Tenants list woman’s Hollywood property on Airbnb without her knowledge, make rent arrears – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(WSVN) – A South Florida woman who moved up north thought she left her home in good hands with respectful tenants, but it turns out those tenants were taking advantage of the house, even though they had months behind in rent. Nightteam’s Kevin Ozebek investigates.
Carol Martin will always call this house her home.
Carol Martin, owner: “I love this house. All the fruit trees I planted, landscaping and everything.
But four years ago, Carol left South Florida for a job in Pittsburgh.
She wants to move back to her Hollywood home when she retires, so she decided to rent it out while she waits.
But, things did not go well with the three tenants who signed the lease.
Carol Martin: “I know some people are really hurting with COVID and losing jobs, but they’ve abused the system and continue to abuse the system.”
Earlier this year, one of the tenants sent Carol this screenshot of her house warning her of a plumbing problem, but the screenshot showed more than just a plumbing problem.
At the top it was written “spacious house with a large garden”.
Underneath was a price of nearly $2,500 for a stay of just over a month.
Carol thought it sounded like a direct message between an Airbnb guest and a host.
Carol Martin: “My blood pressure skyrocketed.”
So, Carol searched Airbnb and found this listing for her short-term rental home.
This is a flagrant violation of the lease.
Carol says the discovery came as tenants were falling behind with rent and water bills.
Carol Martin: “It’s been extremely stressful, frustrating.”
On February 3, Carol alerted Airbnb that she was the landlord and did not want the house to be sublet, but the ad was not immediately removed.
Then on March 1, she filed this eviction complaint to evict the tenants, but she has no idea where they live.
Carol Martin: “I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what else to do.”
When 7 Investigates first stopped at Carol’s house, we spotted a man coming.
Unidentified man: “I’m visiting someone.”
He told us he was visiting friends who were renting the house through Airbnb.
When we returned a few days later, we found trash strewn about and liquor bottles left on Carol’s lawn.
Neighbors say whoever was staying here had a party that included street drag racing.
Alia Johnson, neighbor: “They were running very fast. I think they were spring breakers.
Neighbor Ken: “They were doing drag races, going through stop signs. It’s boring.”
7News was able to help solve part of Carol’s problem when we contacted Airbnb. A company spokesperson told us: ‘We apologize to Ms. Martin for the delay in responding to her concerns…As a result of our investigation, the listing is disabled and has no future bookings .”
Carol recently returned to Douth Florida to find the tenants
Carol Martin: “I’m pissed as hell. Can I call the mortgage company and say, ‘Oh, I can’t pay you this month because my tenant decided to sublet the property and he doesn’t want to pay me? Can I do this?'”
Looking at this mess left in her yard, she tells us her tenants owe her about $6,000 in back rent, bills and damages.
She hopes to be able to find them and deport them before this number increases.
Airbnb also tells us that when a host agrees to the company’s terms and conditions, they agree to abide by all related contracts, including rental agreements.
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