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Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

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Rehoboth Beach...
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Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

Hello, TA friends:

We will be spending four glorious days and nights in Florence before heading to Venice for a cruise. We are considering renting an apartment rather than staying in a hotel. We like to have a terrace and be able to cook a few meals for ourselves.

Do you have any advice or warnings when booking an apartment online from the US?

St Paul, MN
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11. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

I have rented apts in Rome, Florence, Paris, Venice and Trapani. Out of ten apt rentals I have had 8 positive experiences and 2 not so positive ones. The not so postive ones involved things not going as planned and the rental agency not doing anything to help or make up for that, and the apt and surrondings not being as they were represented as in the descripition and at the web site.

I cannot stress enough renting forn a landlord or agency (VRBO is a listing servcie not an agency) where there are positive indendent reviews posted on the web.

For example the place we rented fron in Venice, the key got stuck in the door (it was lightly bent). We called dht agency and someone came out to the apt in less thatn an hour to help; eventually the problem was resolved, but I don't thing I coud have done it one our own. Some agencies you can call and call and you jsut get a run around.

Vancouver, Canada
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12. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

Jessie:

Apartment rental in Florence by number of listings.

Friendly Rentals = 20 listings

VRBO = 349 listings

Flipkey = 890 listings

Homeaway = 1,600 listings

Florence
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13. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

datthecoast:

Sorry, but those numbers simply don't bear up to any scrutiny.

In the first place, your number of Homeaway includes the entire Province of Florence - not just the city - going half way to Siena, half way to Pisa, etc.

According to Homeaway itself, they have 524 listings in the city.

Secondly, all those websites include villas in the countryside around Florence. Obviously there is some overlap, but in general it is my experience that the market for apartments in the historic center is very different from the market for villas in the countryside.

Le Marche, Italy
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14. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

From the heading, I took it that CloneJessie wanted to hear the pitfalls, and I told her the pitfalls. I've found that people who prefer to rent apartments are very defensive about their preferences, and this is not the first time I've been castigated for mentioning any of the disadvantages. In this case, I was simply responding to a request, and still I'm taken to task.

I often rent apartments in Italy myself, and all the pitfalls I've mentioned are from my own personal experience. I have an Italian cell phone and am fluent in Italian, and still I find it inconvenient to have to telephone the keyholder to say, "I'm at the train station now, and should be there in 20 minutes." I've never had to do this from a public phone at the airport, jet-lagged, burdened with luggage, and language-challenged.

I also don't understand why people who would be shocked and horrified at the thought of letting their child ride in a car without a seatbelt or car seat have no qualms about staying with their child in an illegally rented apartment with no smoke detector or fire exits.

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15. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

I think it is helpful to point out the possible problems one might encounter with an appartment.

It takes a particular sort of traveller to rent an appartment and the sort of person who will enjoy it will be one who can read through bvlenci's list and think 'Yes, I could cope with that IF it happened"

It is important to know that one will be pretty much on one's own and will have to deal with anything unexpected in the short-term. Things like having a bar or coffee lounge in the foyer or somebody to ask about train timetables, local restaurants or other services may seem like 'optional extras', but are things that many like to have at their disposal.

I would never deter anyone from renting an appartment rather than staying in an hotel, but a first-timer needs to know the advantages AND the disadvantages.

Le Marche, Italy
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16. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

I didn't mention having to make your own bed and clean the sinks, which is my pet peeve, but most others apparently don't care about that. Some apartments do send someone in to clean once or twice a week, but not in the apartments that are in my price range.

Latina, Italy
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17. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

Well exactly bvlenci! As pet peeves I always add shopping, cooking, and washing up, but I'm told by many that that's all part of the fun. Maybe mine's a typical male point of view.

Le Marche, Italy
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18. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

I'm not male, but it seems I'm the only one in the family who minds dishes in the sink and hair in the shower stall. I end up doing more housework on vacation than I do at home, where we have someone who comes in three times a week. One apartment I stayed in had absolutely nothing for washing dishes. Either we had to leave them sitting there all week or go out and buy dishwashing liquid and a sponge, at the very least. Some people seem to enjoy this, because they can pretend to be Italian at the supermarket.

Apartments differ greatly in what is already there. Some don't even have soap or shampoo. Others have the basic toiletries usually found in a hotel, as well as salt and sugar, and maybe even some tea bags.

St Paul, MN
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19. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

"I always add shopping, cooking, and washing up,"

When we stay in apts we do not cook a single meal in the apt. The expresso at the pasticceria is much better. I have only make coffee with the Italian coffee maker when we were confined to the apt because the daughter had food poisoning). We do shop. we buy toilet paper and stuff you can eat right out of the container ( Ricotta frescha is a favorite of mine and blood orange juice). I also buy Coke and make my own ice for putting into the Coke. I drink water or wine at the restaurants. The apt at least in the winter and spring is still cheaper than a hotel room for 2 people, and if 3 people are traveling it is much cheaper.

My daughter and I are bad girls. We don't bother with making the bed.

St Paul, MN
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20. Re: Pitfalls of Renting an Apartment

Il Carmine in the Oltrarno in Florence is a great value

http://www.residenzailcarmine.com/e_5.htm

they clean every day except Sunday and that is included in these prices.

http://www.residenzailcarmine.com/e_6.htm

we paid 520 euro for a 10 day stay in 2009.

In 2009 at least they also took our credit card for payment of the rent. I did not have to get a big lump of euros and pay them on day 1 of arrival. The landlady lives across the courtyard and was helpful in engaging a taxi for go to the airport and other small questions. The bathroom in our apts was bigger than my college dorm room and there is a big shelf to put lotions and cosmetics on.

It is in a great neighborhood, and iyt does not take long to waqlk to the Duomo area becaseu Florence is so small.