Airbnb Apartment-Squatters Refuse to Leave, Refuse to Pay

Disclaimer: The following is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. 

In their latest scandal, brothers Maksym and Denys Pashanin used online lifestyle site Airbnb to rent out a vacation home in Palm Springs, CA for 44 days. A month into their stay, the brothers ceased paying rent, and refused to vacate the premises, claiming they were protected under California squatter's rights. It shouldn't be surprising that two young men with a checkered history of questionable doings, broken Kickstarter promises, and willy-nilly litigiousness with former landlords appear to have no intention of changing their dubious ways anytime soon. Lo and behold, official renter Maksym might just have a case though.

California law states that after 30 days of paid tenancy an occupant is considered a month-to-month renter. Once an occupant achieves this status, frustrated landlords like Cory Tschogl in this case, cannot evict the delinquent tenant"”cough, cough, Pashanin"”without taking proper legal measures. When Tschogl rented her home to Pashanin on Airbnb, she entered into a periodic rental agreement with him governed by California law; in order to terminate the agreement, she must now give him 30 days advance written notice of eviction before he and his visiting brother need to skedaddle. Pashanin claims this is his ironclad defense and Tschogl is understandably irate.  

The whole debacle is more than a little messy, especially considering there's a clause in California property law that permits a landlord to issue a "three day notice" of eviction if the tenant has failed to pay rent. Whether this provision refers to the previous or subsequent 30 days, I'll leave to the licensed attorneys on the case.   

Here's another doozy for you: If trespassers occupy property for a protracted period of time, usually within the ballpark of 5-20 years, and do so in a similar manner to the legal owner (e.g., paying property taxes for one), they might come to own the property in the long run. Yup, you read that one right; most states allow for what's called adverse possession, which gives long-time, usually accidental, occupants ownership over the property they've been living in. Luckily for Tschogl, her squatter has a snowball's chance in hell of ever coming to adversely possess her property, but it's something to be aware of. 

The conflict doesn't stop at the 30-day disagreement either: When Tschogl threatened to turn off the electricity to her home and scare the brothers away, she wasn't expecting the serious struggle she got. In a screeching and chilling text message, Pashanin told the landlord that he had retained the services of a lawyer, that if she cut the electricity he would file suit for loss of income, and that he would file a suit to collect damages caused by the sickening tap water that allegedly sent his brother to the hospital. Woe betide the drinkers of un-bottled bathwater! He's also suing for his PID Espresso machine. If I sued every time I was served a subpar cup of coffee, I could at least afford my own espresso machine. Scratch that. I'd be able to pay off my debt. However, I will not go on the record stating the PID Espresso machine brews bad coffee"”I haven't tried it yet.  

Pashanin's diatribe sent up flares, and his landloard took heed. She has since secured herself counsel, and Airbnb vows to cover the cost of all legal proceedings, as well as the all unpaid rent on the property.  In her statement, she has urged other Airbnb renters to bone up on their property law knowledge, and has also called out the Website for the lack of readily available information that might have deterred her from ever renting to the likes of the Pashanins.  
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