We booked a week long rental in Rehoboth Beach through Mann & Sons rather than VRBO or Airbnb because I (incorrectly) thought a realtor would provide some assurances that the house would be as represented in the pictures and habitable. On the phone, the realtor seemed great. He steered me away from the property I was initially considering to one he recommended as more child friendly.
Instead, I arrived at the home to find, among other things:
- Partially eaten and smelly food in the refrigerator.
- Partially eaten and smelly food in the kitchen sink.
- Food and candy wrappers strewn on the bed.
- Dried urine covering toilet seat, toilet and floor around the toilet in the bathroom.
- Sinks in both bathroom covered in toothpaste and other debris.
- Hairs, sand, dirt and rocks on mattress covers of each bed.
- Every trash can filled and trash around the floor near the trash cans.
-The pillows had large brown and yellow stains.
-Oven, stovetop, and microwave covered in food.
Beyond these specific issues, however, the level of general filth made clear that no house cleaner had been in some time. The dirt and dust on the floor and other surfaces was thick. Feet were black after walking barefoot through the house. There were spider webs in innumerable corners. Furniture was covered in what appeared to be white dog hair.
After multiple calls, I got through to Mann & Sons. Several hours later, the realtor came to look at the house. Mann & Sons acknowledged that no cleaner had been to the house between tenants (although they were contractually obligated) and, after some back and forth, agreed to get new pillows. They also said they would try to get a cleaner to come the next day.
Although a cleaning crew was provided the next afternoon, since I had no assurance they were coming and because I had 2 small children with me and 2 more arriving the next day, the bulk of the more disgusting cleaning (urine, sinks, etc.) had to be handled the evening of our arrival by me and my mother-in-law.
And, it should be noted that when the cleaners arrived, they commented that it did not appear that the house had been cleaned all summer if not longer. Indeed, they found a spider nest beneath one the of beds.
When I called Mann & Sons to discuss the issue after the first day, Betty Mann Beebe, the owner, was clear that any issues I had I should take up with the property owner. I explained that my contract was with Mann & Sons. That was who I had dealt with and paid.
I explained that this whole matter could have been averted had someone did a quick visual inspection of the property before or in between tenants.
She told me that her main duty was to rent properties on behalf of landlords and her only obligation to tenants was to fix issues after they arose. She said that Mann & Sons do not do any visual inspections of the properties they rent to make sure that they are as represented.
Rehoboth is a nice beach town. I suggest that if you intend to rent a house there, use a realtor who has a passing knowledge of the houses they rent.
With Mann & Sons, it seems to be "Renters Beware."