The Finance Blogger


Snow Birds Renting Condos

Snow Birds Renting Condos is a subject we are personally interested in since we regularly rent a vacation condo every year that allows us to spend a month or more in a warm sunny climate. Millions of Americans and Canadians are itching to get away from the cold winters and dull skies every winter. They travel south and stay in everything from motels, hotels and rental condos for periods of a couple of days to as much as 6 months at a time.

Snow Birds Renting Condos

There is always a danger when you book something over the phone or through the internet. Will you actually receive what you have contracted for, is there a contract and what are the conditions of the place you will be staying. Over the years we have been renting condos of this type we have had very good results, some better than others. However, we have heard and in a couple of cases seen what people have ended up with to their surprise and frustration.

Read Between the Lines

For many people who are excited about their upcoming vacation, there is a tendency to make assumptions about the place the go to. Pictures look great, description sounds great and friends have even stayed in the same complex in other years.  Yet when you arrive, the unit does not measure up and there is a lot of disappointment.

Here are a couple of examples that you may find interesting. Later we will give some suggestions about how to protect yourself from some of these situations.

Pool Not Heated

Who would ever expect that the pool would not be heated in the southern US during the month of March. The weather temperatures are in the 80’s and 90’s and yet the pool is not heated. The advertisement indicated that there was a pool and hot tub, for tenants to utilize, so would you not automatically expect a heated pool. Turns out they consider it to be winter and it is too expensive to heat the pool during the winter. What a huge disappointment and no recourse other than to never stay at this location again along with telling all of your friends! Here is a link to the place we rented in March, 2011 that had the unheated pool. Click Here!

Unit Not Clean

We have never had this issue, however several of our friends have had this unfortunate experience. Everything from dirty dishes, carpets and furniture that was in serious need of cleaning. Left with no choice, they are forced to buy cleaning supplies and clean the unit themselves to bring it up to their standards. This is clearly unacceptable, but what are you going to do in a foreign city or country with an absentee landlord and clearly unwilling to do anything about the situation.

Condo Not Well Equipped

Snow birds expect all of the basic amenities when they book a place and plan to stay there for the month. After all you are usually paying a lot of money, so flat screen TV’s, modern appliances, fully equipped kitchens  and all of the utensils and glassware are expected. Even a hair dryer should be available in the bathroom along with all linens and towels. All should be very clean and no marks or stains anywhere.

There is not much you can do if these things are missing, other than buy your own and try to get the landlord to pay for them. Once couple even went as far as buying dishes and a microwave for the unit they were renting. When they left, they stored these things with a friend rather than leave them with the cheap landlord. The place we rented in March 2011, did not even have wine glasses! here is the link. Click Here!

Read Your Contract, Ask Questions

There is not a lot you can do once you have paid your money and arrived. You can complain and maybe the landlord will do something. The time to make sure that everything that you are expecting will be included is before you sign the contract.

As we have experienced with the unheated pool, do not make assumptions. Confirm your assumptions and even have these things written into the contract to be sure that these items you have discussed will be included. Most landlord contracts are totally one sided to protect the landlord. They do not cover some of the things we have mentioned.

Pictures are not always accurate.

We have fond that pictures usually gloss over the details and do not portray how clean a unit really is. If there are pictures, do a quick inventory when you arrive to be sure that the items shown in the unit in the pictures are actually there so you will not be charged for them when you leave. You might even want to take your own video inventory just as a precaution.

Comments are welcome as are suggestions regarding on how to protect yourself when booking vacation rental locations. Our readers will appreciate any suggestions that you may have.

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One Response to “Snow Birds Renting Condos”

  1. we rent condos all of the time and never have had a problem. We are snow birds and this post is really quite helpful to make sure we never have another problem like this .

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