Take control from girlfriend of my property being used as AirBnB

Nine months ago I bought the house next door. I allowed my girlfriend to list it on AirBnB on her account, and for her to manage and run it. The proceeds are paid to her PayPal act.
We were to have split the money, but I have never received a dollar from her. Now we are breaking up. Partly because of this, but there are other issues we don’t need to get into.
AirBnB says only she can take it offline by closing her acct. According to them, I, the property owner, despite any documentation proving ownership, have no choice but to let her continue making $3000/month on MY house while performing no maintenance for ever.
According to them, I have to convince her to close the account. I have no say at all.
I am fine with honoring reservations. But I need her off the account and the money coming to me. I have no intention to support her with my property for life!
I guess I will have to pay an attorney to sue her to cease and desist, which will cost me thousands and could take months.
Can this be right? Anyone have any suggestions? I’m thinking about just changing the locks and letting her deal with the fallout.

This is silly. If she doesn’t own the house or live there, just change the locks and don’t let anyone inside. Airbnb will take her listing down in no time.

Then, start your own listing under your name. You will have to get your own new reservations and earn your own reviews.


Change the locks. Get wifi electronic locks and at a minimum a Ring doorbell camera.

Next time, make sure the account is under your name with your payment information and your GF is only a co-host.

Send her a certified cease and desist letter without an attorney needed (just write your own with the basics, she has no legal right to rent out your property anymore, take down the account) or pay $85 to have a sheriff serve her. Then copy that letter to Airbnb as the legal property owner and tell them if they don’t take down the account and transfer existing reservations to your name, you’ll sue them. And post all over social media.

Also, scrape the account of all images and text so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you open your own account.

Learning experiences are expensive. Always have a contract and never give up control.

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I’d honestly check with an attorney rather than take anyone’s word here as gospel. I don’t mean this to be harsh because presumably you thought you were acting for the best but it seems that you let your girlfriend have complete control - a bit silly.

If a person lists a property on Airbnb, and even if the money goes to their account, that’s not against any Airbnb rules because on the rare occasions it happens, the property owner is fully aware of what is going on.

On the Airbnb site it says that the person who is listing the property has the responsibility of making sure that what they are doing is legal, insured and licensed to the local authority requirements and that includes the property owner’s permission. Because this is plainly stated on the Airbnb site, they won’t be able to help you at all.

Did she have anything in writing from you to say she was entitled to do this?

You can certainly go the lock-changing route if you prefer to do it that way but even so, I’d check on the legal position first to make sure that it’s okay to do that where you are. Laws can differ so much depending on where you are.


Change the locks, forget her account just open it up under yours.

Let her suffer the cancellations


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This sounds like the best advice to me.


Assuming that your story is legit, I would immediately change the locks, and talk to an attorney. If there is a current guest there, I would have them removed by the police. You own the property and she does not.

There is no traditional protection under “landlord/tenant” laws. IMO, she is simply in breach of contract. Hopefully, you have SOMETHING in writing as you will have to sue her to get any money. Hard truth - you have exercised very poor judgement in managing the situation.

I’m not a lawyer but you have “no agreement” with Airbnb. She does. If they fine her - too bad, so sad. That’s her problem.

You certainly need to notify Airbnb in writing in some fashion. Good luck.

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Thank you all. Some good points to ponder. Since she herself never established personal residency in the house, I doubt if any landlord/tenant laws or eviction procedures apply. Whether AirBnB will reopen the same address in a different account after the fallout from changing the locks is another question.
I think the certified cease and desist letter to her and copied to AirBnB sounds good.
She did open the account with my permission, and my arrangement was with her only. Not AirBnB. And no written agreement. So i kind of get their position. It’s my problem, with her, I have to fix it.
She will want to continue with AirBnB in the future, so i doubt she will risk the fallout from her guests arriving to locked doors. Hopefully, she won’t force me to actually do it.
As for being stupid and silly about it: guilty as charged! A ton of cliches apply here.
the best being; no good deed goes unpunished! Nice guys finish last rates right up there, too!
Thanks again and anyone else with a suggestion, please do chime in!


Just curious - whose name are the utilities in?


I was going to ask that too. I’m sure you’re already paying the mortgage and taxes. If you are also paying the utilities, well, that’s even more silly.

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If he is…easy fix - have them turned off!

Kind of off topic but the water and electric to over half of my Airbnb room can be turned off without affecting my service. I could certainly live without my ISP and use my phone, I can turn off the cable TV… I could make it an unpleasant stay quickly if I had to.


I was paying them! I finally insisted that she put the $200/mo electric bill in her name. Which took five months of nagging. And that she pay the recently due $1200 tax bill. There is no mortgage. The water and internet are still in my name. The central AC unit is exhausted and won’t make it though the summer, and I know she is flat broke with noting put aside for it.

Change. The. Locks. Now.
No more mr nice guy, you see how that worked out right?

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So did you pay cash for the house? Is her name on the deed?

You had better be careful about having her pay the taxes if the house is not in her name - in many areas that is one way to establish squatter’s rights.


I am afraid you may have weakened your position by allowing her to have utilities on in her name and pay the taxes there and I wouldn’t take any advice about changing locks without consulting an attorney. Often a simple consult is all you need and that can be worth a lot more than you paid in terms of trouble and loss avoided.

But do send a cease and desist anyway, immediately. It will sort of start the toll of a clock for other legal remedies in most cases.

I would go to the attorney first, but I expect this is what an attorney will advise.

This is not good at all. This might allow her to easily claim tenant rights unless you have written proof of the business agreement. Speak with an attorney TOMORROW. Make sure it is an attorney who specializes in real estate, not a generalist.

The only thing that may work in your favor is if she isn’t actually LIVING there. But, she could easily CLAIM that she is renting it from you and running a business with your permission. Which could then give her Tenant rights. You better have some proof that this is a pure business agreement.


That isn’t at all true, jaquo. I have read many distraught posts from property owners whose long-term tenants were renting out rooms or the entire place on Airbnb without the owner’s knowledge or permission. Some people have even had scammers post photos and descriptions of their property that the scammer got off a real estate site and put up n Airbnb. Those property owners have had a helluva time getting Airbnb to remove the listings.
What Airbnb should be doing is requiring anyone who lists on their site to provide a property title in their name, or a notarized letter from the owner giving them permission to list.

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Even though I had spent almost 4 years managing rental properties I was screwed by the one bad tenant I had and his employer that put up the security deposit. If the attorney that my ex-boss employed had still been alive I would have saved myself $5000 and a 3 month vacancy. I should have asked another lawyer before I took action, but I didn’t, and ooops.

So my advice is to see a lawyer. Call a larger apartment company in your community, tell them you are a landlord with a landlord-tenant problem (no need to describe it) and you want to know which attorney they would call. If you do this several times and get the same answer you know which attorney to contact.