My daughter and I have taken a yearly road trip to Palm Springs during Spring Break for the last four years. Last March, we rented a 3-bedroom and 2.5-bath townhouse in a small gated development just a block off Palm Canyon Drive. It was a two-story building, so I took the master bedroom upstairs and my daughter took the bedroom on the main floor so she wouldn’t keep me up all night watching TV. I was awoken on the first morning by what I sleepily dreamed was a cleaning crew giving someone maid service. I wondered why they were cleaning a room at 7:00 AM and realized I wasn’t in a hotel and the noise was above my head on the roof. Workers were redoing the asphalt. We had rented this condo for seven days and four mornings were ruined by the workers. We even woke on the third morning of work to find plastic sheeting was covering the entire patio. Because our access to the carport was through the patio gate, we couldn’t drive away.
I’m easy going, but after being awakened three mornings in a row before 7:00 AM, my daughter asked if we could go elsewhere. I did not want to move everything (clothes, food, liquor, a 42″ flat screen to replace the analog TV shown in the pictures, and an Apple TV), so I rented a room for her at the Hard Rock, while I stayed in the condo. I was going there to use the pool and to go out with my daughter. After renting the hotel room, I texted the property manager to tell her I would like a partial refund of the $1800 I had paid for six nights, and to tell her the wifi had been out since the previous night, meaning I had no TV or Internet. She immediately got an attitude with me. She asked why I had waited “so long” to tell her about the workers. I told her it was because I was a property owner and knew that things can happen, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and hoped it was short-lived. However, by the third day I was getting really annoyed and knew the owners knew about it, because the Homeowners Association had sent letters to each owner several months earlier, as required by law (I spoke to some neighboring owners). She said the owners lived in another state and she would get back to me after she talked to them.
By the fifth day I had a large amount of video evidence regarding the level of noise. Pounding, dragging, pressure washing, etc. at 6:30-7:00 AM lasting until 5:00 PM. I had video of the back door covered in plastic, the back patio still blocked, and the grill and patio furniture, which was unusable. She finally responded, but only after we arrived home, to inform me the owners felt they could have stopped the workers if I had made an immediate complaint (right… the entire complex was being roofed, but one owner could have stopped it). She said because I waited until halfway through my stay I left them unable to do anything to assist me.
At that point my daughter told me to send a complaint with the attachment videos to Airbnb, which I did. After two weeks I received their response. “There was insufficient evidence for even a partial refund due to the timing of my complaint, but the property manager offered a 10% goodwill discount if I booked with them the following year.” As if it’s somewhere I would ever stay again. I think there are only two big property management agencies in Palm Springs and the property managers are all well known in the city. They all protect themselves and their paychecks by discouraging reporting with rude behavior. They delay complaints and give ridiculous explanations for why they can’t help you. Airbnb only makes money if it protects the hosts. Without hosts there are no travelers, therefore they will protect them before us. Especially the more expensive postings in popular destinations.