– A Washington state homeowner is living in his van after his tenant stopped paying rent and illegally rented out his house on Airbnb.
– The homeowner claims his tenant owes him $50,000 in unpaid rent from the past nine months.
– The tenant rented out rooms in the house on Airbnb without paying rent and generated income from it.
– The homeowner had to move out of his rented apartment and into his van due to high costs.
– The tenant claims the homeowner refused to accept payment and demanded $40,000 to break the lease.
– The battle between owner and tenant is now in court, and the homeowner is raising money for legal fees on GoFundMe.
A Washington state homeowner says he is stuck living in his van after his tenant stopped paying rent on his home and illegally rented his house out on Airbnb.
Jason Roth told Insider his tenant owes him $50,000 in unpaid rent from the past nine months. After he rented out his home to pay for pilot school, his tenant, Kareem Hunter allegedly only paid part of the first month’s rent before he stopped paying at all and began illegally renting out rooms in the house on Airbnb.
“I need my house. And all the media and other attention is great, but it doesn’t really do me any good,” Roth told the outlet. “Like, I need to get my house back. I need to get on with my life. I need to stop living in my van.”
In March of this year, when Hunter moved in, Roth moved to a separate apartment. They agreed upon $4,300 in monthly rent, according to documents filed by Roth in Kings County Superior Court. Roth says that after Hunter stopped paying rent, he tried to negotiate a payment plan. However, Hunter still didn’t pay, instead listing rooms on the property for rent without paying down his debt.
After a while, costs became too high and Roth was forced to move out of the rented apartment and into his van.
“So, not only is he not paying me, but he’s generating an income through the basement Airbnb unit, and meanwhile, I’m having to pay the utilities for that unit,” Roth told the local news outlet Kiro 7.
In a court filing, Roth, an aircraft mechanic’s apprentice who purchased his Seattle home in 2016, said Hunter owed him $47,248, a figure that included $33,400 in back rent as well as utilities and late fees.
Hunter, however, claims that Roth had refused to accept payment of past due rent, saying that Roth always intended to take him to court to collect “eviction insurance” and that he had demanded Hunter pay him $40,000 to allow him to break the lease. Hunter also claims Roth knew he would rent out rooms on the property.
Roth, however, told Insider he holds no insurance policy.
Court documents do show, though, that Hunter told Roth in an email in July that he wanted to pay his outstanding rent. Hunter also said at the time that he did not want to go to court to avoid having an eviction on his record.
Records show Roth’s lawyer and Hunter tried to negotiate a payment plan but could not agree on a payment structure. A copy of Hunter’s lease filed into the court shows subleasing the property through Airbnb or other short-term rental sites was allowed as long as Hunter didn’t claim to be a representative or employee of the property owner, according to Insider.
The monthlong battle between owner and tenant is now in court, and Roth is raising money for his legal fees on GoFundMe.
Property Chomp's Take:
Living in a van has become a reality for one Washington state homeowner, Jason Roth, after his tenant stopped paying rent on his home and illegally rented it out on Airbnb. According to Insider, Roth's tenant, Kareem Hunter, owes him $50,000 in unpaid rent from the past nine months. After renting out his home to pay for pilot school, Roth discovered that Hunter had only paid part of the first month's rent before completely stopping payments and renting out rooms in the house on Airbnb.
Roth's situation highlights the challenges that landlords face when dealing with delinquent tenants. In March of this year, when Hunter moved in, Roth had to move to a separate apartment. They agreed upon a monthly rent of $4,300, but after Hunter stopped paying rent, Roth tried to negotiate a payment plan to no avail. Instead, Hunter continued to list rooms on Airbnb without paying down his debt. The costs eventually became too high for Roth, forcing him to move out of the apartment and into his van.
Not only is Hunter not paying rent, but he is also generating income by renting out the basement unit on Airbnb, while Roth is left paying the utilities for that unit. The situation has led to a legal battle between owner and tenant, with Roth claiming that Hunter owes him $47,248, including back rent, utilities, and late fees.
Hunter, on the other hand, claims that Roth refused to accept payment of past due rent and always intended to take him to court to collect "eviction insurance." He also alleges that Roth demanded $40,000 to allow him to break the lease. However, Roth denies having any insurance policy and court documents show that Hunter expressed a desire to pay his outstanding rent in an email sent in July.
The ongoing legal battle has left Roth living in his van, while Hunter continues to rent out the property on Airbnb. In an effort to cover his legal fees, Roth has started a GoFundMe campaign.
This case serves as a reminder of the importance of tenant screening and ensuring that proper rental agreements are in place. It also highlights the need for landlords to have a plan in case of delinquent tenants and to understand the legal options available to them.
The rise of short-term rental platforms like Airbnb has presented both opportunities and challenges for homeowners and landlords. While these platforms offer a way to generate additional income, they also come with the risk of tenants exploiting the system and causing financial and legal difficulties for property owners. It is crucial for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities to avoid situations like the one faced by Jason Roth.
In the end, Roth's hope is to get his house back and move on with his life. The court will ultimately decide the outcome of this case, but it serves as a cautionary tale for both landlords and tenants about the potential pitfalls of renting through platforms like Airbnb.