Airbnb House Party Turns Deadly

by Chris on July 1, 2019

A North Carolina landlord was in the process of evicting a tenant for unauthorized subletting when an Airbnb guest’s party at the rental property turned deadly. Four people were shot, one fatally, according to a news report.

It is not known whether the “hundreds” of unauthorized guests also damaged the property, but local police previously warned that house parties in single-night rentals have become a problem. Police say many tenant/hosts believe the landlord will never find out, and that the parties often involve underage drinking. Some tenants collect a cover charge.

This does not appear to be an isolated incident. The Internet is buzzing with similar stories.

One Airbnb host says he leased his high-end property on New Year’s Eve to a guest who wanted to use it as a backdrop for a photo shoot and to entertain a few friends. Over 300 people attended a party there. The property was trashed, including broken glass, and valuable furnishings were missing.

Another host watched in horror while an Airbnb guest at her rental property across the street hosted a party attended by at least 150 people, with police coming and going throughout the night. In the end, the guest caused nearly $20,000 in damage overnight.

While many Airbnb hosts endeavor to avoid partying, some embrace it, probably because of the money involved — and because it’s not their property at risk. A simple Google search for “Airbnb party house” will produce listings available for one night to remember — or one to never forget.

Of course, if a property owner wants to accept the risks and rent on Airbnb, that’s their prerogative. But when it comes to tenants placing someone else’s property at risk, that’s another story.

Landlords cannot count on Airbnb to rein in tenants who are breaking their leases through unauthorized subletting. When a property management company brought suit against the vacation rental platform for that reason, Airbnb argued that it is not responsible when tenants falsely represent they have a landlord’s permission to place the rental property into service. The judge agreed, saying it is unfair to hold Airbnb accountable for tenants’ actions, even when it has express notice of a landlord’s objections.

In many cases, the only remedy a landlord may have is to evict a tenant who serves as a host. To shore up defenses, be sure to include a prohibition on online or third-party subletting platforms in the lease and include additional provisions to address disruptive or criminal conduct,  noise limitations, parking restrictions, and use of common areas.

And be sure to ask about this behavior when verifying a new applicant’s rental history.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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