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A Woman Rented Out Her $1.7M L.A. Home — Then Her Tenant Left the Country and Turned It Into an Illegal Airbnb: Report The homeowner, a Netflix executive, thought he was the "perfect tenant" until she discovered her home was being used as an illegal Airbnb for at least 16 months.

By Joshua Zitser

Key Takeaways

  • A woman rented her $1.675 million Los Angeles home to a musician in 2022.
  • According to the LA Times, he then illegally sublet it on Airbnb while living on another continent.
  • The illegal Airbnb listings generated $215,950 — about $13,500 per month, according to the Times.
halbergman/Getty Images via Business Insider
Drone shot of homes in the Mid-Wilshire neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A 31-year-old woman rented her $1.675 million Los Angeles home to a musician who then turned it into an illegal Airbnb cash cow while living in the United Kingdom, according to a lawsuit seen by the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reported that Nikeeta Sriram bought the property, which consists of a main house with three bedrooms and a separate one-bedroom back house with a loft, in March 2022.

At the time, Sriram was renting in Los Feliz and didn't want to break her lease, so she decided to rent her home to 36-year-old Nicholas Jarzabek, according to the Times.

"He seemed like the perfect tenant until he turned into a nightmare," Sriram told the outlet.

According to the Times, during his first year as a tenant, Jarzabek paid his $8,500 rent on time or early and didn't make repair requests.

However, the newspaper said that in December 2023, Sriram discovered that her home was being listed on Airbnb, in violation of the lease.

Police were called after the ADT alarm was repeatedly triggered, the Times reported, with ADT informing Sriram that Airbnb guests had set off the alarm.

When confronted, Jarzabek denied subletting the property, but Sriram found listings for it on Airbnb, the Times reported.

Initially, the Airbnb account was hosted by someone named Rich Jacobs. It's unclear if this was an alias for Jarzabek or an associate.

The main house was listed for $688 per night and the back property for $496, with the two buildings collective having more than 100 reviews on Airbnb, per the Times.

The subpoena showed that for 16 months between 2022 and 2023, the Airbnb listing generated $215,954, about $13,500 a month, according to the Times.

In February, the Times said that Sriram booked the house to communicate with the account holder, writing: "STOP RELISTING THIS PROPERTY. You are not authorized to sublease this property!"

But according to the newspaper, she received the response: "Dear Nikeeta, Welcome and Thank You. You will have a great time here."

The listings were temporarily removed, but new ones soon appeared.

According to the lawsuit reviewed by the newspaper, the property listings omitted exterior shots and provided a false address about a mile from the actual location.

Although Sriram considered changing the locks, she didn't want to violate the lease terms, which could result in her having to pay out damages. Instead, she filed for eviction through the Los Angeles Superior Court and filed a cease and desist to Jarzabek's attorney, the newspaper said.

Throughout the legal proceedings, the property continued to be rented under a new account, a rental company called Monthier, which has other listings throughout LA.

Monthier did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Sriram told the Times she eventually resorted to showing up at the property to warn guests about the situation.

"I felt terrible. I didn't want to ruin their vacations," she said, but added: "This is our only recourse since Airbnb provided no help to us."

Airbnb confirmed to the Times that the listing is no longer active and the account associated with Jacobs has been deleted. The company did not immediately respond to BI's request for comment.

As part of the lawsuit, Sriram subpoenaed Airbnb for information about Jarzabek, discovering that the telephone number registered for Jacobs was a UK number, per the Times.

The newspaper said that Instagram posts show Jarzabek performing in London pubs under the name Nick Diver.

The Instagram account associated with Diver did not immediately respond to BI's request for comment.

"If the city can't figure out how to crack down on Airbnb, it should err on the side of caution and ban the platform until it can build a task force to manage it," Sriram told the newspaper.

According to the Times, Jarzabek stopped paying rent after Sriram filed the eviction notice. She told the newspaper that she estimates she has lost $100,000 this year in property damage, legal fees, and lost rent.

Sriram's unlawful detainer lawsuit was recently approved, allowing her to proceed with an eviction, the Times reported.

The newspaper said that she has also received a writ of possession, which permits a sheriff to take control of the property and return it to her. However, there is a waitlist of several months for that service.

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