Real Estate

Single Mom In Durham Struggles To Get Rid Of Airbnb Squatters

Airbnb host Farzana Rahman’s renters have refused to vacate the property after a seven-month reservation. Rahman said Airbnb has provided little assistance.

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A single mother and owner of an Airbnb in Durham, North Carolina, received a rude awakening last month when her renters didn’t leave her property at the end of their reservation.

Farzana Rahman’s guests had an unremarkable check-in when they arrived at the property on Oct. 25, but when the rental property owner’s housekeeper arrived to clean the place after check-out on May 24, the guests were still there — and they wouldn’t budge, a local ABC affiliate reported.

The renters told the housekeeper not to come back, Rahman said.

“Now they’re refusing to leave until there’s an eviction order,” she continued. “I think they’re just trying to gain time to stay there for free because they haven’t paid.”

Getting law enforcement involved hasn’t helped either, Rahman said. After bringing cops to the property, the squatters made promises to vacate the next day, but never followed through.

Instead, the squatters hung a “no trespassing” sign on the door that also states, “We will vacate the property when you filed the proper paperwork with the civil magistrate for an eviction, for we are legal residents of this home.”

Unfortunately for Rahman, that means her rental income remains stalled for the moment.

“This is my place, and I mean, I’m counting on this income,” Rahman told ABC. “My son is in college. I’m a single parent.”

Rahman said Airbnb has also done little to remedy the situation.

“They’re sending me messages as please get help for your safety and get whatever legal help you have to get to get them out,” she said.

Airbnb did not respond to multiple requests for comment from ABC.

The rental platform does have a section on its website called “Things to consider before hosting monthly stays.” The section warns hosts that they may not be able to remove guests who stay at a property for a month or longer without taking them to court because at that point, they may have established tenancy rights, depending on what state the rental property is located. The section also suggests hosts consider having long-term renters sign a rental agreement, in consultation with an attorney familiar with local landlord-tenant laws.

At this point, Rahman has filed eviction paperwork to try and regain possession of the rental. Her court date is currently scheduled for the week of June 13.

“It’s wasted my time, it is wasting my energy, it is stressing me out,” Rahman told ABC.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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