What sounds like a great way to make money — just rent out your home or second home short-term to travelers who want to save money — has backfired for one homeowner, who is stuck in a nightmare with a renter who was supposed to stay for only 44 days and now refuses to leave her home.
"(Cory Tschogl) rented her 600-square-foot Palm Springs, California, condo to someone for a little over a month, and now she says the guy won't leave and is threatening to sue her," Business Insider says. "For about the past year, she had been renting it on Airbnb and Flipkey, a vacation-rental site owned by TripAdvisor, making enough money on it to help her make ends meet with the higher rents (where she now lives) in San Francisco."
As the Washington Post explains: "Here's one big difference between a hotel and Airbnb: If someone rents a hotel room and refuses to leave, the desk calls security and has him thrown out. If someone rents out a place using Airbnb and the 'guest' refuses to leave, there's no desk, no security and sometimes not much recourse."
The Washington Post says the renter was supposed to leave on July 8 and, because he has been there so long, is protected by California law from being summarily evicted.
A follow-up article on Business Insider identified the alleged squatter as Maksym Pashanin, who, along with his brother, Denys Pashanin, have been living in the condo even though he only paid for 30 days of the 44 days he originally agreed to stay.
The publicity over the brothers' condo shenanigans also had an impact on another deal the Pashanins had in motion on Kickstarter, an online fund-raising website.
"Maksym Pashanin had a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 for a video game called Confederate Express that raised $39,739 back in November from nearly 2,400 people," Business Insider reports. "He had promised an estimated ship date of June 2014 but has yet to deliver the game."
On Kickstarter, his game funders anxiously commented about the squatting news. "In case you're wondering why there's no updates. Looks like they're plenty busy doing other things," one funder, Kahuna Kevin, wrote with links to news about the squatting.
Another funder, Clinton Hallahan, wrote, "I have squatters rights to this game."
After a few days of negative comments, Maksym Pashanin responded, but not very encouragingly. "OK, guys, what's the latest deets on the drama? 10/10, would squat again."
Translation: "Here are the details. If we had the chance to squat in somebody's condo again, we would do it 10 out of 10 times."
According to condo-owner Tschogl, Maksym Pashanin sent her text messages implying he was going to sue her. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the text messages were "threatening to press charges against her for blackmail, negligence and malicious misconduct, including his claims that the tap water hurt his expensive espresso machine and exacerbated his brother's ulcer."
So far, Maksym Pashanin has avoided process servers trying to give him papers that would start the eviction process — which could take months and cost thousands of dollars in lawyer fees.
At least Tschogl won't be out all of the money. Airbnb said it would make sure she was paid for the full original 44-day period, according to the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the brothers have launched another Kickstarter campaign to create a new game. So far, that offering is not attracting many funders.
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