You hear of the occasional Airbnb guest refusing to leave a rental.
But what happens when that guest is a neighbour you’ve been feuding with for years?
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Said uncovered what the paper labelled “the most bizarre, outrageous Airbnb feud story you’ll ever read“.
And it is.
A San Francisco woman, Michelle Huang, was the landlord of a two-bedroom apartment in a “tenancy-in-common” building.
Tenancy-in-common buildings aren’t like condos where everyone owns a unit privately. Instead, the people living in unit split ownership of the entire building, with the size of their stake based on the size of the unit they live in. All of their names go on the building title.
Another neighbour and co-owner of the building, Sandeep Hingorani, lives in the top-floor studio — and for the past 10 months, he has also rented Huang’s unit, despite her not wanting him to live there.
The problems a started when an Airbnb user “Jim Tako” asked to rent Huang’s apartment.
The labrynth of Airbnb regulations in San Francisco makes it harder to rent out your entire home for less than 30 days, so Huang (as many landlords have done) switched her Airbnb rentals so they’d last longer than one month.
“Tako” rented the unit for 60 days in April and May 2015.
Then a lawyer showed up and told Huang that the guest was asserting his tenant’s right to convert the stay into a month-by-month rental (another byproduct of San Francisco’s tenant laws).
That guest turned out to be Hingorani, the neighbour from the top floor, who had been fighting with Huang for years. He described Huang and her boyfriend as “bullies” to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The San Francisco Rent Board ruled in favour of Hingorani to stay, although it didn’t comment on how Hingorani, his mother, and a friend came to stay in the unit in the first place, since it was supposed to be rented to a person with a totally different name.
Now the three, who have lived in the unit for the past 10 months, have given notice that they’re leaving — but they’re saying that Huang basically forced them out by shutting off the electricity and making repairs without warning. The court battle is still ongoing between the parties.
As one uninvolved neighbour who owns a piece of the building told the Chronicle, “it’s a pox on both their houses.”
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