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Here's something that we have fewer problems with than usual, but I always wonder about other property owners thoughts on the subject. Thankfully, very little damage has been done to our place, but the people we tend to have the most problems with are over indulgent parents who get insulted and bent out of shape when you request that kids keep their food and drink in the kitchen or sun room (rather than on living room furniture and hardwood floors which have been recently refurbished). I've had moms tell me that they allow their kids to eat anywhere they want......that they should be allowed to play with anything in the home if they are renting it, and that they will move furniture around to suit them and the kids if they feel like it. If people ask if they can do certain things, we have no problem with it, most of the time. But some young parents cop an attitude that clearly says "my kids should be allowed to do anything in your home that they want to if we are paying to stay here". One woman called the morning they were supposed to check out and told me they would like to stay till 2pm because their son wanted to "laze around in bed" and since it was their last day of vacation, she felt he should be permitted to "relax". I told her that 11 was the check out time, and that the cleaners would be there at 11:30 because the house had to be ready for new guests by 3:00. She was totally irritated, and then asked for a free stay another time because I "ruined the last day of their vacation" and her son was upset. I cannot imagine we are the only property owners that have had problems like this and I would love to hear what others have to say. I finally added a line to our site as well as our contract that says "well supervised children welcome" I think it weeds out a lot of the "run around and do whatever you want because it's not our house" parents.
By the way.....I have been hoping they would have a community board like this for a long time....it's great to be able to connect with others in the same business.
Yes, child spervision is a problem. We welcome families with children, but, jumping from the deck railing to the hot tub, jumping on the hot tub cover, rolling lawn ornaments down the hill and breaking them, finding peanut butter and jelly all over the wood dining room table, throwing rocks into the lake swimming area, etc. are difficult situations to ignore, especially when we live on the property next door. It's difficult to intervene because parents are very defensive. Then they write a bad review when you need to take some from their security deposit to rplace broken blinds, or a broken lawn ornament.
It's a problem here too... not continental children... British kids occasionally give us a headache - we don't get many Americans with children and when we have they have on the whole been absolutely fine, (we do get American forces stationed in Europe come up to the Invasion Beaches & these, have/ are some of the best guests), except for one American family who were living in UK & came to France for holiday - I was astounded how the place was left to include the front door swinging on it's hinges with the keys in the lock! Coca cola stains on the mat where kids had been watching TV - the place a tip, food everywhere and other horrors in the bathroom... if that is what you guys in the States have to contend with you have my sympathies!
I cringe when out sometimes suring the summer - my hand itches when I see badly behaved British kids running wild in Supermarkets etc. - some old fashioned discipline is needed - this is why they continental kids behave - their parents are not afraid of giving them a smack if they are ill behaved... I've seen it many times in the supermarket or restaurant, everyone just turns a blind eye, the kid soon comes round and starts behaving... obviously I am not suggesting battering kids but a short sharp smack - old fashioned discipline does work...kids push boundaries
The problem with old fashioned discipline in america is you get sued by left winged wackos if they see you spanking your child. I know when I was a kid and did things wrong I got a good smacking and didn't do it again. Trying to be diplomatic with a five year old is just credulous.
I've only had a few bad instances with children so far, one involved peeing in the bed and the parents denying it... I guess I went over there and peed on the bed. One thing I've noticed being common is that most parents wont admit to their children ever doing anything wrong. Oh well that's what you have a security deposit for I guess .
Yes, it is, and aznative, you've given such great advice, I'd like to
counter all this anti-kid (and, I've found, anti-money, stuff) tomorrow,
when I'm not dead tired. But believe me, there are very good counter
arguments to all this negative crap about kids, take it from our four years
of experience renting out an extremely high-end place: you WANT kids.
Oh Trish, how horrible! ( I always love the "you destroyed my whole vacation" line ) I hope you black listed that lady. We have 45 cabins that we rent out. We cater to couples with dogs but not families, (not to say we don't rent to families-we just don't go out marketing toward them) basically for the reasons posted above. Some of our cabins are adult only because the cabin owners have gotten fed up with destructive families. I'm o.k. with that - it sure hasn't hurt our occupancy.
It was not a fun experience, and the woman was trouble from beginning to end. We've got no problem with parents and a couple of well behaved kids, but I can almost tell the problem parents......every thing is late....they forget to return the contract on time, ask questions over and over again about the same things, and seem to make everything revolve around their kids. "oh....I've got two kids and my schedule is just SO busy" Everyone with kids is busy. Those who seem to make that the topic of conversation all the time are usually those who cause the most problems at the house. "he didn't know he wasn't supposed to pull the irrigation hoses out of the back yard garden" "she was just playing with the figurine and broke it." It's not the kids fault....it's their over indulgent parents who won't take the trouble to watch what they are doing.
Trish, I agree with you 100%. It really is the parents. They never fess up when their child does damage. At least with dogs I'll get a call from the Guardian to say "You're not going to believe what my dog did". Then they say, "just charge my credit card. I LOVE guests like that.
I think this is a very common problem when renting a holiday home. We have a bond of $300 and our guests sign a registration form on arrival with a shortened version of the Terms and Conditions of rental (most important points) at the end of it. They also get given a full copy of the T. & C's. I always explain to guests with children that there will be a deduction from the bond if we find food stains or bits of leftovers on the sofas and chairs! Our extra cleaning rate is $30 per hour, and this makes most guests more careful with your property. However there are always those people who think that because they have paid a rent, they can do what they like with the home.
I responded to this concern a few days ago. I love these posts that allow us owners an opportunity to share and help each other with our concerns
When I follow up by deducting from the security deposit, the renters become very angry. There were pieces of different games missing, and there were stains on the sofa. One strip from the blinds was broken by the bed that 2 boys slept in. I sent the piece of the blind along with a letter explaining why I had to take some of their security deposit. The mother wrote me a long letter stating that I was prejudiced against children in my home, and on and on. She said that she was going to write a review telling what a terrible owner I was, and how unfair I was.
I was so nervous about a damaging review. The renters really have contol over the reviews venting their emotional response, covering up their children's damages to a beautiful home.
Fortunately. I didn't receive a review from this renter.
Pat, this is the whole reason I don not take a damage deposit now... we are not in the education business we are in the rental business - when someone behaves as you describe it is because they don't know better - is it us that is going to pull the scales from their eyes - they see the 'light' and accept their behaviour is inappropriate because we try to charge them... no, we get angst, stressed and indignant then start giving bad vibes to other renters.
I firmly believe it's 1:50 that makes a mess and damage...I warn my helpers so they are aware that when it is bad I expect extra cleaning without moans but as I point out the other 49 times it's OK and in some cases we have even had the house handed back cleaner than we handed it over - (had 1 lady in who spent her whole 2 week holiday doing all the jobs we do at the end of the season - she did apologize & explain she's a compulsive cleaner & can't sit still!).
Anyone who has the mentality to make a mess on soft furnishing etc. hasn't been educated and these people don't see it as a problem, plus know every which way not to pay!
The old rule applies - never put anything in your rental you would be upset about if it was damaged, destroyed or stolen. Of course make it as best you can but it is a business... how do shopkeepers cope having shoplifters everyday?
When I started this business 10 years ago a wise person said to me you have to be prepared to throw out furniture etc. on a regular basis ... they were right! When I look back over the years, we've even taken a corner sofa to the tip, I am convinced a kid jumped on it... but what is the point of going down a huge argumentative route... the part that really annoyed me is they didn't tell us - left a note with the sofa propped up on a saucepan, had used it like this the whole week, so we had less than 3 hours to find replacement furniture before the next folk were due in! In those days I was up for confronting them... I got the answer the quality was not strong enough... we had bought it from an Ikea type store so they possibly had a point.
I have had a shutter completely destroyed - electric shutter that comes down for security - the repair man couldn't believe it as these are burglar proof... the people that stayed completely denied it... got absolutely nowhere with them... so we had to claim on our insurance.
I now have throws with a spare set - every letting, clean throws go on all the soft furnishings... this helps enormously.
I find damage deposits are confrontational so this is what we say...
As you are aware we don't charge for dogs or charge a damage deposit - all we ask is that the house is treated with respect and handed back in a good condition.
I have to say since adopting this attitude our damage has actually decreased... plus I am more relaxed with folk - if anything does happen I am somehow on a stronger morale ground in tackling the situation.
Very interesting view on this, Tansy. While I agree that many things are just going to get broken, stained, worn out, or soiled to the point of replacement, I don't agree that some renters should not be held responsible for things that are done out of total disregard and irresponsibility on the part of parents.
In reality, and not to be 'preachy' I think it reflects a lot of the way society is these days. It's all about ME. ME and my kids do what we want, to whom we want. Heaven forbid we are told how to act, how to treat one another, or how to show some respect for other's belongings. And how dare anyone ask someone to pay for something that we allowed our children to break or ruin.
Of course, it is everyone's choice as to how many times they ask for payment on damage to a vacation home, or if they ask at all. But I have decided not to become one who excuses other's pathetic lack of respect and their flippant attitudes for the behavior of their children because they can't learn better. They will never learn if they are constantly given a pass on their own lack of responsibility. There is always some excuse, some reason (usually the person who owns the property) for the problem other than them. When I've stood my ground, we've had payments made and no bad reviews from them; in fact they usually say "yes...sorry, the kids broke that". I also let people know from the start that we do have some nice stuff in the house and that if they can't take care of it, perhaps another rental is best for them....I spell it out on our site...well-supervised kids welcome. We've had very little problems, because we seem to attract the kind of people who feel the place is special and should be treated as such.
Don't take me wrong, I'm not telling anyone how to handle their situation, I'm just saying I won't participate in giving people free rein in our property and allowing them to tell me they don't know better than to destroy things. I don't want a bunch of "Lindsey Lohan" renters who will not take responsibility for their own actions.
so if they completely and absolutely deny it and start foaming at the mouth with abuse - they know where the house is and are vindictive... what then?
Of course I don't condone bad behaviour - 3 times in 10 years I've had really a hard time... Peterborough, Liverpool & some Americans that were living & working in the UK...threw me as they had a top notch post code when I took the booking - they were in a company let.
I google street map to see the property they live in before confirming... I suppose I have a natural sieve for Americans as I mainly get Forces stationed over in Europe or folk travelling around Europe and most often groups of friends touring Europe in their early 60's & great fun - I don't get the families as you do... but as I said in an earlier post if that was an example of the American family it's a worry.
This debateexplains very well why I was so shocked dismayed and horrified at HomeAways ad in the Superbowl... I read it that it was OK for families to behave exactly as they like in a hotel room or a rental property... it gave off all the wrong signals... the baby thrown against the glass was just the cherry on top for crassness!
I totally agree with the commercial focus. And again...it's the typical way people are represented now. Overall, I don't think people act this way. I still like to believe that most people act civilized when in any setting. But look at commercials these days and children are always depicted as out of control, making a complete mess, and Mom smiles happily and cleans up the mess with some revolutionary new cleaning product. And winks at the camera. My Mom would have made ME clean it up and I would have been grounded and reprimanded till my parents felt I had learned a lesson. As a society, we watch these depictions of bad behavior and we are encouraged to "let it go". I just don't buy it.
The homeaway commercial showed people acting like banshees in the hotel room and I was thinking......"geez.......are we now encouraging THAT kind of behavior in rental homes? If so, leave me out of it". It would have been so much better to show a family cramped, having housekeeping knocking on the door at 9am, while they were still eating breakfast in the room, having no where to stretch out, etc. And then have them in a rental home, with space, privacy, perhaps a back yard patio, etc. Why show lunatics bouncing on beds and yelling?
problem is they have spent so much on this stupid campaign they are still using it in a diluted way... who exactly are they trying to attract to book our properties? I always thought self catering attracted the folk that wanted to do their own thing, not herded in a group on a package deal... in other words educated folk... so why are they aiming down market?
I agree with all you say Trish - but we can't educate so why alienate the good guys? There's more of them,,, so when I get a bad guy I'm celebrating because that means it's all good guys for a while!
Tansy...interesting perspective on HomeAway's Super Bbowl ad. I never thought about it that way.
Trish, just asking, but don't you think it's just possible that the kids make an easy scapegoat for adults afraid to tell you that they or their friends got drunk and broke it themselves? I'm very skeptical about this party line that if you take kids, they will break your things and run amok. I've rented a $995/nt. villa to families with small children for four years now, as well as groups of adults, and I can tell you from experience that it's drunken adults who usually break things. I have never once in four years had damage from children, but adults have broken wine glasses (no charge for that), punched holes in walls, left spilled drinks sitting on my wood floors, flushed washcloths down the toilets and ruined the sewage pump, had water balloon fights on the wood floors (had to refinish), ripped sheets, flooded carpets, etc. NONE of this damage was done by kids; it was all done by adults, most of them drinking. It sounds a lot better to say "the kid's did it," than to admit the adults got a bit out of control on vacation. Adults do more damage than kids any time. But we're on site, so we see it. The families with kids have been so great, that we actually prefer them. But by all means, when something is broken, that isn't minor, charge for it.
Hmmmmm.....no, I don't think it's the parents or their friends getting drunk and doing things. Our best friends in San Diego love on both sides of our house. They meet everyone because the houses are so close, and we actually tell guests to feel free to talk to our neighbors and ask about special events, restuarants, etc that we may have missed on our literature regarding the house. There have been a couple times when our friends have said "the people in the house now brought a dog (not allowed) or "they have additional people staying at the house". So we would know if there was a drunk-fest going on.
I don't understand why some people are so adamant about saying anyone who has has problems in the past with kids is "anti kid" and is spouting "crap". If people will go back and read MY posts, I have given people the benefit of the doubt, have said that by far, most are fine and their kids cause no problem, but that there is an element of "my kid can do whatever he/she wants and you better not say anything negative about it" out there. We have been extremely fortunate at our place that I can literally count on one hand the serious damages done that required much work or money to remedy. BUT....counter to what you've experienced, all of the damage has been done by children except in once incident. We do not cater to college students or young people on vacation with a whole army of guests who will get drunk, have water balloon fights, etc. But writing on walls, spreading peanut butter on chairs, spilling cups of Gatoraide on the couch, etc. have all been kid-done damages, as well as the incident with pulling the drip systems out of the plantings in the yard. And all have been the result of parents not keeping an eye on the kids. If you will read my posts.......I am not anti kid and am not spouting crap......I blame the PARENTS for not supervising their kids well enough to pre-empt the problems listed above.
Of course, your friends cannot know who broke something INSIDE the house, or
how tipsy an adult may have been before dinner if having cocktails with
friends, or drinking late at night, INSIDE the house. It does not take a
"drunk-fest" for an adult to be off balance or break something, but blaming
the kids is an easy scapegoat. Adult friends DO drink, commonly, together on
vacation; that's not a 'drunk-fest.' But they can be loud. Now that we
screen better and take responsible families over groups of all adults, we
have FAR less problems and damage, and none from kids. I'm glad you have a
deposit; I haven't needed that. It may be your particular situation, I
don't know. I just know my own experience with families vs. all adults over
four years, so yes, I do question when people seem too quick to blame
children and make big generalizations about them, and their parents. It
doesn't match my experience. And it comes off so readily negative, that I
do think it CAN be a knee-**** reaction, and can be almost offensive at
times. But if someone wants to cut off some of the best guests out there,
that's their right, I agree with you.
I think you've got me totally wrong and I'm not sure why. No where have I said I want to "cut off" the best guests.
I just want to make sure I tell people that they must supervise their kids well. I don't think that's a crime. And scribbling on the walls and the other damage we've had done (leaning on the screens and pushing the screen through the door) are things that kids have done several times. I doubt that adults who drink too much are going to be doing the exact same damage......since they are different people. What comes off so "readily negative"? Having someone say "I was watching a DVD and didn't realize that Tristin was writing with the crayons on the wall in the bedroom"?
Remember, every situation is different. Every home is different. Ours is a block from the San Diego zoo....so the vast majority of my guests have kids. I just don't care for those who allow kids to run wild in the house. Is that a crime? Does anyone else have feedback on this?
I'm sorry I offended you. You just come off as extremely angry. I'm
sorry you've had such bad experiences.
Ok...I gotta say I think you are attributing things to me that are not mine. I am not the person who stated that kids should be whipped, I'm not advocating not allowing kids, I am not saying anything negative about kids. There are a lot of other posts here that have much more irritation with kids and over indulgent parents than mine. I'm the one who said "there are some bad apples out there, but happily, most of the apples are good" Where are you getting the angry issue? I'm offended only because you seemed to have singled me out as the only person who has ever had any type of problem with kids. I have made it very clear that MOST of the kids/families we have are fine. I see a lot of anger in your posts in which you state that those of us who are expressing concern with damages, etc are spouting "negative crap", etc. I thought this was to be a civil exchange of ideas, not bashing one another with insults when someone has a different experience than another poster. I had no anger at all until you started making me the target of your apparent disapproval of those who find fault with parents who don't care what their kids do.
I'm sorry, I really am, I see I've offended you, but your last post, and now
this one, did seem especially angry to me, first about children, and now
about me. Perhaps you're just the most vocal about your feelings about what
you feel kids have done to you; I certainly didn't mean to single you out.
I just wanted to counter the negativity I was reading here about renting to
families with kids, whether you rent to them or not. There is another
economic and practical argument. I've had a hugely positive experience,
compared to all adults, and wanted to get an opposite view across. I
believe you've had bad experiences, I do. Sorry.
I totally agree with Trish. Maureen and Trish, you really need to let this go. Let's use this forum for what it is meant to be. To share ideas and maybe use someone's advice. I find these forums great. I've picked up some good ideas, and even feel a little better when I read that others are having similar problems. You two just need to agree to disagree. I have disagreed with a person's response to my concern about charging parents for damage that their children have done, but I just let it go by. Let's just pick out the good ideas that fit our situation, and move on. Please:)
Gee, Stellaval, I would think that saying "sorry I offended you" is
"agreeing to disagree." With all due respect, I thought I WAS "sharing
ideas" and giving "advice." I thought the topic was the pros and cons of
taking children. Trish asked: "I would like to hear the thoughts of others
on this." So I gave mine, citing my experience and reasons. Are you saying
that because she didn't like those thoughts, and you agree with her, that
they are not valid "ideas" and "advice for this forum?" Why do you think I
wrote them? I thought people might think twice and profit from them, as my
clients have. I did not see the other side, regarding children, represented
here. Are opposing ideas not welcome? Had I agreed with her about kids,
would you have written that email? No. Your attempts at censoring what you
don't like are given away by declaring your "100% agreement" with one side,
then declaring false neutrality. You are not a moderator. All of our ideas
are welcome here, yours, mine, and Trish's. This is, as you say, a forum
for IDEAS. Opposing ideas should be tolerated (and perhaps learned from),
not shut down. Please respect that. I did not shut you down when you
expressed your ideas and experiences on this; I would like the same
consideration from you. Please.
I'm sorry that you felt that I was shutting you down - definitely not! You have posted some great stuff on several forums. I'm simply asking that you and Trish 'move on' and let it go.
I agree with stellaval. Your flooding my inbox with emails that are unnecessary.
Check out our condo on the slopes of Northstar;
Simplify the management of your rental!
Dava, I do not know who you are, nor have I ever sent a single email to your
"inbox." All of my comments have been public, on this forum. Please stop
making false accusations. If someone is sending you emails, it is not me.
Every time anyone posts in a thread such as this one, that person then receives everyone else's comments delivered to their inbox. So though you're not directly sending your posts to Dava, for example, she is still receiving your posts in her inbox.
You can adjust your email preferences by following Meredith's directions below.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to let me know.
HomeAway Community Manager
P.S. Thanks to everyone in this thread for expressing a diverse range of opinions, experiences and feedback. I think we ALL agree that a wide range of viewpoints is enlightening.
Thanks, Laura. I know I do.
You can stop receiving emails every time someone comments on a post you have also commented on by changing your preferences.
Thank you so much for the advice. It was getting irritating reading emails from the same two people. I didn't realize that I opted in for them to go into my inbox every time some one comments. Again, thank you for the simple fix.
Easy answer: I too never take security deposits anymore. But I'm fully protected. We simply put a clause at the bottom of the contract that says: "Any damages will be documented and charged to the credit card used to book the rental, with prior notice." Period. They sign the bottom. They love it, because they don't have to come up with a damage deposit up front, and I love it because I don't have to scrape it together to give it back if I just paid the mortgage. Even if they did try to do a chargeback, they would lose, because you just show Visa the signed contract. I have never had anyone protest signing this, ever. Plus, it covers you for anything you can document, without them having to put up an arm and a leg. It's a win-win.
Maureen, sounds like doing this works great for you.
My question to you (and to all who accept only credit cards)...isn't the merchant fees eating into your profit. We have to charge usuage tax on the rental fee so that is a merchant fee on money that we send on the govenment. We charge a damage deposit and there is another merchant fee on money once when it paid and once when we return to the guest. We could do it the way you do it but there are still the merchant fees for the rental fee and the usage tax.
You're certainly correct about that, we do pay merchant fees, though not on
the deposit since we don't need to charge one with our contract protecting
us. But we just consider it the cost of doing business, in exchange for
getting paid immediately upon booking, rather than waiting and waiting for
that check that comes late, or not at all. We used to wait for checks, not
knowing they'd changed their minds, while we turned away new bookings for
their dates. Now I don't consider a property booked until the first payment
is made, but I get it immediately over the phone. In fact, most of our
guests are even happy to pay in full up front, more than 60 days in advance
(the reg. due date), in exchange for a small discount or other perks, which
really makes our cash flow much better (we have a huge mortgage).
So yes, we would make slightly more money in the end with checks or cash,
but we'd also be more vulnerable to fraud, bad checks, and people just
wasting our time and changing their minds, so in the end, coupled with the
full protection this method affords against damages, as well as freedom from
deposits, I think it's the safest policy. Plus we don't have to raise
deposits to the sky to cover possible larger damages. But we never charge
for little things.
Maureen, I love your system for covering damages and would like start doing something simiilar.
I have a practical question, however ... how do you document that the damage was done by that guest?
I'm worried that the guest will say "it was like that when I got there."
Even if I had personally inspected the apartment and knew that the item was NOT damaged before their arrival, wouldn't it be just "their word against ours" in a credit card chargeback dispute?
Have you actually had to charge the customers for anything, and how did it go over? Did the customers dispute the charge?
I'm also wondering ... do you video and photograph the apartment to document its condition, before the arrival of each guest? I hope not, because that would be too difficult for us ... please advise.
Your question is logical, but you should know that it would be no different
if you charged a cash deposit upfront, like most people. Homeaway and VRBO
counsel that you must "document" each damage charge, regardless, whether you
charged up front and are going to deduct it from their deposit, or going to
charge them from their credit card. You can't just keep someone's deposit,
legally, without presenting documentation of charges, receipts or quotes for
repair, etc. People do it, of course, and get away with it, but if they
were challenged in a chargeback, they would have to prove it. So it's the
same either way, just simpler and less inconvenient to most sides, either
way. The only time I have had to collect, with a brand new charge on the
card (no deposit was taken), was the college student party (one time in four
years). I sent a series of diplomatic emails, detailing one set of charges
at a time, and "asked" for his permission to charge the card, counting on
his conscience, and my writing skills. I would have charged him anyway,
because yes, I took pictures of the fresh damage (holes in wall, spoiled
wood floor finish, etc.) But I would rather do it without a fight, so I
pretended to "ask" his permission, of course accepting his explanation that
it was his friend, etc., etc., and "admiring" his sense of responsibility,
etc. There are ways of doing this. So I collected first for the holes in
the wall, and the extra cleaning. THEN I wrote to him about the floor (we
tried to fix it first), and told him I'd send him quotes. I sent him two
sky-high ones, which panicked him. Then one low one, which pleased and
relieved him. There is an art to this. I got another $1,000 out of him.
THEN, one and a half months later, and no, I could never have proved it, our
sewage pump went out, because during their party someone had flushed
washcloths down the toilet. $335 to pump, new $3,000 pump (upgrade). I
sent him yet another email, explaining the pump guy dated the dead pump back
to over a month. He was NOT happy, but I wasn't greedy, and charged him
just the pump fee, not the new $3,000 pump, because we upgraded, and needed
it. He was actually GRATEFUL. But yes, to answer your question, I did take
pictures AFTER, of the damage, and not before (no one has that kind of time,
I don't blame you). I would have charged him regardless (but you get more
flies with honey and an appeal to conscience), and I would have used those
pictures with Visa had he fought it. I am a merchant in real life and have
won before. It's ALWAYS your word against theirs; but when you have
documentation such as pictures, Visa is most likely going to honor it.
After all, if it was there before, why wouldn't you have charged the last
people? It just doesn't make sense. Again, my point is, if you just hold
it back from a deposit you took, you will have the same burden of proof,
legally, according to VRBO and Homeaway, so that's not relevant as to which
method is best. We just got tired of having to come up with money that
already went to the mortgage (because we always paid it back). It was a
hassle. This is so much easier, and you can use it as a "perk" to sell a
rental, saying you will waive the security deposit, as long as they pay with
a credit card. Renters LOVE this, and it has "clinched" the deal many
times, so there's yet another plus! So actually it's made us money.
I agree with Maureen...this is the absolute way to handle this type of issue whether it is with a credit card number on file or a security deposit. We collect a security deposit and the problem with that, in this instance, is that it would not have been enough to cover the additional costs with the pump.
Maureen, would you mind sharing which merchant you use for your credit card payments. I have a home that I own and also have homes that we act as property manager for and the back and forth with security depsoits is starting to get out of hand. We do not allow our renters to pay the secuirty deposit or tax with a credit card so even if the renter wants to pay with a credit card, they still need to mail a check for the SD. Every time I turn around I am collecting or returning a security deposit. It is time to come up with a new way of dealing with this. Thanks
it's easy to document. Photograph the house before and after every rental. If you are not there personally to do it perhaps the cleaning service can do it for you. You can leave a disposable camera in a locked linen closet and the cleaning people use the same camera for before and after. Then, if there is damage you can print the pictures for proof.
I agree with Trish. Having taught elementary school for 36 yrs., I can tell many stories about parents who feel that their children do no wrong. As home owners, it is not our job to teach parents how to raise their children, but we can and must charge them when their children break things in our home.
I agree with replacing linens and towels. etc., but not regularly throwing out furniture. Also, I take a different perspective on renting our home. This is not a business for us. It is our primary home. So, I can definitely see where we will not have the same expectations. We move out for 10 or 11 weeks each year, and rent it. It helps us pay for the mortgage and taxes. I thoroughly enjoy meeting people and their families from all over the world. It is usually a very rewarding experience. However, I will never stop requiring a security depostit. People have never said that they think it is an unfair practice. Three renters in 4 years have been upset that I didn't return their full deposit.
I'm in the boat you are in, Stellaval. We don't HAVE to rent our home to everyone, and it has been in our family 53 years. Since I was a baby, I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa's house in San Diego. It's the only house that has been a constant in my live and my family's life......all the rest of us have moved around the country, but our place in San Diego has always been there. When people read about the history of our place, they seem to appreciate it more. It's a financial help to pay the high San Diego property taxes and keep the house in good condition, and I love meeting people from all over.....England, Ireland, France, even Australia and Germany, and of course, the US.
Like you, Stellaval, I will always require a deposit and no one has ever commented negatively on it.
Everyone has to find the best way for them to handle their property. Yikes....coming back and vandalizing the house....never thought of it, but all of our renters are from hundrends and sometimes many thousands of miles away. Happily, in my case, I doubt they would spend the money on the airfare to fight over a couple of hundred bucks worth of damage. If so, they would have to be certifiably insane.
Have you ever identified who actually creates damage?
Last year 75% of our business was German in our small units - we had 1 incident with 2 dogs being in season unbeknown to us allowed to sleep on the bed... I had to throw out a whole set of bedding including the quilt... the 1st and only time with Germans a slight problem.
I've had problems twice with British who at one stage made up 70% of our business in our beach houses and 1 with the American family plus 1 time a Dutch family. So if I calculate in 9 years we've rented out 200 weeks we've had 4 incidents of damage.
I've had the place left fairly dirty on a few occasions... needed a lot of cleaning and putting back everything in it's right place.
Maybe I'm a stickler - I was bought up a forces child my father in the forces for 36 years it's been drummed into me leave as found.
Our few bad apples have been from different backgrounds. I think there are bad apples everywhere.......thankfully......most of the apples are good
I'm in the US and very rarely get guests from out of the country however I have to say if someone has british accent they are more often than not really wonderful guests. We too have researched the "type" guest that is more likely to be a problem. Families with young children (say age 7 and under) are very ******* our cabins. New parents are so stressed and protective they are ******* our staff. Older couples seem to run the extremes: either they are wonderful or they nit-pic everything. College couples are more likely than not to demand compensation when things happen (weather, hot tubs etc). Generally our perfect guests are 2 adults and 2 dogs-the bigger the dog-the better. I think it's because most vacation rentals don't allow big dogs-but we love them! They are also more likely to be able to afford a vacation (we call them "dinks" on this side of the pond Double Income No Kids) where families may struggle more financially.
Love this thread - I'm learning a lot!
I quite often rent to families and I have a locked cupboard with games and puzzles in it. My instructions tell renters where the key is, and that they are welcome to open it if they will supervise their children playing with the games and puzzles. The last time I visited the cabin, I found that cupboard in disarray, with puzzle pieces out of the boxes, and I found several marbles and game pieces under beds and other furniture....which is an issue because I have a 10 month old grandson who puts everything he finds on the floor in his mouth...and I suspect that all toddlers do the same. So I put the key on my key ring and brought it home. No more use of that cupboard for my guests. It's too bad that some spoil it for others, but I'd hate to have my grandson...or another guest's child choke on a stray game piece.
I agree, Birdee...it's always the few lackers that ruin it for everyone. We bought toys and fun stuff for kids and between parents allowing them to take the stuff home with them, breaking and losing it, or scraping the hard wood floors with the stuff, we finally gave up on it and took all the toys and games out of the house.
I have my renters agree to the rental agreement and it states that if the house is not left in resonable condition(not perfect, but not trashed) I will charge $50 an hour for cleaning. This is also posted in the house with instructions on how to leave the house. Run washer, lock the door etc.
I haven't had many issues this year.
I provide a lot of stuff for kids and families as well. Pack&Play, stroller, games, kids cups etc. and I have found that folks comment nicely when you go the extra mile, especially for their kids.
I always include in my final package of documents a note requesting that our guests limit eating/drinking to the kitchen/dining area, because stains/spills do occur - there's nothing more irritating that seeing red juice stains everywhere. Additionally, our cottage is in the maritime forest, so critters aren't unusual and limiting that stuff helps in keeping the mice away. I've also found magic markers drawings on the wall and parents who let their children paint my sea shells and fixtures....nice! Perhaps the most aggravating circumstance, however, were urine stains - when I brought it up to the guest because of the additional laundering we had to do, SHE gets angry at ME because...darn it...she was helping to toilet train her granddaughter and that sort of thing happens! UGH! I guess it's something we all have to contend with - when I get a guest who makes a point to tell me that they'll take good care of my house and treat it as if it were their own, that's music to my ears.....I just pray they take good care of their house!
I recently had renters with 2 very young, unsupervised, spoiled little boys. They pulled out half of the silicone around our pool (between the fiberglass edge & concrete)! The parents showed pieces of it to me & said it just started appearing in the pool & in the landscape. I showed them where it came from and they acted like they had no clue how it happened.
Michele', What a terrible experience. Were you able to fix the silicone? Did you use money from the security deposit?
I've thought of charging extra for people with children/teens, but it would probably put us out of business. We have rentals in Alaska & kids outdoors can get pretty dirty. I had a renting mom with 2 teenage daughters. I think mom slept through the weekend and put the 2 teenage girls in charge. It was still cold outside and they went around kissing all the outside windows with thick chapstick on. Needless to say, it was summer before I could get all the kiss marks off the windows. Washing windows at below 32...forget it. They also decided to dry their wet and sandy outer clothing in the dryer without washing them.
We had to have the Sears repairman out to get all the sand out of the outside drum of the dryer and I had to completely clean and scrub the inside of the dryer. I love kids and have raised a few myself. I know what they're capable of....it can be scary. On the other hand, one of the girls painted a beautiful picture of the mountains and thanked us for the wonderful weekend they had "away from it all." It's a bittersweet relationship. Anyone who raised a few knows. Supervision...it's a wonderful thing.
I thoroughly enjoyed your style of writing, and the message it had. BUT.... that is not normal wear damage. Did you charge them for the damages?
A 3 yr old and 7 month old thoroughly enjoyed themselves in our lake, and the parents bought a blow up pool and put it next to the hot tub. The little ones had fun, and so did the adults. When they're small enough, parents seem to supervise them very well.
Right now we have a family with a teen. He's been great. But......he had an uncle visit for the day who smoked and threw butts on the driveway, and they brought a dog - 2 definite no no's in our lease agreement. We went over to pick up their garbage, and made a point of bending over and picking up the cigarette butts, and gently told them that the dog could not enter the house, and please pick up any doggie doo. They took the dog home. and came back.
Yes.......supervision is the key to having a good experience with renters and their kids. I find that if you mention how important supervision is and that you expect it.........most reasonable adults will make every effort to take care of the property. I have "well supervised kids welcome" on all my literature. We've had a few rotten eggs, but most are pretty watchful of the kids.
In reply to Trish's original post...I blame the parents when I see kids acting out unacceptably.It seems to me that a lot of 30 something and young 40's parents have what is to me an unusual way of rearing children. They seem to be over indulgent...think that talking instead of reprimanding is the way to deal with unruly kids. There doesn't seem to be consequences for unacceptable behavior. I do not put up with that in pretty much any setting. If it is in my own home and a parent (regardless if it is a friend or even a family member) does not take action, then I do. Recently I was in a store and the lady in front of me was paying for her purchases. She had 2 kids. One was an infant that she was holding and one about 6. The 6 year old was repeatedly banging the empty stroller into the check out desk while the mom was busy and not paying attention to him (though I don't know how as he was right next to her). After a minute or to of this, I told the child to stop it...and he did.
Children of all ages need supervision and need to know that bad behavior will not be accepted...no matter when or where.
The lady with the son that wanted to "laze around" until after check-out time is irresponsible and is of a personality type that thinks that this is acceptable behavior. People want a lot of things and just as the saying goes "people in hell want ice water, it doesn't mean they are going to get it". She would not be able to let her son do this in a hotel and she knows it but thinks she has you over a barrell because, as owners we try to get repeat renters and are concerned with bad reviews. they try to use it as leverage.
My vacation home and my clients vacation homes are to be treated and respected as if they are in my own home. I go out of my way to accommodate my renters and make sure that their stay is as enjoyable as possible with as many extra's, etc., as possible but I do not tolerate anything that goes against our policies.
I am in business and can not let the concern of losing a repeat renter or a bad review affect my better judegement, after all, my policies are there for a reason. If a renter can not adhere to them then they are not really the type of renter I want anyway. I do not believe that having a vaction rental home that allows children should feel that replacing furniture on a regular basis is part of doing business.
The biggest problem that I have had with unsupervised children (and it wasn't really a large problem) was that the towel bar in the master bathroom was ripped out of the wall. We believe that a child had hung from it. I can't remember if the renter told me about the damage or if I had to approach them regarding it, but the response was that "there were more children than adults to supervise". Well...duh...that is usually the case and not an acceptable reason. We took the cost of fixing the wall, replacing the towel bar and the labor out of their security deposit. I did not get a bad review and may even have gotten a good one.
Note: Each owner has to have in place policies or ways to deal with issues that works for them. For myself..."well supervised children" makes me feel like I am talking about a pet. That is how we state that pets are accepted..."if they are well trained and well supervised". But hey...if it works for you...then go for it. We state in our contract and in our welcome notes that damage to the home is the guests responsibility and the cost for repairs and parts will come out of their security deposit. It may not keep problems from happening but hopefully it will act a deterrant if it hits the parents in their pocketbook and if nothing else, I am not paying for repairs. There are enough repairs as part of a homes maintenance that owners need to pay for...damage caused by renters should not be one of them.
I totally agree with you about the parents....it's been my gripe all along. Not the kids, but the 'parents' who do not parent. I think too many try to be their kids' best friends instead of their life guides, which is what parents are for.
The "well supervised" works great for us and no one has ever mentioned it negatively. I get a lot of parents who say 'don't worry...we're not one of those groups who will let our kids run wild and ruin the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or hurt your house" Most of the stuff that has happened has been when the parents are in the back yard, the kids are in the front, or the kids are wandering around the house and drawing on walls while the parents are doing something else.
Yes, we have had damage with kids jumping on the sleeper sofa and breaking it. We also had a toddler flush a toy down the toilet and had to have a plumber come in late at night when a new tenant was there and snake the toilet. We've had other issues but the last one was a young child was unsupervised and took scissors to our quilt. We've had enough. We no longer rent to more than 2 people in our condo unit even though it will sleep 4. It's a shame that irresponsible adults ruin sleeping arrangements for other people. I did more than took photos of the ruined quilt. I shipped the quilt to the parents, along with the bill for the quilt and the shipping charges. I told the parents I hoped they enjoyed their child's artwork.
I've had adults flush wash cloths down the toilet. Age doesn't seem to matter. And according to our septic guy: "garbage, condom wrappers, hygiene wipes," etc. It used to cost us $700 twice a year to fix the septic pump. I put up little signs, and we got it down to once a year. But when the 20-somethings (a rare slip-up in my screening!) flushed washcloths down the toilet, and killed the pump, we finally had to bite the bullet and pay $3,335 to install the new "chew-up-blue-jeans-and-spit-them-out" super-duper septic pump. Ouch! But we'll never have to do it again, the manufacturer claims. At the plumbing supply shop demos, they throw TEDDY BEARS into it, and it spits them out in pieces!
I now tell them if it is a call out it costs them a minimum of 250€ - that's what it costs us... funnily enough since doing that message never had we another problem... touch wood and all that!!
I don't know your system, but how do you know it's the present group that
did it, since stuff can whirl around quite awhile before getting caught in
the pump? In our case with the 20-somethings, they were the only renters we
had around the time the pump had stopped working, and they had thrown an
unallowed party where the young people got very drunk, put holes in the
wall, etc., so we knew it was them. Luckily, the main kid didn't fight me
when I charged him for the damage, because I stupidly had NO contract, for
the first time. I charged him for many other things, with his permission
(in writing on emails!), but for the pump, I could only charge him the $350
to pump it out, because the new pump was a massive upgrade which also took
lots of extra electrical wiring. So we ate the extra 3 grand. He would have
fought me on that, and it would have been hard to prove in court.
But good for you, I think that's GREAT that you've found a way to keep
them in line. My little signs only half worked; I'd seen them all over
Mexico. My signs warned that the toilets would overflow during their stay if
the pump stopped up! (A white lie.) Your way works better. WHY do adults
throw strange things down the toilet???
LOL I think we need to redefine the term 'children'. I had a 21 yr old call me who wanted to rent for a total of 8 of the same age to celebrate a birthday in our home on the lake. Told 'em our house wasn't a good fit for that.
In 3 wks I have a very nice family with 2 autistic kids staying in our home. They came to visit the property before paying (yesterday) They are very aware of their 6 yr old's and 12 yr old's needs. I met the 6 yr old who is very impulsive and likes to throw stones and sticks. But, I have a gut feeling that all will be OK. He was a loving sweetheart.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Good for you, Stellaval! They will probably be great. I have a family of
15 right now, and they are the quietest, politest guests I think we've ever
had. I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm going to offer them half price
in Low Season to come back. 3 generations, polite, smiling kids, sweet
older adults, just wonderful people. But read below:
Did you hear the Sonoma County CA horror story that almost brought us ALL
down? Stupid management company lady breaks her own company's rules and
rents to an 18 yr. old guy because "he had such nice eyes, and a firm
handshake." (Rule was over 21 only). He tells her he's shipping off to
Iraq (his mom said Afghanistan later, can't get their stories straight) and
needs a quiet house on the river to propose to his girlfriend the night
before he leaves. She takes him. He turns around and SELLS $5 tickets to as
many as 500 teenagers for a rave dance party. 80 of them pack the deck
dancing and, yup, it collapses. No one died, but one girl lost a foot, so
of course her parents are suing. The poor homeowner, paying 20% to the man.
co., had no part in this. The con man's mom says: "They rented my son an
unsafe house!" (Can you believe her?) Turns out he's never been in the
service. I hope the homeowner sues not only the con-kid, but sues the hell
out of the "agency" and the idiot owner who swooned over "those eyes, that
handshake." Homeowner will probably lose their house, and now ALL of us in
So. Co. are under strict new rules, huge outcry against us. And the kid:
scot-free. He's Calvin Klein's new boy-toy, the paper says, traveling the
world to parties with Calvin. No justice.
OMG The horror story you described is truly a disaster. It helps to strengthen my belief that my vacation home on the lake will be monitored by us, the owners. That situation would have been nipped right in the bud, if some responsible management, or owners would notice when the 3rd or 4th car showed up, and realize that something is not right.
Interesting, I could no longer find the discussion that I started about what to do when you receive a bad review. Our renters felt that we were keeping tabs on them when extra cars and guests not on the lease agreement showed up, and we very nicely went to 'check it out'. We graciously allowed the extra guests to stay, but, if it were the beginning of a 'rave dance' or any unsafe condition, we'd be there to stop it. (wondering if homeaway management is removing some of our discussions - maybe it's there some place, but I couldn't find it.)
So sad that the incident in Sonoma County affects all.
It is unfortunate that one bad apple can affect so many.
Some of us owners do not live near our rental properties so are unable to check-in guests or check up on guests.
We have neighbors that let us know if something seems to be not quite right and my housekeeper lives down the street from one of the properties and keeps an eye on it.
It's a 17 hour drive to my cabin, so obviously I cannot check up on my renters or personally welcome them. I have made it a point to know my neighbors there and exchange phone numbers and emails with with. In fact, the last time I was there in June, I notified our neighbor that a bear had torn off the door frame of his house and dug a hold in the siding...he came up to his cabin the next day.
We have a noise ordinance in our county and I include it in my rental agreement.
El Dorado County Ord. 762.1 states: “It shall be unlawful for any person on residential property or a public way to make or continue, or cause to be made or continued, any offensive, excessive, unnecessary, or unusually loud noise or any noise which either annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of others on residential property or public.”
Our county also limits the number of guests and the number of vehicles overnight in the licensing procedure, and that's also clearly spelled out in the information I publish. The rental agreement asks for both pieces of information. I also do not rent to anyone under 25 and I ask for a copy of a photo ID, such as a DL.
I once had 10 kids living there for 2 months (before my no-tenants-under-25 rule). Aside from being messy and breaking a few incidental things like towel racks and glasses, and creating lots of garbage (bottles and cans, mostly), the only other thing that was extrordinary is that 11 light bulbs were burned out when they left, even though there was a supply in the cupboard. I thought that was very curious!
Quick note to let you know that we never remove discussions on Community unless they violate our Community Guidelines.
A great way to find a paper trail of what discussions you may have started or participated in is to click on your profile and then go to Your Stuff. There, you should find a list of all of your Community contributions, including this one, about how to handle a bad review, which is what I suspect you were looking for.
Hope that helps. Thanks for being part of the Community!
Yes, we had the same problem (though no bad review, yet!) We also have
rules limiting outside guests and their extra cars, because we live in a
strict neighborhood where complaints can get us shut down. Over July 4th,
we had a large, over the limit family group, and the dad had put "0" for
extra daytime guests. We live on-site, and in the morning, on our way to
work we saw lots of extra adults down at the pool, which we said nothing
about, then saw 2 cars parked right in front of our neighbor's house, which
we had explained you can't do many times. We approached him kindly, like
you, and he acted very put upon and unfriendly. He clearly didn't
understand the risk to us, when we told him they had to move their cars
immediately into our driveway, and asked him how many others he'd invited.
First he said "people would be coming and going throughout the day," and
then later claimed only one other family. He was angry that we asked. We
had to go to work and hope for the best. When they left, there were DOZENS
of bags of cans and bottles, TONS of garbage, so there must have been many
guests, but luckily no complaints, yet, that we know about. But he too got
angry, though I was polite, and though he had clearly lied on the contract
(which I didn't say). My understanding is that VRBO lets you "decline" a
review you don't like, and Homeaway lets you respond, which you should do.
The one bad review we got years ago, we wrote a great response to, and new
guests laugh about it to this day. So you should be okay on both those
sites. Decline or respond.
That response was to Stellaval, sorry.
I hope it all turned out well for you. Last summer I rented one of my homes to a group of mentally challeneged adults. The home who cared for them rented the house. The mentally challeneged adults ranged in age from 30 to 55 and there were 6 of them with 4 attendants. Because of the nature of the rental, I gave them a really discounted rate in order to help defray their vacation. I thought I was doing a good deed for them. Under other circumstances, they could not have afforded my home nor a vacation in the Hamptons.
When I arrived at my home after they had left, there was an usual smell. One of the cleaning woman came running out of the house saying she would not clean it. Thankfully the other two woman stayed. The mentally challeneged adults had all peed in the beds for several days and the smell and urine permeated the mattresses.
Due to my good charity deed, I had not taken a deposit. SO, I had to replace 6 beds at my costs. Taught me a costly lesson.
Next time consider getting Property Damage Protection insurance, you could have been reimbursed for these costs. I am always recomending it to guests when I have a doubt.
Check out their web page: http://www.propertydamageprotection.com/haclaimshome.do
Apparently it covers it. Just make sure you get an invoice for it.
I wrote an extensive review on Property Damage Protection based on my own experience.
You can find it at:
I was in the process of offering our house to one of the charities that look after service personnel coming back from war zone with ptsd...Afghanistan etc. when a former soldier who had served out there & is involved with all these charities told me a big time NO...these guys are really in a bad place - it all seems a great gesture but at the end of the day the property is our livliehood ...I'm sorry you got 'hit' by a bad experience Marilyn...but I have been advised don't do it...