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15274 Views 50 Replies Latest reply: Jun 24, 2013 11:57 AM by jane4c RSS
New Member 12 posts since
Dec 28, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 28, 2010 10:26 AM

Guests Having Unpaying Guests

I am looking for advice from other owners on how to handle situations where your paying guests are having additional company.

 

My Jan/Feb 2011 renters rented from me in 2010.  I negotiated a rate with them based on two guests - I said I will charge you X amount if it is just two of you staying in our home.  In a roundabout way, I discovered they had another couple visiting for two weeks.

 

In correspondence with my renters regarding their 2011 visit, it came to my attention from a question they asked, they would be having guests again.  I replied and asked them how much company they would have.  They stated they would be having three couples for a week each.  I replied and said I had two concerns about them having additional guests:

 

1.  Our HOA requires notification of who is staying in the home at all times, including how many guests.  Failure to give proper notification will result in fines (which at this time are $100).  I have their lease addendum sent to the HOA already, and it indicates just the two of them as guests.

 

2.  Our rate was negotiated based on two guests.  Having additional guests adds additional water, electricity and cleaning costs.  Also it adds liability and wear and tear on the home.  I am not being compensated for this.

 

I told them I needed to know who would be in the unit...and I hoped they would be considerate and offer to send additional payment.

 

I had no response from them.  Obviously they are not happy with me and with the note I sent them.

 

Other than this, they are responsible, considerate renters.

 

How should I handle this situation this year?  I don't want to lose them as renters, but I feel I am being taken advantage of.  I feel they are saying to their friends - "come on down and stay with us, it won't cost you anything" - however it costs me!  Or, they are charging them, and recouping some of their rental cost?  In either event, it is not fair to me as the homeowner.

 

How should I handle this situation in the future?  Should I change the language in my contract and invoice to indicate "The above stated rate is based on X number of people staying in the unit.  There will be a charge of X amount per night per person for additional guests"...

 

Another big concern I have is liability.  The guests my renters have are not signing the contract, or named in the contract.  Therefore, they are not signing anything saying they are responsible for damages, etc.  And they are not signing anything saying the homeowner is not responsible for any accidents, injuries, etc that would occur while staying at the home.

 

I would appreciate any comments, suggestions or solutions other homeowners have regarding this.

  • New Member 4 posts since
    Dec 16, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2010 10:38 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    As far as this year's renters,  I would send an invoice for the extra guests explaining that the original rate and the rental agreement was for  two persons and any additional persons would be an additional charge of $____ per person per week.   The current renters should be responsible for any damages to the unit by their guests and you should be able to deduct any  legitimate costs for repairs from their security deposit.   In my opinion they are breaking the rental agreement by having the extra people as guests for a week at a time.    If you want to keep them as renters, you may have to negotiate this rate since the check-in date is fast approaching.

     

    In order to avoid this situation with future renters, you might want to think about adjusting your rental structure.  I have the same rate for 1-6 people staying in the condo; I do not give a lower rate for 2 people.  Althought at first this might not seem fair to a group of only 2 people, I  discovered after the fact that they often had guests stay with them without my knowledge - the same as your situation.  So by having the same rate for 1-6 persons (max. of 6),  the situation is avoided.

     

    In your rental agreement you would want to include a statement from the homeowners' association that all persons staying in the unit for even one night must be registered or the renter of the unit will be fined $100 per violation. Since there is no price difference on the rental rate for 1-6 persons, the renter signing the agreement is more likely to register  all of the names when making the reservation.   I also have a statement in the agreement stating that the renter is responsible for damages caused by anyone in his party staying in the unit or guests visiting the unit.  You might want to check with an attorney for a legal opinion on these issues.  

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 29, 2010 11:00 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    To cover Liability, You definitely need to add the clause of:

    "Tenant is responsible for the rented accommodation & its inventory during rental term and will be held responsible for damages &/or items that are removed from property by tenant or its fellow houseguests’ during rental term."

     

    This holds your original Rental Contract Signee responsible for all liability During the contractual dates of stay.

     

    As for the number of occupants, I think you may not be perfectly clear with your tenants as to how you define and charge your rates. It should be in clear print that the cost is based on a per person, per night/week/month condition.

     

    Maybe add a section to your Rental Agreement, Terms & Conditions or Policies & Procedures (whatever you are calling it) about your rate structure.

    "Rates: The contract rates are in U.S. Dollars and are based on a per person charge.  Any changes to the number of occupants must be approved prior to arrival and will be charged an additional $/person.  Please contact the owners immediately by calling ... "

     

    We have had renters show up with more people than originally planned and charged them directly. Our Propery Manager collects these funds so that there are no delays and not deducted from the Security Deposit.

     

    HOA Policies should be in your Rental Agreement.

     

    Hope this helps.

  • sapphiresteve Active Contributor 503 posts since
    Dec 16, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2010 10:21 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    We have had a similar problem, and it is aggravated by the fact that our condominium association limits the rental occupancy of the units and some owners are advertising occupancy greater than allowed on VRBO and HomeAway!

     

    We do the following, and I think it helps: (1) We keep the fee for additional guests low. I honestly don't think that the cost of additional people staying in the unit is all that much, and I think that a fee that is 75% of the dominant "additional guest fee" covers the additional costs, and  removes some of the incentive for "cheating".(2) We request the names of everyone who will be staying. The BOD recently required that for security reasons owners notify the manager of everyone staying in the condominium, which gives us a good excuse to collect this information and  also inhibits over-occupancy. (3) We have in the rental agreement a statement that if we become aware that unauthorized guests are discovered in the unit, a charge will be made that is twice regular guest fee. We also have a statement that if guests above the condominium allowed number are discovered, the manager is authorized to evict the entire party and no refund of charges will be provided. Finally (4) most of our stays are short. On stays of a week or more, we include a mid-stay "llight housekeeping" at no additional charge. This gives the HK staff an opportunity a chance to inspect the premises.

     

    Adide from what we do, I think that Slundeberg's suggestion of changing the rate structure makes sense for larger properties, that can accommodate a large number of guests.

  • Contributor 40 posts since
    Feb 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2011 3:37 PM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    We have a related but different issue - a large alpine vacation home for 12 guests, where its tempting to invite other guests to stay [usually 3 night rental].  The concern is actually 2-part:  a) extra overnight guests and b) extra daytime/evening visitors - essentially a social gathering or party.  We are concerned that 12 can quickly turn into 20 as happened before we bought the cabin.  With so many additional people, the risks escalate in multiple ways: smoking, personal injury, damage, theft, and of course upset by other cabin owners as a result of excessive noise.  We are inclined to just say NO and charge up to $500 and risk eviction [hard to do], if this limit is significantly violated.  We have exterior security cameras so this concern is actually easy to monitor.  Suggestions?  Perspectives?  Thx.

    • Contributor 24 posts since
      Feb 15, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 15, 2011 9:16 AM (in response to mossbay)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      We had a recent situation, whereas we had 2 paying guests and only 2 on the rental agreement ( signed, dated and confirmed ).  We had no idea that the 2 guests invited more guests.  We found this out when our housekeeper called us and asked us "how many people were on the agreement?"  I answered "just 2".  Apparently, there were 5 people (2 stayed over and 1 extra came over the day after to do his laundry) in my rental. My housekeeper went on to say that the place was trashed, there were piled high dishes everywhere, every single linen and towels were used and there was a pizza stain in my white sofa covers.  Here is what we did, as I found this out AFTER the guest had checked out.  I called the guest to find out what exactly had happened??  They told me that they met up with their friends in Seaside and decided to hang out at the beach ( my condo ), they drank alittle too much and him and his girfriend couldn't drive back so they stayed over.  I charged the $50 per extra guest ($150), however my agreement does state that if all guests are not on the agreement, then they will be evicted and no money will be returned.  It's a honesty system when it comes to guests and us (vacation rental owners).  We are suppose to pre-screen our guests, but even then they can lie to us.  Which in this case the paying guest did and thus, he is not welcomed back, plus we had to charge his credit card extra.  I made it clear that if he disputes it, then we would take him to small claims court and add those fees to his charges as well.  Alittle harsh?  I think not, as he knew it going forward with the agreement when he signed the paperwork.

      • Contributor 40 posts since
        Feb 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 15, 2011 9:26 AM (in response to macky7441)
        Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

        Thanks for the story, and learning point.  very reluctantly, we added a simple costco video security system at the entrances and now Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests scan the video playback for: # cars, and then if necessary, specific head counts of coming and going.  Interestingly it has decreased our stress level but now I have proof that the agreement was violated.  We indicate on the Agreement that there will be an extra charge of $500 Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests per night and/or immediate eviction.  So when its come time to settle up I say to them "we are prepared to charge your charge $400 rather than $1000 to which we are entitled to charge you.  You can either pay the requested amount or see us in small claims w no arbitration available.  $50 seems too small a charge - maybe $75-100?  although like you we can also charge an excess cleaning and garbage removal fee.  thanks again for giving your perspective. 

         

        jim

        • Contributor 24 posts since
          Feb 15, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Feb 15, 2011 11:04 AM (in response to mossbay)
          Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

          We were thinking about installing a camera. We even looked into wireless

          video whereas we can see it all on our computer, call our housekeeper, and

          have her go over to ask them to leave with no refund.  As long as the camera

          pointed outside into the parking lot, for us it would be difficult to see

          how many people were actually coming into our place. We are in a 9 unit

          building. Though, we could definitely angle the camera "just over the

          doorway".  I might re-think the camera idea. It would bring alittle

          more peace of mind for us.

           

          One more thing too, we use CSA's rental protection through VRBO.  If there

          is any damage to our place then we charge the insurance company. We haven't

          had to do this yet. I hope we don't. Yet, I feel, it's easier to go through

          the insurance company than to drag out a small claims court issue, even if

          we are awarded damages there is no guarantee that the person is paying the

          cost.  Whereas, CSA pays the claim up to 3K or more, depending on the

          damages and which tier you are insured for.  Do you have that with your

          rental?  It's just a protection policy for the time that the renter is there

          and it covers all damages and missing items.  We just have the guest pay the

          CSA fee at time of booking and most if not all are willing to pay it.  Yet,

          there is still that clause in our agreement that tell our guests $50/per

          guest not on the agreement with eviction.  I like the idea of $75-100/guest-

          that might make them think twice.

           

           

           

          Patty

      • Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 24, 2011 10:29 AM (in response to macky7441)
        Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

        I seriously doubt I would ever discouraged anyone from refraining from driving when over indulged.  I would only have passed on my cost in that incident.

  • New Member 6 posts since
    Feb 19, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 19, 2011 1:10 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    You will find a different guest who will respect home. I don't think what you are charging for extra guests is out of line. I add into my contract no additional guests. Additional guests will be cause for eviction of everyone . because the sign a lease, they are breaking it if they have additional people and therefore they can be evicted for tresspassing. Never have had to do it. I think people are too afraid to.

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2011 10:36 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    I have a one bedroom condo in a complex with a resident manager in the mountains.  I  politely explain that the maximum number of people is 4 and that the resident manager is made aware of the number of people that are to occupy the unit. I offer to assist them in finding an adjacent unit so they can be together.   I then inviite them to consider my property agian in the future when they aren't traveling as a group.  This type of response is a good way to continue to build a base for future rentals.

  • New Member 8 posts since
    Feb 24, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2011 11:22 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    That's why I don't charge for extra guests because you really can't monitor how many there will be. I charge a set rate + cleaning/laundry fees and tell them they have up to a certain number of guests. If they have extra they usually ask me if it's OK. I think by setting a set price for up to a certain number of guests is easier and less of a hassle to deal with.

  • New Member 23 posts since
    Feb 24, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2011 10:41 PM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    This has been a MAJOR issue with our guests.

    It is clearly stated in our lease agreement that all guests must be listed on the agreement, or...eviction.  We stay in our 40 ft motor home 2 properties away.  We saw the extra car, and went over to check it out.  They introduced us to their 2 relatives that were going to stay over 1 night.  Because 2 other relatives left the day before, they thought it would be fine.  We let them know that it was in violation of the lease, but we graciously gave in.  Of course, we were angry at ourselves for not following through on the lease conditions.  Well, as it turned out, they wrote our ONLY negative review. stating that they didn't feel that they had the privacy they thought they would have,  and felt that we were keeping tabs on them.  I take a lot of pride in the revies that are written about our home.  I contacted Home Away and explained the situation, but they said that they could not remove the review of a guest that has stayed there.  How do you follow through on your lease terms, when itt will make the renter angry, and will write a bad review?  I suppose this could be another topic in the forum

    • New Member 5 posts since
      Feb 25, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 25, 2011 1:04 AM (in response to stellaval)
      Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      The renters DO have a point. If you weren't living close by you would be none the wiser. Pull your head in and find something more important to worry about.

      • Contributor 40 posts since
        Feb 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 25, 2011 6:07 AM (in response to tewy)
        Guests Having Unpaying Guests

        I used to think this way - that not knowing about excess renters, etc is better.  But worried like crazy when we had a bad 'gut' feeling that a renter might abuse their privileges.  We've now installed security cameras near entrances, as horrible as that sounds [nothing illegal or inappropriate about it].  Remotely, and within the first few hours after check in, we do a spot check of # of cars, and if more than anticipated, go back and review the tape in fast forward to see how many guests arrived.  Takes 10 minutes but provides much more peace of mind.  While I didn't intervene when twice as many guests were counted as agreed on the rental form, I did charge them $300 for excess guests rather than the $500/night excess guest penalty.  I told them they could pay the $300 or we could go to Small Claims and tangle over $500/night.  They paid the $300 and apologized.  We used the $300 for excess cleaning, extra cost of heating fuel and electricity [gigantic in mountain vacation home regions].  Problem solved. 

  • terirusso Contributor 101 posts since
    Mar 30, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 16, 2011 4:10 PM (in response to kbaz)
    Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    I have a 3 bedroom house that I rent to 6 people maximum. The house could sleep 9, but with one bathroom, I feel 6 is more than enough. I charge the same for 2 people as for 6. My lease states that the house is for 6 people only and if more people are found to be staying there, we have the right to evict. I think being very word specific in the lease agreement saying "Rate is for 2 (two) persons. Everyone staying in the unit must sign the lease agreement. Persons found to be staying in the rental unit not on the lease will be charged accordingly". State the rules of the HOA and possibly raise your security deposit to cover the possibility that you are charged by the HOA for extra people, and deduct the amount from the security deposit. I also have an HOA but they do not regulate how many people can stay in the unit, but I still use the fact that there is an association with rules and that the HOA president lives in the house next door, and let them know that if there are any problems and they can't reach me that he is next door. I know that they can always reach myself or my husband, but it sends the signal that someone is there keeping and eye on the place.  I also have renters initial each paragraph on the lease, to show that they have read it and understand, so if there are any problems and I ever have to evict I can show them the lease in case they say they didn't know.

  • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
    Aug 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 18, 2012 9:07 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    I was unaware of this post before I posted my question about......................what about the guests that come and go through-out the day, but don't spend the night? I had this happen recently. There was 7 guests and my contract limits the number of guests to the inquiry. My neighbor called and said that there were at least 10 people coming and going, 8 of them children (argh). I called and the guest stated that these were siblings that they were visiting and their families, but that none of them are spending the night. I let this one go because I thought perhaps that I wasn't clear enough with just stating the use was limited to the number of guests on the inquiry.

     

    When it is clear that there is a party situation (other than Christmas and other holidays that I have pre-agreed to) I don't even allow it! Can someone tell me if there is a way to clearly state that the number of guests includes anyone visiting, without discouraging people from renting my property instead of someone elses??? I have a very good contract that covers almost everything else, but of course we don't want it so restrictive that it turns people away from renting, or as others have stated that I am spying on them???

    • New Member 23 posts since
      Feb 24, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      May 18, 2012 10:28 PM (in response to twobitrentals)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      Wendy,

      We rewrote our paragraph on occupancy. You or anyone may use it.  Also when communicating with guests I ask if they will be having friends or family visit during their stay. We will be flexible with family visitors.  We have not had any more problems since those guests that brought in more people felt like we were keeping tabs on them or spying on them.

       

       

      . Maximum Occupancy – At all times, the maximum number of people to be on the property is limited to 8 and is specific to the people originally disclosed and listed as guests

      in item #1, Item #1 should include all guests (including infants) and any expected “day guests” or “day visitors”. Any unplanned “day visitors” must be pre-approved by Owners in advance. If you bring in extra guests or visitors without prior approval, guest(s) will be asked to vacate the property. Any security payments and all rent will be subject to forfeiture. Absolutely No House parties.

       

      Hope this helps some owners.

      • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
        Aug 5, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        May 18, 2012 10:35 PM (in response to stellaval)
        Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

        Thank you, have you had anyone complain about it being too restrictive?

         

        Wendy

         

        Are you looking for a vacation get-away 

        Check out this wonderful home in Springfield/Branson

         

         

         

        http://www.flipkey.com/springfield-vacation-rentals/p354303/ 

        • New Member 23 posts since
          Feb 24, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          May 18, 2012 11:05 PM (in response to twobitrentals)
          Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

          No one has complained that the clause in the agreement is too restrictive. It has lent itself to open discussions about visitor/s coming, and whether it would work or not.

          Why do you have ambassador under your name?

          • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
            Aug 5, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            May 19, 2012 10:08 AM (in response to stellaval)
            Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

            I am not sure I understand your question? I am new to being an ambassador, but if you are asking....why I would be asking a question....I will always, no matter how much I can share of my own experience want to improve my knowledge of what makes a better situation for me, or others. Is that what you are asking? I am thankful to glean any information that makes renting my Vacation Rental out without opening myself up to being taken advantage of and sharing what I learn with others.

             

        • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
          Aug 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          May 19, 2012 12:46 AM (in response to twobitrentals)
          Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

          Hi kbaz, wendy.n, et. all

           

          My price policy is fixed for double occupancy [two people] and there are addtional charges  per extra, per night.  But, my place is small so my occupancy limit for booked guests is limited, in any case. After a first few months, as a newbie, I got a grip on how to handle the situation you've described because I experienced some abuses.

           

          I  have a restricted occupany limit e.g., against unannounced extra guests. I simply had to do this when, in my first year of renting [meaning, I was green], there were a couple of instances with my registered guests that opened my eyes.  They were people who lived locally on my island, wanted to rent my place...and I never was told, nor did I suspect  [me = green]  that they would have so many "friends and family" who just "dropped by" [from clear across the other far end of the island...e.g.  2 hours away].  They sure enjoyed all my amenities!!!!  And, boy did they abuse my home and then disrespect me.  Never, ever again.  But, I do live very near my rental so no one would dare sneak  people over, if we do not have an agreement in advance ...and it will still be very limited.  My place is not large, but a dozen "friends" once showed up for a BBQ at my cottage...and it happened twice by the same "guest" of mine in the same week.  I caught on, fast.

           

          After those incidences, I'm wiser, bolder and more clear in my rental rules about this.  If I'm interested in the booking, I send my info package with full details ...plus the quote...and rental terms / conditions {that's where I tell people about the occupancy limit}.  So, they can decide to rent with me, or not, before we actually transact. I do not accept reservations until I know that they are okay with my limit...yes - I ask them.

           

          Have I lost business?  As far as I can possibly know, yes!  A few times people told me, after they saw my occupancy limit, that they wanted to invite others over...to day visit ....to hold family "meet up"....to have a luau (!!!)....or to have their children's friends "come over to play".  They were all local residents who wanted to rent my cottage for some "time near beaches"...where I am.  One woman told me that she "babysits" for three families, a kind of private day care....and she actually asked me if she could bring the kids over to watch them in my cottage. This was so daunting to me because she tried to explain that she wanted a "vacation" away from her area so she could enjoy the beaches near me....but she was going to continue "working her babysitting gig" at my place during the days!  That would mean parents would be dropping off and picking up children throughout the day.  In all of those cases, my limited occupany rule stood in the way for everyone's plans...and so they did not book.  I would never have accepted any of those renters under *their terms* anyway!   I realized that I needed to address this situation with "locals" if they want to book with me...and I do.  The result is...I get very few local residents booking with me because I won't permit them a free hand on how to use my vacation home.  I'm fine with this...I don't want those scenarios, so my occupancy limit actually filters them out -- by their own decision to go elsewere.

           

          Perhaps, I also have lost business without even knowing it, e.g., perhaps I can assume that a percentage of "the non responders" could be rejecting because of my occupancy limit?  I don't really care! I have no problems getting others to rent.....travellers flock to my area all year because the weather is always great.....and ...as a result, I have had no further problems with "non registered guests" at my place.

    • New Member 23 posts since
      Feb 24, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      May 18, 2012 10:42 PM (in response to twobitrentals)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      Also, I disagree with Tewy that we should pull our heads in and worry about something else. Enough home owners have written about this concern to indicate that further discussion is needed. It is important to us. The more people that go in and out of our house, the more wear and tear and dirt to be cleaned. We need to deal with this and welcome other ideas from owners.

      And then there's the issue that when we approach a renter for breaking the terms of the lease agreement, they give us a bad review even when we graciously allow them to have the extra visitors.

  • carol Senior Contributor 2,135 posts since
    Dec 10, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 19, 2012 10:05 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    I agree that too many guests can be a problem, both overnight and day-time visitors.   Where we have difficulty is in monitoring the number of guests.  

     

    I personally am not comfortable with security cameras for my house, even though outside ones are perfectly legal.   My big front porch is where most of my guests gather and socialize and it seems intrusive to have a camera monitoring them there.  

     

    I have had several groups ask me if they could bring sleeping bags for a few extra people; I usually say no and point to a house or two down the street and suggest they rent two houses if they have that many people.  But sometimes they don't ask (surprise!).  I do have a clause in my contract stating maximum occupancy, but it is difficult to enforce. 

     

    I had a long-time repeat renter who always seemed to have too many people in the house, but I couldn't really prove it. My cleaning people would report that it looked like there were extra people in the house.   Last year, he complained that my refrigerator  ice maker wasn't making ice fast enough so I called a repairman and scheduled a call at 8 am and told the guest we would be there early to look at the problem.  When we walked in, there was a person sleeping on the living room sofa!!!  The repairman said the ice maker was just fine, but that no ice maker could make enough ice for so many people (my house sleeps 14 in beds and I have one rollaway cot and one "pack n play" for a toddler).   When this renter tried to reserve a week again for this summer, I politely said we were booked, sorry!  

    • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
      Aug 5, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      May 19, 2012 10:13 AM (in response to carol)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      So, in the case of this person, they didn't even care that they had extra people (on the couch). I guess that is the day and age that we live in.

       

      • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
        Aug 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        May 21, 2012 4:49 AM (in response to twobitrentals)
        Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

        There seems to be a mindset among some people that "permits themselves" to break rules...when they know very well that what they do {in someone's home} is not permitted by the owner....like, overloading occupancy so much that people sleep on furniture, floors and even garden deck chairs when extra cots are not provided.  They want to do something so they just give themselves permission because they think "we paid for this place" so they can do as they please...-or-  "the owner must be wealthy to have this wonderful vacation home" - if something breaks, they can afford it....-or-.... there's damage insurance so it won't  matter if the children roller skate on the beautiful hardwood floors....or bleed on the sofa {the bleeding happened on my sofa -- the guests flipped the cushion so I wouldn't detect it right away --- but I did! The sofa was also wet on one time when the rules state that no one, regardless of age, may sleep on the sofa custions. A woman didn't think that applied to her toddler who napped  on the sofa}. That mentality is what I call the "renter mindset"...as opposed to the "guest mindset"....the guest is just that...they too paid but they act differently..."respectfully... as a guest in another person's home".  Renter = care less  ///  Guest = respect {that's my mindset.}

         

        I have to perform a bit of due diligence to detect "the renter"....so I guard myself with restrictions ...and it's been very successful for me to make those restrictions known -- before I accept a reservation. And, I do not trust anyone's  "verbal" statements of assurance  {I think we are beyond the days of people upholding a promise between strangers in a deal. The handshake may still be valid, but it's just not respected any longer}.

         

        Before and after an unwanted event, people have selected memory, people forget, people don't pay attention to detail ....and people lie...they even get their family and friends to lie for them! So, whether I talk to them at all before they book is not even the point for me....in writing, I get them to prove to me that they read my "offer" which does include an "orientation" with my rental terms, conditions and restrictions....and I include why I have that particular restriction on "visitors. I want to know if they read it...I ask them how they feel about it and whether it will affect the quality of their vacation in my  home.  I get their response by email [intentionally]. The overwhelming majority say it's fine with them because they're coming for a vacation - away from their friends and family - they do not know anyone in my location.  Fortunately, 99.99% of folks who travel so far to spend a vacation in my State are good people looking for a relaxing, fun and adventurous time....and not to cheat anyone.  The few folks who did wrong in my home were just that....very few and far between.  I do believe that being bold about restrictions helps, too. I want people to know, up front, so they can decide whether my place is right for them...or not...before I take anyone's money.

         

        So, be specific in your "terms and conditions" section of your 'welcome letter' before you book them.  Mention whether your limit affects relatives, family, and people "befriended" during the stay.  My first "terms" only spoke of unregistered relatives and friends who live on my island.  Then....

         

        I once rented to a couple {who did not live here} that had two children....and they met another family on the beach who had 3 children....and they invited that family to my little vacation cottage {breaking the term} ...but 4 adults and 5 children overflowing my property running {noise galore} around made for an obvious violation.  I politely reminded them {the next day-- I could have 'on the spot' but I'm not confrontational or rude to anyone}....and the guy made a feeble attempt to defend themselves by stating that that family were neither relatives nor friends who live on the island {which my term stated!}.  Geeze...do we really have to be so explicit?  Yes.   So, my "rental term" then evolved to specify that they may not increase occupany in any manner including people they happen to befriend during their stay...with no prior agreement, e.g. if not on the contract.   It's absurd that I should have to do that....but honestly people will give themselves permission to to whatever they want.  P.S. I have, agreed, on the spot, that some of my good guests could invite a friend or two over that they hadn't planned prior to the visit {it has happened very few times}, but  they were respectful to come to my door to ask me.   I can and do  "permit myself" to be flexible.  I aim for happy vacation time in my home.....as long as people have "respect" for my home, my terms, and me.

         

        The way companies are marketing  private vacation homes vs hotels further  fosters that mindset. People do, in our homes, what they would never even think of doing in hotels, e.g., invite friends and family to stay in the room...bring sleeping bags to hotel rooms and grounds...sleep on furniture, floors, on porches, even sleeping on garden lounge and deck chairs.   Hotels have rules.  We must have rules.   With no such occupancy rules we will have anarchy at our property.

        • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
          Aug 5, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          May 19, 2012 6:52 PM (in response to anja)
          Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

          I so appreciate your response! I didn't realize until all these responses how widespread this mindset is. I am getting to work on my contract soon!

           

          A

        • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
          Aug 5, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          May 20, 2012 1:05 PM (in response to anja)
          Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

          Here is why my cleaning lady stated about the folks that I was concerned about. And actually my contract was already clear about the number of "guests" staying. So, this is the first time that I am withholding the deposit.....I'll keep you posted as to what happens. Bad review, reversed credit card charge......ARGH! But, I feel we have to take a stand some time, right?

           

          Hi Wendy,

            I just wanted to let you know that I started cleaning.  The kitchen floor was filthy.  Black streaks all over and melted, dried on chocolate and I think ice cream.  I went and cleaned in by hand before I could mop it.  I spent almost 2 hours over there and just started laundry and most of the kitchen.  A lot of dried on food on and around the dining table.

            There was also blood on a pillow case, which I'm treating and hopefully will come out in the wash.  The white tab that covers where the toilet is bolted to the floor 1 is missing.  There is a tab missing on the front of the fridge also, so there is a little hole that is white showing.

            Lots of furniture moved again.  I think that's part of what took so long today.

            I will be going back over in the morning to finish up.  Feel free to call me, 

           

          Hi Wendy,

            The house is all done.  I found more food on walls and dried on cushions of the dining chairs, but eventually got it all out.  I didn't find any damage. Other than those missing tabs that I told you about.  The dish towels are looking dingy, and bleach isn't helping them, so we might want to replace them soon.  One of the dish clothes had food caked on it and didn't come clean, so I brought it home.  I will try to wash it with my rag towels and  see if it gets any better.

           

          • stjvilla Active Contributor 624 posts since
            May 27, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            May 20, 2012 4:44 PM (in response to twobitrentals)
            Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

            Wish we had this level of communication with our cleaner!

          • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
            Aug 5, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            May 24, 2012 8:38 AM (in response to twobitrentals)
            Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

            Well, as I suspected they replied, but it was not the person that I booked with but her Mom. (really?) Anyway, apparently she did not know that her daughter not once, but twice told me that there were only 7 people staying in the home. Mom states in writing that 5 adults and 5 children under the age of 6 were staying in the home. WHAT? No wonder my cleaning lady was scrubbing for hours. This is a 3 bedroom home with two extra cots. Where in the world did 10 people sleep. Then she informed me (in writing) that there were others that visited through-out the week.

             

            I politely told her that if there had been no incidences of doors left wide open while there were gone, a messy home, etc, etc, that the deposit is "less" than I would have charged for all those extra people, "IF" I would have even considered renting my home to that many people in the first place.

             

            How sad that some just take terrible advantage this way!

             

            I don't know if they will put in a review or not, time will tell. If they do though....I don't think that it will be regarded by anyone searching as it would be easy to just state that there were 10 people instead of 7. AND all my other reviews, all 37 are 5 stars!

            • anja Senior Contributor 1,555 posts since
              Aug 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              May 24, 2012 5:20 PM (in response to twobitrentals)
              Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

              Hi wendy,

              It's interesting that your guest's Mom called...and  I assume that the Mom was one of the 10 people that stayed in your home. Perhaps the daughter thought that her Mom could "rescue her" from paying extra by claiming "ignorance" to what the agreement with you was.  It's irrelevant....anyway...you contracted with her daughter and it was up to her daughter to uphold the terms. Mom has nothing to do with what went wrong...her "adult" daughter should act like one and respect the terms she signed onto.

               

              It's frustrating...we, Owners, are expected to fulfil every last point on a contract...make certain that the salt shaker is not empty...or there is a "potato masher"... or God Forbid the water doesn't heat up *fast enough*....but people like your "adult-daughter guest" permits themselves to be negligent on contract terms....and we're supposed to fear their wrath of the bad review.

               

              I sincerely hope that she {daughter} realizes that she was wrong...{that she acts like an adult and  just reviews the contract and respect the terms}...and I hope she doesn't submit a negative review for you. You do not deserve that. You fulfilled your end of the contract.   She came, she invited others to come,  they used your home,  they apparently enjoyed it.  But, if she does write something bad, you can easily "deflate" it......just by stating that you regret having  to hold her security but she  voilated  her contract with you, but you have no choice because she overloaded your home with "extra non-paying guests"....departing the home left in poor condition. {I also think, if you word it right, professionally, your comment will give a "signal"  that the contract is to be upheld or there are consequences.}  Your 37  five-star reviews  from responsible and respectful guests will cancel out anything this "adult/daughter" could say about you or your home.

               

              Let's hope you don't have to deal with this again.

              • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
                Aug 5, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                May 24, 2012 2:20 PM (in response to anja)
                Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

                Exactly, While I don't want to be unfeeling towards people, I too think that we are expected to hold to the letter of the contract, while they pick and choose what they would like to honor. It is frustrating. I do have to remember that this is just a very small percentage of my guests though. Most leave the home wonderful and have a really great attitude towards me, my home and the belongings. Here's to more of them!

                 

          • New Member 5 posts since
            Sep 30, 2012
            Currently Being Moderated
            Sep 30, 2012 10:26 AM (in response to twobitrentals)
            Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

            We are currently in a very similar situatuion.  What happened when you did not return the deposit?

  • iopbeachhouse Community All-Star 455 posts since
    Aug 10, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 19, 2012 10:30 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    In our state, we are issued a license and it is for a specific number of people overnight over the age of 2 years and cars parked on the property. There are very large fines for going over that number and it is enforced if a neighbor complains. I am very direct with renters that they cannot exceed that number and if they do, they will pay for the citation out of their security deposit. I recently had a family who was ready to book, but there were too many people and we turned down the booking. I cannot take that risk and lose my license!

    • Contributor 40 posts since
      Feb 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 30, 2012 11:22 AM (in response to iopbeachhouse)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      In quickly rereading the prior posts I realize we've overcome many of the complaints reported about excess guests.  I would be happy to share with others how we've either prevented or remedied problems associated with possible bad reviews [eliminated this problem completely] and clarity problems with the Agreement.  But we have a concern for which I would appreciate any advice:  how to evict a guest with excess visitors -- our home sleeps 12 and the renter invited 45 or so additional guests each day, even thou they slept elsewhere.  This put us, the renter, and the home at considerable risk.  How do I go about evicting them during their stay?  Ask the police to do this? Hire a giant to stand their while they collect their things? Pray more that nothing goes wrong??

      • carol Senior Contributor 2,135 posts since
        Dec 10, 2010
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 30, 2012 1:38 PM (in response to mossbay)
        Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

        Does your contract limit the number of guests, including day guests?   If not,your options are limited.  

         

        I would think twice before calling the sheriff on your own property.   That places a big target on your property and may lead to a nuisance complaint against you or stepped-up enforcement of noise ordinances, rental regulations, etc.   Have you called the person who signed the lease, told them you are aware of what has been going on, and asked them to stop immediately?  Maybe you could imply that the next step is to call in the police -- although I'm not a fan of empty threats, sometimes this can work.

        • Contributor 40 posts since
          Feb 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Sep 30, 2012 1:57 PM (in response to carol)
          Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

          Carol,

           

          Yes, the contract sets the maximum number.  So you are saying that contacting police invites extra attention in different forms.  Hadn't considered that but typically its not a noise issue but more of a daytime risk issue. 

           

          I mentioned that recently we had 45 "extended family" guests show up beyond the 12 paid guests - no prior request to do this.  Our home is quite nice and contains 3 sets of stairs -- when these unsolicited big groups show up they often bring little kids who appear under supervised [we have outside public security cameras that are reviewed after guests leave only if a neighbor reports excess vehicles and guests on the property].  For their sake and ours we can't take on these types of risks, nor expect that every guest will care for the home. 

           

          I thought about contracting w an private security person who, when wearing a "uniform" etc could tell people they have to leave in the next 15 minutes or he will call the police for back up.  Because of the security tape its easy to document excess visitors 

           

          To prevent any problems, and keeping their security deposit, I've taken to contacting the guests about 3 weeks before their arrival to review and affirm their understanding about number of guests and to underline [w/o threatening them] that this is our home, its nice because we do limit guests, and that if they want to have a big group they can rent a local hotel conference room for a family/friends party, but if they have invited other visitors they need to tell us now and it we can find an agreement, it will be necessary for them to pick a different vacation home and we will refund their entire payment.  In the past 2 months we did that twice

          • carol Senior Contributor 2,135 posts since
            Dec 10, 2010
            Currently Being Moderated
            Sep 30, 2012 4:24 PM (in response to mossbay)
            Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

            Does your lease include a rental rate for each extra guest?  Mine doesn't but I'm thinking of adding it.   In my state, I can't withhold security deposit just because they broke the rules, but I can  withhold it if they owe me rent.   If I included a rental charge of $75/night for additional guests, for example, (or $50/day for day guests) in the lease, and if I could prove that extra guests were indeed there, I believe withholding security deposit would be upheld if we went to court. 

             

            Of course, depending on the size of the security deposit, some guests may figure it's cheaper to forfeit the deposit than to hire a hotel's event room. 

             

            How much longer are they in your home?   If they still have a few more days, I'd be inclined to call them now, tell them you've heard from neighbors that there appears to be a big party going on right now, and you will be over there in 1/2 an hour to check it out and make sure they are not violating the lease.   (My lease gives me the right to enter without notice if there is a safety issue, and it seems you believe that to be the case).  That might scare the party away.   (Of course, if you are alone and fear for your safety, having a  friend or relative tag along would be wise.)   And I would tell them you'll be monitoring and if it happens again, you'll call the police and have them thrown out.   While it's not clear if you have the legal right to evict them, (it really depends on your state and local laws), chances are they don't know the laws either so they may believe your bluff. 

            • Contributor 40 posts since
              Feb 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Oct 1, 2012 9:03 AM (in response to carol)
              Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

              Very helpful perspectives, thanks.  Turns out my state also doesn't allow owners to take part of security deposit for excess guests.  So the Agreement needs to be changed to reflect this.   Think I'm going to charge $30/ea day or overnight guest.  Because we have entrance security cameras its possible to verify number of guests, which we only do where a safety or security issue is raised.  We typically have guests for 2-7 days.  Because our home is large, nice, and reasonably priced plenty of guests go ahead and invite others to enjoy their great find.  Not good since it exposes us to huge potential liability if we don't try and prevent such excesses. 

               

              Two other issues:  a) tossing abusers of the excess guest limit; and b) retrospectively amending agreements already made but not yet fulfilled.  I think we are going to have a big guy - personal representative come on the property when there is a report of excess vehicles in the drive way.  He will ask to enter the property because there is a concern about safety.  If they refuse he will indicate that if there are excess guests they will be charged $30/visitor and $150 for his visit to request removal of excess guests.  If they leave, the violating renter will pay for the visit but not excess guests.  Yes?

               

              Secondly, I'm going to contact all the upcoming renters and ask them to sign an addendum to the Agreement which further clarifies something they've already approved - a willingness to lose up to $350 for violating the terms. I'm also going to require that they cover and lock the Spa if there are excess guests, since there is greater risk younger children will not be supervised in the tub area. I think they will be more nervous about a personal rep coming to the property and asking to enter and inspect the building. 

               

              All said, this is much more of a risk/safety issue for us than a financial one.  By not exercising diligence in preventing excess guests, I'm essentially exposing guests to greater risk of accident or injury - ironic that they have a better case for bringing legal action if I don't try hard to prevent them from bringing excess guests.

  • swiss-house Contributor 260 posts since
    Jul 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 30, 2012 9:54 PM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    A little late to the party, but I'll chime in with how we've been approching the topic.

     

    In ALL of our quotes, we have the following text:

     

    "The quote below is based on X adults and Y children.  When renting the house, we expect that this is the maximum number of people who will be at the house at any time, not just overnight guests."

     

    We also often have people send in their inquiry asking to host more people than we allow.  We don't turn these away completely, but include the following text right near the top of our response:

     

    "I noticed your inquiry is for 10 adults. We have an 8 adult maximum (10 total with children) for the house. For groups under 25 years old, the limit is 6."

     

    And in our contract we include as items 2 and 3:

    2Renter. Guest affirms that he/she is 21 years old or older and will remain with the rental party  throughout the rental period.  ____    (Initial)
    3Rental Party.  The rental party shall consist of X adults and X children. At no time may there be more than this number of persons on the property. 

    ____ (Initial)

     

    Whether this really gives us real protection in a court of law is questionable, but including it right in the quote seems to have knocked out a bunch of the people who would have been problems before they even got to the contract stage.  Yeah, that's fewer tenants, but they're tenants we wouldn't have wanted anyway.

    • Contributor 40 posts since
      Feb 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 1, 2012 9:06 AM (in response to swiss-house)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      Yep, think its better to disqualify prospective renters, lose $, than wrangle with them later about fees for excess guests.

       

      We have been allowing them to bring up to 4 additional visitors for a brief single meal visit if and only if they have written approval from us in advance and agree to lock the spa during their visit to reduce risk of accident or injury.

  • sapphiresteve Active Contributor 503 posts since
    Dec 16, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 1, 2012 7:56 PM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    "Over-occupancy" and "excessive partying" seem to increase as problems with the size of the property.

     

    Our VR is a one-bedroom condo of 926 square feet, which sleeps four comfortably and five somewhat tightly. Condominium regulations limit overnight occupancy to five, and we have been observing that regulation. We have noticed that there is a significant increase in "normal wear and tear" when occupancy reaches five. We suspect that because there are additional charges for overnight occupancy in excess of two,a very few  of our guests may have "claimed" to be two, while they are a larger group. If this has happened, it has been very rare.

     

    We really want our guests to have the best possible time. as long as the "normal wear and tear" is reasonably normal. If they have a party and invite a hundred well behaved people, and there is no damage or excessive wear., I couldn't care less.,  So far, actual damage to the unit has been trivial. In a bad year maybe it reaches two hundred dollars. Most years, it has been under a hundred. At one point, however, I had a nightmare about someone throwing a party and inviting a thousand guests, so I added the following to the Rental Agreement:

     

    "... at no time shall there be a total of more than sixteen people within the unit".

     

    Just hope that our luck holds up!

  • New Member 6 posts since
    Oct 30, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 3, 2013 11:25 PM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    Kbaz,

     

    I had a recent guest that signed a Rental Contract stating there would be only 4 guest.  12 came.  I stopped taking a $250.00 deposit and have been collecting the $49.50 Property Damage Insurance thinking that was enought and it seem to get me more bookings.  Unfortunatilly we were not getting quality renters.

     

    Our home is a Non Smoking Home, they smoked, they pulled down the ADT Smoke detector and and now I need to spend 200.00 between service call and parts.  The 49.50 was not enough.  All to gether they did $1400.00 in damage, and keep in mind that the Insurance Company does not pay for extra cleaning.

     

    Had I taken a $250.00 depost, I would kept the money for the additonal cleaning, for bring extra guest, for smoking in our home.

     

    Now I will not give our guest access to our home until we have a signed contract.  Seconldy, I take a $250.00 deposit and charge all guest the $49.50 Property Damage Insurance, trust me that the damage the wrong guest can do in 2 days, the $250.00 will not cover.

     

    I make it clear at our initial contact, emails, when I present a quote and in our contract.  NO SMOKING ALLOWED, NO PARTIES, NO PETS AND NO EXTRA GUEST WITH OUT A FEE.  Violation of any of the House Rules is an automatic forfeit of Deposit.

     

    After I told my story to a potiental guest, she actually said she would have paid $500.00 deposit.

     

    So dont under estimate potiential guest.  Quality Guest expect Contracts & Deposit!

     

    Protect yourself and protect your property!

     

    George

    • Contributor 40 posts since
      Feb 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 4, 2013 12:08 AM (in response to gondarza48@gmail.com)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      In some states, you can't keep the security deposit for over occupancy, but you can deduct from it a per person charge for over occupancy, if stated in the Agreement up front.  So if you charge $25/guest/day or night visit, and 8 guests come, you could charge $200/day.  If they stayed 2 days, and the deposit is only $250, you could charge them an additional $150 for the guests not covered by the security deposit amount.  If you don't create a roadblock to excess guests, and someone is injured, you could be faulted for allowing excess guests to show up and hurt themselves.

  • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,336 posts since
    Aug 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 10:03 AM (in response to kbaz)
    Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

    This is a common problem with VRBO's. I am pretty hard nosed about folks not going over the number of guests listed on the contract. I talk it about it specifically with them, both verbally and in e-mails. My contract states that not only will they lose their deposit, but that the contract can be automatically terminated and they will be evicted without any refund. In other words, they have paid for the week and will not get reimbursed even if they are required to leave. (which includes visiting folks that live nearby, unless previously agreed to)

     

    I have good neighbors who call me when they see too many people either staying or visting. Then I usually call and find out what is going on. Some times we can work that out and the folks can stay with the understanding that they violated their contract, and are required to pay more. (very rarely do I let this occur). Or I tell them that they either have to reduce the number to the number of guests listed on the contract or they must all leave immedately.

     

    I know sounds bad................but like others have said.....we have a big investment in these properties and it doesn't take to much for things to go bad in a hurry!

    • Contributor 40 posts since
      Feb 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 4, 2013 12:37 PM (in response to twobitrentals)
      Re: Guests Having Unpaying Guests

      In reading the posted comments above I was surprised at the number of people who say "no damage no foul" or worse, "I'm not aware of any excess guest or visitor problem."  I agree with twobit rentals that it is a problem, probably a significant problem, and becomes costly especially if an excess visitor is injured - they could argue you failed to show diigence in restricting excess guests either contractually or with spot-checks of guests, either with drive by, neighbor watch, or security cameras.  We installed security cameras outside entrances and only scan them if the drive way camera shows excess cars or neighbors report excess guests.  Either way, you probably can't keep the security deposit as a penalty unless you state in the agreement that there is a specifc charge for excess guests, per night -

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