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Airbnb Squatters Sneak Out of Palm Springs Condo

Aug 22, 2014 9:36 am

Skift Take

What effect the squatting case will have on hosts willing to rent their place out on Airbnb and other vacation and short-term rental sites still remains to be seen.

— Jason Clampet

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Airbnb listings in Palm Springs, CA. Airbnb


The long, strange saga of the Airbnb squatters has concluded with the two brothers sneaking out of a Palm Springs condo.

“It’s almost like closure, but I still feel very emotionally and mentally uneasy,” said Cory Tschogl, who rented out her Southern California vacation pad to Maksym and Denys Pashanin in late May, only to have them stop paying after 30 days and refusing to leave. That was just long enough to gain them renters’ rights under California law, making eviction an expensive and drawn-out process.

No one saw the brothers leave. But a combination of sources — the neighbors, Tschogl’s father who lived nearby and often checked on the condo, and what she called a “24-hour stakeout private investigation service” hired by Airbnb — eventually concluded that they had vanished.

The Pashanins missed an Aug. 19 deadline to respond in writing to an unlawful detainer notice, which legally returned the condo to Tschogl’s possession. She flew down on Aug. 20 and did a walk-through.

“I was pleasantly surprised there was no obvious damage,” she said. “There was more wear and tear than you’d expect, but no holes in the wall or anything crazy like a hurricane blew through it.”

The case attracted a feverish pitch of media interest since it was first reported by The Chronicle in late July. Along the way, it emerged that the brothers had raised $40,000 for a Kickstarter game that never materialized, Airbnb and Kickstarter both banned the brothers, and Maksym Pashanin (or someone with access to his account) crowed on Kickstarter that he would “squat again.”

“The press involvement led by (The Chronicle) pushed everything forward so (the squatters left) four months earlier than expected, and I’m very grateful,” Tschogl said. “As crazy and stressful as the media attention was, I’m happy the story went viral.”

Airbnb, which initially had lagged in responding to Tschogl’s anxious calls and e-mails about the situation, stepped up much more after media involvement, she said.

“Airbnb covered almost all of my out-of-pocket expenses to the point where I feel satisfied,” she said. “I feel again, grateful to (The Chronicle) and media for getting involved, I think the reimbursement from Airbnb happened in parallel with the press coverage.”

Tschogl said she doesn’t feel able to keep the condo. “I’m not even staying there; I’m in a hotel,” she said. “I felt violated by what happened.”

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