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Got a weird call on Friday night when the new renters arrived. They complained of cat odor. There have never been any cats in my unit. I assured them of this but they decided to get a hotel because the lady is pregnant and she thought this posed a health risk.
I sent my housekeeper over the next morning and she told me that she smelled nothing out of the ordinary. She mopped the floor as a courtesy. She said it smelled like my place always smells. It is an older building at the beach and it does have a musky smell sometimes when closed up but we have all new furniture, hard wood flooring and it generally is not a bad smell.
They want a 50% refund. They say my place was not as advertised and posed a health risk. In my rental policy I do say not refunds under any circumstances. I do not feel like an unexplained odor is a good reason to have to leave.
What do you think? What should I do? He has threatened a nasty review. But, if there is nothing I can do to fix the issue, I don't think I am at fault.
You're in a tough spot.
Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell and she may very well have experienced a smell in a pronounced way. It's not unusual for a smell to make a pregnant woman nauseous. (I can attest to having to leave environments when pregnant due to what I perceived as an overwhelming odor that was not particularly offensive to others in my party.)
Are there animals in and around the building? Is it possible the smell might have come from an adjacent unit?
You write that the unit has a musky smell. Have any of your other guests commented?
I would suggest a partial refund. Whether you agree to 50% or attempt to negotiate less since your contract does not allow for refunds, I think it will be in your best interest. A negative review citing odors, from a pregnant woman is definintely not in your interest.
And I would try to discover the source of the musky smell; it appears you agree that the unit does not smell fresh and clean. Perhaps a regular airing out and cleaning, an examination for mold and mildew, etc would be helpful.
Best of luck!
Thank you for your reply. To answer your questions, no no one has ever complained about the smell and it really isn't a bad smell - just the smell of my place. A combo of the wood furniture, salty air, etc. I do not agree that it has a bad odor - just an odor like any other home.
I have an excellent cleaning person.
I myself have been pregnant twice and I understand a hightened sense of smell but this was described to me as a cat urine smell when there were no animals there. I think maybe an animal might have sprayed outside but the cleaning lady didn't report anything at all - inside or outside.
I simply cannot afford to give back $500 for a weeks stay when there was nothing there. If there was an issue, I would consider it but according to my cleaning lady who has been with me for 4 years, she saw and smelled nothing.
Anyone else have any insights?
First, you should have someone who is not you or your house keeper go over and verify that there is no smell.
You and your house keeper are too familiar with the smells of the house.
Assuming that that checks out and you can essential prove that they are wrong, then do not refund them. If they wanted a refund, they should have called the health department to prove that there was indeed an issue.
Now, make sure that they know that threatening a negative review(get it in writing) in order to get a refund. This is extortion, in most cases a Class B Felony. For future reference, you may want to put a Non-disparegement clause in your contract.
I understand both sides in regards to do you just give a refund for good morale or do you stick to your guns? It's your call. Personally, I am more of a stick to your guns type unless I feel that the situation truly warrants it. In this case, they may have just had a change of heart and they want some money back and made up a quick story as they had already checked into another place. I had that happen recently as well.
I asked them to state why they were asking for a refund in writing before I could consider a refund. They said they would send me that and I did not hear anything until the charge back. They signed the contract, so they are legally responsible for the balance, period.
So, be prepared for the charge back. You have a good contract, you should not have any issues. Did you take a credit card or check or...?
Anyway, good luck and please keep us posted!