12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 21, 2012 1:08 AM by amyg RSS

    The guests from He**

    New Member

      It was bound to happen eventually. I’m not talking about damage to the home, or other disasters that strike when you’re renting property out.

      No – I’m talking about the guests that will never be happy. You know the ones I’m talking about – they tour the property from the closets out checking for every possible flaw in the hopes exacting a discount from you.


      Well homie don’t play that game, so naturally I received a horrible review. In anticipation of the nasty gram, I drafted a  response, which I’m sitting on until I feel okay with it. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.


      Here’s what happened:

      Ms Drama Clean and guests called at 11:00 am from the home. In raised voices they described how they didn’t like the neighborhood, the home wasn’t clean, the sheets weren’t new, the art in the home was awful, the pool was dirty, the home needed painting, and there were cat litter boxes in the closet.


      This of course was a big surprise to me since we had not approved an early checking-in.  I had been in the home with my housekeeper getting the home ready the day before, but the pool man had not arrived to clean the pool yet.


      Without hesitation I immediately offered them a 100% refund. I pointed out that I really couldn’t control the entire neighborhood, and if the property wasn’t up to their expectations they could leave without penalty. Life’s too short to have unhappy guests, and I really wanted them to have a good experience. They declined. I hailed my housekeeper back to the property and told him to stay and clean everything until they were happy. My pool man arrived on schedule to clean the pool. And as for those cat litter boxes – it was actually a dog kennel that I leave in the home for guests with dogs (it’s clean).


      That night at 11:00 pm I receive another call from Ms Drama Clean. Both shower doors fell off simultaneously and landed on my friend’s foot – it may broken! I further inquire as to the status of said friend’s foot and ask if they need any medical care. I offer to have 911 come out which they adamantly declined. I press this further because I’m really very concerned about anyone sustaining an injury in my home.  No – they reply – they can take care of the friend’s foot – they want to know when the “expletive” doors are going to be fixed.


      So now I’m really on my guard. The next morning I grab two of my construction crew members and go over to the property to check out the shower doors, and I sat down with them to try to determine what I could reasonably do to make them happy. Again I offer them a refund and in additionly I offered to put them into a 4-star hotel.  Again, they decline stating that after the shower door event they should be entitled receive a discount. Ah ha - so all this drama is really just a shake-down albeit from a New Jersey cop no less.


      Remarkably the shower doors were just fine, but I replaced them with a shower curtain to prevent any further possible injuries.

      After several sleepless nights (on my part) they checked out - thank goodness. Ms Drama Clean and guests left the place really dirty. It looks like they had a big party there (which was the real reason why they didn’t leave). Two 90 gallon trash bins and a large recycling bin were stuffed full after just 3 days.


      Here’s the weird thing. After this whole thing started my hubby did a quick check on Ms Drama Clean. He used to be an investigative reporter so not much gets by him. In real life Ms Drama Clean is a pet sitter, but apparently when on vacation her affection of all things DOG goes out the door!


      So here’s the review:


      The first reaction of the property by my guests and myself of disappointmnt. Though the house is spacious, the property is in desperate need of updating and cleaning. We had to purchase cleaning supplies the first day because the dust and grime was very visible. The neighborhood is an eye sore to say the least. Abondon garbaged lots is the first thing you see pulling on the street. Many houses appear run down. The property is more appropriate for college kids who want to party rather than professional adults that like quality. In the first night, the glass shower door in the lower bathroom fell of the hinges onto my guest's foot bruising her badly. The owner was more interested in us leaving so we she didn't have to hear or deal with our disappointment and complaints. There is a stain filled chair upon entering the property as well as dirt ridden couches in the living room. There is only one outdated tv in the living room and one in a guestroom. There are clothes in the closets from someone else, and used open outdated food from past guests in the fridge. The master bath has used razors and products. Completely unsanitary and disgusting. The walls are white and filthy. There are stains everywhere from walls to carpet. The light fixtures are also filthy. Maxine stated our standards are too high, though her description of the property and pictures express a totally different feel than reality. Also the neighbors across the street have at least 7 dogs that are not leashed and kept coming into our yard. Very displeased with the property and would not stay or recommend it to anyone.


      Here’s our response:

      We were very disappointed that the guests were unhappy with the house, location, and cleanliness, and immediately offered a complete refund. On the second day I went to the home and again offered a refund plus we even offered to relocate them to a 4-star hotel.  Again my offers were declined, however this time they “wanted a discount.”  After they left and we went into the home to clean, we found huge amounts of debris, typical of a large party.

        • Re: The guests from He**

          Sorry for the crappy situation!

          Just to clarify, you offered them a 100% refund and hotel accommodations and they still complained wanting a discount? That part is not clear. Did they want a discount on their terms vs. your offer?

          I have a non-disparagement clause in my contract.  And if the guests do not leave the place in reasonably clean condition, I charge them a $50 an hour cleaning fee above normal wear and tear.

          Your response is very good and straight forward and anyone reading the review should see straight through the BS.

          I hope this helps!



            • Re: The guests from He**
              New Member

              Thanks for your response. I offered them a 100% refund plus I didn't want to be putting them on the street with no where to go, so I located a 4-star hotel within their budget where they could go to. To be clear I wasn't offering a refund and accommodations at my expense. You never know if people are out of money and broke, and I really wanted to offer a solution. However staying at a hotel would not have allowed them to throw a large party which is the real reason they didn't leave.




                • Re: The guests from He**
                  amyg Active Contributor

                  Maxine, to your credit I think you did the right thing in offering the griping guests a refund--not once, but twice. I thought it was interesting when the guest wrote "The owner was more interested in us leaving so we she didn't have to hear or deal with our disappointment and complaints."  Well...yeah.  If someone's not happy, give them their money back LOL  I thought you handled it as well as you could and showed up the next day to make repairs--you get an A for effort.


                  Now to ask the tough question:  is it possible that some of their complaints were valid?  I get that the shower door problem could happen anywhere (we had it happen at one of our rentals a few years ago), but could some of the complaints have a leg to stand on?  My point is that sometimes it only takes one or two legitimate problems to get the ball rolling with some guests.  Once they see something dusty, dirty, or in disrepair, they have their pen out and are making a list a mile long.  And are your neighbors and location creating a poor impression before the guests even walk in the door?  My concern is that you've got more than just a pain in the butt guest and might want to look at your entire rental situation. 

                    • Re: The guests from He**
                      Senior Contributor

                      I think most of us who've been at this a while have had the pain in the ____ guest.  Some folk are just such clean freaks that I'd never be able to please (my house is over 100 years old and in very good shape - but I really can't control the fact that the wind blows sand onto the porch at times!!! I also have historic heart pine floors that are always  very clean and in great shape, but they are NOT Pergo type floors.)


                      And while many owners like me who live far away from thier home are at the mercy of our houskeepers, I do have a thought. 


                      VRBO now allows everyone to have 12 photos. How about updating your photos every season, and then including the date you updated the pictures on your listing? And then make sure your guests have SEEN the photos and are okay with the home's interior/exterior photos.


                      I DO know that my housekeeper also services a few homes in my area that the Prop. Management company has let slip into conditions that are not what their VRBO ad depicts. 


                      Just a few of my thoughts.


                      • Re: The guests from He**
                        New Member

                        Thanks for your reply Debj,


                        I have the maximum number of pictures I can have listed - I think it's 12 on this site, and 16 on HomeAway. The pictures were taken in October, and since then the refridgerator and dishwasher have been replaced with new stainless replacements (high-end stuff too).


                        The home is 60 years old, so I like you have to deal with old house stuff. We also have weather in Vegas that can seem pretty radical if you're not used to it. The day these guests arrived we had 40 MPH winds, and it sometimes seems like every plant in the neighborhood ends up in my pool. One good gust can leave a newly cleaned pool looking quite messy, but lucky me I have a pool man that will go and clean the pools when we get these crazy winds.


                        I'm also local, and I have several homes that are on VRBO. I actually have a staff of 3 on payroll (not including me). I do go through the homes pretty often to doublecheck the home - probably twice a week.


                        The day before these guests I went through the items in the refridgerator and threw out anything that looked remotely old - it's mostly salad dressings and all within expiration dates. I state in my lease that there are items in the refridgerator, and that guests can use them if needed. Most guests are appreciative that the cupbards are not completely empty - it woud be very easy to toss it all out.


                        I also ave a supply of NEW bathroom items in the bathroms for guests to use if they forget their own. There are toothbrushes in packages, razors with seals on them. Once used they are discarded. Used soap is tossed, and replaced by new soap in a box. This is also in my lease.


                        The guests were right on one thing - I did want them out. It was clear that there was no pleasing them, and I was really hoping that moving them to a hotel would diffuse the situation. Had they been honest about having the party, I would even have let them come back and have the party there.



                          • Re: The guests from He**
                            Senior Contributor

                            Maxine,  I think you did all you could, and these folks had an agenda from the beginning. It's so upsetting to think that there are folks like that out there who seem to think we owners are all idiots.


                            Like you, I also tell my guests they are welcome to use any condiments, spices, etc. in our kitchen . And yes, we, like you, go through and toss out anything out of date. Some of our spices are quite expensive and are made locally.


                            If it makes you feel any better I have to share this one. I was at my home in late Feb - early March  for my winter "rehab". I'd gone through EVERYTHING in the kitchen - spices, etc. There were NEW supplies of  all spices, condiments, etc. in the cupboards & unopened ones in the refidgetrator I'd purchased.  EVERYTHING  was brand new. My 1st guest in (2 days after I'd left). sent me an email saying she'd "purged" my cupboards, etc. and thrown out all the outdated spices, etc., since she knew I was not able to do such- being far away and all.  She was all excited about posting  a review ( "great place, etc., etc.)


                            I replied to her email, thanking her for her concerns, and then explained that I'd just been at our home and had completely restocked everything, and  asked what she'd found  out of date and what she did with the stuff,( my local caretaker takes out my trash each week), since I had receipts from our local spice market & would want to talk with them about expiired products during my next trip.


                            Guess what? I never got a reply- and that review - well it never happened either!


                            I sure hope she enjoyed her shopping spree in my kitchen. Trust me, she will not be welcome back ever again.


                            Some days, we can't seem to win, no matter what we do.

                            Hang in there!!


                          • Re: The guests from He**
                            New Member

                            Hi AmyG,


                            Its completely possible that especially on a home this old that there are defects. We do not have a homeowner's association, so unfortunately there are two properties on the street that are in disrepair. We and several neighbors have made several attempts to purchase the homes and we've even cleaned some of the mess ourselves. The vacant lot is right opposite another VRBO property at the beginning of the street. Indeed that was one of the reasons I offered a refund since I pointed out to the customer that it was beyond my control to relocate the home.


                            With that said, the feedback I get is that once they are in the home and they realize how convenient the location is and the less-than-perfect entrance to our well-maintained cull-de-sac is of little consequence. Additionally I lived in the home for 5 years, and  - it's safe, quite and relaxing and you can't beat the location in proximity to the Strip.


                            The benefits of not having an HOA are tremendous. I get guests who want to throw an event with 50 people and we can do it without additional charge. I've had events with 200 guests, and my neighbors barely knew anything was going on.


                            I also price my home accordingly. I've seen very nice homes in Vegas charging $1000/night plus $275 Cleaning - but they can't throw parties because of an HOA. I charge $349/night plus $100 cleaning (up to 10 guests) - more for parties and additional guests. I'm absolutely certain that the home at $1000/per night is nicer than mine although these guests would probably find something wrong with that home as well.


                            Thanks for all the support - I really just needed to vent!  It's just so darn personal when they attack the property which we work so hard to keep up.

                              • Re: The guests from He**
                                amyg Active Contributor

                                I'm with you, Maxine.  There's nothing that stings more than when you try your hardest to do a good job for your guests, and one bad egg comes in and makes you feel like you are a slum lord.  I can tell by your posts that you are a VR owner who does care, so let this one roll off your back.  We all need to vent now and then.  Here's to better guests and happier outcomes in the future!

                        • Re: The guests from He**
                          New Member

                          After much thought - this is reaponse we posted. I really felt the need to address the "used items and food" in the home. Dang I never thought leaving new personal hygene items could be twisted like this. Especially when they do get used up.


                          Here's the final response:


                          We were very disappointed that the guests were unhappy with the house, location, furniture, closets and even the art. We immediately offered a complete refund, and on the second day even offered a refund plus relocation to a 4-star hotel.  Again my offers were declined, however this time they “wanted a discount.”  After they left and we went into the home to clean, we found huge amounts of debris, typical of a large party which the guests failed to disclose in advance – and was the primary reason why they didn’t accept my relocation efforts.

                          This home is located in a charming historic neighborhood.  New items used for personal hygiene are supplied/used ones are removed. Condiments in the refrigerator are left for use by guests. Outdated foods are tossed. 

                            • Re: The guests from He**
                              sophie Senior Contributor



                              I too, have had a comment about condiments left in the fridge. I immediately put this clause in my contract. Feel free to copy and paste and put it in yours also:


                              AMENITIES + FOOD- are provided as a convenience only and is not integral to the lease. If

                              condiments, spices, snacks, drinks and other perishable or consumable products exist, tenant may or may

                              not consume them as to their liking. Owner will attempt to provide a sufficient supply of paper towels,

                              toilet tissue and trash bags, based on the number of registered occupants, however, there is no guarantee

                              that the supply of any of these items will be enough to last to the end of the Rental Period. Tenant must

                              provide any additional items at Tenants sole expense.


                              I do go through anything left or items I have purchased in the house every week and toss ANYTHING expired. Even things you would use in your own home past the expiration date, ie: spices, pickles, etc. Never want to give someone something to complain about because believe me, some people will find anything to complain about to get a discount!

                                • Re: The guests from He**
                                  amyg Active Contributor

                                  Sophie, that's so true about people complaining about just about anything!  We had recent guests send an email to us during their stay to let us know that they had to air out the cabin upon arrival because the smell of the pine scented floor cleaner was overwhelming.  Most people say they like it because it's fresh and they know the floors have been washed.  Another concern was where I had left a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in our laundry room for guests to use.  I labeled it "To pretreat laundry for blood and protein stains" but apparently that was too graphic.  The guests said this should have been kept inside a cabinet and not on the shelf over the washer and dryer.  I was just trying to help because we lose quite a few sheets to blood stains. 


                                  Rent your properties long enough and you discover that you just can't please everyone no matter how hard you try!