7 Replies Latest reply: May 18, 2012 7:11 PM by dogwoodridge RSS

    How do I get a guest to own up to the damage they caused?

    New Member

      We had guests in our home for a week who trashed it. Vomit in the bathrooms, every towel was dirty, Coca-cola sprayed on the ceiling, dishes with food put into the kitchen cabinets, I could go on. Our housekeeper charged us three times what she normally charges. Since we don't do security deposits, but take out Property Damage Insurance, I don't know if I have a recourse. Was the property damaged? Yes, in a way - it took two people six hours to repair. I've sent the guests a nice email - no response. I sent them a VRBO/HomeAway payment request - no response. Does anyone know if the insurance will reimburse me? The housekeeper took pictures, so I can put in a claim. Thanks in advance for the input.

        • Re: How do I get a guest to own up to the damage they caused?
          kiawahcottage Active Contributor

          Hi bsimonis,


          Sorry to hear about this situation.  Sounds like it was quite the mess. 


          This is exactly why many of us hold a deposit or at least a CC number.  It puts you in the driver's seat when this happens


          I rent for between $1000 to $2000/wk depending on the season.  I always charge a $400 'good care deposit'.  It seems just high enough to keep out the untrustworthy. If someone doesn't want to pay it I figure they might have a good reason.


          If the guests were reckless enough to do that to your house they are probably not going to own up to anything.  Since insurance is meant to cover accidental damage or loss I doubt that you will be covered, but I hope I am wrong.  File a claim and let us know what happens.


          Good luck,




          • Re: How do I get a guest to own up to the damage they caused?

            As an owner, I am obviously dismayed by the disregard for your home. I am also in a situation where we do not collect a deposit as it is not customary in our area.


            If I were you, I would submit the claim with the photos. Surely linens, etc. were damaged.


            As for the excess cleaning, we have had a few situations where we've had to pay extra (not quite to that extent, but close with vomit and plumbing issues by stupid drunk women) but I consider that a cost of doing business.


            You've submitted a request for payment. You can either follow through with that by using enforcement, etc. I know of one owner who threatened that if not paid, the debt would show on their credit. I do not know the validity of that threat, however. The people did end up paying.


            You can also tell them you will be publishing their names on a renter review list for bad renters.


            In the end, they may not pay. They sound like nasty people. We all run into them from time to time. Try to figure out all the names of the party and put them on your Do Not Rent list and spread the word in your community.


            Nasty, filthy people!

            • Re: How do I get a guest to own up to the damage they caused?
              Active Contributor

              First let us say we are just sick to think what people did to your house, which btw is so gorgeous!  The colors of your photos on VRBO - We want to stay there!!


              Our manager requires a damage insurance policy but she also takes a credit card number.  It's not a perfect system any way you look at it.  We don't really know about the insurance you have, but think that the old-fashioned security deposit is most likely to help out when a guest is this disrespectful.  From what we know about the damage insurance, it doesn't cover everything (like theft) and that the guests have to report the damage.  How likely is that, especially in a case like this?!


              Still, try putting in a claim with photos.  Best of luck and let us know what happens.


              Larry and Margot

              • Re: How do I get a guest to own up to the damage they caused?
                iopbeachhouse Active Contributor

                Sometimes I can get guests to admit to damage by mentioning that we found a soiled bedspread or  stained carpet and we would like to try to clean it. Knowing what was spilled on it makes it more likely we will be able to get it clean. So far, I've opted not to keep the deposit since we have been able to clean each item or the carpet was one we had been planning to replace anyway. I have found people are much more careful when they have their cash on the line and not just an insurance policy.

                • Re: How do I get a guest to own up to the damage they caused?



                  I'm so sorry that this has happened!  It just boggles my mind how people can live with themselves and do that to another person!


                  Unfortunately, it sounds like these 'people' took advantage of the fact that they were covered by insurance, not understanding that it is meant for accidental damage and doesn't cover willful 'rule-breaking' or excess cleaning.  From what I've read about the Property Damage Protection it doesn't pay for excess cleaning.  But, that's not to say that you can't try.  I would try and see what happens.


                  This is why I have steered clear of this insurance.  It seems that if there's no security deposit ('good care deposit' ) in place, that the guest has no incentive to behave.  I think they assume that they paid for insurance so whatever they do to your home is 'covered'.