Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vacation Rentals - sometimes things are not as they seem

For anyone who's been reading Champagne Living for a while, you know that I travel quite a bit. On some occasions I stay in hotels (ranging from roadside chains to 5-star resorts) and I also like to rent apartments and vacation homes if I'm either staying for any length of time or I want to REALLY be a part of the neighborhood.

If your read my post back in January about Vacation Rentals, you'll see that I did a LOT of research in order to find a place to stay for our trip to New England this past May/June.

The description this little house sounded PERFECT -

"This is a charming cape style cottage amongst million dollar homes close to many amenities. such as, beach, tennis, boating, golfing, shopping. THE FIRE PLACE IS WORKING, AND THERE IS AN OUTSIDE FIREPIT BY THE POND FOR NIGHTS ON THE SUNPORCH."

I knew in advance not to trust the photos, because owners only take pictures of their property in the BEST light. What I wasn't prepared for were some of the ISSUES and LACK of items that they claimed came with the property.

Pool table - um, let's, there was NO pool table (not even a table with a pool on it), but there was a pool stick - oh and there was a swimming pool next door.

Ocean View/Water View - yes, we had a BEAUTIFUL view of the neighbors pool (maybe there was a table in their pool that we didn't get to see) and we were across from the water. In all honesty, we could see the river from the house if we walked over to sneak a look between the houses across the street. The ocean was probably a few miles from the house & NO I couldn't see it (I even tried squinting).

Tennis Courts - apparently this owner forgot to pay his association dues, because when we went to use the courts we were LAUGHED at and told that he hadn't paid his dues in YEARS - so NO, WE WERE NOT ALLOWED TO USE THEM, but I did see a racket. I probably could have lobbed balls into the neighbors pool or at the "lovely" Gnome statue on the lawn.

The "pond" on the property. - Don't dig a hole in the ground (3 ft across) and call it a pond - PLEASE!!! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Let's get to the HOUSE....

I was told that we could bring our dog and that there was a "run" available. The run turned out to be a rope tied to the tree in the front yard, where their dog did his business. I suppose they expected the dog to clean up after himself, because it was like a minefield trying to get from the driveway to the house.

The SMELL - OMG, if you are going to rent a house - be sure to ask if they're smokers. The walls were THICK with nicotine and the smell was nauseating. You could actually SEE it on the walls and if you touched them....EWWW.....

Please clean your house and take your personal belongings out before renting. - All of their clothes hung in the closets and drawers were full. There was no place to put our stuff. The refrigerator hadn't been cleaned out and there were 1/2 drunk cans of coke as well as an open loaf of bread on the counter. I wouldn't TOUCH the appliances or the pots & pans, etc. The pictures that I took say it all. OH & when I went to put some of my toiletries in the bathroom I actually found a FULL SCRIPT of Oxycontin. HELLO!!! I could have made a few dollars while I wa there, but the neighbors wouldn't talk to it was NO SALE!

Here's the BEST part. The gentleman who owns this property (and lives there most of the year) actually OWNS A CLEANING SERVICE. Ironic huh?

Believe it or not, we actually stayed here as we had sent out party invitations for a cookout (one look at the grill & we ordered pizza and beer) for quite a few guests. When I took the trash out on garbage day I was BERATED by a neighbor who told me that since the owner has not paid his dues, that his trash is not picked up. She also told me that I should do something about the brush clippings, etc. on the side of the house. Um, I RENTED this house for a week lady. Those are NOT mine, I didn't put them there and YOU are a royal PAIN IN THE "you know what." Guess who didn't get invited to use her pool?

So, as a gift for the owner....I left my garbage ROTTING in his garage until he came home.

Lesson learned. Read between the lines, ask questions and if you're given the opportunity - CALL REFERENCES. I did NONE of those (well, this was the first time they rented, so there were no references), but at least I got a "story" out of it.


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Lisbon Accommodations said...


Everyone loves going to a vacation. It is a good activity or bonding with family and friends. It is very to check on the things you need to bring. Start with the most useful like clothes, toiletries and stuff you need. Select a vacation bag that is comfortable for your belongings and also comfortable for you to bring.

Really very informative. I will sure make a note of it.

Dana said...

What a lousy rental you got stuck with. I wonder, were there guest reviews of that property? Third party verification sometimes help give a full picture.

Here's a related article, "Top 10 Things Vacation Rental Owners Won't Tell You"

Zippy said...

Thanks guys. It's funny, because I rent a lot - but this was a NEW property on the market, so there were no reviews (we were the first renters). Anyone looking to rent in the future will see my review of the house, so at least I'm able to help OTHERS.

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