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When renting an apartment, what are your expectations?

When renting an apartment, what are your expectations?

Apr 14th, 2011, 02:42 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,190
When renting an apartment, what are your expectations?

I've always stayed in hotels during my travels to Europe. I was a guest last month of a family member who normally rents apartments when traveling. They rented an apartment in Rome for a full week.

I'm curious about what you expect to have provided when renting - in other words, what is the norm? For example, for a week's stay, are you provdided with more than 1 set of towels? Is there any maid service during the week? Are linens on beds changed, or do they provide an extra set for you to change? In the kitchen, is dishsoap provided? Paper towels? Coffee filters? How do you know what you need to purchase or bring - or do you arrive, then make a shopping list? What is typical?

Since this was my first experience staying in a rental, of which I was not financially responsible, I had a different perspective than the actual consumer. Perhaps our apartment/owner/agent was not the norm, but it was a very disappointing experience so much so that 3 days into the vacation, we packed up and moved to a hotel (of which I was glad to pay!). Thus...my curiousity. I'd appreciate others' perspective.
dorkforcemom is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,214
I wouldn't expect any kind of maid service, or (normally) more than one set of linen or towels, in an apartment (although some might have spares). I wouldn't be totally supriosed if they didn't provide towels at all, actually, although it should say on the website if they don't. It's self catering. I would normally expect, say, some dishwashing liquid (but wouldn't be surprised if I had to replenish it). Some owners will provide some kind of welcome pack with e.g. milk, coffee, etc - but I'd regard that as a welcome courtesy rather than a guarantee.

Sorry you didn't enjoy your experience.
Nonconformist is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
We have done quite a few rentals - usually a week, sometimes longer. We expecxt the place to be clean, with comfortable beds and a fairly well equipped kitchen - not necessarily with all mod cons but enough equipment to turn out a decent meal. Fresh linen on arrival including bed linen, towels, tea towels. For one week - one set of towels, tea towels and bed linen. No maid service. Usually there is a little dishwashing liquid and perhaps some dishwasher powder and laundry powder. Sometimes this is provided, sometimes it is left from the last tenant. Same for basics such as coffee, tea, salt, pepper, olive oil etc.

We generally see what there is, make a list and then go shopping. Of course, we often go from rental to rental by car, so we take our grocery bag with staples with us.

Sorry you had a bad rental experience. We too have had one bad rental experience where we moved out after 24 hours (despite having paid for a week), but we perservered and have had a dozen or more great experiences since then. To us, it is the best way to travel.

I guess it all comes down to expectations, and then of course price - you tend to get what you pay for. We spend a lot of time researching accommodation, read reviews, look for recommendations from others and choose based on that. So far, so good. We have loved staying in apartments in France, Germany, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Hungary (and of course Australia). This year we will be extending that to include Spain and probably Turkey.
PRLCH is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,453
I suggest you continue staying in hotels; apartment rental is evidently not for you.

Typically, you are provided with one set of towels; there is no maid service; the linens are not changed nor is an extra set provided. Some - a very few - apartments that are managed by the owner him/herself provide dish soap, paper towels or coffee filters; the vast majority do not. When these things are provided, the owner will mention it at some time during the rental process. If the rental is through an agency, nothing will be provided; you go shopping on arrival.
Zerlina is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:15 PM
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Zerlina - please don't get me wrong. My experience really had nothing to do with what was or wasn't provided.

Our apartment had many problems that I'm sure aren't typical For example, we had 3 people but only 2 beds had sheets. It took 3 days for the third set to arrive. There were 2 bathrooms - one didn't have a toilet seat attached. 1 bathroom was always flooded because the shower head was broken. The smell of raw sewage was ever present in one bathroom. The kitchen had no hot water and only a very small trickle of cold, making it impossible to utilize or cook.

I'm sure these problems were unique to this rental - I was more curious about renting in general rather than our specific apartment.
dorkforcemom is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:29 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Your experience would probably not be acceptable to most renters. Big cities like Rome can be more expensive than what we are used to, and so tend to cost more. However, price alone cannot be the only determinant of what is likely to be a good experience. We do a lot of internet research, read reviews, and look for recommendations where others on Fodors have had good experiences. When we have a particularly good experience, we in turn, report back for the benefit of others. Word of mouth is the renter’s best friend!
PRLCH is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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"The kitchen had no hot water and only a very small trickle of cold, making it impossible to utilize or cook."
Just wondering . . . Was the hot water heater turned on? I've found that Italians often turn the heater on and off at various times of day to save money. One friend rented a place, did not realize the owner had turned off the water, and lived for a number of days with just a trickle of cold water until he realized his error.

I have noticed the sewage smell issue at various hotels in Italy over the years and it can be very unpleasant. The missing sheet set is also worthy of complaint.
ellenem is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Your experience was absolutely not acceptable. We expect linens and always rent with washer so freshen towels during our stay. If we rent for more than a week, we do expect weekly cleaning and change of all linens.

Most places we've rented have had dishwashing liquid and soap for doshwasher and laundry. My impression was that the owner was afraid we might use products not appropriate for the appliances. We don't often see paper towels provided but have always had lots of kitchen towels available.

I am sorry about your bad experience. Did your family member read reviews of the apartment? I usually google and try to find reviews at a couple of different sources. We are fortunate that we've never experienced a rental like you've described....if our first was like that we probably would have scurried off to hotels.
Judy is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 04:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 12,522
We have found that there really isn't any standard and that the best way is to just ask questions to find out what to expect - and decide if the level of amenities is enough. We've had rentals that were totally stocked with everything, even kitchen staples and charcoal for the grill. We've also had rentals that were very bare without even a hand towel and only a half roll of TP in the bathroom to hold us over until we went to the store.
november_moon is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 04:58 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 8,493
Your experience sounds very unusual and totally unacceptable.

I composed a long answer but then decided it really boiled down to the above sentence.

I've rented in Rome five times, all over the price spectrum, and fortunately have never seen anything like this. The last place I rented, though, had very poor linens. I wanted to go out and buy some replacements but never found the time.
Leely2 is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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The apartment was unacceptable. But you didn't mention the specific problems; you asked whether a number of things were provided, most of which are not, even in an impeccably maintained apartment.
Zerlina is offline  
Apr 14th, 2011, 08:21 PM
Original Poster
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Helpful replies - I certainly would be open to renting in future trips, as there seem to be pros and cons to hotels & apartments...
dorkforcemom is offline  
Apr 15th, 2011, 12:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I suspect part of the problem was the situation itself - you were the guest of others who had rented the apartment. If you were renting, you would follow the advice given above and hopefully you would make a wise choice based on your research.

I much prefer an apartment to a hotel because I think I get more for my money and I am not inconvenienced by having to make my own bed. Now having said that, I share novembermoon's experience having had one of the best villas in Tuscany where the entire house was full of everything and anything we could want including daily maid service to having an appalling villa in Antibes where the spartan furnishings (including beds not being made up) gave us the feeling that the house was being made ready to close for the season. The kitchen had nothing and we were given an allotment of toilet tissue, one hand towel for the kitchen and one towel per guest. It was a very sad experience and we felt the owners had not been honest with us.

My most recent rentals in Nice and Lisbon were lovely and again chock full of everything you could want, niceties such as hand cream by the kitchen sink.

Don't be discouraged. There are some lovely apartments which will make you feel much more at home than you'll ever feel in a hotel. I like the idea of being able to have a cup of coffee and bowl of cereal in the mornings before we go out for the day, or to cook a full meal if we don't feel like eating at another restaurant. Then being able to enjoy a glass of wine in a living room setting is far more comfortable than being in a small European hotel room.

Do your research and read lots of reviews. When you have a destination in mind, come back here and ask Fodorites for website recommendations for that location. There's a wealth of experience and information that gets shared.

You had a terrible experience, much worse than I've fared and it's too bad that this was your first. I have friends who own apartments that they rent out. Some furnish lavishly and others go less so but no matter what the style, they are always clean and welcoming to their guests. They want good reviews and returning guests. Please don't be put off in general, renting an apartment can make for a really great holiday.
CYESQ is offline  
Apr 15th, 2011, 06:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,370
I've only rented apts in Paris, not Italy, but I don't expect anything other than what is listed on the website, this seems pretty straightforward to me. Any decent website for an apt rental will state exactly what it covers, so why would you expect anything else? I don't expect an apt to be like a hotel, if I did, I wouldn't stay there. The ones I've rented have mostly been actual apt rentals -- meaning you get NOTHING in terms of supplies, I had to buy dishwashing liquid, soap, TP, certainly food, whatever (I think they all had about one roll of TP there). This didn't surprise me, that's what I thought an apt rental was. I don't rent those deluxe places that cost a lot and cater to tourists who expect it to be some luxury hotel. I only have rented from local French agencies that deal more with French clientele and have rental offices, but they are just renting apts, even if short-time. They aren't babysitting people nor doing their shopping for them nor cleaning.

Of course I expect bed linens and towels to be there, but I wouldn't expect anyone to change them for me or to clean them for me if I decided I wanted clean ones. I don't expect lots of extras so I can change them and leave dirty ones behind. I don't change bed linens every week, that isn't important to me.

I certainly wouldn't expect maid service nor anyone to clean my clothes or linens, again, that's what I thought an apt was, you are the tenant, take care of yourself. I only rent apts for long-term stays and of course I go to the store to buy the supplies I need after I get there.

But the bottom line is you should know what you rented when you rented it, the website and contract should say what is included.
Christina is offline  

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