Nightmare in Nicaragua: Playa Yankee Power Outages

I’d been eyeing this place as a possible vacation spot since I had started planning our trip over a year ago. We had originally intended it to be a ten-day vacation but I splurged and extended it specifically so we could stay here. We stayed at the great Casa Las Mareas in Encanto del Sur, just north of San Juan del Sur. As good as our stay was there, we were excited to come here. I’d had visions of teaching our eldest daughter to swim in the pool here while my wife enjoyed the view with our younger daughter. We got there on a Wednesday. The view heading to the water was spectacular but immediately marred by the sight of the green pool; hornets were swarming in the shallow area as well as some elsewhere in the pool. My daughter was understandably freaked out. I asked Gilberto, the caretaker, about it and he said (translated quote), “It’s an open area, there’s nothing you can do about them”. I thought back to our stay at Casa Las Mareas and its pristine pool, also in an open area. I let the idea of asking him to put out wasp traps slide after I realized I didn’t want to dip my head in a pool that looked like this.

The first time the power went out was before 11:00 PM our very first night. My wife and I woke up within five minutes of one another, sweating and wondering why. The fan, our sole source of ventilation, had turned off. We chalked up this outage to the planned power outage the entire San Juan del Sur area goes through on Thursday, figuring maybe they were getting an early start. We had our girls (three years old, seven months old) with us in bed and sweltered through the rest of the night. The following morning, the power came back on briefly, then went out again after about thirty minutes. We (my wife, our two little girls, my uncle and I) took a day trip and came back to the house. The power stayed on for a little over one hour this time, just enough to give us hope that the power issues were behind us. The power went out again and we settled in for another sweltering night.

I arose before sunrise and walked outside. The houses below (known as Beach House Beauty when it was listed on the market) and Casa Alta both had power. A five-minute walk in the opposite direction revealed Casa Monet had power as did Orquídea del Sur. The next day I spoke to the caretaker at length about the issues. I asked him why we were having power issues if we had a solar power system (after I heard the humming and spotted the batteries and put two and two together). He explained to me that the “solar system” had broken six months ago and the panels had been removed. The main power appears to be inexplicably running through the solar power inverter and more than likely through the batteries, as they were humming.

I asked him if the owner was aware of this and he eventually admitted that the owner was in fact aware of the issue with the power going down constantly. It was on this day, our second-to-last full day of our time here, we were told there was a generator available for us. At this point we still weren’t sure if the power issues would continue. My wife and I thought about the sound of the generator and how it would decimate the sound of the ocean way down below, but at least we’d have power. I asked him to please set it up and he agreed to do so. Ten minutes later I heard an engine start and unfortunately for us it was his motorcycle’s and not the house’s generator. Gilberto took off and I didn’t see him again until the next day. My wife tallied our time without electricity and including a three-hour spurt, we had four hours of power and communications (no cell phone reception at the house, no wifi without electricity).

We ignored the groceries we had purchased and placed in the refrigerator for fear of letting out whatever cold air may have been left and spoiling our perishables (these ended up spoiling anyways). We reluctantly went out to dinner again, an hour roundtrip into town, so my uncle and I could get wifi and communicate with our respective jobs and clients. I grew up in El Salvador both during and after its civil war and it was a rare day that the power didn’t go out. I am well aware of the fragility of the power grid in this part of the world. So you can imagine my frustration when every house in the vicinity had power except for ours. This is a completely preventable issue of which the owner is absolutely aware, according to the caretaker.

The next day, Saturday, the caretaker was there and I asked him again, more urgently, to please set up the generator. We even discussed the best place to situate it. He said, “como usted quiera” (as you wish). Not five minutes later, I heard his motorcycle start and by the time I got out there all I saw was the dust rooster tail that disintegrated before my frustrated eyes. That dust cloud would be the last sign of Gilberto for the duration of our trip. Rather than enjoy our last vacation day, we planned our first of what would turn into three trips into town (down a VERY bumpy long stretch of dirt/rock road). We had to go there because the next day was our last day, and we had to confirm our trip to the Liberia airport in Costa Rica. We had no way of communicating from the house because of the power issues.

We didn’t know when and if or for how long the power would come back so we got ahead of the issue and drove into San Juan del Sur. We were able to message the shuttle company, the rental car pick-up person, and the surf shop from which I’d rented my surfboard to coordinate. We didn’t get to confirm with everyone, so another trip was necessary before our last trip in the evening to ensure nothing had changed for the next day and get dinner (more unnecessary gas and food costs we could have avoided had the owner cared). The power was out when we got back all three times, but came on for about four hours total again. We never saw Gilberto again. We left the keys hanging by the door hoping they’d make it back to him without issues. We never got any guidance on what to do with our trash and spoiled groceries. The shuttle came and we were relieved to be gone.

How terrible does one’s experience have to be when they can’t wait to get home from vacation? We were absolutely blissful at our first rental and are completely angry with the owners and manager for what amounts to fraud. The crystalline pool shown in the Airbnb listings was so inviting and we arrived to a hornet-blanketed science experiment. Lack of power to only this house meant stress for everyone involved. I couldn’t get in touch with work clients until I went into town. My uncle was dealing with an intricate project which he dealt with as best he could with the little time we had power and our too-frequent trips to San Juan del Sur.

This was supposed to be the absolute climax of our trip and it was an absolute nightmare. The pool was unusable (the owner did offer to have it “cleaned” our last afternoon there even though I’d sent him pictures where chemicals and time were clearly needed). Nicaragua is blessed with an almost constant wind thanks to Lake Nicaragua. Many houses are shrewdly built to take advantage of the natural ventilation possibilities. The roof eaves at Casa Pablo were short-sightedly dropped down to cover the ventilation holes throughout the house, including those facing the predominant wind direction. This means you won’t get the natural cooling effect as described above. If you have power issues approaching our massive ones, you will be soaking in sweat at night.

UPDATE: The owner wrote me to say I was lying about the generator. He said Gilberto told him he had hooked it up for us. He told me he had seen the above videos (presumably tipped off when I submitted a review) and he still insisted I was lying. Why would I write to him our second full day of our stay and complain if the generator was going and all was well? Why is there no power in the above videos? Why isn’t there the loud sound generators make in the video?

The listing still up on Airbnb as of this writing.

Airbnb “Zen Haven” is Anything But Relaxing

I stayed at a place called “Zen Haven” in Dallas. The night before my scheduled check out the host and an unidentified male forcibly tried to enter my unit with no notification. I heard the keypad being pressed, the door knob being turned and banging on the door. I ran to the door and opened it to find a very hostile and angry woman who asked me who I was. I told her that I was the Airbnb tenant. She said she was the owner and told me I should have been left already. She instructed me to get my belongs (that’s a nicer way of saying it) and leave her home immediately. I am not sure who the male was with her but he was also peering at me in a way that made me feel uneasy. I told her twice that I had the property for one more day and she said “NO” and told me to “Get out now!”

She proceeded to try to aggressively evict me for no reason other than her mistaken memory of my check out date. She was cursing and clearly agitated and I felt threatened for my safety. She stated they would both “wait right here” until I packed and got out. I apologized if I had made a mistake, gathered my things as fast as I could and stopped to double check my itinerary. It turns out the owner was in fact wrong. I did indeed have the unit until the next day just as I had stated. I went out to look for them and they were nowhere to be found.

I texted the host and there was no response after two texts and three phone calls. The owner still has not apologized or responded to my texts or phone calls and instead wrote lies about my character in reports to the Airbnb resolution center. Airbnb’s “safety center” left me hanging too; I could not get anyone one the phone. What she did is in fact illegal, not to mention that we are well beyond the ages for bullying age. In addition, upon entry I found a disgusting clogged shower drain. I had never seen anything like it in my life. I used disposable gloves to remove it and took a photo. I did text the host to just to let her know and she did not seem to believe me. Although Airbnb has apologized they do not provide customer service where it counts, in the form of some monetary compensation. They just give you a bunch of fake empathy.

Dishonest Host at St. Patrick’s Day Party House

I have stayed at three Airbnb accommodations. The first two were great. I always got excellent ratings and feedback form hosts. The third experience was not good. The ratings were all five star for the accommodations. Well, the other guests who stayed in this accommodation obviously do not know what a five-star rating means…. the living room sofa needed cleaning, the screens were ripped and falling off of two windows, there were huge cigarette burns in the outside deck upholstery, and the oven needed maintenance. Her personal clothes were in cupboards and drawers. The dresser drawers fell out when I tried to open them. There was partying outside all night for two nights – it was a rough area. My friend yelled at them as the noise was loud and went on for hours.

When we left we did not do the dishes. The kitchen was so small one person could hardly move around in it. There was very little counter space, the sink didn’t have a drain plug that I could find, and there were no dish towels. I was quite sick when we left. We did not put out the garbage; however, it was all contained in bags. I left a note to say why we did not do the dishes. The host said they could not recommend me again as a guest, saying we yelled profanities at the “people who were just celebrating St. Patty’s Day”. We did yell at them at 4:00 AM to be quiet after hours of yelling and fighting on the street, but there was no profanity from us. The people on the street were yelling at one another and uttering lots of profanities.

This review is now on my file. My understanding is that this will never be removed. This host is a little batty… we did not break anything. She did not hire a cleaning person – she expected us to clean afterwards. When I am on a holiday I do not expect to have to clean the place before I leave. I will never stay using Airbnb again. This review process has no recourse and can be very damaging to guests’ reputations. Airbnb should be inspecting these places and negative reviews should be shared between host and guest so both sides can learn from the experience. I would have been glad to pay for a cleaning service if I had known this was expected. I was very ill. However, Airbnb should require hosts to use a cleaning service.

How To Lose $8000 and Two Months of Your Life

Ill start off by saying this was the first time I used Airbnb, and it was the last. This past January, my boyfriend and I traveled to New Zealand (for two weeks) with a few friends to go on tour for his music. On our third day of the trip, we started off by visiting a local beach since it was a perfect summer day. We eventually made it to Hamilton, the town where my boyfriend (Joey, AKA Hoody Time) was performing and where I booked the Airbnb. I looked at the message from the host to see if there was a chance we wouldn’t meet her that night and to use the lock box to get the key. We got into the unit, set our stuff down, and relaxed before we had to take off to the venue. We had the front sliding door open for some fresh air when two men, one on a bike, walked by our unit and began chatting with us. They looked like the lived in the building and were just saying hi. Joey invited the locals to our show.

Later that evening we left for the show, locked up the apartment, and never thought twice about anything. Around 1:00 AM we returned to the apartment to find all our backpacks were gone with our laptops, cameras, clothes, money, even my medication and birth control. We all began to panic and then Joey realized that the kitchen window was broken and ripped wide open. We called the police and Airbnb right away. We told them everything that was going on. Airbnb had told me that this was “not common” and they would pay for a hotel for the night if I wanted. I simply told them no because I didn’t want to start looking for a hotel at 2:00 in the morning. I then called the host to tell her that the place had been broken into and robbed, and her only response (in a calm voice) was “Oh wow, I’m sorry, ummm… I’ll try to be there as soon as possible in the morning.”

No one could calm down or fall asleep until 4:00 AM. The police told us they would send their investigation team in the morning and to not touch anything that could have fingerprints on it. By 8:00 AM we were all up. No one could sleep and we had to be on the road by 10 latest, to make it to our next location in time. I again called the host to ask where she was and when she will get here. Her response once again: “I’m so sorry this happened it’s not common. Ummm… I’ll try to be there as soon as I can.” I began to get annoyed since we told her we had to leave, and she showed no urge or concern about what had happened.

By 10:00 AM we left. I had once again called the police and Airbnb to tell them we had to go, both said it was okay and we left. The police told us to leave everything as is since it was a crime scene. Later that evening we had decided to cancel our Airbnb in Wellington and stay at a hotel instead. We all felt so vulnerable. As I was laying down to take a nap and catch up on sleep, my phone beeped with a new email from Airbnb. I opened it up and became angry immediately. The host had requested $300 for damages that she claimed we were responsible for. She had a long list of damaged items and stolen adapters and claimed we left shrimp tails in the kitchen kettle (no one ate shrimp that day). Enraged, I called Airbnb to tell them this was absolutely absurd and if I see one penny taken from my card I was going to call my bank and tell them it was fraud. We literally had been robbed less then 24 hours ago and she had the nerve to claim we did something. I called the police to update them on the situation and decided I needed to take a break from this whole thing for the rest of the night.

The next morning we all woke up feeling down. How could we not? Our whole lives were stolen. Three laptops were stolen, from three of us who freelance and now have a loss of wages while on the road. This is where things get good. We saw in the news a sunglasses store had been robbed the same night, and the guys were caught on CCTV. To our surprise, the guys we had been taking to the night of the robbery were the guys in the photos robbing the store. Then Joey got a phone call from the police with an update, but it wasn’t good. The detective and forensic team showed up to the apartment to find the host and her husband had fixed the window and cleaned the whole place up already. Airbnb’s policy – as well as the police’s and just common sense – is to not touch a crime scene. Within minutes of hearing the detective saying they couldn’t do much now, I called Airbnb to let them have it: “How could you let your host get away with this? Now we are thinking she is in on it!”

Weeks went by of going back and forth with the police for a formal police report since Airbnb was hassling me for one. In the meantime, the host had written a nasty review on me, filling it with lies, claiming it was weird she never met us and we took off. While I wrote responses, Airbnb removed them as this was an “ongoing investigation.” Finally, I got the police report. Not once, but twice did it say that the investigation couldn’t be completed as the host had cleaned up the place and fixed the damages. Now we couldn’t even have a chance in finding the robbers and maybe getting our stuff back.

Once Airbnb got the report, they called me to let me know that my case was closed because they got what they needed and that was the end of things. When asked what will happen with the host, “We will have a talk with her and tell her to handle things differently next time.” Next time? Not once was I given help or aid from Airbnb. They returned any money that was put down for a Airbnb in New Zealand, and when they asked for the receipts for a hotel we stayed in so they could reimburse me, they never even paid me back for it. So that was an extra $600 NZ. We have tweeted at Airbnb and the CEO multiple times and received nothing but a robotic response. Our only option is to now try and sue Airbnb or the host. In total, we are out $7000 in things that got robbed, $1500 in lost wages, and $600 in hotels that replaced Airbnb. I’m sick to my stomach over this whole thing. I have heard too many horror stories from both guests and hosts. I will never use Airbnb again.

Side note: My reviews were never put back up.

Not Reporting Issues to Airbnb Means You Pay for Damages

Two of my friends and I used Airbnb for the first time about a month ago. As soon as we walked in the condo, we sat down on the bed and it seemed like a piece flew out from under the bed. We weren’t really paying attention or sure about what happened. That night, the wood pieces that comprised the bed frame started collapsing and progressively the bed sank lower and lower. We fixed the wood pieces, but every time we moved too many in the bed it happened again. After more investigation we realized that a part of the frame that had originally been welded together was broken and any time we fixed the bed it would only be a temporary solution. For the last night of our three-night trip, we just put the mattress on the floor.

As soon as we packed up we emailed the host all the pictures of how the bed was severely broken before we arrived. Instead, she accused of us of breaking the bed and said it was “very strange” how we did not bring it up sooner. We are three graduate students in Miami for a weekend trip. Honestly we had never used Airbnb before and did not want to deal with communicating with the host (who had been unhelpful about all of our other issues) when we could come up with short term solutions for the remainder of the trip. After checking out, the host reported us to Airbnb for not cleaning (we paid a cleaning fee and she left zero cleaning supplies) and breaking the bed. We told Airbnb our side of the story, but because we did not report anything right away they ruled against us and are now charging us for the cost of the bed. I am shocked that Airbnb would handle their business this way and I can affirmatively say I will never stay in an Airbnb again. Thank goodness for Hilton and Marriott; they certainly don’t treat their customers this way.

Host Ignores Electric Bill, Makes us Pay for Lock

We recently had a two-week stay on Airbnb. There was a subsequent corporate hell odyssey that was one awful rip off after another, first by the host and then by Airbnb itself. I don’t even know where to begin. First of all – and this is nowhere near the worst thing – the place was filthy upon arrival. There was pubic hair all over the bathroom and a semen stain on the sheets, and a layer of dirt so thick on the floors that simply touching a paper towel to the floor turned it into black finger spots. We contacted the host and he agreed to send over a cleaning crew the next day and replace the sheets. That was the last time the host did anything remotely right.

Then the power went off. We thought there was a blackout in the neighborhood or some breaker problem, but after seven hours, some spent talking to the electric company, they told us that the power had been shut off because the host didn’t pay his electric bill. We called the host and he grumbled something and said he would pay the bill. An hour later the power was still off and we sent the host a message via Airbnb. At some point the lights came on so I guess he paid his bill. Who knows?

From the very start we noticed the key was jamming in the deadbolt lock. On the fourth night it just stopped working and we were locked out of the apartment. We called the host, who claimed to be out of town, and sent over an after hours locksmith. The locksmith broke us in to the apartment and then replaced the lock, noting that it had broken due to fatigue over time. The bill was over $800. The locksmith then claimed that he couldn’t accept payment from the host over the phone. We called the host and he told us that we should pay the locksmith and he would pay us back the full amount. He promised, so we trusted him.

You can probably guess what happened after that. If you guessed that the host dropped off the face of the Earth, you are correct. We tried Airbnb messages, texts, and phone calls, over days, all of which went unanswered. Finally we initiated an Airbnb “Resolution Request.” The host is given 48 hours to respond, which he did not, after which it gets escalated to Airbnb management. Airbnb also did nothing for a long time. Our trip ended and we flew home, again with no word whatsoever from the host or Airbnb.

One day I got a message out of the blue that the host had written his review of me. He was alive after all. What did this host who tricked us into replacing his lock for $800, promised to pay us back, and then disappeared, have to say? Well, in the private message that the host can send to a guest with the review but which doesn’t get posted or seen by Airbnb, the host gloated that I “got played” (presumably by him) during the whole thing. What a lovely individual, am I right? I was hopping mad but I thought that Airbnb would deliver justice with the Resolution Request. Again, my mistake. After many more days of nothing happening someone from Airbnb called me and said that the host was claiming that he only wanted the locksmith to break us in to the apartment and not replace the lock. Therefore, I should pay for the lock.

I pointed out that that is a ridiculous claim. If the host intended to leave us with just a broken lock and no functioning deadbolt that would have been a violation of Airbnb’s safety guidelines, and also if the host is claiming that I bought a lock that he didn’t want he can send me the lock rather than keep using it. The Airbnb representative said those were good points. I also pointed out that the host promised to repay us the whole amount then disappeared for weeks and that was extremely shady. If he had wanted to talk about the situation he could have responded to one of my many messages or calls.

In spite of those good points, Airbnb followed the money, which of course comes from hosts with multiple properties and not guests. Airbnb first ruled that the host only had to pay me for the cost to break in to the apartment, not the cost to replace the lock. Then, on top of that ridiculous ruling, they added the bill incorrectly (probably intentionally) and decided that the locksmith’s $120 “service call” charge was the cost to break us in to the apartment, when that was actually $365 on top of the service call charge. Airbnb decided that we should get basically nothing and aided the host in scamming us out of almost $700.

As for the electricity being off for most of a day due to the host not paying his bill, Airbnb decided to credit us merely a third of a day’s stay for that. If we follow that logic, the electricity could be off for eight hours of each day during your stay, rendering the accommodations unusable, and you would only be entitled to be refunded a third of the amount. I called them to point out that even with the pittance they were crediting us, they added the numbers incorrectly on the bill. The representative agreed that they did so, and said that she would “bring it up with her team.” Again, as you can probably guess, I never heard from them again.

I was surprised at how thoroughly and brazenly they cheated us, and how long it took them to do so. They don’t even have the courage to let you know they are going to screw you up front – they take weeks and weeks to do it. I guess I would say to avoid this host – the name he uses on Airbnb is Tony della Morte (don’t know if that’s his real name or a particularly appropriate alias) and he has several listings around Menlo Park, CA. The rot and corruption here extended way beyond the host to Airbnb itself, so really the lesson from this is do not trust hosts or Airbnb. I would say to avoid Airbnb, period. This has been the worst rip off and worst experience I have ever had with a merchant in my life.

No Compensation for Trouble with Host and House

I’ve been an avid Airbnb user for a while now, paying for around nine consecutive months in my travels. I used to trust the service and recommend it to anyone. I recently booked a new place. The listing said it was for two people, a private room with one bedroom and six beds.  I messaged the host, who should have been a woman based on her profile picture. I asked to book for around a month and a half from March 11th. The response I got was that the house was not finished yet, but should be by March 17th. I said that it was important for me to arrive on the 11th. I got a response saying that they may have everything ready by that day, and if I was fine with that I may come; they sent a special request for the new time I stated for the same price. Later, I found out that they changed the cancellation policy to a stricter one as well.

Unfortunately, my flight was cancelled twice, leading to me getting there a day late. The owner declined a refund for that day when I asked. This is where things started to go astray. I met the owner, a middle aged man nothing like the woman featured on the profile. He showed me the place, which wasn’t where it was listed on Airbnb but a few minutes’ walking distance from there. He explained that the house wasn’t ready yet, and led me to a house still under construction, unfurnished, and filled with cardboard and dust. Basically I had a decent room, but no shower, kitchen, or almost any of the amenities that appeared in the listing. Construction workers woke me up everyday when they started working, and there was no internet in the apartment, though it had been listed – something that was specifically important for me.

There was another guesthouse rather close by where there were some of the amenities listed (like a shower, kitchen, internet). I used that for whatever necessities I had. On the second day, I was locked outside by the construction workers and had to call the owner in the middle of the night for help. The first time this happened he asked me to sleep in the other guesthouse’s attic, which I myself had suggested earlier. However, I found out later that this wouldn’t be a good idea since people go in and out of there many times and it wouldn’t be possible to sleep. I called once more and he angrily refused. I had to make him come and open the door to my house, which was very bothersome for him. The living situation wasn’t comfortable at all and it was very cumbersome to move between these places and in between the construction going on in the building.

He had said things were expected to be finished by March 17th. So I waited. Things didn’t improve much, besides the shower and adding a few hangers. There was still no internet, no common areas, and no kitchen. I decided to call Airbnb customer service, and had a talk with a guy named John who was nice and promised to help me. He said that he could refund all of my money and help me find a new place. However, after a while we couldn’t find anything feasible so he said that he would advise me to keep looking for places and his colleagues would help me. After that, I got few responses from the team, in which they sent me links to places that were very different from my requirements: much lower standards, way over budget, or very far away from where I was. I talked to them once more and tried to explain that right now, apartments in Tokyo are hard to find with such short notice. It was also a busy tourist season, which would make it even harder.

More time passed, and I called again. Emailing customer service was slow and cumbersome. This time I spoke to another guy who asked for pictures of the place, which I provided. He agreed that the pictures showed the place in construction. However, he decided to call the host. What followed was a long conversation I had between him as a proxy towards my host. I basically said that I would like to get a refund as well as some compensation for the trouble that I got. It is simply unfair to customers to sell them places that are still under construction and not ready; I wanted to get some compensation for the days I stayed in that house as well as the days I was looking for a new apartment. The customer service personnel told me that since the host sent me a special request that showed the value of the new place with construction and everything, and made it clear to me that the place was under construction, I would not be compensated. They also said I should have expected that construction such as this go well past deadlines.

This would have been a good response, if it weren’t for the fact that it was simply not true. The price was exactly the same price, and not a special offer at all. This was simply done to change the date as well as the cancellation policy, in and of itself something a scammer would do. The message I had been sent was “the house was not ready”. I always assume that the houses listed on Airbnb are held to some sort of standard. In no way do I think that “not ready” is equivalent to “there will be construction workers with helmets building rooms and running around you filling your socks with dust.” I was given a date when everything should have been finished. There shouldn’t be any excuses on that point. It’s a business. I paid money. I expect things to be on time. If they are, the minimum response is to compensate and apologize. I tried explaining this to the case manager but he wouldn’t really do anything about it. He decided to give me a coupon for Airbnb and said that this was already above and beyond what I should get. I left with a feeling that I would rather spend my next twelve months of traveling with a different company. I advise you to do the same; there is not much added value for a middleman if he doesn’t help you once things get shady.

Here are some pictures of the apartment on the first day.

Filthy Bed, Soiled Bed Linen = Airbnb Unfit for Use

This was my first experience at using Airbnb for accommodation in Sydney, Australia near Elizabeth Bay because so many places were booked solid. This will probably be my last time too. The place looked cute in the pictures, but when I arrived it was completely unclean. It was an old 1960’s apartment that was tidy, but so dirty. I did know that I would have to make up the bed myself and was fine with this, but I was not expecting to have to clean the whole place before I used it.

The previous guests had left four bags of garbage, even though they could have disposed of them; there were plenty of bins in the street. They also had left their soiled bed linen and towels on a pile on the carpet. If I could have vacated and found another place I would have. There was thick dust on the TV and stand. The bathroom floor was dirty – and I mean really dirty. Under the basin there was dust and debris, used cotton buds, and hair pins.

The toilet was not sanitary. In the bowl were fecal stains and the deodoriser was empty and soiled. The shower base was cracked, crazed, and dirty. On top of the toilet cistern was sitting a huge gilded mirror with years of dust on the top and mould on the air vent. The carpet stank of dog – the hostess did not disclose in her ad that a dog lived on the premises – and was dirty and gritty.

The mini refrigerator was dirty. The ice box was completely frozen over with a piece of fish in a plastic sachet completely “cemented” into the ice. The ice trays were mouldy and there was half-eaten food still in the fridge. The stove elements and rings were encrusted with baked-on food.

Now for the worst.: the bed. The mattress had many large stains. It also stank of dog. The sheets were not fresh smelling nor clean. The quilt that I had to go searching for was ancient, stained, and torn. So was the cover, which was also flecked with red paint which matched the colour of one of her walls. When I contacted the hostess she asked me to please “excuse the holes and tears”. I was horrified to learn that she herself sleeps with the same quilt that she supplies to her guests.

The next morning I purchased my own quilt and sheets. The hostess agreed to reimbursing me for these, but never did. Underneath the sofa cushions were years of dust, crumbs, and debris. I doubt whether it had ever been vacuumed. I found the vacuum cleaner shoved in the totally messy wardrobe. I switched it on to clean the carpet then quickly switched it off because it stank of dog. I took it all apart and scrubbed every component. It was clogged with matted hair and all kinds of filth. The filters had never been washed or replaced. I spent six hours cleaning and trying to make the place livable.

The large black-out curtain was folded underneath a sofa. At nighttime I had to hang this curtain on nails on a pelment. The curtain had a terribly cheesy odour. No amount of eucalyptus spray that I purchased could eradicate the stench. The other window had no covering at all. Fortunately I brought an eye mask, otherwise I would have awoken at dawn with sunlight streaming through the window.

The hostess gave me all sorts of excuses: “the cleaners were away”; “the previous tenants must have left the place dirty.” She even said that the carpet (which I vacuumed three times because the barrel filled up) had been cleaned with an “industrial cleaner” only three days prior to my arrival. This was a total fabrication. The woman who lives here is not one who has tidy habits. Just one look at her cupboards and you would know. I suspect that she relies on the kindness of her guests to clean up after the last. When I vacated, no cleaning was required, except to replace the linens. No basic amenities like tea, coffee, sugar or milk were provided. Fortunately, I brought my own. I was expected to go rummaging around in her dirty pantry. No garbage bags or cleaning cloths were anywhere to be seen. The only things that were clean were the towels. All this for a place that charges similar to hotel rates.

The hostess said that “my expectations were more than most.” Is it too much to expect a clean bed? I don’t think so. This hostess makes no attempt whatsoever to provide a clean environment for herself or her guests. I wish I could show you the photographs. The most puzzling thing of all is that my review was the only negative one.

Anyway, my advice: there are plenty of other lovely places listed on Airbnb and much cheaper ones too. Some even in the same building. Here is the link to the dirty dump I stayed in.

Back to Student Dorm Living with Airbnb Drama

Our arrival started out with a search for towels and toilet paper. We found one towel in the bathroom cabinet and one in the dryer, and those were all the towels we could find at that moment. We couldn’t find any toilet paper (even the holder in the bathroom was empty) after searching the whole apartment and opening every cabinet and closet. The bathtub was disgusting with hairs in it and so was the oven, with a molded dish in it. The floors throughout the apartment were dirty too; walking for only five minutes barefoot left us with black soles on our feet. The couch was so dirty, we didn’t even want to sit on it. This was a surprise, as we choose the apartment because several reviews mentioned it was clean. After communicating with Maggie, the host, she did immediately send a maid, Hilda.

However, Hilda did a very poor job. We came in shortly after she had left, and the bathroom floor was wet with hairs still on the floor, as well as some fine black sand. The apartment floors still were too dirty to walk on barefoot. We couldn’t believe the “well stocked” comment regarding the kitchen in one of the reviews, as there were only four cups and three glasses. Every time we wanted to use something we had to wash it. The dishwasher in the apartment was in very bad shape; most things we had to thoroughly pre-wash for them to come out clean.

Apparently, there was an “unexpected” tenant in the apartment (a friend of a friend – not a paying Airbnb guest), who was making a mess of everything. She constantly left dirty dishes in the sink, makeup splatters in the bathroom, food stains on the counter and table, a wet bathroom floor after taking a shower, etc. The fridge – from where we were allowed to “take anything” – looked like a biological experiment with several items well over the expiration date. Not that we wanted to eat anything from it in the first place, but we felt the need to bag everything we bought ourselves, before putting it in this fridge.

The “icing on the cake” came the last morning, when we woke up to pee and poop on the apartment floor from the other tenant’s dog. We were so disgusted. She also had eaten my breakfast, which I had stored in a bag in the fridge. Maggie (who actually lived next door, we found out) promised us her friend would reimburse us for the last night. After a couple of days, I inquired about the check which I hadn’t received; Maggie basically told me to chase after my money with her friend myself, who sent me a text explaining why the check hadn’t come yet. After two weeks of back and forth texting (with Maggie, the host) I received a nasty text in which she promised to send me the check. Eventually, I did get a $100 check in the mail.

With the exception of the last night, we also feel we absolutely didn’t get our money’s worth for the first five nights. I have been patiently communicating with Maggie about our complaints, but besides sending a maid who didn’t know how to clean, I think she wasn’t on top of things in the first place. She should have checked the state of the apartment on the day of our arrival and checked in after Hilda finished cleaning; since she lives next door, this should not have been too much of a hassle. This friend of hers was a problem, but it shouldn’t have been our problem. We worked hard all year for this vacation, paid plenty of money to rent this clean place, and instead we got a dirty apartment with a troublesome tenant. Even though Maggie apologized for the issues and her friend’s behavior we felt part of our vacation was ruined due to this very underwhelming stay. Maggie did not deliver her end of the deal. We paid in full, but we didn’t even get half of what we paid for.

Unstable Airbnb Host in Executive Suite on Sarasota Bay

My host’s name is Yvonne based in North Sarasota. This place is a Airbnb train wreck. Do not give her any money. The property is in a beautiful spot, however it’s also in foreclosure. She is looking for folks with money so she can “get a personal loan” ($20k+) to bail her out on her other defaults (yes, it’s more than “just the foreclosure”). As soon as she finds out you won’t cover that for her, things get very nasty very quickly. She will present you with continually moving targets as to proving your personal savings and income information, after moving in. Claiming one fantasy entity after another requires your private financial information for you to continue living there. Imagine what she may use that for.

Yes, there is a “private” bedroom and bathroom. However, she walks in on your private space at will, all the time. There is no central air; it’s there but needs to be replaced. She claims she “will have it fixed soon”… sure. Cooking in the very tiny kitchen is not allowed during the warm months, because there is no air conditioning. Did you see the attached picture of the note denying tenant access to USPS mail delivery service? That’s a federal crime. The US Post Office and only the USPS owns all mailboxes (doesn’t matter if you bought it or put it up – read the federal statute), not some home owner, landlord or tenant. Forget having any friends over; she refuses to allow it and if you do anyway, her behavior to them is atrocious. In addition, she’s permanently on large, daily dosages of opioid pain meds.

If you’re seeking to live with a continually whacked out junkie, this is the place for you. If ever there’s a heroin junkie’s mentality, she’s got it. Does it still sound like an “executive suite” to you? There’s little doubt she is failing to pay her mortgage at all, pocketing the rent she gets, and just waiting out the inevitable conclusion of the foreclosure process. It took some digging to discover she’s in foreclosure. Yvonne, as an owner (not for much longer) and landlord, of course didn’t share that tidbit with her tenant and has no clue I’m aware of the situation. Very sad. Do not enable this woman’s outrageous behavior.