Lisbon Rental

I used Airbnb to find an apartment for a 19-day stay in Lisbon. But after one look at it, I left. Even knowing I was going to lose all the money I put down, I left. The place was inaccessible except on foot. I had a car. There was no place to park. The location was on a steep hillside, which isn’t uncommon in Old Lisbon. But it was a dark, narrow street that my family and friends would have had a hard time finding, and my wife would have been nervous about. The apartment felt subterranean; After passing through three, dark doorways and stepping down into the place, there were limited views of just other rooftops. It felt like a firetrap. Every trip to my car—assuming I could find parking in a parked-restricted neighborhood—would be a hike. So would carrying groceries from whatever market I might find. It was easier to cut my losses and find a decent French chain hotel with secure parking. I did. It was convenient to the Metro, family and friends, and to my meeting site. It’s true: Location, location, location. 

My only prior experience with Airbnb was using their service to put cash in the hands of Ukrainians by “renting” apartments in various places. I never went to Ukraine, of course; there’s a war on. So, my record to date with Airbnb is four rentals, no stays. Three “rentals” in Ukraine and this last “rental” in Lisbon. On the face of it, this isn’t a great track record. I may have to try Vrbo next time. 

Now having collected my “rent,” without the inconvenience of a post-checkout cleanup or other typical renter problems, the owners of the apartment would like me to pay them another $224.66. I wasn’t able to get the keys back to them to date. The keys must be made of gold; my local hardware store will produce aluminum duplicates for about $5.00. The owners claim these unreturned keys represent a security issue. Sure, if I plan to sneak back across the Atlantic, drive into Lisbon, and unlock the three apartment doors. Seems unlikely. I lost my house keys in southern Africa once. Since 2009, no Swazis or South Africans have tried to break into my Rhode Island house.

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