‘Squatter Hunter’ Flash Shelton says punks are now so brazen they’ll steal your home, then Airbnb it to others

Squatters have been invading individuals’s houses throughout the US and grow to be so ballsy they’ll even lease out the properties utilizing short-term rental companies, in accordance to Flash Shelton, often known as the “Squatter Hunter.”

Shelton, who will get employed by determined owners to strive to route the unlawful denizens, advised The Post that some significantly artful squatters use app-based short-term rental companies to achieve entry to properties — then really flip round and lease them out to rake in dough.

“I’m seeing squatters taking over [Airbnb properties] a lot,” he mentioned in an unique interview.

“Matter of fact, I even see people get into the property and then try to make money by Airbnb-ing it out.”

Flash Shelton
Flash Shelton is called the “Squatter Hunter” for serving to plagued owners do away with undesirable denizens.

According to Shelton, the squatters first lease out a house for a sure period of time based mostly on a every day payment by creating new accounts with companies akin to Airbnb. They then re-list the properties as in the event that they have been the homeowners.

“There was one [squatter] recently in Seattle that was doing that. And there’s one in Woodland Hills [California] … and I did a video about based on a Brentwood squatter who got in via Airbnb,” he mentioned.

In reponse, Airbnb advised The Post, “Issues like this are very rare on Airbnb. 

“We strongly encourage our users to only book and pay on Airbnb where we have measures in place to support our community, including identity verification of booking guests and 24/7 customer support.”

Shelton mentioned squatters make an end-run across the platform and comparable ones by reserving lodging by way of the apps then later contacting the owners and offering an excuse as to why they want to keep an additional few days within the house and providing to pay straight.

According to him, if the owners agree to the off-the-books extension, they are mechanically launched from their contract with the rental platform as a result of the additional nights are not secured by way of the apps straight.

Depending on which state this occurs in and the corresponding legal guidelines, squatters’ rights quickly take impact.

Flash Shelton
Shelton says he’s seen a number of examples of squatters shifting in by initially utilizing short-term rental properties by way of companies akin to Airbnb.

“So Airbnb walks away, wipes their hands clean [and decides it’s] no longer their problem,” Shelton defined.

“And now that homeowner has a squatter.”

Shelton mentioned his technique for serving to owners who’ve misplaced possession of their property to an Airbnb squatter can be to strive to e book lodging with them and provides them a style of their very own drugs.

“I believe Airbnb should take more responsibility for a screening process,” Shelton advised The Post.

“And I think that Airbnb should vet the [customers] more because homeowners are assuming these people are trusted because they’re getting them from Airbnb.”

A person's furniture thrown on the street
Shelton advised The Post that the squatters lease the houses at first — then go rogue and keep in them and illegally sublet them. YouTube/United Handyman Association âHandyman Answersâ

Still, Shelton famous that almost all of the squatters plaguing America overstay leases with out fee or transfer into unoccupied properties.

He tries to thwart such squatters by shifting in with them and then putting in cameras and telling them they’re on a actuality present within the hopes it will freak them out and annoy them to the purpose of fleeing.

But Airbnb squatters have grow to be an actual downside, too, he mentioned.

A Pennsylvania landlord, Joseph Foresta, sued the platform in March 2023 after a person rented his residence for one evening by way of the corporate’s web site and then took over the condo as a squatter, the Pennsylvania Record reported.

A yr later, Foresta continues to battle Airbnb in courtroom, in accordance to Fox News.

In June 2020, the visitor paid for his keep by way of the corporate, which collected charges, the court memorandum from Jan. 29, 2024, states.

Airbnb app on a phone
One squatter allegedly accessed a property by way of Airbnb, modified the locks and then rented out two locations to “four to six people per apartment.” AFP through Getty Images

The particular person, recognized as Lawrence H. Jackson, made the reservation however then June 14, in accordance to Foresta’s lawsuit, he refused to depart the property and stayed till a court order for police to take away him was executed Sept. 9, 2020.

Jackson is alleged to have modified the locks, rented out the opposite two residences to “four to six people per apartment” and picked up lease from these people, Fox News reported.

In one other case, the proprietor of a Los Angeles mansion the place an Airbnb visitor had been squatting for greater than a yr claimed the alleged prison was committing “extortion” — as it emerged the so-called “tenant from hell” had been accused solely months earlier of refusing to depart one other house.

“This is like a nightmare, to be honest,” Sascha Jovanovic told KTLA final yr of the battle to get again his Brentwood property from Elizabeth Hirschhorn, 55, who was on the time demanding a $100,000 relocation payment to depart.

Shelton on CBS
Shelton mentioned he often wears black and goes in with physique armor and a head lamp after thorough surveillance at any time when he squats with the squatters in a ruse to assist boot them. CBS News

“This is extortion. This is like manipulation. Nobody should go through this,” Jovanovic mentioned of the Harvard-educated squatter.

“She is a smart person who knows how to manipulate the system, and it is dangerous that people like this are allowed to do this.”

Hirschhorn finally left the guesthouse — after 570 days with out paying lease — underneath a police escort, in accordance to courtroom paperwork filed Nov. 6, in accordance to News Nation.

Trespassing is prohibited in each state, however legal guidelines on how to deal with squatters differ, with most counting on civil courts to resolve disputes.

As Shelton continues to combat on his personal phrases, he’s additionally pushing for lawmakers to make modifications.

“I want squatters to be treated as criminals [and have to] go through criminal court,” he advised The Post.

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