Two very peeved vacationers are suing a luxury rental property service alleging that shabby Malibu accommodations ruined their glitzy Covid staycation.
Los Angeles residents Barry and Rena Plost expected a pampered “getaway” in Malibu, paying Luxury Vacation Homes more than $160,000 to deliver a beautiful home, a butler, daily maid service, and a champagne welcome for their two-week stay.
But according to a federal lawsuit filed in New York’s Eastern District Court, LVH instead defrauded the Plosts, renting them a 3,400-square-foot problem-plagued home at 27112 Malibu Cove Colony Drive the company did not own.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Malibu has some of the priciest real estate in Los Angeles. Because the rental market was tight at the time of the Plost’s early September stay, LVH was unable to find a suitable property in its own portfolio, the suit alleges.
So, the New York-based company “performed inadequate diligence” and allowed for “multiple layers of middlemen” between itself and the owners, according to the suit. The complaint alleges LVH seized on the Plost’s desire to escape the stress of the coronavirus, overcharging the would-be vacationers to the tune of $80,000.
The couple seeks $164,400, along with damages to be determined by the court. Their attorneys declined to comment. LVH did not return a request to comment.
When the couple arrived at the Malibu home on Sept. 1, they were met with overflowing trash containers, lights that didn’t function properly, and dead plants in the window planters, the suit alleges. The refrigerator hadn’t been cleaned out, the cabinets were scuffed, and rust covered the metal furniture, patio railing, electrical outlets and floor vents, according to the suit.
Things continued to deteriorate, according to court papers. LVH sent a handyman to address some of the issues, but by 4 a.m. the next morning, the couple awoke to the sound of an “incessant chirping” from the smoke alarm’s low battery signal.
In the days that followed, as the weather forecast predicted 100-degree temperatures, the air conditioning in the home was “temporary, inadequate and an eye sore,” the filing states. Adding insult to injury, the home’s TV programming was “limited,” the lawsuit alleges.
LVH took responsibility for the “unsafe and uninhabitable” condition of the vacation rental, according to the suit, and promised to promptly return the couple’s money. That refund never arrived.
The couple investigated LVH on its own, and claims the firm does not own the home it had rented, according to the suit. The property typically rented for $20,000 a week, the lawsuit alleges, though Zillow pegs the monthly rent for the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home at $33,000. The property last sold in 2016 for $6.7 million, and was listed for $7.7 million last February.