Adventures with a short term rental profiteer

Several weeks ago I was disturbed by someone ringing my doorbell late at night and looking for the rental property they had arranged before traveling to Venice Beach, California. Living in Venice certainly involves a bit of random doorbell ringing in the dead of night, and while it was weird it was significantly less weird than other shit that goes on around here. I told the guy he'd clearly been scammed and went back inside intending to look my address up online and see what I got.

I was stoned, thus distracted easily, and forgot to check my address online. A week or so later, another person showed up looking to stay in my house. This time I was alert and aware enough to ask some questions and look at their paperwork. We were able to determine the person running the 'fake' rental was using my address to get people close by and then had then poorly authored directions to their actual vacation spot — a rent-controlled 1 bedroom apartment across the alley that was being illegally converted to short term use.

Now Los Angeles in general and Venice Beach, in particular, have terrible housing and homelessness problems. Illegally removing some of our 'affordable' rental stock and profiteering is one of the City of Los Angeles pet peeves. Someone was hiding their illegal bullshit behind my home address. This went from random doorbell ringing annoyance to "god damn it" pretty quickly. I took the contact information of the person fraudulently using my home address to try and get around the law from one of their 'lost' tenants and reached out. I kindly asked them to stop. I also searched and found my home listed on, a low-end AirBNB like service. really wants to avoid your external complaints about their service. My first attempts to contact them went unanswered. I did not want to make an account and list my property with them to then file a complaint someone else had taken it, but their policy seems to demand this kind of hoop-jumping. They seemed designed to help scammers scam. Odd, huh? I settled on an email.

Contacting the illegal rental person, however, got a response. The person on the other side of the texts expected me to believe this was all a big mistake and they'd change the address instantly. All I could do was trust in my fellow human.

A week later someone rang my doorbell looking for their rental unit.

After explaining the situation to the poor lost soul, I checked online and the listing was unchanged.

Texting the person responsible, once again, got stupid answers about how they had created a new listing and were only using my address to give better directions to their unit, and this couldn't be inconveniencing me. Seeing as I was texting because it was inconveniencing me, we seemed to have reached an impasse.

I also sent a super angry email to I got a customer service response this time telling me to create an account and try via that channel. I responded that I owned the property in question, it was not for rent and they were perpetuating a scam. The customer service person apologized and told me they would forward the email to their fraud people.

The listing came down less than 24 hours later. I suspect handled it.

I provided all the information to the City of Los Angeles, as they were also now seeking a permitting fee from me for my home having been listed as a short-term rental. You can only communicate with the City department that watches this stuff via email, however, so who knows what will be next.

Another neighbor, 2 doors down, frequently has folks show up thinking they rented the home she lives in. Her renters are usually scammed on Craigslist.

I understand this is pretty common in my neighborhood.