Horrible, moldy smell in basement
Submitted: October 18, 2012
Stayed: September 2012
We booked this property directly from the owners who had a pretty strict contract for us to sign. Basically we had to give the entire amount for the stay, plus a cleaning and damage deposit, ahead of time, via credit card. Also, the onus of cleaning the place while we were there was entirely on us, plus we had to take out the garbage and start a load of laundry before we left. Service-wise, this is much poorer than staying in a hotel.
The pictures looked nice and the owners seemed to be reasonable, small business owner, so we booked a 4 night stay. They even allowed us to drop off our luggage before the scheduled check-in time. However, upon arrival, we discovered that the unit is partially underground. The entire unit smelled like mold and my entire party of 4 adults was unwilling to stay there, and we worried for the health of my 2 year old son. Everything in the unit looked quite dated and the towels were old and grungy. As for the appearance, it was much darker than the pictures on this site. We wanted to give the unit a chance though, so we opened all the windows to get some fresh air, dropped off our stuff, and went to lunch. When we came back there was not much change, so we decided to find another place to stay. We immediately informed the managers and asked for a refund, but they told us that no had complained before, and no refund was possible unless they were able to rent the unit out to someone else. We called a couple of times to see if anything could be done, but their response was the same.
A few weeks later after we got back from Portland, I had to write to the manager (Shelley) to again ask for a refund of both the deposit and the rental fees. She did refund out deposit (only after we asked), but was not able to refund any of the rental fees. We were willing to pay for a day of rental and the tax for the entire 3 days, but her response was again adamant, that we had signed a contract saying that we would be responsible for the charges, and that no one had complained about the unit before. I find that very difficult to believe because the mold smell was just horrible and possibly hazardous to one's health. Anyway, after this response I said I was going to pursue other remedies if we could not come to a compromise, but did not even receive a response. So here I am. I will probably not recover the money I paid for nothing, which almost ruined my vacation, but at least I might help someone else avoid this horrible place with a totally un
Owner's Response: Chris and I own and manage our vacation rentals. Chris (who is a contractor and lives upstairs of the 2 bedroom unit), spoke with Lan the day they arrived. She mentioned that their elderly parents did not feel comfortable in the space as they thought there was a smell and didn't want to stay. It was much later that the suggestion of the presence of mold was brought up and that all four adults noticed it.
We read through all our comments in the guestbook (and having met most of our guests) we have never had a complaint about any smell. Chris and I have frequent repeat renters and the 2 Bedroom Flat is a particular favorite. Since the 1st of June, the unit has only been vacant 20 days of the 146. It is a street-level unit and it’s clearly written within the first paragraph of all of our advertisements.
As in most cases of vacation rentals, payments are made up front and there is no maid service. Their deposit/cleaning fee was refunded a week after their stay and when we were unable to fill their reservation dates, we offered them credit at one of our other units.
We've been advertising our rentals on VRBO/Homeaway since 2008 and have an excellent track record on reviews. We take our business very seriously. This particular home was completely remodeled by Chris in 2009/2010. As purveyors of rental housing, we maintain strict standards to ensure that our units are clean, safe and tidy for arriving renters. I clean the unit personally and never use bleach, chemicals, or other irritants. As parents ourselves and the frequency of our family who come and stay in the unit with their young ones, we would never want young children, or anyone for that matter, exposed to anything harmful. If Chris or I felt that a unit had any mold, smell, especially something that was hazardous to a person's health, we would never rent out a property.
It is truly regrettable that this situation has reached this point as we feel we have made every effort to arrive at a satisfactory solution for all parties involved.
Shelley and Chris
Helpful votes: 1/2
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