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I just had my first season (got a late start in Jun) with 13 rentals in a 1bed 1bath sleeps 6 condo Destin FL. My housekeepers (Destin Housekeepers LLC) claimed that I had damage to many of my linens, but did not notifiy me until they quit doing my condo because they were "not going to service any unit with linens anymore". They gave me no notice and just quit, returning my remaining linens to my condo. I lost over $150 in sheets, towels, kitchen towels and both bath mats (don't know why those could no be cleaned). My linens are all white. They never notified me of these damages and just informed me now that that was the case. Is this normal?? Thanks for your responses.
I had one set of guest six adults each took 2 sets of towel. These were brand new towels purchase for the summer season. Working with my housekeeper to make sure that she collects the towels each day. Not to replace towels if no dirty onces are placed in the basket.
I own a rental home and also own a housekeeping business that serves both private rental homes and vacation rental homes through rental companies. I inventory all linens at the beginning and end of season and double check each week that all are there. If something comes up damaged or missing , I report it to the home owner/rental agent at the end of each cleaning day in my written cleaning report. I also photograph any damaged linens so that the owner or agent can bill the responsible party. I also follow this same procedure in my own rental home. If it is not reported and a responsible party cannot be identified, I find the housekeeper responsible for the linens and their replacement. I have this in my contract with my own housekeeper and anyone who sub-contracts for my business. A housekeeper is responsible for the home and its contents including linens while she is caring for the home.
I think your former housekeepers were delinquent in their duties. An inventory such as Tina describes is very helpful and her policies would prevent a lot of problems.
My first thoughts were that towels could have gone to the beach and not come back but I don't think that explains missing sheets, bathmats or kitchen towels. We have had the problem of one group renting several unrelated (different owners and management) units and going back and forth, sometimes leaving our things at other houses. Now we label all linens discreetly.
Last year our house was one of several rented for a wedding party and our guests joined about 30 others in chartering a boat and took our beach towels, but left them on the boat! Fortunately, we knew the boat owners and got most of them back as they had no idea whose they were!
Larry and Margot
We keep a current inventory listin in our unit so that the cleaner and the guests know exactly what is in the inventory. It is the cleaner's job to do inventory of the linens after each guest checks out. If any are missing then we are contacted and I then contact the guests on the contract stating what is missing and asking them to check their luggage and to please return the items. If they don't have the items or if they don't respond, then I charge their credit card (it doesn't matter how they pay us we always keep their credit card number as a back up for such occasions - it's in the contract). If at the end of the year we have missing linen inventory the cleaner is charged for what is missing. No exceptions. Since we have started this policy we have not had any missing linens in four years. We have an occasional missing bowl, fork, etc. but nothing that is expensive.
In Hawaii it is quite common when a cleaning service is terminated or a property managing company is terminated the cleaners will quite often replace new linens with old and ripped ones and keep the good ones for themselves. They will also take good ironing boards, irons and other items they think they want for themselves or for their families which is why we now have the new rules in place about the cleaner(s) being responsible for missing inventory at the end of the year. It has substantially cut down on our missing inventory. I'm not saying that's what happened to the Destin FL owner but, no offense, this incident smells. I would get a new cleaning company and I would be very careful about what's written in the contract. Please be sure that you are better protected.
With 7 homes to turn over, each having 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, it is impossible to take an inventory after each rental. Our guests typically leave at 12 and new guests arrive at 3. Easiest solution for us is to wash and replace the sheets and linens after each rental. We keep a locked linen closet in the event we need to replace damaged or soiled linens which cannot be washed. As each bed is replaced. we are able to see what is missing or damaged. We are lucky to have very good and very concerned cleaning people. They know that if a guest complains about bad linens, they will need to return at no additional charge and change the linens. Hence, they do it right the first time. We loose linens on a rare occassion. Usually, we will loose towels when our guests wash the towels themselves and destroy by using bleach on colored towels or wahing colors and whites together. We pro-rate costs and charge tenants accordingly.
Your housekeeper did you a favor of quitting. They were not doing their job and you had to replace them.
Housekeepers must report missing or damaged linen so you can make the decision to charge it or not to your guests.
Most homeowners keep 3 sets of linen to ensure we are covered for any emergencies, but other than normal wear and tear, it should last you at least 2 years (depending on the usage). In beach locations, towels tend to get lost or damaged and you should have a policy on billing them or getting insurance for damage.
So, get your complete set, an inventory, hire a good housekeeper and have them receive the inventory reporting any losses.
Unfortunately, many cleaning services do not give feedback to the home owner. Many times, the cleaning service has workers that are not part of the management team. They might be transient workers. In seasonal areas, a cleaning service does not keep a year round staff. They hire for the season.
Also, cleaning not acceptable to one might be acceptable to another person. What might seem worn to the home owner may seem ok to the cleaning person.
Before each season, I have the owner of the cleaning service go thru all our linens and towels and remove anything which is marginal. This way the cleaning person does not need to worry about the condition of linens and towels. The problem arises during the season as one guest might damage and not notify us.
Under those circumstances you should leave enough linen for your guest with
an extra for accidents and consider the loss part of doing business and
much cheaper than weekly inventory.
You could have a locked closet with your extra linen for replacement.
The best answer to ANY loss or damage is this: Be at the property to greet them upon check-in....and tour them around the home, condo, etc.. and say, "Here are 6 sets of bath and beach towels for you" and then tell them you will meet them next Saturday (or whenever they are checking out) to see how their vacation went, etc.... Knowing that the owner is checking them out (giving back their security deposit) is a sure fire way to getting your rental returned in pristine condition, with alll towels and items accounted for...
It may be troublesome to adjust your schedule to meet and greet your renters, however, it is so, so worth it in the long run, I developed excellent relationships with my renters and had many returns as well as great referrals. One time I had a problem and after that, I appointed either a family member or friend to greet on my behalf.
The renters take good care of a property, when they meet the owner, and knows the owner genuinely cares about their comfort and needs.
If by lose you include linens that we replace because of various damages, in 2011 we spent a few pennies over $1,200. for our one bedroom condo. It's ridiculous. The problem isn't disappearance. They are there, with stains, bleach stains, tears and pilling..
I agree, ours haven't gone missing, but gotten stained by skin cream, suntan lotion, sunning oils, bleach etc.
Have to tell you this story. Our Halloween guests went to the Lahaina Halloween party this year, but not in costume. One of the waitresses was giving them the 'what for' about not being in costume. Then she told them, they could at the very least have taken sheets from the hotel/condo, cut holes for eyes and improvised. 'I mean, whatever, they're FREE.' groan.
That story is certainly telling in the attitudes of many guests and the general public at large isn't it? It's like customers taking multiple plastic bags from Walmart for their personal use (usually for garbage bags or doggy poop bags). They're "free" so it's ok but we all end up paying in higher prices. We don't have issues with linens or pillows missing - perhaps because our island is an outpost. However we have had issues with cleaners who worked for property managers who switched really bad stuff in their homes with the nice things in our unit when those managers lost their contracts. I even had a cleaner place ripped sheets on our beds and take our 600 TC sheets home, they took our ironing board and other items. Cleaners in general don't feel it is their job to watch inventory and snitch on the guests. We pay our cleaners to be our agent $50/month to be our eyes and ears. It's amazing what a difference that has made. She knows she's in charge and is responsible and anything that comes up missing is on her. Our unit has never looked so good nor has it ever been so organized!
I would say that your housekeeper was delinquent in looking after your best interest while maintaining your home. Good riddance to them. I am glad that you published their name as this is the only way to punish them for such shotty work.
I have lost the occasional towel, spoon, glass or utensil but the item I most frequently loose are pillows! We have discovered, perhaps several guests afterwards, our pillows have been replaced, inside the pillow protector with an old, lousy, lumpy pillow and our cleaners have failed to notice...not sure how as I notice the moment I do my walk through. We supply high end, comfortable pillows which I suspect is why guests...literally steal them. I say steal as how does a crappy pillow end up inside our pillow protectors. Our cleaners do not seem to want to check for missing items and when I insist they want to charge me extra...good cleaners are in short supply in our area!
Im thinking it is the cleaners swiping your high end pillows. It just doesnt add up renters toting along old clumpy pillows in the hope of scoring an upgrade. I love all the good points here. I feel the same as the add it to cost the of doing business crowd. I have extra irons, hair dryers, chargers, spatulas, and countless pots n pans. I ship things back when they ask. (free of charge) I add that part into my marketing budget. Absorbing $1200 in linens in a season is absurd tho. My only thought is they must be eating them.
Just finished our Fall maintenance and inventory. We lost two blankets. That seemed odd since we provide beach towels and even a beach blanket for our guests. We had a couple of hand towels (white) with stains that wouldn't come clean. But, by far, our biggest loss was the tan wash cloths I provide with a sign asking people to use those, not the white ones, for removing make up. My housekeeper has been befuddled all year by bleach marks on these. We don't leave bleach out and the housekeeping staff only uses bleach on rare occasions on stained white towels but never on the tan towels. We finally realized the problem is peroxide that is in facial products! I guess it will just be the cost of doing business!
I just went through my house today checking on condition of towels, bedding, etc. Yes, I pulled a few of them out because of various stains or bleach marks. But what surprised me more than anything was the ADDITIONS to my stock -- one horrid pillow (no, it didn't replace another good pillow), one ratty beach towel, a cheap beach chair, and two towels in a color and cheap quality that I never would have purchased. I hate when these things are added to my stock -- I don't want my guests to think I'd leave such goods out for them.
I'm just in the habit of picking up new towels and sheets whenever I see them on sale or if I want to try a new brand, so I usually have way too many in stock. This really encourages me to cull any items that are a little past prime because my VR closet space is limited. Of course, my own home is now overflowing with older, lightly stained towels that are perfectly serviceable!
We were just at our VR and things were in pretty good shape. Since people have to fly in, we don't lose too much as they don't have room. We did lose one bathrobe which had a small monogram of our logo, and no one claimed to know about it. We got others. And we lost a couple of pillow cases that didn't match each other - used for taking dirty laundry home?
As to what people leave here are the most common: chargers for cell phones, iPods, laptops, etc. It used to be video camera chargers but everyone uses their phones for video now; clothes left in the dryer; liquor - we found a large unpoened bottle of Tanqueray gin (the G&Ts are on us!); hairdryers - we found 2 nice ones that we leave out for guests now; books - great for the next guests, but how many copies of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo do you need? We found 3; CDs. And, as reported in another thread, a pair of kid's flipflops in the fridge crisper drawer a couple of years ago. Still wondering about that!
I too receive more than guests take. We have chargers to fit every brand of cell phone. Certainly came in handy when I forgot my charger.
We rarely loose towels. More often than not, we end up with tye dyed towels when guests use bleach in colored towels. We now make sure there is no bleach in the house. Has helped the situation.
On a rare occassion we lose a sheet or pillowcase as the guests rip them in the wash. We have only had one guest take one king top sheet home. They offered to return it but never did. Guess they wanted the sheet more than the money we deducted from their security deposit.
We have also received many bottles of liquor and wine (unopened) which guests have left behind. We also found a very expensive watch on a bedroom windowsill. We immediately called the guests after their departure. They said it did not belong to them. My husband loves his new watch.
It's a bit strange for us with linens. We'll go months without losing any, then all of a sudden a bunch will disappear.
I love it when guests leave beer. A few weeks ago, we found a bra behind the family room sofa. Needless to say, I haven't been on the sofa since!
I haven't had anything disappear, but I have lost a lot of towels to stains and discoloration from hot tub & body/hair care products. Also, eye make-up on pillowcases is a pain to keep clean- I always discover the stain after it is coming out of the dryer. I clean my own rental & able to catch most things, but I am really picky about having nice, unstained linens for my guests and it drives me crazy when stains appaer on new towels.
I have done two things that have helped slow down the problem. 1) I purchased separate white towels for guests to use for the hot tub- this helped alot. I have left instructions in the guest book and guests have complied by using the white towels in the hot tub and colored towels in the house. 2) In each bathroom in a drawer, I have supplied two sets of tan towels that have a little bit of discoloration on them for anyone who might "use any face cleaners or bodycare products that cause discoloration". I also have the regular nice towels for guests to use that are hanging on towel racks and in the cupboard. There is a note about this in the guest book encouaraging guests to use the tan towels if needed. I went from replacing at least 1-2 towels and washcloths per month to 2 towels for the whole year that got stained.
I actually think that many people want to take care of the ammenities supplied to them, but if they are not supplied an alternative they use what they can find. Having grown up in the resort business, I also know that some people are just inconsiderate, but I have been plesantly surprised how willing my guets have been to do their bit to keep things nice.
Nancy, I like your idea of supplying some tan towels for alternate uses other than just drying off after a shower. I picked up the laundry after our last guests and found one towel absolutely destroyed with dark marks all over it. I think they used it to wipe off our deck furniture or something. I tried to bleach it overnight to no avail.
We do something similar to your tan towels. I have a small square basket in each bathroom with approximately 9 blue and green cheap washcloths (those are the colors I was able to get at the time) rolled up like egg rolls and standing up vertically in the basket. I made a little sign that says "Make up washcloths". Our guests use them regularly and I believe it's helped save many of our white, thicker washcloths.
When I have old or stained washcloths, I mark an X on the binding with a Sharpie to differentiate them from our good washcloths. Then I fold them neatly and put them in a gallon Ziploc bag under the kitchen sink in our cleaning caddy. I put an index card in the bag and it reads "Help yourself to these rags for when life gets a little messy. Thanks, Amy" A rag bag isn't the sexiest ammenity you can provide, but it sure saves on your linens and guests appreciate them!
They have to prove the stay at your condo is the proximate cause of their (ahem...!) injuries. I don't practice this type of law, but it just sounds soooo remote! I would return the 2 nights they skipped, and if she presses further, turn it over to your insurance carrier. I'm not sure if you have a deductible you have to meet, but I just get so tired of crap like this. Probably no one's ever stood up to the bully.
I don't think this is the appropriate forum to advertise your wares. This is a homeowners site to educate each other on shared experiences and processes. I would recommend the advertising section.
You're all getting one side of this story...I love the responses with no idea of the condo owner, the unit itself, the condition of the linens, or the guests the unit was rented to. We walked away because of all these factors. We only work with vacation rental companies now because of the experience with this owner.
I have a ski vacation home rental and not one on the beach so maybe that is why I am not having the same problems and most of you. I have 9 beds. I have not lost any sheets, towels, bedspreads in three years.
I don't usually lose linens as I email the guest with their booking package a complete itemized inventory of every item in the condo (every fork and towel counted) and I also have laminated inventory cards inside every cabinet. A second copy of the inventory is in the lockout for the housekeeper - so everyone knows I keep count. I also won't rent my condo to anyone local - so they aren't inviting their friends over to hang out at their beach place and aren't tempted to take things home.