13 Replies Latest reply: Apr 30, 2012 3:02 PM by marilyn RSS

    I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?

    Senior Contributor

      I have a couple, with 2 small children who checked in yesterday (Thursday) afternoon.  I got a call an hour ago saying they didn't have water pressure in both showers. 


      I've called my handyman - waiting on a call back.  I called my housekeeper who was there on Tuesday and she said there was water pressure in both baths.


      I've offered my guests the following: I'll move them to another place farther down the Island ( I'll pay for tonight) I had to scamble to find place.Its a condo, not a house, but it IS on the beach (I'm 3 blocks off), and refund one night's stay & the cleaning fee.


      He said they'd prefer to stay at the house. He agreed to let my handyman in (who is bonded and insured), even if they are not there.  The water is ok in kitchen, etc.


      I'm thinking I'll refund one night ( it's a 2 night stay) and applicable taxes. After all, they are choosing to stay tonight, and I had no complaints until today. 


      IS that enough? * BTW, he's an assistant pastor.


      Appreciate your feed back.


        • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
          anja Senior Contributor

          Hmmm,  why would there suddenly be no water pressure {if on Tuesday there was}...and why is the problem only in the showers?   You haven't had the problem before, so I'm just wondering.  Nevertheless...


          ...in  my opinion, your offer to refund one night + the applicable tax of a 2-night stay is fine.  I suppose if you really wanted to show that you care, you can offer another 'perk' {buy them breakfast?}........or....if you charged for the children, refund them that fee...or why not give them a nice discount offer for a return, "let me make it up to you",   stay?

          But, how bad is it?  Can they not use the showers?  If not....then I guess I would be refunding them fully if the place is not "habitable".....but not until I had someone check how bad it is.

          • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?

            Sounds pretty fair to me.


            So let me tell a story on myself...


            Had a friend visit recently. He was just finishing up building his new house and was telling me about his hot water system, a propane, on demand, tankless. As I have the same brand, I felt compelled to share the only troublesome aspect I had encountered, a filter in the cold water, input line. All our guests were gone for the day and the tankless unit is located outside the rental suites. In order the show this filter I had to shut off the water supply. My friend was very grateful for my sharing. A few hours later our guests returned. Later that evening one of them found me and announced there was a problem with the hot water in the shower. Yep, dummy me had forgotten to turn the valve back on. I explained what happened as I took corrective action. We all laughed at my folly. I guess the fact we had just spent the previous hour having a beer and talking story helped buy my forgiveness.



              • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                Senior Contributor

                Thanks for the comments/suggestions and a chuckle.


                As it turned out, I THINK our guests did NOT read the information we

                provide about the water pressure in our home. You cannot run the washer,

                outside hoses, kitchen faucets AND both showers all at the same time.


                My renter did call me back , after finally reading the information I'd sent

                them 2 weeks before their stay, and said, " Well, it seems that it's a

                structural problem". He was nice about it, but never admitted that they'd

                been taking showers in both baths while running the washer.


                My handyman went to the house and found no problem with the typical water

                pressure. ( we are still waiting on the City to update the main water line

                into our home after a hurricane in 2008- THAT"S another story!


                  • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                    anja Senior Contributor

                    You know...my first thought was that these guests were doing something wrong. We all know our houses and we know all the quirks which we do tell visitors about --- if only they'd read...before they complain.  I hope he's not the type that would manage to work into a review that he thinks the house has  "structural problems" with the plumbing!  That would not be fair.


                    With 2 small children, this family of four must have been doing exactly what your "water usage" guidelines warned about -- over burdening the water sources.

                • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                  Active Contributor

                  I think the bottom line "what is the cause of the problem". If it is normal wear and tear of plumbing, your offer is generous. BUT, if this is something tenant caused, you should not be offering anything. Need to find out the cause of the problem before making an offer.


                  Our policy : if normal wear and tear, plumber sends us the bill. If tenant causes the problem, they need to be prepared to pay for the repair at the time of service. Tenant must use our plumber or trades people.




                  • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                    Active Contributor

                    why is it always the home owners fault or problem and never something the tenant did???????



                      • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                        Senior Contributor

                        Marilyn, I don't know. Guess it's the nature of the beast. 


                        Most of our guests love our home (you can see it from our reviews on VRBO and FK).  We do not, never have and never will misrepresent our home. It is 110 years old, and has been upgraded, is safe and quite enjoyable for almost everyone. It's nicely furnished, but we do not have $2000 leather sofas. We have quality, coastal furnishings  that tolerate beach goers,  (lots of slipcovers and duvets, etc. that can be laundered- keeps ME sane)  


                        It has no dishwasher, but the kitchen has everything else a guest would want (all the extra small appliances, dishes cookware, many funky little cook's tools, cook books, etc. ).  Our linens and towels are of nice quality, but not LUXURY. The linens are always clean, and in great shape ( we discard anything is is not). We provide all paper goods, soaps, etc.


                        Our initial communications with our guests outline everything. I even send an additional document to those who've never rented a VR before, so they know what to (or not to expect) .


                        We offer perks like a pack and play, information & discount coupons for various dining and entertainment establishments, etc.


                        We offer a mid price home and I work hard to make sure it is priced as such.


                        And then along comes a guest who expects -- who knows?


                        Oh welll-- I just had to rant....! ;-)


                          • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                            anja Senior Contributor

                            It sounds, to me, as if you are a 'terrific' person - caring & considerate of your guests - who is running a 'terrific' vacation rental business --- with maximum comfort and convenience for your guests.


                            I see it as a "plus" that your guests, at least, had the courtesy of contacting you about the water pressure...they gave you a chance to help them....whether it was their fault or not.   What I *hate* are guests who never touch base with the owners..during the stay....they rather "suffer" through a situation...and then they go home and "complain" in reviews online that there was something wrong with the house, or the pool,  the hot water, plumbing?   I'm happy for you that your guests "told you"...giving you a chance to "make it right" in some way for them, regardless.


                            I, too, provided every detail to all inquirers so they can make an "informed decision" before choosing a location -- there are about 900 rentals competing with me here. I stress one "quirk" about my place ...we have frequent tremors / earthquakes -- that may cause an Internet 'blip".  It happens.  They know in advance that it happens....why come to a place that was created by volcanoes and earthquakes, otherwise, you may think...but you'd be surprised how many people gawk at me, on arrival, when I tell them what to do if they feel a tremor.  You're in a hurricane region....something tells me that you probably "inform" your guests in some manner about those "quirks" in your location.


                            Things that go wrong are not always the owner's fault or a property flaw --- even in the "best" of hotels things go wrong.  I tell everyone "everything" there is to know about my place -- adding a lot of "perks" designed to help them further, too,  so they may decide whether to book or  not.  From your response, above, I can see that you do pretty much the same.


                            Owners are not always wrong...as long as we disclose everything that is necessary.  The guests tend  to be negligent quite often because they do not read contractshouse tips, and house rules.  I live very close to my place so my guests just come over...or email me  if and when the need arises. But still...this is true....I had one couple here that told me, when they were checking out (!!!)...that both bedside lamps were not working....when I looked I saw that the couple unplugged the one 'main' for those lamps....WHY?....so the lamps didn't light...and they made a point of telling me that there was something wrong with the lights in the bedroom!


                            But, the kicker is...they lived in the house for 9 nights with no bedroom side-table lamps. So, when I asked them why they didn't just tell me...they said that they were going to bed early anyway and didn't need the lamp lights.  Not my fault...I live 5 minutes away...just tell me and I'll be right over.  They didn't give me a chance to help them...but they seemingly were not inconvenienced.  And, just recently, a VERY NICE couple decided to "fix" a light switch by using "crazy glue" to re-attach a nob ...one that controlls the overhead fan....the only problem was he "crazy-glued" it back on WRONG...it's backwards....and I can't get it off to correct.  It looks odd.  {I don't keep "crazy glue" in the rental....so when I found it in the closet after they left, my husband and I went on an exploration to see if we could find the damage they did.}


                            I feel for owners who live away from their rental and have to juggle from a distance to try to make things right.  Kudos to you who, in my opinion...I think your first instinct was to remedy the situation and help your guests have a comfortable 2-night stay.

                            • Re: I have an immediate problem-- suggestions?
                              Active Contributor

                              Ranting is good for the soul. We all need to rant and rave sometimes.


                              I am sure we hve all had that impossible guests that we could not please no matter what.


                              I amsure we have all had a guest tell you that it is your fault that the electric went out, or an appliance stopped working or that leaves landed on the outdoor tables just before their BBQ.


                              I am thrilled that we all have this venue "to rant" and to learn from one another. I think that if we all got together and published a vacation rental rant book, it would be a hilarious best seller. Might even sell the movie rights to a great comedy.