hand holding Airbnb logo on paper in front of house

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‘I had noticed that items from my house have been missing, such as my PlayStation’: Renter says landlord Airbnb’d house while they were on vacation

'He is refusing any liability.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Jul 20, 2023

A user on Reddit has sparked discussion after posting a question to the subreddit /r/LegalAdvice.

In the post, which currently has over 17,000 upvotes, user rickky1000 claims that, unbeknownst to him, his landlord rented out his apartment through Airbnb while he was away for “a couple months.”

Rickky1000 said that he first realized something was amiss after returning to his California home. 

“When I got back to my house I had noticed that items from my house have been missing, such as my PlayStation, PC and even an entire gun safe with a firearm inside,” rickky1000 explained. “There was no sign of forced entry whatsoever, I filed a police report for the theft alongside asking my neighbors if they saw anything.”

“…Two of my neighbors said they didn’t even realize I was gone because they saw cars parked in front alongside people coming and going the entire time,” the Redditor continued.

When the Redditor confronted his landlord about whether someone had access to the house, his landlord informed him that he had rented out the space through Airbnb.

“I am absolutely furious,” wrote rickky1000. “he denies any wrongdoing stating it’s his building and I vacated for the 2 months. I was paying every god damn month I was gone.”

The Daily Dot could not verify the details in rickky1000’s story. That said, this isn’t the first time that landlords have been criticized for their controversial use of Airbnb.

In January of this year, a West Vancouver landlord was ordered to pay over $40,000 CAD to his tenants after evicting them to run the apartment as an Airbnb. He had told the tenants that the “new owner intended to move in,” per Brent Richter of North Shore News.

Back in 2018, the city of San Francisco reached a $2.25 million settlement with two property owners in the city after the city claimed the couple was running “an illicit hotel chain during San Francisco’s housing crisis rather than lawfully renting the units to residential tenants,” according to a press release from the City Attorney of San Francisco.

“The settlement required Airbnb to supply the city with a monthly list of all homes listed on Airbnb, along with information to enable San Francisco to confirm that the unit is registered,” writes Megan Rose Dickey for TechCrunch. “At that time, there were only 2,100 short-term rental hosts registered in San Francisco, but more than 8,000 listed on Airbnb.”

Others who own property have complained that their residences have been rented out without their permission.

Last year, KCAL News shared the story of a family whose house appeared on Airbnb without their consent or knowledge. They claimed that several guests had arrived at the house believing they had rented it.

Airbnb later removed the listings.

Back on Reddit, users shared their advice for rickky1000.

“The good thing about filing an insurance claim is that they might sue the landlord for you – and they’re probably much better positioned to do that. So I’d definitely talk to your insurance company,” said commenter timcrall. “Your landlord definitely had no right to “double rent” your apartment while you were still making rent payments on it, regardless of whether you were physically inside it or not.” The commenter also suggested suing the landlord.

Other users suggested collecting evidence that the landlord had used the apartment as an Airbnb property, noting all of the items that were missing, and marking which items may have been used by Airbnb tenants.

One user noted that, “Your landlord may try to argue that you abandoned the premises, but if you continued to pay your rent, I would think that argument would be thrown out.”

This is consistent with advice given by other California rental resources.

Writing on RentPrep, author Stephen Michael White notes, “A tenant who suddenly goes on a prolonged vacation or goes to jail is still technically a tenant as long as they did not break the lease terms.”

“If a tenant leaves the property without notice…an eviction process to formally end the lease should occur first,” White states.

Additionally, while landlords are given a limited right to enter tenants’ apartments in the state of California, “the ‘abuse’ of your right to entry is prohibited under California law,” states Steven Adair MacDonald & Partners, PC.

“…Accessing your tenant’s premises without permission or legitimate cause is considered criminal trespass, which may result in arrest,” the firm explains. “To defend yourself against an abuse allegation, you must have reasonable proof that your tenant abandoned the rental property you relied upon before entering.”

As rickky1000 had been paying rent, the argument that he abandoned the property may prove difficult.

Above all, users suggested that the Redditor seek professional legal counsel.

“I think you should find a tenant lawyer to at least have a consultation. California is very tenant friendly so the landlord may owe you a lot for damages,” offered Reddit user SilverCats. “They definitely owe you for the stolen stuff but also very likely they might owe the rent back, and owe damages for unauthorized entry and possibly illegal eviction, utilities.”

The Daily Dot reached out to rickky1000 via Reddit chat and Airbnb via email.

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*First Published: Jul 20, 2023, 1:42 pm CDT