PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A controversial Providence property has continued to be made available as a short-term rental, despite city officials saying the operation had come to an end earlier this year.
As Target 12 first reported last week, Providence police responded to an Ohio Avenue home in May when a bachelorette party reported a man was trying to barge his way into the home.
A police report later revealed the basement was being rented out to a tenant, even though the women said the online listing was advertised to them as a rental for the entire home and did not disclose another tenant.
Earlier this month, Providence officials said the property had since stopped operating as a short-term rental, which brought it into compliance with city regulations.
That came as a surprise to the Clark family, however, which traveled into Providence last weekend and stayed at the same home for three days. According to the city, a short-term rental is any dwelling rented out to someone other than the owner for fewer than 28 consecutive days.
“I was shocked because [the WPRI report] popped up on my friend’s phone and I was like, ‘Wow,'” said Danny Clark.
Clark, Markeyta Scott and several other of their family members booked the weekend stay through the online booking company VRBO.com. The Clarks shared a photo of their reservation, which detailed the listing as a 5-bedroom house, saying they also believed they had rented out the entire home.
The family said they were unaware that anyone else was living there until they saw the Target 12 story and met the tenant in person. “That was real unnerving,” Scott said.
“They could have told us that someone was living in the basement and that could have given us the opportunity of whether we wanted to stay here or not,” added one of the family members, Rosetta Clark.
The family reached out to the property management company to express their discomfort with the arrangement, and said they were offered a full refund.
On Monday, a property manager pushed back on the idea that the home wasn’t being clearly advertised, but did not immediately comment on why the property continued to operate as a short-term rental.
On Sunday, when some of the family traveled home to Georgia, they said their Providence experience was a one-off for them when booking with short-term rentals. But many were adamant about doing a bit more research before renting their next stay.
“This is one out of many we have done, so I will actually go deeper into the reviews before I do,” Scott said. “This is the only one I have had a bad experience with.”
On Tuesday, Providence spokesperson Andrew Grande said the city’s compliance team “has reopened the case for 148 Ohio Avenue and is investigating new potential violations.”
Sarah Guernelli (email@example.com) is the consumer investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.
Eli Sherman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.