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Philadelphia man sees 'big win' in squatter lawsuit against Airbnb, though legal battle continues a year later

A year later, the legal battle between Pennsylvania landlord Joseph Foresta and Airbnb continues. He sued the company after a squatter refused to leave his property after his stay.

A Pennsylvania landlord, Joseph Foresta, sued Airbnb in March 2023 after an individual rented his residence for one night through the company's website and took over the apartment as a squatter.

A year later, Foresta continues to battle Airbnb in court.

In June 2020, the guest paid for his stay through Airbnb, and the company collected the fees, according to the court memorandum from Jan. 29, 2024.

Following the stay, he "refused to vacate the apartment and changed the locks to the outside door of the building so Mr. Foresta could not get in," according to the court document.


Foresta attempted to enter the property on his own. The individual "assaulted Mr. Foresta with a baseball bat causing serious injury and threatened to kill him if he came back," the court document states. 

It took the landlord "many months" to finally gain access to his property. He discovered damages valued at over $75,000, according to the document. 

He wasn't able to regain access to the property until Sept. 9, 2020, according to the Pennsylvania Record, when he obtained a court order for the squatter to be removed by the Sheriff. 

Foresta alleges that he made "many attempts" to reach Airbnb for assistance dealing with the situation, but Airbnb ignored him," according to the court order. 


Foresta’s attorney, Joyce Ullman, told Fox News Digital during a phone call that the big issue in this case was "whether Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over any case against Airbnb." 

The court found that "personal jurisdiction is proper over Airbnb because it purposefully availed itself of doing business in Pennsylvania by knowingly entering into contracts with Pennsylvania homeowners through its website and extracting fees for its services," according to the court order. 

The fact that the court entered an opinion that the state does have jurisdiction over Airbnb for the purpose of a lawsuit is considered "a big win" by Ullman.  

The court has ordered this case into arbitration.

Arbitration is a "method where the parties in dispute agree to have their case heard by a qualified arbitrator out of court," according to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School. 

"I argued against that," Ullman said. "The judge found in favor of Airbnb, so it has to go to arbitration first."

According to the court order, the parties must "file a status report of the arbitration no later than June 3, 2024." 

Ullman said that Foresta has not dealt with any other squatter issues since this case was first brought forward.

A spokesperson for Airbnb told Fox News Digital in April 2023 that the company does not comment on pending litigation but said Foresta has been banned from hosting on Airbnb since July 2020 "due to frequent violations of our community standards and policies."

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