The Airbnb tenant who refused to leave a Los Angeles-area home after not paying rent for 570 days has finally moved out of the property, per the Los Angeles Times.
Elizabeth Hirschhorn, the “serial squatter” tenant, and Sascha Jovanovic, the landlord and property owner, sued each other over unpaid rent and damages. Last month, the case received worldwide attention after an LAT report detailed the fiasco.
Jovanovic called the police after he saw a few men taking belongings out of his guesthouse. The men were movers, however, to his delight.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, but I finally have my home back,” he said.
The locks have been changed, the report says, although it is unclear if Hirschhorn had planned to return. Hirshhorn’s attorney, Amanda Seward, replied to an email from Jovanovic’s attorney (reviewed by The Times) saying they “may have jumped the gun” and “violated the law” by changing the locks.
The legal dispute remains ongoing.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
Amid the scenic hills of California’s Brentwood neighborhood, one resident is living a nightmare due to an Airbnb guest who simply won’t leave, resulting in lawsuits against each other, The Los Angeles Times reported.
When Sascha Jovanovic rented out his guest house to Elizabeth Hirschhorn for a long-term stay in 2021, he had no idea what would come next: Hirschhorn remaining in the guesthouse for over 540 days without paying rent, refusing to leave, and demanding a $100,000 relocation fee.
“I had no idea she would become what she has become,” Jovanovic told the outlet.
Sascha Jovanovic on the deck of his Los Angeles home. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times | Getty Images.
Despite initial cordial interactions — friendly small talk in passing, chats over tea on the deck — their relationship soured about five months in over damage in the guesthouse Jovanovic says wasn’t there when he first rented out the unit, and Hirschhorn declining multiple offers for temporary accommodation — including a $1,500 stipend to stay at a hotel of her choosing — while necessary work needed to be done.
When Hischhorn’s stay officially ended on March 19, 2022, and it became “clear she wasn’t leaving” — nor allowing Jovanovic access to the guesthouse — he agreed to let her stay until April 12, 2022, so she could find another place. Except it has been over a year, and Hischhorn is still in the guesthouse, claiming legal rights to be there.
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“I can never go into my home and know that I’m safe when a potentially hostile person is living there,” Jovanovic told the LA Times. “I’m thinking about it at all times.”
Hirschhorn’s attorney, Colin Walshok, told the outlet that she doesn’t owe rent because the city never approved the unit for occupancy, and it was equipped with an unpermitted shower — two violations of the city’s Department of Building and Safety.
In Jovanovic’s suit, he says he attempted to make necessary repairs, but Hirschhorn refused to give him access to the unit.
Now, the two are battling a legal dispute under the same property, residing mere feet away from each other in the process.
Jovanovic’s guesthouse, shown on the left, is still being occupied by Hirschhorn, who refuses to leave. Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times | Getty Images.
“Every time I open the door, I’m afraid she’ll be leaving at the same time,” Jovanovic told the outlet. “Her door is a few feet from my daughter’s bedroom. We don’t sleep well anymore.”
As the legal battle escalated, Hirschhorn demanded a $100,000 relocation fee from Jovanovic. Jovanovic, meanwhile, is pursuing two lawsuits against Hirschhorn — one to recover unpaid rent and another for unlawful detainer to evict her.
“She’s the tenant from hell,” Sebastian Rucci, Jovanovic’s attorney on the case, told the LA Times. “If she’s right, the theory is that if a landlord has something that isn’t permitted, then you can stay in it rent-free forever.”
As for Airbnb’s involvement, the company has since removed Hirschhorn from the platform, but since the stay was extended outside of the platform, the situation is a matter outside of its control, the company told the LA Times.
Entrepreneur has reached out to Airbnb for comment.