Airbnb Guest in California Stays for 540 Days and Wants $100K to Leave

The situation involving Elizabeth Hirschhorn and the Airbnb property in Brentwood, California has escalated into a contentious dispute. Here are the key points of the story:

  1. Elizabeth Hirschhorn became a long-term tenant at Sascha Jovanovic’s $3.8 million guesthouse in September 2021 through Airbnb. Initially, the arrangement seemed like a typical lease agreement.
  2. After the lease ended, Elizabeth refused to vacate the property, citing code violations as the reason for not paying rent. She offered to pay for her temporary residence and promised to address the property’s issues.
  3. Elizabeth did not leave the property, citing concerns related to COVID-19 health risks and her sensitivity to certain chemicals.
  4. Sascha attempted to evict Elizabeth, but the city investigator sided with her. According to the investigator, Sascha could not file eviction notices until he proved that the property was compliant and safe to reside in.
  5. Airbnb distanced itself from the situation, considering it a third-party matter due to the extended stay outside of its platform’s jurisdiction.
  6. Elizabeth stopped paying rent entirely and filed a complaint against Sascha, accusing him of harassment, illegal eviction, and failure to pay relocation fees. She reportedly offered to leave in exchange for $100,000.
  7. Sascha, the property owner and a dentist, expressed his frustration and emotional distress over the situation, stating that he had no idea it would escalate to this level. He expressed concerns about his safety when a potentially hostile tenant occupies his property.
  8. Sascha’s attorney, Sebastian Rucci, referred to Elizabeth as the “tenant from hell” and accused her of taking advantage of the situation. He argued that if such behavior is allowed, it could set a precedent where tenants can stay in properties rent-free if any code violations are found.
  9. Elizabeth’s lawyer, Rick Walshok, countered by accusing Sascha of renting out an “illegal bootleg unit” with code violations. He argued that she was not liable to pay rent under these circumstances and accused Sascha of harassment and filing frivolous lawsuits to cover his tracks.

The dispute highlights the complexities and challenges that can arise in long-term Airbnb rentals and the potential legal and financial consequences for both hosts and tenants.

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