We rented the Paradise cottage on Shelby St in Summerland, CA for 4 nights. Jasmine cottage is on the same lot. There were rats running around on the property.
On the first night we were there, my husband noticed something moving in the bushes near the outdr dining table across fr the bbq grill. He thought it was a cat. He went back to investigate later b/c he could still hear something causing movement & saw a huge rat trap. The owner expects renters to throw household garbage into the trash bins on the side of the driveway. I could not find the bins so my husband went out to find them. They were concealed nicely from the public eye but when my husband opened one of the gates, he discovered rat poop all over the trash bins & surrounding area.
The morning of our second day, we discovered the cottage gate on the Shelby St side was open & trash was left on the ground in front of it. We wondered if someone might have come into the property during the night & felt uncomfortable since there was no way to lock the gate. I contacted the owner & told him what happened. There were also two outside lights that were not working which I brought to his attention. He didn't seem concerned in the least & told me that I could always purchase a piece of rope to secure the gate! The other owner called me back & told me that Summerland had a reputation for being safe. It still did not make us feel comfortable & we were a little annoyed that neither of the owners showed up to at least bring us a lock for the gate. That night I threw out a bag of garbage & there was rat poop everywhere.
On the third night, I was standing by the other cottage gate leading to the front entry stairs off the driveway. Something ran from under the gate right past my feet. At first, I thought it was a cat, then when I saw the tail, I realized it was a pretty huge rat! I did not bring it up w/the owner until we left the property. She acted like it was no big deal & responded by saying "I don't know what your conditions are like, ALL of CA has rats!" I told her that she must have known that there was rats on the property b/c she had a huge rat trap in the bushes & asked her why she did not mention it to us before we rented (?!). She ignored the question. I then told her that she put us in danger of possibly getting bitten by having to take trash out to the bins on the driveway & that it is unhealthy, not to mention unsanitary, to have rats running around a vacation rental property. We would have liked the chance to decide whether or not to rent a cottage property w/rats!!!
Prior to arrival, the owner collects all charges & gave us two options to pay the rental fee, rental tax, $150 cleaning fee, & $300 refundable damage fee. We chose to pay w/a Mastercard. The owner uses Paypal for credit card transactions. I told her that I was hesitant about using Paypal & she said it would be fast/easy, especially since she covered all Paypal surcharge fees. I went through w/the transaction. On the morning of our departure, I called the owner & she said that I would receive my $300 refundable damage fee back MINUS the Paypal surcharge. I was quite annoyed & decided to wait for her to send the refund. She charged me for the Paypal surcharge. When a merchant accepts a Mastercard, it is illegal to charge a customer for surcharge fees! I contacted both Paypal & Mastercard to make sure I was in the right to demand that the owner promptly pay me back the full $300 damage deposit as stated in the contract. She contacted me by phone after I sent her an email & she replied back by email. She was incredibly rude on the phone & acted like I had done something wrong! I have the feeling that she has done this before & needs to understand the rules of using Paypal/accepting Mastercard. I am still waiting for my total $300 damage deposit refund.
One last mention of two amenities the owner lists for the Paradise cottage: the roof of the Jasmine cottage blocks out a lot of the ocean view. The view was adequate, not spectacular. Next to the Jasmine cottage on the next property is a home that overlooks the entire yard of the Paradise cottage. Across the street is another home that has a complete view into to rest of the Paradise cottage yard. The yard is not totally private.