The Web makes everything better.
Well, at least those who make money on the Web like to claim that.
However, there are times when the apparent ease of Web commerce hides difficult aspects. This is something that Cory Tschogl is discovering.
She owns a condo in Palm Springs, Calif. She rents it out on Airbnb. She agreed to rent it out for 44 days to a man who may or may not be called Maksym.
Perhaps the business was, for her, too good to pass up. However, as she told the San Francisco Chronicle, she wished she'd done a little more legal studying before agreeing to his request.
It certainly can't have helped that this Maksym didn't have any reviews on the site. It also didn't help that Airbnb admits: "Our initial response to this inquiry didn't meet the standards we set for ourselves and we've apologized to this host."
The law in California is. to Tschogl at least, the least helpful part. She claims Maksym was a difficult tenant from the beginning. However, given that his stay was from May 25 to July 8, he now has tenant's rights.
In order to get him out of her condo, she has to go through a full eviction process, which might take three to six months and cost her up to $5,000.
In California, if someone rents for 30 days, they are considered on a month-to-month lease.
Because its response to her initial request for help was woeful, Airbnb has agreed to help pay her legal costs. This will help, but not too much.
Tschogl said she tried to end Maksym's rental period after a couple of days, but he wouldn't. It's unclear why the situation was allowed to drag on, until he stayed at least 30 days, incurring far more problems for Tschogl.
Tschogl is a vision rehabilitation therapist in San Francisco. She bought the condo in Palm Springs because it's cheaper out there and her father lives near there. She told Business Insider that she wishes Airbnb offered insurance for such situations.
Some, though, might also want to wonder about Maksym. Allegedly from Texas, he reportedly fought hard when she asked him to leave.
He allegedly threatened to sue her for "blackmail and damages caused by your negligence and malicious misconduct, including $3,800 PID Espresso machine as well as medical bills for my brother's hospital visit after he got sick here drinking unfiltered tap water."
Might Maksym's maxim be to take maximum advantage wherever he can find it? What would it take for him to reach a reasonable agreement with Tschogl?
When this is finally over, might Airbnb takes steps to verify his identity a little more thoroughly?
I have contacted Airbnb to ask whether the company even knows who this Maksym truly is and what processes were undertaken to give him a so-called Verified ID. I also asked what specifically the company wishes it had done differently in this case.
I will update, should I hear.
So many people swear by Airbnb's service that whenever such a case emerges, it always seems like an outlier.
It serves as a warning, though, to know your local laws, just in case you're faced with a tenant who, as seems in this case, will happily take advantage given the smallest chance.