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Hi all. Just found and joined this forum. I'm glad you're here. I too now have the renters from hell. Booked at the last minute 2 days before Labor Day weekend (we had a last minute cancellation) and right after we were devestated by Irene. Our house was untouched except for a flooded basement that did not affect the house. They have been complaining and insulting me from the minute they stepped on the property while I was just finishing the last of the basement trash removal. Took me about a half an hour past their check in to finish. They wanted a refund immediately and tried to bully me for it. They accused me of putting pictures of a different house on VRBO among other crazy things. Truth is, they didn't realize that the entire area had been flooded and many homes had trash on their lawns. They said it looked like "Appalachia"...They wanted to leave with a refund for the remainder of the days. I had turned away other renters for them. I offered to have them leave and replace them with other renters at which point I'd refund their money on a pro rata basis. They refused. Tonight at 10:40 I got a call from what sounded like a very drunk person complaining that the rain beating on the air conditioner was too loud, and how did I expect her to be able to watch a movie or fall asleep. She asked me to call her back immediately! You can't make this stuff up. Complaining about raing beating down on an air conditioner!
I'm always nervous with crazy renters, that they won't get out when they are supposed to. I had renters I had to practically force out once. They used my house as a sick bed during a bout of Lupus! I was 6000 miles away and they kept begging me to keep renting them because their "house wasn't ready yet" and the wife was sick with Lupus and couldn't get out of bed. We had to keep billing them on Paypal and they played around with the payments and paid at the last minute. You can't make this stuff up! Has anyone ever had to call the cops to evict unwanted or squatting renters? When you have a long term lease, you have to take them to court and go through an eviction proceeding. How do you do it with a horrible vacation renter who won't leave? (my worst nightmare was the movie Pacific Heights)!
I think it has been the year of renters from hell for a lot of us. I don't know if it is the economy, more people who've never rented vacation homes, or that people are just ruder these days.
As I 've said before, check with your local law enforcement re: eviction proceedings. It's going to vary from area to area, even from local police to local sheriffs.
Rain on an A/C? Now THAT is the craziest one I'VE ever heard. Too bad you didn't have some earplugs stashed somewhere in the house.
Good luck with this nut job.
Wow, I have just had my second set of renters from hell. North Carolina people that are still complaining and they have been gone for three weeks and their security deposit has been reimbursed. People are nuts !
They obviously want it all back. I think that what has happened is that in the last three years the vacation rental market has seen an ever increasing number of out of control cheapskates. Your only defense is to rent at higher prices and don't discount if you can avoid it. I only do weekly rentals which attracts mostly families. I get a lot of requests for 3 or 4 day rentals and I won't do it. I also skip the security deposit now and buy the $39 policy myself. I only do that in the case of major damages. Other than that I cover the small stuff and make more than enough to cover the small repairs. The best way to handle renters from Hell is to not rent to them again. I have about 10 renters on a Do Not Rent to list and the other owners of the condos have other names which we share.
I hope you plan to save that email. I have started saving all emails and stapling them to the contract. It sounds like not responding right away or at all if it's not an emergency is good advise too.
It's hard not to. I have had guests ask my housekeeper/gardener for little things they could easily do themselves, and of course she charges me. I now have it in the contract that room service is 35.00 per hour and will be deducted.
The good news is that you will probably not get another guest like this again. We had a couple of guests like this in the first few years of renting and now when they act petulant, entitled or needy, or pick apart my rates I simply do not rent to them. Someone asked how do you get out of it? I basically don't cave in to their demands and they find another place.
We have a previous guest that booked on our cabins and paid half of the total to reserve it. 29 days before their arrival they call to cancel because they couldn't make it. If it is within 30 days of check-in we can't refund them anything but I was nice and decided to give them a 25% refund which I told them was about $100, no problem they said. The guest wanted to take the 25% as credit for a future stay so I told them to call me or email when they decide on their dates and I would send them a quote with the 25% credit included.
When I sent their quote they were furious because they decided to take 25% of the total amount instead of what they already paid then use the cancellation policy guidelines on our faqs page to try and shake me down for more money. They felt that their refund should have been closer to $300 because that was 25% of their total. At this point I thought you know what I am going to refund your money and be done with it. Then the calls began and the emails. Unfortunately the emails have no threats what so ever but the phone calls..I don't even pick up anymore.
We've already been hit with one bad review because a guest broke our TV so we kept the $100 deposit, the guests then wrote a horrible review in retaliation, this guest even went so far as to say in an email: ...[return my deposit] or I will take matters into my own hands. After providing VRBO/HA aka Nadia with all of our correspondence she concluded that the guest just wants their deposit back and since the words "I will right a bad review if your don't pay" weren't evident, there was nothing VRBO could do, the review stayed.
I decided to take a preemptive strike, I emailed VRBO to let them know what was happening. I got a long canned response back telling me that I'm basically SOL unless this person in an email states “I will write a bad review if you don't pay me”. So I decided to share my knowledge with the community encase this happened to anyone else.
Maybe I will get in trouble for this maybe they will just remove the post but I will like to show you all how easy it is to alter an email without anyone knowing. An email is basically just a document, if you drag it on to your desktop (or save it on to your desktop) then right click it and choose Open with..then choose a text editor (ie wordpad, ms word, wordperfect) any is fine. When it opens scroll down, the giberish at the top are the headers, this is what VRBO/HA aka Nadia takes as an “authentic” email. As long as that stuff is there, they will consider it “real”. Anyway, scroll down past the headers (giberish) and eventually you will find the meat of the message, where you can change anything, add, delete, whatever you want. When your done, all you have to do is hit file (or round button at the top for ms office) Save As...then make sure at the end of the email title, it says .eml. Word may try to change it to .doc or .txt, but you can remove that make sure the end is .eml. Once you saved it, open an email to VRBO/HA aka Nadia, attach the .eml you just saved and done. You can do this to any email and I would be happy to help anyone with troubleshooting or better instructions.
Also VRBO/HA doesn't seem to care if reviews are real so why not just start making some up. VRBO/HA can't know it's you posting your reviews. So make an email address, go to Mcdonalds wifi and post away. Of course I would never do this, wink wink, nudge nudge, but if I did, I would know that the only thing VRBO/HA could see if my IP address, which is basically like your “street” address online. The only thing they know is which IP address a review is coming from so as long as your noting submitting a ton of reviews from the same Internet connect (ip address) VRBO can never know. So head down to wifi hotspots or wherever you can, you can also look into Proxy serviers which are so easy to use once you start. They basically “hide” your real address by routing you through another. So if you wanted to use a proxy server you can do this from the comfort of your own home and VRBO/HA aka Nadia will never know. VRBO/HA definetly sides with the guest no matter what so we need to protect our businesses, I'm happy to answer any questions or help anyone out.
And don't forget- YOU as the owner can surely respond to the "bad reveiw" right underneath it.
Maybe something like ' We're so sorry you did not find our home the right fit for you. We're also sorry you are disappointed we had to withold a portion of your Damage Deposit for the damges incurred during your stay."
VRBO/HA Employee right THERE( caps really?), probably nadia. Yeah I know I can respond but the point is I shouldn't have to. Being blackmailed isn't fun and VRBO/HA always sides with the guest. When someone is wrong and enough people get angry enough it will change.
I had a guest like that last year and yes - we did move them to a very exclusive resort - on my nickle. I paid more money out than he had paid us. Now, he is writing all of the vacation rental sites bad mouthing us. When I read your story, I relived it again. I am extremely careful now. If anyone is negative in any way, they are history. We do not need the hassles or any bad reference that has cost us a lot of rentals. He actually put his email address down for people to contact him and it shows up how many people have - hundreds. We have lost renters from our most popular site. Makes you want to get out of the business.
Please stay in touch with me. I like the way you think. I do not care about posting my own reviews but if there is a way to clean up a stupid review, I would be thrilled to be able to do it. Thank you for your advice.
Did anyone see the community blog that these owners had their attorney do a clause to put in their agreement that they had to agree to not send in a bad reference or pay $500 in damages. I wish I had that clause now.
Before we refund any money, we have the renter sign a release form stating that they will not discuss this with anyone or disclose anything within the release. In the event they do, they will need to refund the "refund" and we will sue for damages. In 11 years, we have had to use this release form only twice. In both instances, the renters were just looking to get a reduced rental rate (they had asked for this at the beginning and did not give), so they felt they could get it after their stay.
After 11 years in the rental business, I have stopped accepting abuse. If a renter starts abusing me, I tell them that perhaps my property is not right for them. If they are already renting, I state that abuse is not the best method of discussion. If the abuse is continual, I am no longer available to them by phone or in person during their stay. We make a note of the renter, and will never rent again to them. Funny, this year, one of the abusers emailed us asking to stay at one of our homes. I stated, "why would they want to stay there again, since they were not happy last year". Their answer, "we were only kiddimg, loved the house". My answer, sorry we are fully booked.
I realize that your post is a couple of months old, but the only time we ever had to deal woth something like this, the renters were offered a full refund and asked to vacate the next morning. They apoplogized as well, but seeing the writing on the wall, apology was accepted, and they were asked to leave any way. Maui is a small island, and apparently they made the next owner upset enough to kick them out of that unit within 24 hours as well. You can never be too safe, and if it costs a deposit and rent for the unit, it may be just as well.
Sorry to hear about the personal stress you've been under but glad that they left with no further issues. Like yourself we try to be upfront about everything our condo and the area offers. My only review that was less than 5 stars was a complaint that we didn't have a swimming pool. Sorry you'd think if they needed a pool that bad that they would have looked for a place that did have one. Wierd thing is, there are two pools within walking distance that only require a small fee for use but because they didn't bring it up with the manager or myself, we didn't know to tell them.