Airbnb Squatters: What to Do When Guests Refuse to Leave

Discover everything there is about Airbnb squatters, from how to spot them and get familiar with their rights to what to do if they refuse to leave.

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What can you do if guests overstay their welcome? Dealing with squatters is every host’s worst nightmare, so it’s best to be prepared.

To avoid such situations, join us as we dive into squatters’ rights at Airbnb, warning signs to watch out for, and steps to take if it happens to you.

What are Airbnb Squatters?

Airbnb squatters are guests who stay past their checkout date without the host’s permission. It can be a headache for hosts because, despite repeated requests to leave and negotiations, guests refuse to leave or pay for their prolonged stay. 

Most squatters are scam artists who manipulate rental laws to their benefit. They are well-informed about their rights and often exploit legal loopholes to avoid eviction. 

Signs of an Airbnb Squatter

Dealing with squatters is a time- and money-draining problem, so you’ll want to prevent them from setting foot on your property in the first place. Here are some signs to look out for before they book.

Incomplete Profile

Watch out for incomplete guest profiles as they’re a major warning sign. Sketchy profile pictures, empty bio fields, or negative reviews from previous hosts could indicate trouble. 

Be cautious if a profile was hastily created right before booking since it might mean they’re trying to conceal something. 

Reluctance to Provide Information

Keep an eye out for any hesitations or reluctance from potential guests when it comes to sharing important information like their ID for screening or agreeing to sign a rental contract. If they seem hesitant about these key details, it could be a sign of potential issues. 

Also, if they’re taking their time to respond or avoiding answering your questions, it’s worth considering whether they’ll be reliable guests. Trust your gut in these situations. If anything feels off, it’s probably best to lose a booking than to stress about it later.

Booking for 30+ Days

When you’re considering approving stays longer than 30 days, there’s something you need to know: in many states, once a guest hits that 30-day mark, they’re legally considered a tenant. That means if things go south and they refuse to leave, you’ll have to deal with landlord-tenant laws and eviction processes. 

While offering longer stays can be a nice, steady income stream, you should thoroughly check out guests before saying yes to those extended bookings. Sure, the idea of renting your place out for a while longer might sound great, but keep in mind that guests’ rights get a lot stronger after that 30-day mark. 

Last-Minute Changes to Booking

Last-minute changes to bookings, especially without a clear reason, can be a good enough reason to question the guest’s intentions. When guests make sudden changes and refuse to give a clear reason why, it could mean they’re hiding something or not following Airbnb’s rules. If they’re not being honest and respectful toward you and your property, it could be safer to avoid such guests.

Airbnb Squatters’ Rights

Squatters’ rights differ by location, and even though you connect with your guests through Airbnb, it is just a platform. The rules regarding squatters’ rights fall under local and state laws.

That’s why it’s important to get familiar with the laws in your area. You can usually find information on your local government websites, legal aid groups, or by talking to a real estate lawyer who knows the local laws.

Generally, if your guest sticks around for more than 30 days, they start to have legal protections similar to regular tenants. That means you can’t evict them without proper notice and legal process, even if there’s no official lease agreement.

How to Prevent Squatters Upon Booking

Wondering how to keep squatters out of your vacation rental? Here are some preventive steps you can take.

Screen Guests

Before you accept the request, Take a good look at the guest’s profile and read through their reviews from other hosts. To double-check their info, you can Google them and check out their social media accounts.

You can also ask them a few questions when they’re booking to get a better feel for who they are and what they’re planning. For example, ask them if they can tell you about the purpose of their trip and how many people will be staying with them. If you see any red flags, iffy comments, or unsatisfactory answers, it might be a sign to pass on the booking. 

Stick to Airbnb for Bookings

Encouraging bookings through Airbnb is a smart move for safety. The platform does extra checks to make sure guests are legit, plus you get extra insurance coverage for bookings made there. Sticking to Airbnb also means they’ll back you up if you ever deal with squatters.

Sign a Rental Agreement

Have guests sign a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of their stay. Laying down simple rules, like the precise check-in and check-out date, gives you leverage. So, if there’s ever a problem, the agreement is there as proof of what was agreed on, making it easier to sort things out.

Ask for a Deposit

When you’re setting up your listing, make sure to require a security deposit. Squatters usually avoid rentals with deposits (especially hefty ones) since they know they won’t get it back. 

Should You Draft an Airbnb Rental Agreement?

Also, include details of when you’ll use the deposit in your rental agreement so guests know what to expect. Remember to pick an amount that makes sense as it should cover potential costs without scaring off guests.

What to Do When Guests Refuse to Leave

If you ever have to deal with squatters, stay calm, and take the following actions.

Send them a Formal Request to Leave

The first step is to use Airbnb’s private messaging to remind them that their check-out date has passed and that they need to leave. You should message them through Airbnb to have it documented that you informed them of the situation and made a formal and polite request to leave the property.

Document Everything

Keep detailed records of all communication with your guests, such as messages, emails, and phone calls. Keeping these records could be incredibly helpful if you ever need to take further action.

Also, keep everything organized to have a clear timeline of events. This can serve as a valuable reference for any negotiations with Airbnb support or legal advisors.

Reach Out to Airbnb Support

Contact Airbnb’s customer support team and provide them with a detailed account of the situation. Include all relevant information, such as your Airbnb rental property, communication records, reservation details, and evidence that your guests refused to comply with your requests.

Get In Touch with Your Insurer

Call your rental insurance provider the moment you realize that you have squatters on your hands. If you have vacation rental insurance, you might be covered for such incidents, but you must inform them right away to be protected and get reimbursed for any losses.

Proper Insurance has a special and tailor-penned coverage designed specifically for cases like these that short-term property owners might face. Squatter incidents can cause significant income losses for your Airbnb and they can cover for up to $10,000 in business revenue loss and $5,000 in actual expenses incurred (like eviction, court costs, and sheriff fees).

Check out our full review of Proper Insurance or get a quote to ensure your Airbnb from these untoward incidents.

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Ask for Legal Advice

The last resort is to seek advice from a local lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law. They can help you understand what to do next and guide you through the eviction process if it comes to that.

Airbnb Eviction Process for Airbnb Squatters

If the squatters refuse to leave despite being formally asked and Airbnb’s involvement, there’s no other way but to resort to legal action. This means filing for an eviction through the appropriate legal channels in your area.

The legal process can vary depending on your local laws. Typically, it involves filing paperwork with the court, notifying the squatters, and attending a court hearing. If the court rules in your favor, they issue an eviction order.

Once the eviction order is granted, law enforcement might need to step in to physically remove the squatters if they still won’t leave on their own.

Conclusion

Fortunately, coming across Airbnb squatters is rare, so the odds are you won’t have to deal with them at all. However, in the vacation rental business, it pays to be ready for anything. 

Spotting potential squatters early on helps you avoid trouble and saves you from unnecessary legal expenses. So, it’s worth keeping a lookout, just in case.

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