Previously, we’ve discussed some best practices for AVOIDING Airbnb squatters.
But What Do You Do If They Are Already In Your House?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of housing free loading squatters in your Airbnb unit (or your house), here are some steps to take to minimize the damage.
1. Establish Legal Paper Trails
Squatters have been known to forge fake lease agreements so it is in your best interest to issue the squatters your request in writing.
Inform them that they are trespassing on your property and must pack their belongings and leave immediately.
Get it notarized to avoid having to prove the date and legitimacy of the document.
Different states will have different requirements in terms of a minimum number of days to provide squatters the opportunity to leave on their own. In California, it is a three-day notice.
2. Contact Airbnb Immediately
As unfortunate as it is, you’re not the first to go through this as an Airbnb host.
Airbnb has dealt with similar situations before and has dedicated resources to help you figure out your rights and the necessary next steps.
It is in Airbnb’s interest to help you take care of this situation and demonstrate to their many other hosts that they’ve got your back.
They will provide support to you as you navigate the proper legal channels in your home state.
3. Get Legal Advice First
Every state can have slightly different laws and regulations related to squatters and what a landlord could legally do.
Make sure you understand the laws that apply to you so you don’t dig yourself a deeper hole.
You’re not likely allowed to just change the locks and throw out their belongings right away or on your own.
Make sure every step you take is legal–you’ll need the law on your side to get rid of the squatters.
4. File for Eviction
When appropriate (check with your legal advisor), you can file an unlawful detainer suit (aka eviction) in your jurisdiction and start the process of a lawful eviction.
DO NOT try to remove a formerly rent paying tenant on your own. You will most likely be breaking the law.
Do things the right way with the law on your side and you can have the police or sheriff make the actual eviction, by force if necessary.
5. Cover Your Bases
While it’s already annoying, you may want to install security cameras in all the public areas in your home as well as set aside any valuables out of reach (i.e. put in storage or locked safely away).
It’s annoying enough that they’re squatting, it’d be worse if they do costly damage to your unit.
Notify the squatters to let them know that the cameras are on and recording at all times. Often, just knowing that there is surveillance will serve enough deterrence for further squatter shenanigans.
6. Change Locks
When lawful to do so, change the locks.
If the squatters try to return, contact the police and file a restraining order against the squatters.
7. Get Media Attention
Talk to local newspapers and get public attention in the area.
With the press, you may be able to get enough attention to spotlight the squatters, who would much rather prefer to do their evil deeds away from public scrutiny.
8. Utilize Social Media
Sometimes, a little well deserved public shaming can do wonders to get these squatters out.
The owner who was the unfortunate host to the infamous Pashanin brothers did just that.
With the help of massive support on social media, these squatting brothers quietly vacated months earlier than expected.
9. Be Patient
As difficult as it is to stay patient with freeloading strangers squatting in your house, you must keep patient and follow the law exactly.
Don’t give the squatters any ammunition to stay even longer.
Then, if you would like to consider hosting again, make sure you follow these steps to avoid future squatters.