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A landlord is suing Airbnb, claiming that a squatter used the online homestay and lodging platform to rent a property for a night – then changed the locks, sub-let the property to others for three months and badly damaged it.

The bizarre case, outlined by the Pennsylvania Record, includes allegations that occupants of the property were very destructive, “damaging the furniture and piling up to five feet [1.5 metres] of trash on the sidewalk outside the front and back of the property, defacing the exterior walls, breaking the doors and windows, breaking the water pipes, breaking the appliances, breaking the bathroom fixtures, breaking the banister on the stairs, breaking the fire alarms, damaging the walls and floors and breaking the patio railing.”

The suit further alleges that an occupant of the property “physically attacked” the landlord when he tried to access his property, “striking him with a baseball bat to his head and to his stomach and threatened to kill him if he ever returned to the property, causing the plaintiff to sustain serious bodily injuries, including a subsequent stroke, and he was fearful of ever returning to the property”.

The Philadelphia landlord is taking legal action against Airbnb, claiming it is responsible for over US$100,000 of damage and lost income caused by the squatter.

The lawsuit says the squatter made a reservation for just one night, 13 June 2020, and then refused to leave.

Fox News Digital in the US reports that it contacted Airbnb for comment. A spokesperson for Airbnb reportedly told Fox that although Airbnb did not comment on pending litigation, the landlord had been banned from hosting on Airbnb since July 2020 “due to frequent violations of its community standards and policies”.




Written by: Peter Needham