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Airbnb 'tenant from hell' vacates after living rent-free for 575 days

A Los Angeles landlord says his tenant agreed to stay for six months. But when that time was up, she stayed another year and a half — without paying.
Airbnb 'tenant from hell' vacates after living rent-free for 575 days
Posted at 12:40 PM, Nov 08, 2023

A woman in Los Angeles — dubbed the "tenant from hell" — has finally left the property where she allegedly lived rent-free for 575 days.

Landlord Sascha Jovanovic said he met 55-year-old Elizabeth Hirschhorn in Sept. 2021, according to the Los Angeles Times. Hirschhorn found his property through Airbnb, and was supposed to stay for six months.

But when the six months was up, Hirschhorn wouldn't budge, and Jovanovic said she continued occupying the multi-million-dollar rental without paying.

The City of Los Angeles determined that because of several code violations, Jovanovic couldn't evict Hirschhorn, according to Fox 11. He said Hirschhorn wouldn't even let him in to bring the place up to code.

The landlord told the Times that the City of Los Angeles said "she was not required to pay rent because the city had never approved the unit for occupancy and that its shower was constructed without a permit."

Furthermore, because the tenant had occupied the unit for six months, she qualified for the city's "Just Cause Ordinance," which requires a landlord to provide a legal reason for eviction. If no legal reason is provided, it states the landlord must pay for the tenant's relocation. 

The landlord said Hirschhorn refused to leave unless Jovanovic paid her a relocation fee of $100,000, according to the Times.

A year and a half later, Hirschhorn has finally vacated the property, but she and Jovanovic disagree on whether she left voluntarily.

"Three men removed every item and Elizabeth Hirschhorn left with a police escort," the landlord reported to the court in a filing obtained by People. "Perceiving this as a voluntary act of abandonment, the locks were changed, and possession was retaken by the plaintiff (Jovanovic)." 

Hirschhorn's lawyer disputed that claim, telling People, "It is patently false that the police escorted Hirschhorn off of the property." She added, "In fact, police advised her to get a restraining order."

The landlord told The Daily Mail that he was "very relieved and also a bit overwhelmed" that Hirschhorn was out. But Jovanovic's lawyer Sebastian Rucci feared this may not be the end.

Rucci had contacted Hirschhorn's lawyer, Amanda Seward, following the tenant's exit, with the intention of canceling an eviction hearing.

Seward said the landlord may have "jumped the gun" by changing the locks, saying the move was only temporary, according to People. 

Seward said in a statement that "Hirschhorn decided to go to another location for her personal safety due to extreme harassment by her landlord." 

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