Initially, an agreement with his guest seemed routine, but the story took an unexpected twists with eviction attempts and code violations in a legal battle.
IT TURNS out, one really should pay more attention to the boring details in the contract.
This was a costly mistake by an Airbnb host who now finds himself in a situation with an uninvited guest who’s been crashing at his place for 541 days, without paying a single dime in rent.
The guest has, literally, been living rent free.
As reported by the “Los Angeles Times”, a judge has made a ruling, concluding that the host lacked the legal grounds to evict this seemingly permanent guest. Imagine!
The legal battle started in September 2021 when Sascha Jovanovic, a dentist based in Los Angeles, granted Elizabeth Hirschhorn a long-term stay in his guest house.
Under the initial agreement, Hirschhorn rented the guest house for a period of six months, with a nightly rate of $105 (about R2,041,27) culminating in a total expenditure of $20,793 (about R404,229,23).
However, after five months had elapsed, Jovanovic extended an offer to accommodate Hirschhorn in a hotel while essential repairs were undertaken at the guest house.
Her response was to graciously decline the offer and she also refused an alternative proposal to reside temporarily in Jovanovic’s own residence, as detailed in “The Times report”.
All the back-and-forth between the Airbnb host and Hirschhorn got a bit tense. Even though things seemed rocky, they both decided to keep the Airbnb arrangement going until April 12, 2022.
Turns out that Hirschhorn was still on the hunt for a new place to stay, hence the squatting.
As detailed by “The Times” during this period, Hirschhorn reached out to the Department of Building and Safety. This department identified two code violations: a lack of approval for occupancy and the presence of an unpermitted shower.
Additionally, she filed a complaint with a city official, alleging various issues including illegal eviction, harassment and non-payment of relocation fees, according to a report by “The Times”.
Some may say “the nerve this lady has” however, the legal action taken by Hirschhorn, contacting the Department of Building and Safety and filing a complaint with city officials, is approved because it aligns with her rights as a tenant.
If she believed that she was subjected to an illegal eviction, harassment and non-payment of relocation fees, it is within her legal rights to report these concerns to the appropriate authorities.
Even when it’s an Airbnb rental, tenants (guests) have legal rights and protections, especially if they are staying for an extended period.
While Airbnb is often associated with short-term rentals, some guests may stay for an extended duration and during their stay, they have certain legal rights.
The official in charge agreed that because Jovanovic’s rental unit didn’t follow the city’s rules, he had to take back his eviction notices. But the problem is, Hirschhorn won’t let him inside the property, as stated in the lawsuit.
Since Hirschhorn has been living there for over six months, she’s covered by Los Angeles’ new “Just Cause Ordinance”.
This means Jovanovic can’t kick her out without having a valid legal reason. If he can’t provide one, he might have to help Hirschhorn with the costs of moving.
Trying to sort this ordeal out, Jovanovic and his lawyer, Sebastian Rucci, decided to take Hirschhorn to court on two different fronts.
First, they filed a damages complaint, aiming to get back the rent she hadn’t paid. Second, they tried the unlawful-detainer route to kick her out of the property, as reported by “The Times”.
However, Hirschhorn’s legal team managed to get the eviction attempt thrown out by a judge.
Jovanovic’s legal squad isn’t throwing in the towel just yet. They’re going full steam ahead with an appeal to challenge the decision. The courtroom drama continues.
Lesson of the day? Make sure you pay attention to the small details.