Airbnb Tenant Refused To Leave After 540 Days — 'I'll Leave When The Landlord Gives Me $100,000'

It's allegedly not the first rental property she's squatted in.

airbnb app on phone and luxury home Florian Schmidinger via Unsplash / sdx15 via Shutterstock / Ibn Hasan via Canva

We have heard so many crazy Airbnb stories that many of us are afraid to be a landlord or a tenant. But I can't recall any squatter who has stayed in a location without paying longer than one woman, Elizabeth Hirschorn, who has allegedly stayed at a luxury house in Los Angeles for over 540 days — and has no intention of leaving unless the owner pays her.

It started when the woman booked a long-term stay and a property in Ocean City that had a 360-degree view. The property's owner Dr. Sasha Jovanovic rented the home to her for what was supposed to be from September of 2021 to the spring of 2022 for a cost of $20,000. When the time to vacate in April came up, Hirschorn refused to leave the home or pay any additional money to stay. 


Hirschorn has remained in the property without paying and is demanding a relocation fee of $100,000.



Unfortunately for Jovanovic, his efforts to evict her have been fruitless, despite enlisting the city and attorney's help. The unwelcome guest seemingly already had a sinister plan in place that would allow her to stay on the premises for as long as she wanted and keep the homeowner's hands tied. 


According to Hirschorn's lawyer, Colin Walshok, she is not legally responsible for paying rent because the property wasn't properly zoned for renting.

“The landlord broke the law and tried to make money by renting out an illegal bootleg unit,” Walshok told the Los Anegeles Times.

Hirschorn apparently preemptively reached out to the Department of Buildings and Safety and they came up with some code violations found on the property. A shower that had been installed was not permitted and the owner of the guest house never actually got it approved for occupancy. That was music to the scamming squatter's ears and she immediately contacted the Housing Investigator for the City of Los Angeles, who said Jovanovic couldn't start the eviction process until he fixed the violations. 

RELATED: I’ve Lived Out Of Airbnbs For 15 Months. Here’s What The Lifestyle Is Really Like


Hirschorn had another trick up her sleeve: denying Jovanovic access to make the repairs. 

Because he couldn't enter his own home, the doctor was unable to obtain the necessary permits or make the fixes that were needed. In addition, the woman had occupied the house for more than six months and qualified for protection under the 'Just Cause Ordinance' that says if a landlord doesn't have a legal reason to evict, they have to foot the bill for the tenant's relocation. 

But that ordinance itself seems like it could possibly work in Jovanovic's favor since two of the reasons a tenant might be at fault and give a landlord just cause are failure to pay rent and Failure to provide the landlord with reasonable access to the rental unit. Even if the case were to go in the unofficial tenant's favor, $100,000 seems excessive given the relocation fee structure. 

rental relocation assistancePhoto: LA Housing Department


RELATED: Guests Question The Ethics Of 'Tips For Housekeeping' Envelope Found At AirBnB After Paying $120 Cleaning Fee

Airbnbs and other rental properties have proved risky for owners and tenants alike. 

Dragging a person who has taken over your property out of the home and tossing their belongings in the street could sound very tempting if you happen to be a frustrated homeowner but that will just get you into hot water. You are not only not being paid by the squatter, but also missing out on income from new renters who may want to stay. Airbnb offers host liability coverage but when it comes to people who overstay their welcome, landlords are left to handle it on their own. 

Understanding the rules, codes, and ordinances in your local area is important in making sure you are protected and foreseeing any loopholes that an otherwise qualified tenant might be trying to use in order to commandeer your home. Foresight is the best way to guard against incidents like this, but if you choose to be a host, understand the risks involved. 


RELATED: Airbnb Responds To Guest Who Says She Found Cameras In Sprinkler

NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle, relationships, and human-interest stories that readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.