We had a bumpy start to our time in California. Unfortunately when you have to find a place that is furnished for a nearly four month stay and are out of state you have to rely on the advertiser’s honesty.
I spearheaded the search for a place because we were fast approaching our deadline of having to be in California before I reached 27 weeks pregnant and we still didn’t have any viable options for a living situation. There were two hopefuls that fell through which led to me finding the unit we ended up selecting. I called and spoke with the landlord to discuss our situation and everything before sending any information on the unit along to my coordinator for booking. It was small in square footage but sounded like the perfect layout and set up for our family. The vacation rental was advertised as a 500 ft2 1 bedroom guest house with a queen size futon in the living room. There was a full kitchen, bathroom, AC/heating, access to free laundry, pool, play space for the girls, it sounded perfect! It was a little over budget but we were able to allocate savings from another part of the contracted budget to the living expenses to make it work. Finally, a place to live while in California!
Fast forward a few weeks to our arrival.
We arrived to discover that the unit may have been described in an overly favorable light than it deserved. To start, it was actually a studio space where the “bedroom” was a narrow set of three stairs into a low ceiling den with a bed somehow wedged into it. We had to crawl onto the foot of the bed in order to get into the space. Need I remind you how largely pregnant I am and that involves many midnight bathroom trips? Not a safe or ideal situation for that.
The AC was a window unit that would bring the main living space to a crisp chill but left the bedroom den space more of a sauna. We requested a fan and put it at the foot of the bed to help funnel the AC into the den space but that also meant one more obstacle to overcome when hurdling my way to the restroom. We did purchase a small tension rod and curtain to hang across the opening to the den so that our girls could attempt to go to sleep while we finished up our day sweating in a huddle on our bed.
The other discovery was that there was no ventilation. None in the kitchen or bathroom. And the fully stocked kitchen was lacking some essentials which made it impossible to cook in the unit, not to mention the whole lack of ventilation. We ended up eating out for all of our meals except breakfast. That adds up very fast.
We also found out that there were two other vacation rental units on the same property. This might not seem like a big deal but when we were led to believe our unit was the guest house and instead we are greeted with a steady stream of cars coming and going… Plus we weren’t even sure if we’d come home to a parking spot or not, it started to become a big deal. One night we were blocked in by a big party and I had to go find the owner of a vehicle to let me out so I could make it to an appointment. A similar situation followed the next morning.
At first we thought all the issues were just a matter of getting used to living on top of each other when we came from such a large house. But over the weeks that we were there it become glaringly evident that the landlord was not fulfilling her large promises for her little space. She is a very kind person but should not be in the business side of things nor should she be managing properties that she’s too emotionally invested in to handle them properly.
Long story short, after some negotiating back and forth with the landlord, my coordinator, and me, we were able to break our lease and find a new vacation rental through the end of the year. The new unit is managed by a vacation property management company and is in a HOA complex with amenities and assigned parking. We check in today and I am really looking forward to smooth sailing for the next three months and the return of some sense of normalcy.
Honesty is the best policy and emotions should not be involved in real estate.