L O D G A B L E
images-1

The Airbnb Squatter Problem: What Are They and How Can They Be Avoided?

Squatters on Airbnb may be a major headache for your company. Sure Airbnb horror tales stand out among house parties and home invasions, but what about squatters? It’s a terrifying term since most hosts despise the idea of uninvited visitors, especially those who pitch camp for much longer than expected and refuse to pay for their lodging.

Because the settlers refused to go, hosts have had to clear their reservation calendars of other paying guests in some of the worst instances while fighting it out in court. Because the harm to your cash and reputation is so severe, the best course of action is to avoid squatting in the first place. We’ll walk you through how to detect an Airbnb squatter and what steps you can take to keep them out of your place.

If you find yourself in a squatting scenario, you still have options for reclaiming your property. That some property owners turn a blind eye is one of the reasons squatting has grown so common. Those who own hundreds of homes may be unaware that squatters have occupied their land for months, particularly during the off-season.

Follow a few techniques below to avoid, prevent, and push away squatting issues.

What is the definition of an Airbnb squatter?

Squatting may be a phrase you’re acquainted with regarding renters and rental properties, but most Airbnb hosts aren’t aware of its application to their Airbnb. In general, the objective of Airbnb and holiday rentals is to maintain a consistent flow of temporary visitors, which is the polar opposite of a settler. Squatters are people who: 

  • Occupy or settle into a place they have no legal title to 
  • Willfully and purposefully overstay their rental payments 
  • And/or stay on empty or uninhabited land or property without permission.

Squatting isn’t limited to long-term rentals, unfortunately. Squatting may occur in Airbnbs and houses used for holiday rentals, particularly with the increasing drive for longer stays in places designated for short-term vacations.

Someone who overstays their reservation and unlawfully occupies the Airbnb property is known as an Airbnb squatter. A difference between an Airbnb squatter and a typical squatter is that an Airbnb squatter has a short-term rental reservation. In contrast, ordinary squatters may have trespassed or overstayed a lease agreement.

What are the signs of a squatter?

Finding squatters before a guest arrives is the best thing you can do for your house. When you have squatters in your home, the procedure becomes much more complex, so keep an eye out for these uninvited visitors.

Suspicious guest information

The greatest thing you can do is screen prospective settlers from the start of the reservation, so you don’t have to worry about canceling the reservation or, worse, dealing with the squatting situation after they come.

You may read about all the signals to look for while screening unwelcome visitors. However, there are a few that stand out:

  • Profile photographs that are pixelated or fuzzy 
  • Only filling up the essential elements on Airbnb 
  • The profile was established soon before the booking request

There are many additional red flags to watch out for, which you can read about in the piece above, but in general, follow your instincts. A profile may be questionable. You may always politely request further information from visitors to offer you peace of mind about their intentions, but if they refuse, it’s better to decline the reservation. A week’s vacancy is significantly less expensive than months of unpaid tenancy.

Untrustworthy communication

Having a visitor with a new profile isn’t usually a bad sign, primarily if they communicate warmly. Occasionally, visitors are not confirmed because they are unaware of its importance. They are, after all, tourists, not specialists.

You gave a request-to-book a chance by conducting a deeper dive via communication. Ask them some questions if they don’t have an “about me” area! “Can you tell me why you’re traveling?” “Could you please inform me about your plans?” “Tell me a little bit about yourself!” – these are all excellent inquiries for sorting out the visitors from the settlers. You may even get a “green flag” answer, such as a snapshot of their schedule displaying their return flight.

How to keep squatters out of your holiday property

Although the Airbnb screening process might take some time, there are several ground rules you can follow to prevent Airbnb squatters. If it’s apparent to squatters that your home isn’t for sale, you can save a lot of time in the screening process by preventing unwelcome visitors from booking.

Only authenticated visitors are allowed to stay.

Verified Airbnb guests are individuals who have provided government-issued documentation to prove their identity on the site. Hosts may only book guests that have a verified profile on Airbnb. This prevents you from having to authenticate visitors via other methods or asking invasive questions, such as having them email their identity directly to you. Note that this service is only accessible to Airbnb users who have been vetted.

Request a greater security deposit amount.

Guests who want to overstay their welcome wish to stay at the property for as long as possible at free cost. Providing a more significant security deposit amount will deter Airbnb squatters who will be hesitant to pay the additional money since they know they won’t receive it back.

Make use of a vacation rental agreement.

Squatting on Airbnb won’t be prevented with merely a holiday rental contract. This is because vacation rental squatters are breaching the law on purpose. On the other hand, a good vacation rental agreement can aid you in arguing your case in court or against local authorities. Unwelcome guests, in particular, are a problem. Many police officers in the area mistake Airbnb squatters for residents who have overstayed their lease. Why is this a problem? Tenant-landlord disputes are usually resolved via litigation, while trespassing is criminal.

You have a higher chance of having the law on your side when it comes to removing the squatters if you can establish that they are merely short-term visitors using a holiday rental contract and that they are trespassing.

Don’t hold a party for more than 27 days unless you’re confident in your guests.

Squatter’s rights vary by state in the United States, but generally, a guest’s authority grows significantly when they remain on your land for more than 30 days, and in certain situations, as little as 27 days.

Remember the risk, even if it’s easy to go along with the flow and accept any long-term stay requests. If the visit is more than a month, several jurisdictions consider the guest a tenant, giving them much more rights.

Unless they’re trusted visitors, try to stick to shorter bookings to prevent this problem. If you have the same repeat visitors every year who stay for a month, you can book them without hesitation, but be aware of newcomers who want to book for a lengthy time. While the consistent income may be appealing, keep in mind that the danger is substantially greater.

Squatters on Airbnb: How to Evict Them

So you’ve got squatters on your hands. It’s difficult to get rid of Airbnb squatters since you can’t physically remove them from the premises, but there are methods to evict them and restore normality to your Airbnb company. You may take some urgent steps if you’ve frantically scrolled to the bottom of this page to find out ‘what next?’

Immediately file a lawsuit.

Legal processes might take months or even years in the most heinous cases. It’s better to get a lawyer right once and start submitting a claim. The sooner you begin, the sooner your unwelcome visitors will go. It will also strengthen your case if the court sees you acted quickly.

You may be asking, “File an action on what?” You’ll need to file an illegal detainer action if you’re a property owner. This essentially signifies that the landlord or host requests the guest’s removal due to an unauthorized stay. This may be done for a nominal filing fee at your local court.

Call your insurance company if you’re not sure if you’re covered.

In addition to legal actions, you’ll want to look into any insurance claims you may have. You should carry vacation rental insurance as a matter of thumb, particularly in situations like these. Squatters coverage is a feature of certain plans that provides financial assistance for things like lost income and legal expenditures.

Keep a record of everything.

The secret to evicting Airbnb squatters is to keep meticulous records. The settlers will have their version of events, and you’ll need documentation to refute their allegations. The more proof there is, the better. Remember that if you have to go to court, you’ll have to explain why you’re seeking to kick these people out of your house.

Screenshots, images, written proof, and anything else you can think of can assist you in proving your point. Don’t skimp on the details when defending your case against Airbnb squatters.

Takeaways

Squatters on Airbnb and holiday rental squatters are not simple to deal with. Be prepared for a battle since visitors violate the law on purpose. However, even the most strict verification measures can’t always keep Airbnb squatters out, even if you avoid hosting them at all costs.

If you find yourself with Airbnb squatters in your home, don’t panic, but don’t let your guard down. Because the legal fight might be lengthy, begin preparing documents and papers as soon as possible so that you can reopen your vacation rental company.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Let’s Get Started

Lodgable now offers the fastest response times in the industry during business hours. Learn more about how our state-of-the-art software will help grow your business today! 

Chat With Us

Chat Now

FOLLOW US

COPYRIGHT © 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.