other words, Tschogl couldn’t just hire some giant in dark shades and a skinny tie to evict the squatter, she’d need to go through the whole eviction process.
Thankfully, AirBnB has offered to pay Tschogl the initial amount Maksym agreed to pay (though having this story hit the press definitely helped out with that) as well as pitching in on her legal fees.