Crooked Host Holds Deposit After Long Stay

We arrived in Utah on June 20th, 2017 as a result of a military move from Arizona. This was our nineth move in 18 years, so my family and I were used to it. Utah was exceptionally difficult to find accommodations while we were waiting for base housing to become available. Air conditioning at the temporary lodging facility on base was broken and hotels were booked in the surrounding 30-mile area from the base.

I decided to give Airbnb a try. I found a property listing in Ogden. I messaged the host and asked if he would be willing to negotiate a deal on the property since I needed a place to stay for a month. He agreed and stated that there would be a $500 dollar deposit for the property that would be returned once his property manager determined there was no damage when we moved out. We agreed to the terms and paid for the stay in full.

Our stay was great with the exception of the condition of the mattress in one of the bedrooms and the downstairs sink that was cracked. The landscape outside was a mess: dirt and open irrigation holes were everywhere. The lampposts outside were on the ground and wires were exposed. We were assured that the landscaping would be completed soon. In the month we stayed, hardly any progress was made with the numerous half-completed projects. We never complained and just figured it was a money issue. We left the property on July 20th and moved into our house on base.

This is when the problems began with the host. We inquired when we could expect the $500 deposit to be returned. I was then contacted by the property manager asking about a shampoo bottle ring on the master bathroom shower shelf. I said it may have been caused by my wife’s color stay shampoo and we were glad to come clean it and see the stain for ourselves. We were assured we would have the opportunity to clean the bathroom and see the stain. We inquired several times over the next few weeks without any response due to the fact the invoice stated that the deposit would be returned in three days.

When the host finally responded, he said we would have to wait to clean the unit due to another guest staying there. We waited several weeks to hear from either the host or property manager but they never responded. I contacted the property manager six weeks after we moved out and asked about the stain and when we could expect the deposit back. I never received a reply. The next day my wife received a text from the owner asking for my email stating that his lawyer would contact me for to settle for damages. We are honest people so we gave it to him.

I received an email on September 11th from a bus stop bench lawyer located out of Orem stating that his client was not going to return the deposit and was in fact wishing to seek an additional $1575 for replacement of the entire upper vinyl shower piece. On the estimate, there wasn’t a itemized list of parts or labor, only a dollar amount and the name of a repair company. The estimate didn’t even have a business address. The lawyer also stated there were additional damages such as a scratch on “high end” furniture and stains on towels. The lawyer stated that I have received pictures of the damages; however, I have not. I have text messages from the property manager saying there were attached photos but I never received them and I said so in a response back to her. The unit was also supposedly occupied immediately after we vacated the property, which also calls the damages into question.

Be aware of staying in Ogden with this host. I strongly caution anyone to stay elsewhere. You will be opening yourself up to a money grubbing host looking to make a profit at your expense based on false claims of damages.

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