Need to blow off some steam. This is the sequence of events that happened to me, renting a cottage from ontariocottagerentals.com (aka cottagesontheweb.com):
2012/9/4: Booked the cottage, Adventure Bay (#F210), from ontariocottagerentals.com for Oct 5-8. The rental cost was $1107.40 plus $600 deposit.
2012/10/5: Arrived cottage at around 5pm. We found that a storm door and a basement window were broken. We emailed the cottage agency of the damage in accordance to rental policy.
2012/10/8: Turn off all appliances. Cleaned up and threw out all garbage. Emailed the agency on our departure.
2012/10/10: We contacted the agency about a refund for the deposit, but was told the owner has not inspected the cottage yet.
2012/10/16: Received email from agency notifying us that they are withold the deposit until the owner can assess the exact cost of damage: 1) damage to storm door; 2) lights left on in various rooms; 3) bathroom fans left on; 4) heat left on in basement; 5) heat left on on second floor; 6) dirt under carpet
2012/10/16: Replied email disputing damage claim from owner. Asked agency to call me for discussion.
2012/10/18: Never received calls. Called agency and talked to agency owner. She proposed that we pay $100 and said this is lower than the $170 that the owner has asked for. We iterated our protest on the storm door damage claim. She sounded surprised when I told her that I have sent them an email of the storm door damage on our arrival to the cottage. Sheila has promised to get back to us. We asked for photos of the damage. I also informed the agency that there were deficiencies in the cottage: 1) mouse in kitchen area and mouse feces everywhere; 2) fridge not cold enough; 3) shower/bath not functional on 2nd floor (in contrary to advertising).
2012/10/18: Sent a follow up email to agency to summarize damage areas to 1) storm door; 2) hydro use; 3) cleaning cost. I have agreed to pay $25 in favour of the agency/cottage owner because I cannot be 100% sure that I did not miss any appliance during my departure walkthrough on 2012/10/8.
2012/10/22: Sent email to agency to ask for update
2012/10/24: The agency sent a new email to us asking for $200 on behalf of the owner. The cottage owner claims that we did break the storm door by "run into the door from the inside with full force"; thereby breaking the chain and the door hinge. And we are being "dollar-and-dime" by challenging the damage claim. The costs are itemized as follows: 1) 2 hours cleaning lady $70; 2) hydro use $25; 3) door repair $157.5; 4) 20% "discount" -$52. The cottage owner claims that 1) there were dirt on floor 2) leaving dishes on the counter 3) vacuum cleaner in kitchen.
2012/10/25: Sent email to agency to disputing the storm door damage. We took a photo at 5:30pm on Oct 5 on our arrival to the cottage BEFORE we went inside the property. The photos shows one of us accessing the lockbox containing the cottage key. The storm door was open in the photo, and the chain was already apparently broken. The photo was timestamped by WHATSAPP, a messaging app on the iPhone. See on youtube (
). We also disputed the 2 hours of professional cleaning for alleged violation. The dishes left on counter were cleaned and left to dry. Vacuum cleaner may have been left in kitchen, but was there because we cleaned up after ourselves. We also questioned the initial sanitary condition of the cottage on our arrival.
2012/10/30: Emailed agency for update
2012/11/1: Emailed agency for update
2012/11/1: The cottage owner insists on charging us $200 or more, and that we did break the storm door hinge. There was no mention of the chain nor justification to the cleaning cost.
2012/11/1: Emailed agency for damage photos
2012/11/2: Emailed agency for damage photos
2012/11/5: Emailed agency for damage photos
2012/11/5: Sent email to agency to ask for a fair moderation
2012/11/7: The agency says they will charge us $125 as they are the final arbiter. No further justification given. No photos ever received.
2012/11/15: Received $475
I wrote a tripadvisor review as well: http://www.tripadvisor.ca/ShowTopic-...a_Ontario.html