We arrived at Stephen's 'Beautiful Flat in Historic Row House' to discover an overgrown garden littered with rubbish. It was necessary to climb several flights of uneven and unmaintained stairs due to the fact that the flat was located on the third floor - a fact not mentioned in the advertisement.
Upon entering the flat we were greeted by exposed wires hanging out of the ceiling. Some walls contained holes. Most surfaces were unclean - grime was caked on to the heater.
Our biggest issue was that the bathroom was in serious need of maintenance. The bath itself had been improperly restored, resulting in significant chipped enamel exposing the original surface underneath. My husband, a carpenter and tradesman with over three decades of experience running a business in related industries, remarked to the owner that a bath left in this dilapidated and ill-maintained state would not be acceptable in paid accommodation back in Australia. The owner somehow interpreted this observation of the quality of the bath as being a 'racist' declaration and accused us of such.
We explained to the owner that we could not stay in such a property, and to his credit he offered us accommodation at an alternative property also under his management.
The second property 'Beautiful Garden Apartment' featured a front door which was impossible to close properly due to a warped frame, which exposed outside air to at least one rusty nail sticking out of it. The lock was also faulty and would take us about 20 minutes to open.
Had there been an emergency at this property, it was very likely we would have been unable to escape in any reasonable amount of time due to these problems, because the back door did not offer any proper exit and was nonetheless also very difficult to open.
The bathroom at this second property was small and dirty. The sink consisted of a bowl sitting on a poorly constructed chipboard box. A sideboard in the property had a broken leg and was being propped up with a stack of books. At least one light switch was missing its face plate altogether, exposing its metal internals.
All in all, both properties are in a bad state of disrepair. Admittedly we had no expectation of five-star hotel experiences. The poor paint jobs, structural issues, facts such as toasters containing possibly very old burnt-to-a-crisp bread, and cheap accusations of race-related motivations underlying our observations, are all issues we would be willing to gloss over. However, exposed wiring, core amenities such as bathrooms that needed to be totally gutted and renovated, and (worst of all) faulty doors and compromised emergency exits (particularly with regards to a fire), cannot be overlooked. After several days we ended up having to seek accommodation elsewhere altogether. Dispite our attempts to contact the owner, he avoided returning our calls and we were unable to obtain a partial refund.
In short, though it seemed Stephen had attempted DIY-style home renovations with probably the best of intentions, both properties contain a wide variety of problems, some quite serious.
You can probably do a lot better elsewhere and we would encourage the reader to keep looking around before parting with their money.
If you want to check out a real Brooklyn apartment this is a great place to stay. The main room had heaps of room. It was stylishly decorated and everything was clean.
Stephen and his wife are lovely and made us feel very welcome and helped us out with directions. Bed-Stuy is not the swanky part of town, but we were perfectly safe and comfortable there.