My nightmare began when my fiancé and I decided to rent a place for a short stay in New York City to do some Thanksgiving shopping before returning home. I was obviously misled by the price ($55) and the attractive title: “Historic Harlem walk up.” First of all, the room is not located in the artsy, bohemian, historical, Columbia University area of Harlem, but on 7th St and 5th Ave, which we have come to learn is basically one of the blocks of “Dominicans Don’t Play,” a Latino mafia, as we were told when the police came after we reported a brawl at the entry hallway at 2:00 AM. When the officers left, they recommended we tried to find a hotel somewhere else: “You’re here at your own risk.”
The building is located between liquor stores packed with Haitians gambling with dice at the entrance. The morning we left we had to literally give two dollars to a homeless sleeping in front of the door, or else… Why did we end up there? Well, as people can see in the listing, the picture and description give the impression the room has enough light and space for two. I should have read the reviews first. The space you’re renting is not a room; it’s a locked closet with no ventilation, smells like weed and sometimes gas at night, and it comes with its own door to a bedroom where pretty much anyone else can enter and invade your space. That space, of course, is not even where the landlady lives, which by New York law is illegal to rent.
Let me warn you about the landlady. She goes by several aliases in Airbnb. She’s one of a kind. As soon as you see her, you can tell she’s up to something. She made totally inappropriate comments to my wife, and was moody all the time. Forget about the Airbnb commercials where the local host is warmly welcomed. Her face suggested she hadn’t slept in a week and gave a creepy air to the place. I was so happy when we left. This host definitely has a language barrier and does not speak proper English or Spanish (I speak both), however she replied to my review that I was the one to blame, despite the fact I am fluent in both languages.
Things to remember: Avoid Airbnb, and if in New York, avoid this listing. I have flagged her profile, but of course Airbnb does not care as long as people keep flowing in. I also warn families and couples not to rent to her because something fishy is going on in that building.
So you thought you could find a place in New York for $55 and are SHOCKED when it’s sketchy and crap? You sound super smart
Yes, I rented that place too. Host was sketchy. I dont recommend going there in new york. Beware of “Historic Harlem walk up” is a dangerous place
I cancelled a reservation and due to “strict” cancellation policy which I had NO idea about, I am out $350. This is outrageous!!! Since when do you cancel more than 24 hours ahead of time and not receive a penny back? I will NEVER use airbnb again. The Palm Beach Hosts, Don an Pam, were rude as heck–not willing to explain anything, just referring me back to airbnb with exclamation points!!!!!!!! https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16311897. If you want to come to Palm Beach, DON’T use pam and don. After dealing with these people, I would never rent from them anyway. In fact, in some ways, I would rather PAY $350 if I didn’t have to deal with them. Then, apparently, another rule is that you can’t rent a place for a friend. This was to be a gift for her. She has been caring for her sister for years and she was going to have a break. Then her sister ended up in the hospital. This is an extenuating circumstance, but airbnb and the host could have cared less. This whole experience was inexcusable and disgusting.
Marcia, sounds yucko and I feel for you, but you obviously clicked “book”, without reading what you were getting into. Every listing shows their cancelation policy. Hers would’ve said “strict” before you booked. Had you clicked on it you would’ve seen that that means you can’t cancel and get your money back. Even a “moderate”cancellation policy (which I have as a host) means you can’t get your money back if you cancel within 7 days. Most airbnb users make themselves aware of these policies and only book places with a “flexible” cancelation policy, unless they’re 100% sure they want the listing, which suits me. People tend to book my place at the last minute when they’re sure they’re coming. I love that as I don’t have to deal with answering dozens of questions from time wasters. Perfect.
Also, as for renting a space for a friend…. you really should read things when it involves getting your credit card out! Knowing who is coming to stay is how hosts can (in some small way) protect themselves from harm and also get some justice if things go wrong (as you have electronically agreed to take responsibility for your actions during your stay and provided identifying information, whereas your friend has not)…