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Questions about squatters

The place I’m hosting is in San Francisco, it is also the same house I live in. Should I be worried about squatters establishing tenant rights after 30 days? What about ownership? Are there any complications that I should be wary of?

YES! You should be worried about squatters. Search this forum for discussions. If they stay longer than 30 days they can gain tenancy rights. Be super careful. If you do rent longer than 30, get them to also sign a standard lease to protect yourself. Get the standard deposit and do verifications. Look them up on your states judiciary site. There’s a lot you can do to avoid trouble but the biggest thing is to not take reservations over 21 days.

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Thank you for replying Konacoconutz! Can you explain the reason for not accepting reservations that are over 21 days?

Oy Vey!

Did you read @konacoconutz’s response ?

Maybe it wasn’t clear that keeping bookings below 21 days ensures that guests do not get the legal rights that would make squatting easier for them to do.

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I think you might find the clue in @konacoconutz reply to you was in the words ‘squatters’ and ‘tenancy rights’

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Thanks for responding. Yes, I’ve read @konacoconutz’s response. Konacoconutz states rental get tenancy right if they rent for more than 30 days. So I was wondering where the number 21 is coming from.

21 is a week less than 30. Which gives you 7 days to get someone out of the property if there are problems. For obvious reasons if you accept bookings for 30 days and on day 31 you realise there’s a problem …you’re already scuppered.

We don’t have these issues in the U.K. but that seems to be the logical reason.

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So glad we don’t have such rules in Britain!

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I live in Boston and almost all my guests are for 30 days or more. Mostly more. They come from all over the world and they are going back to where they come from so I’m not the least bit concerned that they will become squatters. They come here for one of three reasons. Educational program, work, or are relocating to Boston and need a place while finding housing. If their reason isn’t one of those three then I am curious and ask more questions.

I do everything through the Airbnb system. That’s important. No leases ever, no off system deals, and I never use the words “rent” or “apartment”. It’s MY house and they are simply guests.

I’m booked in advance so people have to leave. And they are going to one way or another.

Demand for space of all kinds is very high in Boston as we have a booming economy. I think it’s the same in San Francisco. I don’t think you would have a problem if you qualify the potential guests properly.

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EACH State (and sometimes city) has it’s own rules about tenancy in rentals. Boston or Massachusetts rules DO NOT APPLY in San Francisco or California. Ask your own State and City government about rules where you live!

Here in Florida, we do not have tenancy laws because a huge part of the state’s income derives from snowbirds who come down here for the winter months. When the contract is up, the guests are out – same day – whether it’s a week a month or more than six months since they arrived.

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It pays to be careful. People even squat in rooms inside people’s houses (as crazy as that sounds.) I remember a woman posting here about it happening to her. Sounds like you’re on top of it, though, so good for you. :+1:

Here in California I sure wouldn’t allow stays greater than 30 days without a signed lease. The laws here favor deadbeats.

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Yes, the lady posting here had an absolute nightmare going on from a guest overstaying. She actually took the conversation private here because there were confidentiality issues and TROs (filed by the guest against the host!) involved. We helped her for months with this.

Because there was also a minor child involved, the courts were extra cautious. The TROs could have forced the host to leave her own house and give it up to the guest. Yes you heard right. She was in Pennsylvania I think.

Host was forced to provide ALL amenities that were in her listing during the tenancy and could not, say cut off her kitchen use, internet or parking spot. Infuriating.

The guest knew how to work the system and had done this before. She knew after 30 days she was entitled to due process in every way. Oh, and the problem happened when her second month air payment couldn’t be charged on her credit card. And yet the guest stayed on.

She eventually got the guest out after months of squatting, constant TROs (one was filed because the guest claimed the child’s flip flop was deliberately caught in the door or the girl was asked to clean up her ice cream by the host. ) the room was trashed, and all her antiques broken.

Great you have not had problems with your tenants–and they are tenants if they stay over 30 days–and hope your good luck continues.

As for Florida, I believe you also do have tenancy rights. I heard it was two weeks there, not a month. But I have never heard you say you rent longer than 30 days.

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Interesting reading… this post is by the woman in the famous Palm Springs squatter case. A few unlawful detainer attorneys answer her questions

We cannot be so confident in these cases of stays over 30 days.

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Almost all my guests are here on a visa of somekind so have bigger concerns than how I might react to them stealing from me.

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Thanks for all the replys. My questions have been answered, and my best course of action is to probably screen guests who want to stay for more than 30 days.

And…make them sign a standard lease, get a standard deposit. Protect yourself in case you ever have to go into court to prove their status. Remember, 30 day stays confers tenancy. Would you have a tenant renting from you without a lease in place?

What I would do is ask the guest to book 21 days. Just to see if it is a good fit for both sides. Then if it is, you take them on as a tenant for however many months you would like at the Air rate. Remember, they are tenants already so get your terms in writing. Don’t leave it to chance.

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You may wish to read up on the case of a professor at UC Berkeley who had a squatter in her home while she was on sabbatical. The squatter was a professor going through a divorce and I believe was going through some kind of nervous breakdown and stayed in her home for months without paying and the professor had to fly back into the country to deal with this (she had to stay somewhere else since he was, you know, staying in her home).

She screened him, he had a Ph.D., multiple publications, and he was a freaking employed professor. So I wouldn’t be too confident about what screening means. If you’re unlucky, anyone can become a squatter and make your life a living hell (her squatter removed all her belonging and started doing stuff to the inside of her home). Please heed the advice of Kona and others, before you decide to just “hope” it all works out.

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You could also just let them stay on as Air guests but make them sign the lease anyway in addition if they want to stay. Get a deposit in cash, not through the Air system. Because that one is subject to denial by the guest and Air and is for damages to the property.

The agreement between you with Air and this guest is not enforceable by the court. You need another lease that the court will recognize.

No reason not to do this!

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Thanks for the warnings and advices. I’ll make sure to protect myself by making the guests sign a lease if they want to stay for more than 30 days.

San Francisco is a very unique city. Tenants have protections you would not believe. City government does not want anymore homeless people and people in surrounding cities know how good tenants have it in sf so this is a valid question and he should be very concerned. There’s been several nightmare stories about squatters in sf. Once a tenant is in you are pretty much unable to get them out unless they choose to leave. Not paying rent etc means you have to pay for a lawyer as the landlord and the tenant gets free reperesentatiin. Partial payment of rent that is accepted sets a precedent for the tenant to petition for lower rent and it is usually granted. Wanting to take your unit off the market means thousands of dollars to relocate the tenant plus inconvenience money and first and last months rent paid TO the tenant and that is if they don’t take you to court forcing you to get a lawyer and they have a free one supplied by the city… please do not equate sf with other cities it is a whole other ball of wax and I would advise anyone doing air to speak to a lawyer first. I own three properties in sf and would never do air bnb unless it was just a room in my home but that’s just me.

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