Airbnb.com and unexpected concerns


Modern technology has allowed the average person to earn income in ways that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. However, with the excitement of new revenue streams comes real concern.

Take, for example, the popular and powerful online rental site Airbnb.com. While thousands of transactions occur without a hitch, the occasional disaster arises resulting in having to hire an attorney. As the site gains in popularity, the courts are seeing more and more instances where people pass themselves off as having the authority to rent out a place only to leave the unsuspecting tenant out of money and without a place to stay. This is a new take on an old trick, used quite often during the real estate bust, where neighborhoods had many foreclosed homes sitting vacant and people claiming to be realtors or homeowners were renting the house out only to take the deposit money and run. As a result, should the tenant be in the property, the property owner might have to incur the expense of an ejectment suit.

For the owner renting out their property on Airbnb, a new problem has arisen where the tenant is familiar with the eviction process in the property’s jurisdiction. The landlord may find that after getting the initial payment, and possibly agreeing to additional days or months, the tenant simply fails to make the additional payments. A knowledgeable tenant will then use the court system to delay eviction by, for example, getting a hearing to determine rent. While the wheels of justice begin their slow turn, the tenant will remain in the property rent-free, only to disappear before, or even just after, the hearing date, heading back to their home country. Landlords need to be aware of these types of scams and act quickly to avoid delays in gaining possession of the property and the lost revenue and legal expenses that come along with an eviction.

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