Good questions, Jean. I'm sorry you've had to deal with this, especially at this time of year.
This is a new one to me.
I'm thinking the Signer of the lease is completely responsible, and since he did not notify you that he would not be there he'd be responsible for all damages, etc. Do you have a Hold Harmless clause in your rental agreement?
I learn something new all the time from these forums! I've tweaked my rental agreement several times because of them. Ours states clearly there are NO Proxy rentals at any time, and the Signer mst be present throughout the rental period.
I look forward to other's opinions!
I ended up sending my attorney a copy of the contract to make sure everything is covered. This really opened my eyes to the liability of renting my cabin. Most people are honest but you always get those few who ruin it for the rest of us! I also think the electronic signature causes people to not print and actually read the full contract. I am going to have them print it out, physically sign and mail it to me.
A hold harmless agreement (while it may not hold up well in court) is a necessary document so that the signer can see that they are responsible for any injuries that may occur, etc. Your insurance company will appreciate it too as they would be the one's to fight this battle for you if there was a claim.
I also have it on my pet agreement.