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Avoiding Vacation Rental Nightmares

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It was a VRBO nightmare for David and Lilly Naimi, just before their wedding.

The California rental that housed their family was a disaster.

“They had opened the door and gone in and this place was in shambles.  The beds were unmade, there are dishes in the sink, the toilet is not flushed,” said Lilly.

When they contacted the owner, they were told to clean it themselves.

“Because the place was dirty and we couldn’t stay there, we ended up going back to the hotel where we got married and ended up staying there,” said David.

When securing vacation properties, it’s important to find out if the owner is going to be nearby and accessible if something goes wrong.

Kevin Brasler from Puget Sound Consumer’s Checkbook said to make sure the description matches the property.

“What we found a lot of time that these businesses, will advertise something as a two-bedroom apartment but, in fact there is a bedroom and you can convert the living room into a bedroom,” said Brasler.

Also, check the fine print.

“There is a cleaning fees and some sort of other junk fee. And there is a setup fee or a closure fee or, you know, taxes you weren’t aware of,” said Brasler.

I checked online and found some creative fees.  I saw bookings that charged $12 per bag for trash removal, an $8 Use Fee per person per day and one home charged $50 for each daytime visitor.

Add up the costs before securing that vacation property.

“We found often that these hidden fees can represent twice the cost of the base rental,” said Brasler.

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