In a tale fit for a Hollywood thriller, a 31-year-old Los Angeles homeowner is battling to reclaim her property after discovering it had been turned into a lucrative, illegal Airbnb by a musician living abroad.

Nikeeta Sriram, who purchased the $1.675 million home in March 2022, rented it out to 36-year-old Nicholas Jarzabek, only to find herself ensnared in a web of deceit and unauthorized subletting.

At first, Jarzabek seemed like the ideal tenant. Paying his $8,500 monthly rent promptly and not requesting repairs, he appeared trustworthy. However, in December 2023, Sriram’s idyllic arrangement shattered. Alerts from her ADT security system revealed that her home was being used for Airbnb guests, a clear violation of their lease agreement.

Airbnb nightmare begins

“He seemed like the perfect tenant until he turned into a nightmare.”

Despite Jarzabek’s denial of subletting, Sriram found her property listed on Airbnb, managed by an account under the name Rich Jacobs. This account was making a small fortune: the main house rented for $688 per night and the back house for $496, collectively raking in over $215,000 in just 16 months.

In the legal battlefield, Sriram found some solace. She filed for eviction and a cease-and-desist order against Jarzabek. The Los Angeles Superior Court approved her unlawful detainer lawsuit, allowing her to proceed with the eviction. A writ of possession was also granted, authorizing the sheriff to take control of the property, though there is a months-long wait for enforcement.

Meanwhile, Jarzabek, who performs in London pubs under the name Nick Diver, ceased paying rent after the eviction notice was filed. Sriram estimates her losses at $100,000 due to property damage, legal fees, and unpaid rent.

As Sriram waits for the sheriff’s office to reclaim her home, her story serves as a cautionary tale about the potential pitfalls of renting out property in the age of digital subletting platforms.

Cover Photo: Depositphotos

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