Niagara is not where you want to book an Airbnb to take your family to relax on vacation. I have seen combat videos from Kandahar that were filmed in better neighborhoods. The house was listed as “excellent” and I couldn’t get my husband and children to leave the car. There were burned out buildings and boarded up houses all along the street and the only indication that anyone lived in this neighborhood were the blue recycling bins randomly scattered about. I think they might roll the sidewalks up at night to stop them from being stolen.
Now, I have an adventurous personality and out of curiosity, I entered the residence with a flashlight because I couldn’t see the keypad on the doors; there was no hallway light. The good news was there was power and heat, though the derelict furnace that had been replaced was sitting in the downstairs hallway. The living area was cleaned, but really shabby and not in any kind of a “shabby chic” way. The spray painted clawfoot tub installed crookedly on the rotted sloping floor was the bathroom.
The rest of it was furnished like a college student’s apartment: mismatched single curtain panels stretched across the painted shut windows, old mattresses on metal bed frames, and a slouchy futon. We immediately left and contacted the host to tell her we were not staying the night. I could tell she’d had this conversation before. Her very best defense was that “many people” had stayed there and had never had a problem in this neighborhood. It was my choice to leave and she was not giving me my money back.
Of course she wasn’t; I’m sure it was my $200 she’d spent to furnish the place. I later looked up the address on Trulia and learned she bought that dump for $15k just recently. Since May of this year there have been six assaults, five shootings and a robbery in that very same blighted neighborhood. I should have looked for blood stains on the floor.
That’s right: she bought a whole duplex for $15,000. You’d think this would have tipped off Airbnb. Isn’t this their business? They don’t have some algorithm to compare and evaluate real estate listings? God bless the Canadian border agent that took pity on our shocked faces as we crossed the Rainbow Bridge twenty minutes after we had just left. He was empathetic and understanding and more than willing to help provide a safe passage into Canada for a family of Americans seeking refuge from what I have since come to learn is the most dangerous city per capita in the State of New York.
Airbnb has so far been pretty responsive to my complaint and they refunded me about $30 thus far. I wanted $200 to cover the cost of the hotel room I had to rent at the last minute but I’ll settle for them pulling all the listings in that zip code because it’s just not a safe place for anyone to visit after dark or leave their vehicle unattended. I would not be the least bit surprised if the police were afraid to patrol there.