My STR adventure in Buenos Aires

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    You have probably read about it when I was shopping for appliances in mid 2023. We have launched our apartment on AirBnB in mid November and it had been booked solid since day 1. We then rented it outside of AirBnB for a couple of months - our longest tenant, ever. We had a positive experience, as our tenant was extremely respectful of our property and even left us two bottles of Malbec and other items that improve our property.


    My Cinderella weekend, aka the turnover

    I have been spending the usual 2-3 days cleaning and doing the laundry as after a long term tenant we have to clean everything from scratch. It is a lot of work. The worst part is that she had a long haired dog that slept with her, and the sheets are full of dog hair. I had the infamous task of cleaning them and I am using an adhesive tape to remove the hair. We have tried all tricks from the vacuum cleaner, the rubber gloves, the wet hands... but in the hand it is a surgeon job. Luckily, she only used two sets of sheets.

    Lesson learned #1: only leave two sets of sheets. If they need more, they can ask.

    Lesson learned #2: I understand those landlord who simply throw away sheets after a guest with pets. I have literally spent 2 hours to tape-clean just two fitted sheets (both sides, of course!). I did other two sheets and the pillowcases over the weekend.


    The brick fever takes on Palermo

    When we bought our property, it was still a house for sale. Of course, we already knew what was going to happen. The same destiny of all homes in Palermo: they will become towers. Unfortunately, they have already started building next to us. We don't know how tall it is going to be. Our building is 9-floor, and I think that could be the max height allowed on this block, so I am expecting the same. Right now, they are starting to put the wooden beams to pour the concrete for the 8th floor (our apartment in on the 7th floor). On a positive note, even if we are sharing a wall with the new building, their balcony is far from ours.

    On a less positive note, we have another couple with pets entering in two weeks and this is likely to become an issue. Works starts at 7.30 AM and go on until 6 PM, even if the city regulation says 8-5.


    El Encargado

    And finally, the cherry on the cake: the previous guest accidentally lost a set of keys without realizing. However, our encargado found the keys and whatsapped us. We confirmed they were our keys, but we were on vacation, our tenant was also on vacation and the encargado said he would be leaving the keys in his storage room (we didn't tell him the tenant was also away). On the next day, he called again to ask if we had picked up the keys. PANIC!


    We weren't in Buenos Aires, nor our tenant was... I texted the tenant and she confirmed she did NOT send anyone to pick the keys up. A few minutes later the encargado called again to say that he had found the keys -- he had moved them and then forgot about it (all of this, in the same 24-hour span).


    We came back from our vacation but then it was the encargado's turn to go on vacation. We couldn't find the keys on our own in his storage room, despite he sending us a picture of where he had hidden them.


    No biggie, we can wait. Now he is back from vacation but for a series of reasons we couldn't meet him in person. Instead, he said he'd be leaving the key as the café downstairs. We picked the keys up this afternoon, however.... SURPRISE! The apartment key is missing.

    I even have the picture of the keys he found with all keys. I asked my husband to call him for an explanation --- silly me thought he did it on purpose to avoid leaving full access to our unit to the people working at the cafè, and was expecting to find the key sled under our apartment door. But I was wrong.


    If you have seen the Argentinian TV series "EL ENCARGADO" you are well familiar with the characters of Eliseo, played by Guillermo Francella. Well, my husband is going to sleep in the STR tonight and tomorrow we are changing the keylock. Then - and only then - my husband will be confronting the encargado with the picture he sent and the keys we've been handed over.



    Guillermo Francella es “El encargado”

  • What a sticky situation, serafina . The encargado will, of course, deny all knowledge of what could have happened to the key.


    Regarding the sheets, surely there is some trick to removing dog hair. Have you asked a vet or a professional housekeeping service?

  • Why did the twat leave them in the cafe in the first place? If no other option he could at least have put them in a sealed envelope.

    Your guess is as good as mine. Tonight, while leaving our STR, I entered his storage room again and found an apartment key which would have complemented perfectly our key set. However, it was labelled 8 EST, and we are on the 7th floor, so I didn't try nor touch it.


    I don't understand why he would have separated the apartment key from the rest.


    This is the keys as he found them (which is how we handed them over to the previous guest).


    This is how they got returned from the café. There were two metal rings, now there is one metal ring and a red rope. And the apartment key is missing.



    What a sticky situation, serafina . The encargado will, of course, deny all knowledge of what could have happened to the key.


    Regarding the sheets, surely there is some trick to removing dog hair. Have you asked a vet or a professional housekeeping service?

    I didn't call any professional, but I did a lot of research on the internet beforehand. I am already dreading the moment we will have to clean the apartment after the next guest with two cats (at least they are short haired!).

  • Well, well, well... Today I went to the STR and crossed the encargado. Funny enough, he was very apologetic and said he had left the keys with "una persona de absoluta confianza" who for some reason split the keys etc etc.

    He found our apartment key in another set (!).


    And if the plot couldn't be more absurd, I have asked him about the work in the building next to ours. He confirmed they will build 9 floor and lift one every two weeks. And he told me that if we need to stop the works against our walls, to tell him 'cause he will call the architect in charge of the works and make them stop. Only in Buenos Aires!

  • Well, well, well... Today I went to the STR and crossed the encargado. Funny enough, he was very apologetic and said he had left the keys with "una persona de absoluta confianza" who for some reason split the keys etc etc.

    He found our apartment key in another set (!).


    And if the plot couldn't be more absurd, I have asked him about the work in the building next to ours. He confirmed they will build 9 floor and lift one every two weeks. And he told me that if we need to stop the works against our walls, to tell him 'cause he will call the architect in charge of the works and make them stop. Only in Buenos Aires!

    Hmmmmm...my wife would have throttled him!! ^^


    The multi-storey hotel attached to my late MIL's house is being completely renovated after lying unused for years. The architect they're using is known to my wife. He arranged with her to meet him so he could take pictures of the inside walls of the MIL's house as well as the back garden before the work started. Since work started a heck of a lot of debris has landed in the garden so my wife takes pictures and sends them to him. When they work with power tools they make a hell of a racket through the adjoining walls but they're also restricted to certain hours of the day when they can do it.

  • serafina , who knows how many duplicates were made of your keys! Can you think of a single legitimate reason this complete stranger would remove an apartment key from the ring?

    The most encouraging one is stupidity. All the other reasons I can come up with are worse!

    I have set off my husband to change the lock. And he managed to get to the locksmith during lunch break so I am property-sitting in Hollywood with the door unlocked.

  • The most encouraging one is stupidity. All the other reasons I can come up with are worse!

    I have set off my husband to change the lock. And he managed to get to the locksmith during lunch break so I am property-sitting in Hollywood with the door unlocked.

    A wise decision for peace of mind alone.

  • I hope locksmiths are cheaper than they are in the UK!

    I would guess so. I never had to change a lock in Italy, so I am not sure about prices in Europe.


    Also, in this case, we have taken off the lock ourselves, and my husband is bringing the lock to the locksmith. Therefore, we don't have to pay/wait for the locksmith to come, just for him to be done with his lunch. :th_giggle01:


    Duplicating a key can be costly. The blue RFID tag costs about 20 k pesos (20 USD), the butchered metal one for the building door about 30 k (30 USD). Those two can be obtained only from the locksmith who installed them, as the manufacturer holds a registry of each lock/installer.


    The brass one - the one we are replacing - should be "just" 3-5 k (3-5 USD) each.

    The lock itself is sold on MercadoLibre for around 12-15 k pesos with 2 keys included.

    ---

    UPDATE:

    My husband just came back and he was quoted 22k (22 USD) for the lock plus 2 extra keys (total 4 keys).

  • Yet another twists & turns in our STR adventure. The building works next door have resumed after a week of forced stop due to the rain. They are currently doing the framing to pour the concrete for the floors next to us, which I believe it is the loudest point for anyone in our unit. We have no control over it and the new guests complained about the construction while entering the hallway. By the time we got to the apartment (rode the elevator), they got to appreciate the fine hammering against our very wall and it quickly went south from there. Refused to sign the 4-month contract, didn't pay a deposit, paid for a week upfront and meeting adjourned in one week.


    I don't have a few spare millions dollars to buy out the project next door, I don't have control over noise from construction, and I can't keep the apartment empty for ?? months while the works are going on. The previous tenant said the noise wasn't that bad, but I have no idea of what was her daily schedule. Perhaps she spent all day out of the unit working from a café, so it didn't bother her much because of that. Or maybe she just said that to be nice (she was an angel!).


    Sticky-sticky situation.

  • Tricky situation. Had you pre-warned them about the construction work?

    I did not because when we were last there, in mid December, there was no construction yet, as they were working on the ground-level. By the time we went back for last guest's checkout two weeks ago we found out that they had built 7-8 floors, already (out of the 9 allowed). The guest who was checking out didn't seem to care, and the upcoming guests are travelling with pets and it is hard to find an accomodation for them. After weeks of talking with them, I felt bad just thinking about letting them down.


    Our doorman also reassured us that it takes them 2 weeks to build a floor, so by the time these guests would arrive, they should have been already done with the noisy part against our wall... but then the rain came. We agreed on a trial week, but it will still be another week of noisy work against our wall, I am afraid.


    Obviously, the day we bought the apartment and saw the house next door was sold, we knew they'd build a tall building just like ours someday. But our neighbors don't ask for our permission and do not inform us of their work schedule.

    According to the CABA regulation, construction works are allowed 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday, and 8 am to 1 pm on Saturday.


    serafina , I hate that this has happened. Do you have any recourse with the developers of the building next door?

    They are legit and making noises during allowed ours. Nothing I can do about it. We don't like noises nor neighbors, but this is city life.

    Since moving to Palermo, 7 years ago, not a single day has gone by without the company of construction noise around us (except during the quarantine --- it was heavenly!)

  • Unless they're working on night shift and wish to sleep during the day I'd say they're being a bit over sensitive. As you say it's in the middle of a large city not in a small countryside village.

    My wife's tenants are all decent except one. The woman in question's contract was up for renewal and she was demanding this and that. The wife more or less tod her to F*** O**!! So she is!! ^^  :thumbup: