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How Can You Avoid Airbnb Squatters?

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Certain Airbnb horror tales stand out among house parties and home invasions, but what about squatters? It’s a terrifying term, since most hosts fear the prospect of uninvited visitors of any type, but especially those who pitch camp for an extended time and refuse to pay for their accommodations. Squatters on Airbnb might be a significant hindrance to your company.

In some of the worst situations, hosts have been forced to delete their reservation calendars of other paying visitors while pursuing the squatters 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 identify an Airbnb squatter and prevent them from occupying your house.

If you do become a squatter, there are still certain steps you may take to restore your property. Squatting has grown so popular in part because some property owners turn a blind eye. Those who own hundreds of homes may be unaware that tenants have been squatting on their property for months, particularly during the off-season.

Follow a few of the ideas below to avoid, guard against, and eliminate squatting problems.

What is a squatter on Airbnb?

While you may be acquainted with the word “squatting” about renters and rental properties, the majority of hosts are ignorant of its application to their Airbnb. The purpose of Airbnb and holiday rentals, in general, is to maintain a regular stream of temporary visitors, which is in direct opposition to a squatter. Squatter is defined as someone who:

  • Occupies or establishes a residence in a property to which they have no legal title
  • Willfully and purposefully exceeds their rental payment due date
  • And/or someone who illegally resides on empty or uninhabited land or property.

Regrettably, squatting is not exclusive to long-term leases. Airbnbs and vacation rental houses are also susceptible to squatting, particularly given the increasing drive for longer stays in residences designated for short-term vacations.

An Airbnb squatter is someone who overstays their reservation and unlawfully occupies the Airbnb property. A difference between an Airbnb squatter and a typical squatter is that an Airbnb squatter has a short-term rental reservation, while a regular squatter may have trespassed or overstayed a lease agreement.

What to look for when spotting a squatter

The most important thing you can do to protect your property is to be attentive about detecting squatters before they make a reservation. Once squatters have taken up residence on the property, the procedure becomes far more complicated, which is why it’s critical to keep an eye out for these uninvited visitors.

Unusual guest profile

The best course of action is to screen out possible squatters at the reservation stage, so you avoid having to cancel the booking or, worse, dealing with the squatting issue after they come.

You may see the whole list of indicators for screening unwelcome visitors here, but a few notable red flags include the following:

  • Profile images that are pixelated or blurred
  • Filling in just the required information on Airbnb
  • The profile was established just before the booking request.

There are several other warning signals to watch for, which you can read about on the page above, but generally, follow your instinct. If a profile seems suspect, it very well maybe. You may always politely request further information from visitors to ascertain their intentions, but if they refuse, it is advisable to decline the reservation. A week’s vacancy is significantly less expensive than months of an unpaid tenancy.

Untrustworthy communication

Having a visitor with a fresh profile is not always a bad indicator, especially if they communicate warmly. Occasionally, visitors are not confirmed since they are unaware of how critical it is. After all, they are tourists, not specialists.

It’s always worth taking a risk on a request-to-book by doing a deeper dig through contact. If their “about me” part is deficient, politely inquire! “Could you explain to me why you’re traveling?” “Tell me a little bit about yourself!” -all of these are excellent questions for weeding out visitors and squatters. You may even get a “green flag” answer, such as a snapshot of their itinerary with their return flight highlighted.

How to safeguard your holiday rental from squatters

While the Airbnb screening process might be lengthy, there are some basic ground rules to follow to prevent Airbnb squatters. You can even find complete guides on ground rules on numerous airbnb vacation rental software websites. If you make it obvious to squatters that your property is not for sale, you may save yourself a lot of time throughout the screening process by preventing undesirable visitors from booking.

Only visitors who have been authenticated by the host

Airbnb verified guests are people who have verified their identity on the site by producing a government-issued photo ID. Airbnb enables hosts to book visitors only if their profile is confirmed. This avoids the need to authenticate visitors through other ways or to ask invasive questions such as having them provide their identity directly to you. The caveat is that Airbnb will only enable you to use this feature if you have been confirmed on the site.

Request a larger security deposit.

Guests that want to overstay their welcome are interested in using the home for as long as possible without paying anything. When you provide a greater security deposit, you assist to deter Airbnb squatters, who will be hesitant to pay the additional amount since they know they will not get it back.

Utilize a vacation rental agreement

Squatting on Airbnb will not be eliminated with a holiday rental contract. That is because vacation rental squatters are breaching the law on purpose. Nonetheless, a well-written holiday rental agreement will assist you in arguing your case in court or before local authorities. This is especially true when evicting unpleasant visitors. Numerous local police departments mistake Airbnb squatters with renters who violate their lease restrictions. Why is this a problem? Tenant-landlord disputes normally come within the legal arena of litigation, while trespassing is a criminal offense.

If you can demonstrate that these are just short-term visitors through a vacation rental contract and that they are trespassing, you will have a higher chance of convincing the law to remove the squatters.

Do not hold an event longer than 27 days unless you are certain of your visitors.

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

While it may be tempting to follow the trend and accept any long-term stay requests that come your way, keep in mind the danger involved. Many jurisdictions consider the visitor to be a tenant if they stay exceeds a month, giving them much more rights.

To prevent this, make shorter bookings unless they are with trustworthy visitors. If you have the same repeat visitors who stay for one month each year, you may probably book them without concern, but be cautious of newcomers who want to book for an extended amount of time. While the constant income may be appealing, keep in mind that the risk is far greater.

How to remove squatters from Airbnb

Thus, you have squatters. If you’ve frantically navigated to the bottom of this page in search of an answer to the ‘what next?’ You can take some quick actions. It’s not simple to evict Airbnb squatters since they cannot be physically removed from the premises, but there are methods to evict them and restore normality to your Airbnb company.

Immediately file an action

Legal processes may take months or even years in the most heinous of situations. It is prudent to retain legal counsel and expedite the process of making a claim. The sooner you begin, the sooner you will be able to evict your unwelcome visitors. Additionally, if the court sees that you take prompt action, this will enhance your case.

“File an action on what?” you may ask. As a property owner, you must initiate what is known as an illegal detainer action. This essentially indicates that the landlord or host is asking to have the visitor removed for staying illegally. This may be accomplished in your local court for a nominal filing cost.

Consult your insurance provider to determine if you are covered.

In conjunction with legal actions, you’ll want to review your insurance claims. As a general rule, you should get vacation rental insurance, much more so in certain cases. Certain insurance provides “squatters coverage,” which will reimburse you for expenditures such as lost income and legal fees.

Maintain meticulous records on everything.

The secret to evicting Airbnb squatters effectively is to record everything. The more proof that is available, the better. Bear in mind that if you are required to appear in court. You will be required to explain why you are attempting to evict these people from your house. Squatters will have their version of events, and you will need evidence to refute their allegations.

Screenshots, photographs, or textual data can all assist you in bolstering your case. Make no omissions when proving your case against Airbnb squatters.

Takeaways

Squatters on Airbnb and vacation property squatters are not trivial issues. These are visitors who are violating the law on purpose, so be prepared for a brawl. The best course of action is to avoid hosting them in the first place. Yet even with tightened verification systems, Airbnb squatters sometimes sneak through.

If you find yourself with Airbnb squatters in your home, do not worry, but also do not relax. The legal struggle may be lengthy, so begin preparing papers and files as soon as possible to reopen your vacation rental business with the help of resources out there like Lodgable.

More Reading: Businessesinsiders

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