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Hello all. Just looking to vent and get any advice you can muster (so far it has been invaluable). I've had a string of bad luck of late with subpar renters. First it was a three year old who used my furniture as a canvas for his magic marker (imy first time withholding some deposit - his parents agreed). Then it was a family of 6 whom I went out of my way for - purchasing a high chair and pack n play for them (used, thinking this would be nice to have since the mom with an infant was traveling from London). They had a couple of minor issues to which I responded with a handyman within the hour (wooden slat on one of the beds came undone, garage door opener battery died). When I arrived, they treated me like hired help, would hardly look me in the eye and greeted me at the door with a DOG (to which we never discussed). They asked if they could check out late (1p), when i told them my cleaning crew would arrive at 1:30, they said the baby was still sleeping and they'd leave at 2:30. The place was a mess, truly and they left the pack and play out (which just bugged me because it was all packed up nicely in it's case for them upon arrival). I didn't confront them about the dog since I'm terrible with face to face confrontations and it was clearly their sons dog who lived down the street.
A good segue from my fear of confrontation is what has happened with my current guests. They arrived from Europe a FULL DAY EARLY. Kind of my worst nightmare come true. The only reason I was at the house is because she sent an email saying their flight arrived at 3:30 on the 16th (the signed contract was for the 17-23). When I pointed this out upon their arrival, she rather flippantly said "oh, remember, I said I wanted to come a day early?". I did push back and said that no, I did not in fact remember and I have to go by the contract. Now here's a family of 6 staring at me who just got off a 14 hour flight. What do I do? Thankfully the previous renters had left and the home was clean. But now as I stew about it I realize that they only paid for 7/17-7/23 (they're still staying through the 23rd). They're staying an extra day for free? Do I withhold this from the deposit? Should I have stuck to my guns and turned them away upon arrival (I honestly could never do this but their very non-chalant attitude even after I showed her a copy of the signed contract really gets me). Do I just chalk this up to a learning experience and send an email confirming the arrival date to every upcoming renter??
Thanks for reading my diatribe. It was going SO SO well for so long, I was bound to have some bad luck.
It may have something to do with the guests being from another country and having different expectations of how to communicate and treat people. I personally won't rent to anyone out of the country for fear of not having any recourse if they damage my property and then skip across the pond but I know in some areas that's your bread and butter.
If the house is clean and ready and they showed up, just say hey, I'll need you to come with X dollars for the extra day, do not deduct from the deposit which may be needed for damages after they leave, 14 hours back to their own country. It's kind of too late now but I would have stood firm on requiring the additional funds prior to allowing them to stay for an extra day.
I know you don't like confrontations but people are animals too and they can sense weakness, will walk over you like a muddy doormat if you show them they can. Be polite but firm, do not break eye contact, don't "hem haw" if they ask you if they can do something that you are questioning.
Since the place was clean and ready to go, I think you did the right thing by letting them in. You are in the hospitality business and hope to build up a repeat clientele after all. Like Rick, I'd ask for additional money rather than keep the security deposit for the reasons he mentioned.
You should not change your personal style just because you are renting vacation homes, just learn how to deal with different situations. I don't get mad with the guests, (That doesn't mean I may be steaming inside!) I would simply state the economic cost of their actions, behavior, damages or abuses.
They arrived a day early, the home is rented, "Sorry, I didn't get your email, may I suggest a local hotel in the meantime?"
Your home is available but dirty: "Of course you can come in, leave your luggage while the housekeeper completes the cleaning, go for a cup of coffee and when you return it will be ready, and by the way, the extra day is only $X additional, love to have you, arrivederci!"
They have a guest dog: "What a lovely dog, and since you are aware the contract does not allow for pets, I will be deducting the $250 pet fee from your deposit, plus damages, I may consider reducing it to $100 if the dog leaves immediately".
Kid damages furniture: "You have a kid with a lot of artistic talent, this art class will cost him $200 to repair plus $75 administration fee, I hope he becomes the next Picasso!!"
I have international guests all the time and I have no issue with them.
Don't get mad, charge them.
Before considering whether to withhold funds from the deposit of guests arriving early, a dog in the home, etc., you would need to be certain whether, under your local laws, those would be bases for withholding funds. Withholding a refund under circumstances not permitted under local landlord tenant law typically entitles the tenant not only to recover the wrongly withhelf funds, but also to recover attorney fees.