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Hummingbird House / Cottage rental scam/unsafe

1 Lakeside, MI, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 773-218-2203

The cottage rental is a scam! Warning! My husband and I rented the cottage for a two night stay in late July. The cottage web site misrepresented the fact that there is air-conditioning (the owner placed a filthy unsafe faulty wired air conditioner in the home on the day of arrival). The microwave and air conditioner was faulty wired together and would kick out if one tried to use either. One had to turn the air conditioner on with the rusty pliers provided! Also, both smoke detectors had been disabled before our arrival. The bathroom and kitchen areas were filthy. Garbage left in bathroom. Food remnants in kitchen sink. The high definition flat screen tv is the size of a laptop computer screen tv propped up on a bench. The chimenea (outdoor fireplace) is not on the premises. Nothing as pictured. The outside is filled with insects because the property is not maintained. The owner states that she accepts kids and dogs. However, she later claimed that our dogs scratched the door (which they did not do because they were crated and with us). She accused us of this and stopped payment on our security deposit over a week after we left and others had stayed immediately upon our departure! Please be careful. This is not a place you want to bring your children or pets!

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  • Be
      15th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I couldn’t agree more. I stayed here too and believe me, this place is a total dive. The musty smell is overwhelming and there are bugs all over, inside and out. If you go here to get privacy forget it! The owner kept calling us on our cell phone and then sent someone over to look into the window one morning! This is the kind of place that makes you appreciate home.

  • Gd
      15th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    In addition, to my above review, please note that the owner's rental agreement states the following about leaving dogs unattended/crated in the cottage under the Pets section; "...dogs with separation anxiety tend to scratch the beautiful 1950s knotty pine walls." My question to the owner was, "How do you know that my dogs scratched the door?" I was with them, they were crated!. I am not sure if other parties watched their dogs as closely. If the owner previously stated this in the agreement prior to our stay, it must have happened to her before. Why blame my dogs for something that I know that they did not do. It could have happened to the other poor folks that she kept their deposits, too. This is a scam. If you go, take Lysol and be mindful, please folks! I never had this happen before at much nicer rentals; but unfortunately, there are dishonest people who claim to be reputable who will take money from families.

  • Gd
      16th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    The owner is currently advertising on Chicago Craig's list:

    While the air-conditioning is not detailed this time, a gas grill and charcoal grill is stated. The charcoal grill is located in a garage with dust and filth covering it. I have no idea where the gas grill was on the premises???

    The owner states that it is one of the few places in the area that accepts kids and dogs really? Try the Vineyard Lofts or Snooty Fox, among others.

  • Ma
      7th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I would debate Ms. Martino point by point in this letter, but I do not think that is productive. I would be happy to explain all by telephone if you would like a point-by-point response.

    She mentioned that she had once before received a discount from another cottage rental because of a cleanliness issue, and I am convinced that she has learned how to get rental fees reimbursed by complaining about conditions after the fact.

    Ms. Martino and I talked on the phone when she arrived and she said that she was not happy with the cleanliness of my house, yet she stayed the entire weekend. If the house was not to her liking, why did she stay the entire weekend? That makes no sense.

    During her stay at my cottage, she refused to answer my phone calls, and when I had a friend come by to check on things, Ms. Martino stayed inside the house. More on this later. I mention it here because I was very responsive to her complaints and did everything I could to try to make her happy.

    I called Ms. Martino several times over the weekend to check in with her since she had complained upon her arrival about a number of issues, and she refused to answer her cell phone. She said I was “harassing” her with these phone calls, but every message I left was to check in to see how things were going and to see if there was anything I could do to make her stay more comfortable.

    During Ms. Martino’s stay, I was in Chicago, where I live (the cottage is in Michigan), so I had a friend come by to check on things. When my friend came by, Ms. Martino stayed inside the house with her dogs barking like crazy and scratching my knotty pine walls. My friend can testify to this. She could hear the barking and the scratching from the window, which was open. She said my friend was “spying on her.”

    There have been NO complaints about cleanliness (or any other issue) from other renters, and I had the same cleaning service that entire summer. My cottage was booked solid from July through Labor Day, 2008. I have a reputable rental business, and am a member of the Chamber of Commerce in the area.

    I have many testimonials from happy customers on my website, and I also have a guest book filled with testimonials from happy customers.

    Because Ms. Di Martino’s dogs scratched the walls, I kept her security deposit. In my opinion, this is what has made her file a complaint—the security deposit issue—not the condition of my cottage. Again, if she was so upset about the condition of the cottage, why did she refuse my help and my friend’s help over the course of the weekend?

    Please let me know if there is anything else I should do to resolve this matter.

    Kind Regards,
    Margaret Barry

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