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4025 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Sep 20, 2012 3:58 PM by densheff RSS
hkquinn Active Contributor 342 posts since
Jul 22, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 19, 2012 1:06 PM

advice needed for renting to a friend

I have an acquaintance who asked me to book a weekend for her and a group of friends. No problem. I sent her an invoice through VRBO/Home Away and told her I would reserve the spot on our calendar. That was a week ago. No response to the first invoice, so I resent it. Still no response. How do I tell her nicely, that unless I get a deposit, I need to open up the dates? This is prime ski season and I know I can get it rented. What to do?

  • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,362 posts since
    May 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 2:13 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    You'll find this is not an isolated problem. WE never knew we had so many friends/family until we bought a VR home!


    You can search on the field under under Forums for a lot of comments.


    We've had to make it clear that our home is not available to anyone at a discount during high season. If there is a last minute cancellation we might make an exception, but that doesn't happen often. Free? No.


    If they want to stay during high season they will have to abide by the rules our other guests do. Sign the contract, make the payments as required, etc. ( It's a tax and liability issue).


    If you choose to give them a discount, that's up to you. I'd make sure they know that they still need to sign your contract and make whatever kind of payment you're willing to work out with them. 


    Your home is an investment, and I imagine you may want the income it generates. You can be nice, but don't let people take advantage of you. They may not understand things, so it's a good idea to educate them in a nice, personal note or phone call. If they are real friends they will understand.

    Best of luck!


  • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
    Aug 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 7:34 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    Hi hkquinn,


    Playing the "devils advocate"....she believes that the place is reserved and held for her. You said that you sent her an invoice *and told  her* that you would *reserve the spot on our calendar*.   So, she doesn't feel any pressure for follow up action.   


    I'm speaking for myself now (maybe other owners think and do differently):   For me, only a deposit received  *confirms a reservation* -- and this  is stated in my "offer" sent.  I do not mark the calendar "unavailable" right away ...I only mark it "tentative" for myself (the online calendar still views it as "available" does the search filter). So, I will continue to "field" new inquirers...and if I get another opportunity to rent....I deal with the situation as it unfolds ....but I tell the first "prospect -- who has not PAID deposit yet" that their reservation is "pending confirmation" and they risk losing to someone who is inquiring after them...if the matter is -urgent-  I phone them with this information.  I go from there based on the circumstances...using more than my gut --- I rely on the character of the response I get   {During my "gentle reminder"...I once got sarcasism from "the husband" whom I was referred to speak to "the wife".  I was waiting almost one month for a deposit.  It ended by my "retracting my offer"! Sarcasism prior arrival while being in violation of agreement doesn't demonstrate "good character", to me.} 


    I understand that this is someone you know and you are happy to rent to them. But, I think that makes it seem odder to me that this person is not responding to your payment instructions -pronto- because she knows you!  I would never hang up my friends, family, neighbours, acquaintances if I'm obliged to them for some reason --- and no one that I know, intimately or casually, has done this to me. Maybe it's just luck on my part...but I think it more that I am very clear about "how to confirm a reservation".  I get it across that the place remains "available" until confirmation is received  (= deposit) I would not "give away" the place to others if I have been in good communication with someone prior -- who is in the process of sending payment. But, I set a deadline for receipt of payment, it's clear what they have to do to "secure" the place in their name....or risk losing it to others who act quicker.  And...this applies to anyone I know  personally as well --- because they do know that I have a business and the place is an income-generating property. If I don't make it clear, they do not have the "imagination" to understand the processes for me to stay in business.


    However, if your acquaintance thinks that you are holding the place for her...and there is no possibility to lose it ....perhaps she doesn't feel the rush to forward the deposit.   Of course, there could be other reasons --- maybe your emails end up in her spam folder, maybe she's too busy to even think about her ski vacation right now. Perhaps she has to glean monies from her friends who are sharing expenses. And, there are some people that are just slow to react to invoice noticesPerhaps she doens't really  understand the process.


    This is what I would do....

    I like to deal with this kind of situation in an email so I have a written record.  If this were my situation, I would send my acquaintance a very nicely worded *reminder* by email thanking her for her interest...and that I look forward to welcoming them...but stressing that I am feeling the pressure now to have to open up my rental as "available" due to the high demand for the ski season  --- and advise her to "confirm their reservation" by deposit before someone else does --- because you can not hold it "closed" longer without a "confirmation by deposit".  If that weekend she asks will be easy to rent to others, you could leave it "closed" on the calendar for her for a couple of days more to wait her reply.   

  • mlbmaine Senior Contributor 948 posts since
    Mar 2, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 2:37 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    This is a ticklish situation.  My suggestion is to be polite, but firm.  I would call or e-mail her.  You could start by stating that you would love to have her and her friends stay at your property.  You could then add that you know how difficult it can sometimes be to get a group of people to make a decision.  Let her know, however, that the dates that her group has asked for are during your prime rental period and you cannot hold these dates for her group indefinitely.  I would give her a fixed date (perhaps 4 or 5 days from the date of your communication) by which you must receive the signed rental agreement and deposit or else you will make the property available to other renters.


    Couching it in terms of "the group" rather than "her" might also make the communication easier. It takes the responsibility off of her shoulders and puts it on "the group."  (She may be facing a situation where members of the group are hemming and hawing and she cannot get firm commitments from them.  Your phone call/e-mail to her may actually help her get the other members of the group to "fish or cut bait.")

  • sage Community All-Star 978 posts since
    Jul 4, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 3:55 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    "How do I tell her nicely, that unless I get a deposit, I need to open up the dates?"

    How would you tell anyone who had inquired that you need to receive the deposit.  Points were made above regarding the need to clear up any ambiguity regarding the reservation process. 


    I suspect you are feeling uneasy about approaching this acquaintence about paying you for the use of your vacation rental.  Imagine that rather than a vacation rental you were operating a grocery store.  This acquaintence and her friends drop by and load up a couple shopping carts.  Do you let them go out the door without paying?  Even though the use of the rental may not be as tangible as a bag of oranges, you need and deserve to be paid.  Time--the periods your rental is occupied by paying guests--is your stock in trade. 

  • codcape Contributor 70 posts since
    Apr 3, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 9:03 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    just tell her what you just wrote - i'll have to open the dates unless you want it?

  • kiawahcottage Community All-Star 375 posts since
    Jan 1, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 19, 2012 9:40 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    Hi Hkquinn,


    Could be totally wrong here but my take is that she might be having trouble getting her friends to commit and actually give her their share of the deposit.  They may have told her they would like to go but this far out it's hard to get a group fully organized.  You need to call and explain your situation and find out what's going on.



    • lrbaldwin Active Contributor 757 posts since
      Feb 16, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 21, 2012 11:43 AM (in response to hkquinn)
      Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

      A couple of observations here:  A friend and a bunch of his/her friends?  Do you know all these people?  First, this person is obviously not communicative.  That's a red flag for me.  Second, what age group are we looking at? All singles?  I'm sure a ski area vacation rental is way different from our beach family VR, but we don't rent to froups of singles at all.  Again, the lack of communication is not a good sign.


      Many owners will not hold or block off a rental period until they have money and lease agreement in hand. Let your friend know this policy, and if the period is available when she gets her act together, she can rent the house if it's available.  This is one of the many reasons we quit using a rental agency.  They let people hold the place hostage sometimes for two weeks during which it was blocked off on their calendar.



  • native7 Contributor 47 posts since
    Mar 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 4, 2012 8:20 AM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    Sounds to me like she expected to get it for free and when she got an invoice, was no loger interested.

    • New Member 4 posts since
      Sep 7, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 4, 2012 2:57 PM (in response to native7)
      Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

      Good going, hkquinn.  native7 sounds spot on, that this "friend" thought she could get free accommodations.  I charge friends, but generally give them enough of a discount so they feel more "special" than a standard guest.  For all other aspects it's business as usual (pay upon reserving, pay cleaning fees, conditions, etc).  For family members, I ask them simply to cover my expenses:  my on-island prop. manager's daily charge, the registration fee at the complex ($15) and the cleaning fee at the end of their visit ($85).  This means I'm still in the red for the pro-rated prop. taxes and HO fees, but that is my choice.  So far, everyone has appreciated that they are taking space I could otherwise charge much more for, and has never made a comment about what I've asked them to pay, other than "THANKS for the great deal!"

  • densheff New Member 11 posts since
    Sep 20, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2012 3:57 PM (in response to hkquinn)
    Re: advice needed for renting to a friend

    This is a business and prime rental seasons are your life blood.  If friends want a discount they can come when it hasn't rented last minute or with you. Not sure where I came up with it but copy and paste this in an email to your friend; I mean this is nicely as possible, but unless I get a deposit, I need to open up these dates. This is prime ski season and I know I can get it rented. 

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