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4176 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Nov 26, 2012 3:50 PM by jody55 RSS
New Member 5 posts since
Jul 13, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 13, 2012 5:34 PM

My first rental, my first disaster.  What I learned from this !

So I spent 10 years fixing up my home to look great for my family and friends that join us.  Now that the kids are older and we dont use it as much, Homeaway and VRBO, here we come.  My first rental lied to me, said it was for a 25 year old group for a birthday party.  Turns out it was 25 kids having a prom party, average age 17 years old.  The contract was in an adults name, one of the kids aunt that did not attend.  I had a talk with her, she said she would be there, she wasn't and is now on the hook.  In a single weekend, the kids completely trashed my home.  There was not a spot where liquor was not spilled including carpets, hard wood floors, furniture, pool table, air hockey table.  My non smoking home and I mean for 10 years, not a cigarette,  now smells like a drunken brewery with smoke so thick, you cannot breathe.  Damaged ping pong table, damaged custom bar, broken stools, damaged stereo system, cigarette butts throughout the home dumped in my gas fireplace, sinks, dishes.  Even an Egg fight in the kitchen, I just don't get it.  Garbage not thrown in pails, but instead, all throughout the house.  Bong water from smoking pot spilled everywhere.  I learned these were kids from a catholic school.  When I called the Aunt, she was in shock and a loss for words.  The problem, she has no money.  I have her credit card info, the contract states I can charge her card.  The problem, her card has no money.  I did not take a security deposit because the Homeaway site boasts about the $59 insurance policy that takes its place for $5,000 of coverage.  Well, that's accidental damage only.  They covered a big fat $0 because this was malicious.  I got a hold of several parents phone numbers only to be barked out "NOT MY KID" and "MY KIDS A MINOR, DON'T YOU EVER CALL AGAIN OR WE WILL SUE YOU".  I am just shocked and amazed how the parents feel this is ok to protect their kids.  In a way, the only good thing about this is that I got real good experience on how this all works.  Since then, I've had very good rentals with very little problems.  You must ALWAYS take a security deposit and have it in cash or credit card but have it in advance.  Always take out the $59 policy and have the guest pay for it.  I already put in 4 claims in just 7 rentals.  Yes, they do pay for accidental damage, but they pay you ACTUAL CASH VALUE.  If the item was purchased for $1000 and is in brand new shape, but its 10 years old, does not matter.  They depreciate it and pay you what they feel the current value is.  Your $1,000 item can get you $250 for example.  You MUST talk to all potential guests that will sign your contract.  If they sound YOUNG, they are young.  If you must rent to kids, make sure you get a huge security deposit.  Make sure the contract is signed by somebody 21 years or older so you can legally go after that person.  If you rent to a prom group, get every kids parents to sign the contract that will attend.  You must take a video camera and film everything in your home including a current newspaper to show its current.  Store this video elsewhere as its proof you did have these items in your home.  I will never rent to any person that is under 25 years of age.  I get a photo copy of their drivers license.  I let each renter know why they need to treat this home like it was their own.  I never talk to a potential renter by barking at them.  Instead, I let every one of them know what I went thru, have them feel bad for me, and feel them out and hear what they have to say to make sure they will treat my home the very same as if it were there own.  I also call text or e-mail every guest when they are there asking if they are having a great time and what can I do for them to make the stay better.  All of this has helped me greatly and I hope my experience will help you.

  • sophie Senior Contributor 970 posts since
    Mar 4, 2011



    I'm so sorry to hear of this horrible first rental experience. I would suggest you spend some time here on the forums and read the numerous discussions about renting, contracts, dealing with damage, insurance, etc. There is a wealth of information that might help you work through some of these issues. Come back and let us know if you have a particular question!

  • New Member 17 posts since
    Jun 13, 2011

    We have had request by parents to let their under age kids party at our places to which they get a big NO.  We required the renting person be 26 or older and they must be present at check in.  We physiclaly greet each one when they check in or at least sometime on the day the check in.  Sometimes we have to juggle when we have multiple check ins on same day.  On our larger properties we charge a security deposit and have only had to keep part of it once.  We also call each guests after the first nights stay to see if there are any problems, which usually there are not.  We have found all of this has helped keep customer's happy and our properties in good shape.

  • codcape Contributor 70 posts since
    Apr 3, 2012

    first - i'm very sorry to read about your situation and wish you the best.


    second - i'd still chase the lady that signed the contract - i have a no subletting <sp?> clause.



    third - i'm going to talk about the pink elephant in the, they told you it was a group of 25yr olds having a party at your home and you saw nothing wrong with that? when i hear the word party, i shut down the request immediately.  my place is connected to a very pricey resort on cape code - the weddings cost $$$  when i hear a party is interested in a short stay or for a reception i don't bother.  think about it?...even if it was a group of 25yr olds?  you're asking for trouble.  prom??..i wouldn't let my own kids have a party at my home for their prom let alone strangers.  i take cash deposits for security (twice the amount of the norm), one month in advance.  i had one person challenge me on the amount - i told them my place is much nicer then the average condo in my area, and, if you don't like it or can't afford it, don't rent it (not in those words of course) maybe i'm being over protective...just my two cents.


    good luck!

  • carol Senior Contributor 2,154 posts since
    Dec 10, 2010

    Codcape is right, you will need to sue the lady who signed the contract.  You really don't know the extent of her assets -- she may be playing the "poor card" while sitting on a trust fund or a big house herself.    If nothing else, she may have a college fund set aside for her precious high schooler -- wouldn't that be a good lesson to the kid about responsibility, seeing the college fund disappear because of a wild party!!


    I hope you documented everything and kept bills to prove the cost of cleaning and repairs.  


    You might also contact the local police department and file a complaint of vandalism.   That, if nothing else, might get the attention of the parents of the little dears who had no respect for your place. 

  • mlbmaine Active Contributor 935 posts since
    Mar 2, 2012

    I am so sorry that this happened to you.  Depending on how costly it was to repair and clean your home, you may want to sue.  Obviously, you can sue the woman whose name is on the lease.  Also, check with a local attorney.  In most states, I believe that parents are legally liable for damage caused by their minor children.  Those obnoxious parents who threatened to sue youbecause their children are minors don't know what they are talking about.  You could have numerous defendants to the lawsuit - the lessee, and 25 sets of parents.  Let them fight it out among themselves as to who pays what.

  • Contributor 62 posts since
    Nov 2, 2011

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I have learned many lessons the hard way also. I love reading peoples personal experiences on this forum. I get great ideas and learn from others mistakes.


    You've potentially saved me some $$ by posting this. I was considering not charging a security deposit anymore, in favor of utilizing the insurance you mentioned. I had no idea it would not cover deliberate damage by a guest! No idea at all. I think I'll stick with my security deposit for now. Thanks.

    • New Member 4 posts since
      Sep 4, 2012

      Hi Newtome


      I appreciate your detailed list of advice. We also have a minimum age requirement of 25 yrs old unless accommpanied by a parent or legal guardian. This has deterred many partiers. We also don't allow bachelor parties because those groups no matter what age can get out of hand.

      I have a question about item 7 in your list


      "7.  I call or text every single guest the night or day after their arrival asking if all is ok, do they need anything, are they happy.  This goes over real well and shows you care."


      Which method have you found most successful in reaching the guest (email/text/call)? I have thought about emailing on the day of check-in but figured that the guest might not receive it if they are away from the computer.




      • New Member 1 posts since
        Mar 18, 2012

        Hello Adriana:  I am sorry I did not see your post until now.  Lately, all I do is text AFTER the arrival.  I dont like going to voicemail when I call and I know they are seeing my message for sure when I text.  Everybody reads their texts and I think they feel they need to respond, where if I left a voice message, they can always say they did not get it till days later.  To date, every single guest has responded to my text messaging.   After the guest departs, if the cleaning service tells me the guests left the home in great shape, I send a personal email thanking the guest for treating my home like it was their own.  Good luck!

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