Court grants eviction weeks after unwanted Airbnb squatters refused to leave Durham home

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, June 13, 2024
Unwanted Airbnb squatters ordered to leave Durham home
New details into a Troubleshooter Investigation of Airbnb guests who refuse to checkout and leave.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- New details into a Troubleshooter Investigation of Airbnb guests who won't leave, despite the homeowner saying their agreement is up.

The Airbnb host, Farzana Rahman, had to take the guests to court to try and get them out.

"I want them out. I don't know if they have vandalized the place or not, no idea. We will only find out when they leave," she said.

Thursday a Durham County magistrate heard Rahman's case for a summary ejectment. The Airbnb guests did not show up in court. The Magistrate did grant Rahman a summary ejectment, but that doesn't mean the guests will be evicted right away. They still have 10 days to appeal.

"Good that I was granted the eviction, but the fact that I have to wait 10 more days to get them out is a little frustrating," Rahman said.

Earlier this month, Rahman reached out to ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson when her Airbnb guests did not check out of her rental on May 24. The reservation details show the Airbnb guests booked a stay at Rahman's rental starting Oct 25. The guests paid through Airbnb monthly and were scheduled to checkout May 24 the following year.

"When Rahman's cleaning lady went to clean the rental, she found a shocking discovery, "They answered the door and they said, 'No, we haven't moved out. You come tomorrow," she said. But then they followed up with, "'No. Don't come back.'

After the May 24 deadline came and went, Rahman called the police. In a video Rahman recorded, you can hear a person staying at the rental tell police they will leave. The man inside the rental said, "I assure you we will be gone in the morning. If they can just give us until the morning, that's all I'm asking for, so we can get our stuff and we can go."

The next morning, the guests weren't gone. Instead, they put a handwritten "no trespassing" sign on the front door.

A months-long Airbnb rental has become a nightmare for the host, because the renters refuse to leave.

"We will vacate the property when you file the proper paperwork with the civil magistrate for an eviction, for we are legal residents of this home," the sign read.

Wilson tried to talk to the Airbnb guests but they did not answer the door or return her calls. Wilson eventually got an email from them stating they were the tenant and had all communications records and receipts. The email said they only asked that the homeowner communicated with them to give them keys. They claim they were overcharged, had no cleaning and messaged Rahman more than 100 times without receiving a response. They also claimed their checkout date was June 24 not May 24.

Rahman said none of that is true.

"Nothing that they have said they've done, so I have no grounds to believe they will leave," she said.

Rahman said before our investigation, Airbnb was not offering any help, but now that ABC11 is involved, Rahman shared with Wilson new messages from Airbnb. The company stated it was working with the AirCover team regarding damages, additional cleaning, and payment for the additional nights the guests stayed past their checkout date.

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Amanda Kraynak learned she had been wrongly charged with trespassing and resisting a public officer in Durham in a case of mistaken identity.

Rahman reiterated that none of this happened from Airbnb until ABC11 got involved.

Despite asking several times over the past couple days, Airbnb finally provided ABC11 with a statement Thursday afternoon

"Issues like this are very rare on Airbnb and our team is continuing to work with our host to provide support," the statement read.

As for Rahman, she must wait until June 25 to see if the guests file an appeal with the court, if they don't, she can file a writ of possession to have authorities remove the Airbnb guests from her property. But again, the guests have texted Wilson that they will be out by June 24. They also claimed they would email Wilson proof of their issues and the agreement they have to stay, but they have not done that.