42 Replies Latest reply: Oct 31, 2012 10:34 AM by marilyn RSS

    Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found

    mauioceanview Contributor

      I took a booking for one of our condos in January, the guest paid the deposit, filled out the paperwork in a timely manner for their June stay. Then a week later she asked to switch to one of our other condos. I had her complete a new rental agreement and I transferred the deposit. The balance and security deposit were due a week ago, and I cannot get ahold of her. I've tried phoning her and her husband (seperate cell phones), emailing, sending PayPal invoices.... to no avail. Not sure what to do next. It could be they are on holiday, or that they just decided not to come after all, but in that case, wouldn't they want their deposit back? Just curious what others do in these cases. thanks!

        • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
          carol Premier Contributor

          What does your lease say about cancellations?  Are they on the hook for the entire amount because it's so late?

          Are you obligated to try to re-rent if they cancel?  What are your chances of re-renting at this point?

           

          Can you send them a certified letter?   What you say will depend on what your contract says.

            • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
              mauioceanview Contributor

              cancellation policy is 60 days prior full refund (less cc fees). I've left another message, I will send them a letter if I don't hear by tomorrow. I may be able to re-rent, but my main beef is - they can't stay if they don't pay. It's just weird that they've seemingly disappeared.

                • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                  Contributor

                  If their payment is overdue (less than 60 days until arrival), I would open up the dates on your calendar as a first step to see if you get any other inquiries/bookings for those dates.  That might get their attention (it's worked for me). I would be in no hurry to refund them (less any cc fees) until I heard from them.  You've made every effort to contact them so it's up to them to respond to you.  I would make every attempt to rent to another family!  Good luck.

                    • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                      marilyn Active Contributor

                      Perhaps they are away without access to phone or email. If you have just waited one week, perhaps waiting one additional week might help if they are out of town. Sending a certified letter might do the trick. If the people are away, perhaps someone is picking up their mail and might have a way of reaching the people. Certified mail usually catches people's attention.

                       

                      Good luck

                       

                      Marilyn

                      www.hamptonhouseproperties.com

                        • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                          msdebj Senior Contributor

                          This is rather scary, for you. But the renter may have had some type of emergency. I strongly agree that you should send either a certified letter, or FedEx one, including all correspondence between you and your potential renter. Of course, also include the signed contract.

                           

                          Another reason to DOCUMENT, Document, document.... all interactions once you have a signed contract & $$ in hand.

                           

                          Hopefully, it's a minor glitch, but if you have a signed contract you should be okay, if you can re rent.

                           

                          Best of luck. Let us know how it turns out.

                          Debj 

                            • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                              anja Senior Contributor

                              I was going to contribute with a similar comment as  msdebj so I'll support what has already been stated here.  You have their signatures on a contract and their money in hand....this is binding.  I agree with the other Owners here to send a letter by special delivery of your choice --- and msdebj's suggestion of including copies of all documents....and wait for a response.

                               

                              These people could very well be away on a Spring vacation and not *in the presence of mind* about their next vacation at your place {and let's not forget that there could also have been an emergency they are engulfed in....include checking if they are in the vicinity of any major natural disasters...homes destroyed...of serious illness...e.g. *life* getting  in the way of vacations}.

                                • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                  mauioceanview Contributor

                                  well, here we go - I mailed them a certified letter (which USPS tried delivering a week ago with no luck), I emailed her a copy of the letter (giving them an April 30th deadline), I just tried phoning both the 'guest' and her emergency contact/husband and left messages again..... still no response. We are 6 weeks away from their arrival date - and if I were able to get ahold of them, I wouldn't be sweating the non-payment so much. However, not being able to reach them for the past 3 weeks still has me wondering what to do. I did tell them that as of April 30th the calendar was being opened up and I would accept other bookings.

                                    • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                      carol Premier Contributor

                                      You've done everything humanly possible at this point.  I hope you can get a last minute rental at the same price.  How frustrating!!

                                       

                                      At least if you tried a certified letter you have proof you tried to contact them should you need to sue them for the balance later.   No one wants to go down that path, but what else can you do if you are unable to rent it out this late? 

                                       

                                      Was their original deposit check or credit card?  If check, I assume it cleared.  If credit card, watch out for a chargeback!

                                      • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                        anja Senior Contributor

                                        This is terrible for you.  On the one hand, the contract is binding and they are "somewhere" in the world --- unreachable --- but on the other hand, you have the right now to open up your calendar, according to your contract terms and the info you've sent them.

                                         

                                        This could turn bad  and that's what I'm considering, on your behalf.    You've done everything you can to keep up your end of the contract...and they have missed their payment deadline....so you have right to proceed with advertising --- if you want to go that route to protect your business.   It's just so uncomfortable, at this point.  I'm wondering why they are not contactable, after so many attempts?  It doesn't seem as if they are just ignoring all your messages --- they paid a deposit that they would surely want back if their plans changed.  And, how could anyone forget they booked a vacation?  So, I'm thinking it's something more serious, for them. They have a obligation, by contract, to pay on time and / or at  least inform you if something has changed for them.  They are in breach.  You are not.

                                         

                                        You can find another renter so you will not lose income --- but I'm hoping that these people do not burden you with "trouble", when they finally respond and learn that you rebooked with someone else.

                                         

                                        I was just reading another thread yesterday here ...from a woman who booked an apartment in NYC. She received a letter from the owner's lawyer informing that the owner filed for bankruptsy...and, therefore, the apartment she paid for is no longer available.....she lost a lot of money on the booking and not certain she's going to be able to recoup it.   So, who knows what situation your guests are embroiled in....these days it could be anything from financial disaster to natural disaster.  I think if it was illness, they'd be cancelling their vacation and you'd be getting a request for a refund.    At this point, when I open up the calendar, I would phone both cell numbers again and leave a message for each of them....simply saying as you have not heard from them, not received balance payment, their vacation contract is now "void" and they lost the rental.  Let us know what happens.

                                        • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                          marilyn Active Contributor

                                          At this point you have really done everything possible to reach them. Suggest you move forward and attempt to rebook the dates. To protect yourself, worry about them should they ever contact you. You need to protect your business interests.

                                           

                                          Marilyn

                                          www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                            • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                              msdebj Senior Contributor

                                              I agree with everyone, you just have to move on. I'd make sure to keep records of all your attempts to contact them.

                                               

                                              Since you have names and addresses you could google that information, if you have time. It would be a shame to learn they'd suffered some kind of tragedy. 

                                               

                                              I just seems odd, in today's economy, that people would just walk away from a deposit made.

                                              Debj

                              • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                gabriel Active Contributor

                                This is a great new issue that probably most homeowners have not comtemplated before. How many of us do not have a clause of failure to make final payment?

                                 

                                We all have cancellation clauses, but not abandonment clauses.

                                It is time to add one, such as "Failure to pay the rent 30 days before checkin date is considered a cancellation, no refund will be issued" or something similar. Perhaps an attorney in the group can suggest the right clause. 

                                 

                                Thanks Maui Oceanview for bringing this issue up.

                                • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                  kiawahcottage Community All-Star

                                  Hi mauioceanview,

                                   

                                  Thankfully, pre-arrival guests remaining totally incommunicado for a month after missing a payment due date is rare. 

                                   

                                  The only other thing you could have done was send the e-mails 'return receipt' requested.  It's a checkbox or setting in most e-mail programs. If the recipient allows it you get a message that somebody opened the e-mail. 

                                   

                                  Paul

                                    • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                      Active Contributor

                                      I agree that there should be something mentioned in the Rental Agreement pertaining to non-payment on  agreed dates. I came up with the following wordings, but I'm not a lawyer, so if anyone has better way of saying it, it is much appreciated.

                                       

                                       

                                      PAYMENT – Full Payment is due 30 days prior to arrival or at time of reservation when it is made less than 30 days prior to arrival. All payments stipulated in the Invoice-Statement shall be made on or before their respective dates without necessity of demand. Failure to make any such payment on time shall be considered the Renter has cancelled their reservation, and shall entitle Owner to make the reserved dates available for rental to other interested parties.

                                        • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                          msdebj Senior Contributor

                                          here's what I added, for what it's worth. It's part of my very detailed Cancellation Policy. I did this on advice of my atty.

                                          Owner reserves the right to cancel the reservation if all monies and completed paperwork are not received by the date due, or should property become unavailable due to uninhabitable conditions. All monies will be returned if cancellation is due to uninhabitable issues as determined by Owner.

                                            • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                              marilyn Active Contributor

                                              Another case scenario:

                                               

                                              Tenant pays deposit within 48 hours as required. Signs lease and sends to homeowner. Tenant makes first payment after the deposit on time. Tenant is late on second payment and it is now 30 days prior to rental date.  Second payment is 30 days late. Impossible to rebook as most renters have already rented for the season.

                                               

                                              Homeowner cancels the reservation and tries to rebook but to no avail. 50% of the rental has been paid. There is no clause in the rental agreement with regarding failure to pay balance.

                                               

                                              The money goes to whom? Reason for non payment of balance "sorry, don't have the money, maybe will have when ready to move in".

                                               

                                              Marilyn

                                              Www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                                • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                  Contributor

                                                  I require full payment 60 days before arrival to give myself more time to rebook if necessary.  My invoice states that final payment must be received by the due date in order to continue to hold their reservation.  My rental agreement cancellation policy also includes this statement:

                                                   

                                                  • No refunds within 60 days of arrival. If we are able to rebook the home for      the same rental period and rental fees, we will refund the rental fees paid,      less a $500 cancellation fee.

                                                   

                                                  Fortunately, I rarely have a late payment, and if full payment isn't received by the due date I immediately open up the calendar and let them know, which typically results in an immediate payment.

                                                    • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                      marilyn Active Contributor

                                                      We also require payment in full 60 days prior to rental date. Just received everything but $500. Not able to reach tenent. Doesn't answer email, doesn't respond to cell voicemails. Total disregard. Rental starts June 1.

                                                       

                                                      Marilyn

                                                      Www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

                                                        • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                          Contributor

                                                          It may boil down to what is in your cancellation clause (no refunds for a shortened stay, refund policy in event of cancellation, ability to re-book, etc.), and also what you have communicated to them over the months regarding final payment, etc.  Does the amount they have already paid include a security deposit, cleaning fee, and tax?  Does that exceed the $500 still owed?  One option would be to tell them that if they do want to rent, they will have to get the $500 to you with enough time to have it clear the bank before their arrival, or that you will refund any excess of the security deposit/cleaning fee/tax over the $500 due after June 1.

                                                          • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                            Active Contributor

                                                            "...Failure to make any such payment on time shall be considered the Renter has cancelled their reservation, and shall entitle Owner to make the reserved dates available for rental to other interested parties."

                                                             

                                                            As worded above, non-payment on due dates has the same effect as if the "Renter has cancelled their reservation", therefore the Cancellation policy written in another section takes effect (and in my case "no return" of monies unless the same dates have been re-rented).

                                                             



                                                              • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                                mauioceanview Contributor

                                                                thank you everyone for your comments! Especially wording suggestions for the rental agreement. It's been a month of trying to reach them, one more month until they were supposed to arrive. I have heard nothing from them. Someone asked me what I will do if they show up asking for a door code. Good question. Payment in cash perhaps. Though I'm hesitant.

                                                                 

                                                                In the mean time I have opened up the calendar, but am not sure what I'll do if I do get an inquiry for their dates. We'll see.

                                                                 

                                                                I have googled them many times, nothing comes up for their names or their kids' names. I've googled their address, it isn't showing in foreclosure. I'm chalking it up to one of those mysteries in life and moving on.

                                                                  • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                                    lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                                                                    "In the mean time I have opened up the calendar, but am not sure what I'll do if I do get an inquiry for their dates."

                                                                     

                                                                    What you do is rent the house!  They have broken the contract. You have absolutely no obligation to these people.  Personally, I wouldn't want them to stay in my house even if they finally paid you the full amount.  These are not reliable people.

                                                                     

                                                                    Linda

                                                                      • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                                        anja Senior Contributor

                                                                        Just to add support:  at this point, I agree with  'Irbaldwin.  You should BOOK it.    Those people were in breach of contract from the day they missed their balance payment deadline.  It's extreme negligence now.  Unbelievable that you still have not heard from them, or from a concerned family member, or a lawyer ...in the event they fell victim to something serious. No one "forgets" they booked a vacation and paid in part.

                                                                         

                                                                        You've been making attempts to contact. Keep a good record of all that  you did ...just in case they end up "nasty", even though they have no right to be.  These people could "turn up" at the last minute....whether to ask for driving directions to your place or for the key/lock box code.

                                                                         

                                                                        Are they still worthy if they connect with you? I don't think so.  I, too, would not be happy to have them as guests, now, even if they contacted me at this juncture.  They have broken "trust".   If this were my situation, I would write them one final letter, now, stating briefly that they have lost the rental...the contract is void...and they have no chance to rebook.  And, I would work hard to rebook the dates.  Do you have the possibility of connecting with other owners in your area to ask them to send you referrals to your place...e.g. their "overflow" of inquiries once they are booked or can not accommodate someone?  That's what some owners do in my location -- network together. It's one way to actively try to fill openings...instead of hoping that someone will find your ad and inquire.

                                                                        • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                                          New Member

                                                                          I agree - on my rental agreement with guests, it stipulates if payments are not received by the due date(s), then your dates are automatically opened up and available to rent to another family (I do send them payment reminders too).  If the cottage rents to another family, the family who missed their payment is now under our cancellation policy.

                                                              • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                                westbath1 New Member

                                                                This language was very helpful to me.  I added it to my 2013 contract after dealing with a guest's late payments.  I suggest others incorporate such language.  No payment on time, contract is null and void.

                                                                  • Re: Payment due date has arrived and renter is nowhere to be found
                                                                    sage Community All-Star

                                                                    To provide that a contract becomes null and void in the event a payment is not received on time may not be the result an owner wants.  When a contract becomes null and void, the parties would be restored to the positions they were in prior to signing the contract, i.e., the owner would be obliged to refund all payments that had been received.

                                                                     

                                                                    My contract provides that in the event a payment is not made when due, "we may, without notice to you, treat the failure to pay as a cancellation by you of your reservation, may rent the unit to another person, and may deal with the advance rental payment as provided below under Cancellations."  My contract provides that in the event of a cancellation by the guest, we will refund their payment of rent only to the extent we receive payment from another guest for the same period.