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Old 10-27-2015, 04:32 PM   #41
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Ah! Bed-Stuy!

The Bedford-Styvesant neighborhood. What the realtors like to call "Renaissance Brooklyn". It's a neighborhood undergoing gentrification. Some blocks and side streets are pretty sketchy. Others are pretty nice. My oldest daughter lives there.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:35 PM   #42
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Utrecht I have had dozens of people rent my vacation property via VRBO and I've never had a single negative word of feedback and nothing but 5 star reviews from every guest but something tells me if you were a renter that would change.
Look at the pics I posted. I guess I should be happy renting a place here right? Im a snob and so hard to please I guess.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:37 PM   #43
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Lisa's Townhouse - Luxury Condo Style... - HomeAway Brooklyn

You can see that the pics they have posted of the neighborhood look nothing like the pics I posted. It may well look like their pics but like I said, they shouldve told us which stop to use so we wouldnt be putting our safety at risk. I guess we shouldve kept walking all the way to the apt but it never occurred to me that the neighborhood might change. I was sure we had been duped. Even if the place itself was nice, I thought we would be exposed to the area I posted every time we went to and from the apt to go sight seeing and there's no way I would be walk thru there after dark.
Three things:
1. This website is Homeaway, not VRBO. Are they the same company?
2. Did you click on the Map tab? The apartment is clearly right in the middle of Bedford-Stuyvesant.
3. I see a red flag in the description on the website:

Enjoy the experience of a neighborhood that was once a hidden gem in the NYC landscape. Come and be part of the Brooklyn Renaissance.

I have visited NYC only twice in my life. But based on my limited background knowledge of NYC and information in the public domain, I would not choose this location.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:40 PM   #44
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Homeaway and VRBO are the same company. My wife booked the place, not me. She talked to the owner who assured her that the area has been revitalized and there were nice restaurants and shops all around the apt. All he had to say was avoid XYZ area and you'll love the place.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:48 PM   #45
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Bed-Stuy has been a terrible neighborhood for a long long time. I've never lived there, but know this from stories of athletes who grew up there and "escaped". Isn't Spike Lee from there too? I also knew from visiting a friend in nearby Park Slope and he said that UPS (or maybe FedEx) doesn't even put a sign up for their building because they would get robbed too often. I thought I read that your wife knew Brooklyn. Very surprised she wouldn't know this, but in any case the listing doesn't hint at this for those who wouldn't know. That's bad. Anyway, I understand some parts have been gentrified and may indeed be up and coming so the rental may be in a safe enough area. Not surprised at all that there would be a path from a subway stop that would be like a war zone. I don't have time right now to do the street view thing, but as soon I saw it was in Bed-Stuy that set off alarms.

I looked at the reviews, and 8 of 9 (not counting "anonymous" were one time reviewers, which may or may not mean something. I left a 5* review for my only time renting and it's all legit. The 9th person had a review for a place in Austin months before, so it looks legit.

My guess is that there probably is a safe path to the place from a different subway stop and you were unfortunate not to select it. The owner/manager should have known to ask and tell you an alternate way to get there when you called, though maybe he was on the defensive if you didn't give him a real chance.

I don't know what that means for your chances to get your money back. I stand by my suggestion of trying to work with the owner to try for a partial refund since you put zero wear and tear on the place, no cleaning needed, and they should take responsibility for not telling you the best way to get there when there clearly is a bad way to go. Your sense for the situation you were in was almost certainly correct, but perhaps your response to the owner was not. Or just as likely the owner did not respond well to you.
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Old 10-27-2015, 04:57 PM   #46
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From google street view the place looks awesome. Might have to parachute in to get there safely.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:01 PM   #47
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From google street view the place looks awesome. Might have to parachute in to get there safely.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:03 PM   #48
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The owner offered a refund of the cleaning fee which was $59 I believe. The credit card people told us not to accept it as it could be interpreted as us accepting a negotiated "settlement" from the owner.

I suspect the owner has had plenty of other complaints and charge backs and has gotten other people to take a tiny partial refund for this exact reason.

My wife grew up in NYC but hasn't lived there for 25 years. She obviously knew the area was bad 25 years ago but there are plenty of NYC neighborhoods that have been revitalized over the years. Thats why she questioned the owner about the area. All he had to do was be honest and tell us to avoid certain areas and which subway stop take and all of this would've been avoided. We wouldve never gone near the street we were on and may have never even known we were so close to any danger.

As it was, it was the opposite. We had no idea there were any nice areas near us.
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Old 10-27-2015, 05:13 PM   #49
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Meh, I went to Google street view and the place looks just as safe as some of the areas in GTA5.

Note I couldn't go down one of the streets because the Google camera car had been jacked.
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:50 PM   #50
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From google street view the place looks awesome. Might have to parachute in to get there safely.
I went to the listing above. I zoom in on the map, and drop the "street view" thing to do a street view. I landed at 522 Madison St, about 1/2 block away from the place. The very first car I saw parked on the street wasn't exactly indicative of the hood...

(it's a Rolls Royce)
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:07 PM   #51
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0.6 miles from horrible hood to million dollar mansions? Guess that's part of the gentrification process. We have the equivalent here in Raleigh (where million dollar mansions only cost a quarter million or half million). Get stabbed or buy your drugs just a mere 2-3 blocks from your modern architecture masterpiece.

Seriously, those pics didn't look too rough at least for a day time stroll. Plenty of graffiti and black people, but graffiti = art and most black people aren't out to get you (though we all know those guys standing on the corner are probably selling drugs - we've seen The Wire). I'd probably walk through the area, perhaps stop in an esteemed check cashing place or liquor store and double check with the proprietor to see if the path to my eventual destination was safe and that I'd gotten off at the right subway stop. I'd be on guard but not worried about getting jumped.

I had to lol a little when I street-viewed the place from the VRBO link and saw a Rolls Royce sitting out front parked between two other late model luxury imports.

Tough call on this one, Utrecht. I definitely see the owner's point of view, and I can understand why they wouldn't put street view pics of the rough part of town that's 7-8 blocks away. Not mentioning "hey, take this subway stop/line, not that other one, and stay north of X street for the nicest areas" seems like the right thing for them to do. Is not disclosing it fraud or misrepresentation? I'm not sure I'd go that far. Some boarded up buildings, trash on the ground, black people and graffiti don't equal war zone to me.

If I put my own house on VRBO, and you got off at the wrong bus stop, you could probably take some ugly pictures of trash on the ground, some graffiti, minorities, overgrown yards, trashy lots, industrial areas, boarded up businesses, etc. I'm not sure I'd have to disclose any of that in my rental listing though. And I'd be mightily pissed if someone claimed fraud and requested a refund.
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:25 PM   #52
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I'd try to at least get to the rental itself. At $180/nt for the rental, I could eat the cost of an uber round trip to the nearest safe subway stop each day if it turned out that the area was really straight up hood and genuinely dangerous. Maybe try to get a refund for the cost of the ubers if it was a case of misrepresentation and it really was in a horrible neighborhood.

I also want to point out that the true crime here is on the NW corner of Malcolm X and Macon St from Google street view. In the window of the corner store is a sign advertising $10.50 for a pack of cigarettes. Really? You could grow it and roll your own for that much. Highway robbery I say.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:08 PM   #53
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From google street view the place looks awesome. Might have to parachute in to get there safely.

I imagine a persons personal prospective comes into play on who is right or wrong. I am from a small rural town. Whenever I go to a big city, I stay miles away from areas like the posted pictures. I am just too old to take unnecessary risks, perceived or real.


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Old 10-27-2015, 09:34 PM   #54
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I don't know, if you're hauling some luggage, I can see where you could feel like a target since you'd look like a tourist. Not sure how many taxis are just hanging around waiting for fares either, or how many uber drivers would be willing to go there.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:00 PM   #55
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I'd try to at least get to the rental itself. At $180/nt for the rental, I could eat the cost of an uber round trip to the nearest safe subway stop each day if it turned out that the area was really straight up hood and genuinely dangerous. Maybe try to get a refund for the cost of the ubers if it was a case of misrepresentation and it really was in a horrible neighborhood.

I also want to point out that the true crime here is on the NW corner of Malcolm X and Macon St from Google street view. In the window of the corner store is a sign advertising $10.50 for a pack of cigarettes. Really? You could grow it and roll your own for that much. Highway robbery I say.
I started to edit and reply. Them I realized it doesn't matter. Manhattan is not the world. NYC is a small community, and who else GAF?.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:02 PM   #56
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I was under the impression that short term rentals for *most* apartments was illegal in NYC. I've stayed away from VRBO and Airbnb in NYC because of this. Instead I've rented "suites" in hotels... An example would be the Beacon Hotel - where you can rent "hotel rooms" that have kitchens.

Rentals for less than 30 days is illegal for most condos and apartments that are not hotels. It's only legal, as I understand it, if there are 2 units or less (SFH) in the building. Buildings with 3 units or more can't be rented out on VRBO or Airbnb, legally. Those sites get around it by having the owner certify that it is a legal rental.

New York City: Vacation Apartment Rentals - TripAdvisor

Answers for New Yorkers Concerned or Confused About the Illegal Hotel Law | NY State Senate

It seems that the (possible) illegal aspect of the rental might be in your favor...
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Old 10-28-2015, 12:02 AM   #57
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The one thing that I will say is that in NYC a few blocks can be a big difference....

When I was there, my first place was downtown Manhattan..... you did not want to get caught at night near the center streets... but near the water was good... I can see where the wrong stop can make someone take pause....

This is a tough one...
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:17 AM   #58
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I started to edit and reply. Them I realized it doesn't matter. Manhattan is not the world. NYC is a small community, and who else GAF?.
GAF? The only acronym definition I found for that was gay as f*** and I don't think it makes sense in this context.
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:03 AM   #59
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I think GAF is "Gives A F..."
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:35 AM   #60
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Sorry to hear bout this. We had a similar experience with a vacation property in Maine. We took pictures- mold, unfinished electrical work, peeling paint etc and scheduled a hearing with small claims court in their hometown, I settled with their attorney for approximately 66% of the rental amount. Good luck.
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