20 Replies Latest reply: Jun 21, 2012 10:53 PM by anja RSS

    Late with deposits..


      So, I have someone renting my cape cod condo and they were late with the initial deposit and now they're late with the balance of the rent and security.  They're due to come in, in about 2 weeks and I have a 4 week policy on sending in the balance, meaning, balance is due (rent+security) 4 weeks prior to their stay.  I emailed them over a week ago and she used the excuse she couldn't send a check because she's Jewish and needed to honor the sabath.  She stated that the balance would get sent on a Tues, after the long weekend.  It's now a week and a day later and still no check.  Anyone have this issue? 



        • Re: Late with deposits..
          susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

          As long as the wording in your contract/lease is clear that the deposit is forfeited if payments are not received as per dates in the lease, you should immediately open the week for rental on your listing. You've been more than accommodating in waiting. If it was my listing, I would change the headline to reflect the open week and perhaps offer a discount. Under no circumstances would I refund any money paid by the guest who broke the contract unless the contract states otherwise.

          As an aside, someone Jewish who is so religious that she won't conduct business on the Sabbath keeps kosher. If  she mentioned looking forward to enjoying lobster during her vacation in your condo, she was not truthful about no writing or mailing a check on Saturday.

            • Re: Late with deposits..

              i don't have that wording in my contract...but now i will!..thxs! 


              within the contract, i state balance is due 4 weeks prior to stay.  it's fri 6/8, still no check and it was due 5/25  i emailed and asked specifically when it was sent and she resonds two days later (today, via iphone, so, she has access to email remotely) and says this week.  she said she was going to send it last week.  if there's no check in my mail box tomorrow, i'm emailing her saying she has till tues, next week to fedx me a check or contract is cancelled.  i then need to ask do i give back the deposit??  i probably will - i don't want to deal with her and i'm now growing concerned about what they might do to my home?

                • Re: Late with deposits..
                  carol Premier Contributor

                  If they are coming in about June 20, getting a check on Jun 12 will not give it time to clear.   They may have a lovely vacation at your home and after they leave and you have returned their deposit, you may find the rent check bounced.  I would tell them they must bring cash when they come or they are not getting a key. 


                  At this point, unless you think you can find a last minute renter, you have to balance your lost revenue against your worry that they will mess up your house.   Were they pleasant and respectful, but just not very organized? I'd be inclined to let them come if they bring cash.   Or were they rude and sloppy and the late payment just confirmed your gut feeling about them?  In that case, I would inform them that they have broken the contract and are no longer welcome in your home, and you will keep their deposit as partial compensation for your loss of revenue.  

              • Re: Late with deposits..
                anja Senior Contributor

                Hi codscape,


                I'm with Carol.....tell your guests that it is now required that the balance be paid in cash...on arrival...because you only accept checks with a 30 day minimum "to clear".  Make it understood that a check will not be accepted!

                • Re: Late with deposits..

                  Let me say this...

                  -She has not been rude.

                  -Payments, both have been late.

                  -She always has an excuse.

                  -She said the second payment would be sent Tues after the Memorial Day, no show.  She then says she'll send it, a week later still no show.  I ask this past Tues where it is?...She says it's in the mail.  If she sent it earlier in the week it should be here by now. 


                  You are both reading my mind.  My concerns...


                  -The check bounces

                  -They are a party of 5 which is the largest I take.  My concern is if I tick them off but let them in they leave the place a mess.


                  Can I legally keep the deposit?...That's not technically covered in the contract.  At this point rather then spark an argument I'd rather just cut my losses and not risk even further loss by having them there.


                  I know what she is going to say or how she is playing this...The check is now probably in the mail, it will show today or early next week and then she'll expect me to let them in.  My gut is telling me to tell her the agreement is null and void given that she missed the window for payment and that she nolonger has a place to rent - her deposit will be refunded.  Oh, and I'll take my time sending it back to her.

                    • Re: Late with deposits..
                      carol Premier Contributor

                      If the check does arrive and is written on a bank with a branch near you, you can go to the bank and cash it directly.  (While you are waiting, can you retrieve a copy of her deposit check through online banking to see what bank she uses?)  Be sure to keep  the envelope with the cancellation stamp, if it is legible; this is proof she lied to you about it being in the mail.   


                      If the check is not drawn on a local bank, and if you decide to let them stay, notify them the check arrived too late, you will require cash upon check in,  and you will return their check to them upon cash payment.


                      If you decide to cut your losses and run from this renter, no one would blame you.   Remember that once she stays in the house, she can write a nasty review on HA or VRBO and you will have no control over its publication.  Given your gut feeling, this is the safer route.   And if it makes you feel better to return the deposit, thereby eliminating any need for communicating with her in the future, by all means do so.    (I would be inclined to keep it and make her threaten and beg for it, but then I love a good fight, especially when I know I'm in the right.  She has no legal claim to that deposit! )  

                      • Re: Late with deposits..
                        anja Senior Contributor

                        Hi codcape....

                        I want to lend support to my fellow Ambassador owners, Gabriel and Carol.  I would listen to their advice....I would tell these people that their reservation is null and void....due to non payment {refer to their contractural payment terms that they signed}.


                        Carol is correct:  if you let them rent....they can leave you a nasty review...I wouldn't give them that power. They have broken the  "trust" already by not paying.  I would cancel them, today.  I would refund them in full ...their deposit...security....whatever they paid ....just so I can divorce from them entirely.


                        I do not put up with anyone disrespecting me, my property, my contractural terms....especially if it begins before they even arrive.

                          • Re: Late with deposits..

                            I totally agree...I don't trust them.  I ran into the same deal last year with someone who did the same thing - both payments late and then they tried to get me to refund them part of the rent because a storm was coming a day after their arrival date.  I told them to refer to the storm policy - no refunds unless there's a forced evacuation.  They left the house a mess and then had the guts to ask if they could rent this yr.  I'm getting that gut feeling with this lady. 


                            And, I should mention, no check in the mail today even though she said she mailed it earlier this (now, almost last) week.


                            I guess I should expect this sort of stuff. 



                        • Re: Late with deposits..
                          Active Contributor

                          Hi Codcape:


                          I suggest you let them know the reservation has been cancelled for lack of payment according to your contract. And send them their money back since you have no provision in your contract.


                          One little white lie "check is in the mail" and it arrives 2 days after promised is nothing to be alarmed, but one lie after another means that you are not dealing with honest clients and you are asking for trouble.


                          If they still decide to go through the rental, CANCEL THEM and request FULL PAYMENT and DEPOSIT prior to reconfirming. Do not hold the dates for them, you do not owe them that courtesy. Open your home for other potential renters. Demand wire transfer or ACH payment, and ensure you get the Homeaway insurance because you won't collect a dime from these people.


                          Change your contract, mine states that 25% fee for cancelling 45 days prior to arrival and 100% fee if less than 45 days. I am then flexible if that happens to offer alternate dates or partial refund if I am able to re rent, but that is not in the contract, I do it as courtesy if the guest had a bonefide problem.


                          Best of luck in solving this.

                          • Re: Late with deposits..

                            OK..email has been sent indicating nonpayment and agreement is null and void based on nonpayment.  I'll report on the response.

                              • Re: Late with deposits..
                                anja Senior Contributor

                                That will get their attention.


                                Now brace yourself.  They will either apologize profusely ...or they will protest and even threaten you with some action. Be ready with a response to either....and stay calm, professional.  Even if they threaten to sue you...which would be a huge waste of time and money for them.  Just respond with "facts of the matter" and always refer to the contract terms.  They breached their contract.  They can not to do that in any other course of business ...so they can not do it to you either!   You are within  your contractural right to cancel them.  You might feel "conflicted" now...but....


                                ....you can decide to let them come...even now...but they have to respect ALL YOUR terms. Sometimes, these situations can be worked around....if you have the will to do so.  I would be phoning them first...to make certain that they received and read my canceling email....and I'd speak frankly with them...politely but frankly.


                                So, you do have the prerogrative to still permit them to arrive....let's face it....you would lose the booking ...they would lose the house so close to their arrival...no one happy.  So, it's up to you.  It's not too late for either of you to turn this around ...smooth it out.   I would be on the phone with them to discuss this situation.  And...if you decide to have them come....


                                I would hold their check  {if it arrives} and I'd assure them that I will give them their check back on arrival in exchange for the balance in cash.

                                  • Re: Late with deposits..

                                    I sent the email last night - immediately I receive a response...not what I was expecting...She sends me a request asking to change her dates.  The request wasn't a reponse to my note (from last night) but another note.  THEN I get a response to my note.  That response said she didn't understand my reply and wants to speak to me.  I told her I cannot make myself free due to work and to email me.  I heavily rely on email for these things - it assists in keeping a track record of what has happened.  I replied that the agreement and reservation are cancelled due to nonpayment and that I'm refunding her check - no response yet.

                                      • Re: Late with deposits..
                                        Senior Contributor

                                        Oh my! I think you handled this just right. I'd also refund her money and move on. I'd have no trouble (nicely) letting her know that you think she'd be better off looking at other properties.


                                        These types of people can really make Owner's lives miserable. We all try to work with our guests, but if they have treated you so disrepectfully I'd suggest you cut your losses and move on. I bet you'll feel better, and you'll have dodged a few MORE sleepless nights.


                                        Hope all works out for you!


                                        • Re: Late with deposits..
                                          anja Senior Contributor

                                          Hi codcape,


                                          This person -in my opinion-  is not a good vacation rental candidate.   That's the impression she's made upon  me.


                                          She might not be outright dishonest... {no evidence  of that....except she breached the contract already} ...but an owner needs to feel comfortable dealing with the strangers we give our keys to.  If she were "in residence" at your home, what else would she be "light-headed" or careless about?


                                          Simply...she does not seem to "get" how her already "poor performance" influences the impression she's given you as someone who is unreliable and not trustworthy. Maybe she's just a bit of an "airhead"....but I would not go forward with her....if it were I in your situation....I'm looking for the "level headed" person to hand my keys to.  You could chalk this up to "screening" and decide that this one is a risk.


                                          There is no way that I would continue discussing with her.....especially now, after her response.  She does not *regard* at all that this is business.  She does not *respect* the contract that she signed  {probably didn't read it}.  Travelers who, either do not perceive our business as *serious*, or are cynical about our "trade" which can be reflected in their "sarcasm" some of us have gotten in inquiries {I, for one}, or travelers whose expections are *unbalanced*....vis-a-vis a  private home rental -vs-  a 5-star resort..... these people are just not good "candidates" for renting  private property.


                                          The first indicator, for me, is when they demonstrate their failure to follow a few simple contractural details...the first one being to send payment!

                                            • Re: Late with deposits..

                                              well, this is how the story ended...i received a memo accusing me of being agressive, questioning my intentions of renting the condo, and some other things.  she of course wanted her $$ back immediately.  she commented that her deposit was her way of committing to the renting of the property.  what kills me is that it was HER actions or lack there of that caused this issue.  she claims she couldn't mail the deposit till after the holiday, never mails it that week and then never mails it the following week.  even when i asked when it was mailed, i got a response two days later saying it was mailed earlier in the week.  well, the post mark on the envelope reads fri, not monday which would be early in the week.  so, she either lied or the post office delayed delivery not once but twice - her intial deposit was also slow to come in.


                                              anway, i responded with - i had a third party review the issue and we came to the conclusion that both of us - her and i could have managed this better.  i also included within my note exactly how i felt, questioning her as a renter given payment was late and how that might equate to her being a bad renter.  i also mentioned how hard i worked to obtain and maintain my place - this wasn't handed to me.  of course, not in those exact words - i was nice.


                                              i offered her the home again and she declined.  so, now she wants her money back ASAP.  i hate to lose the rent but that's the way it worked out.


                                              so, looking back at how i could have done better here..


                                              -I should have had a payment schedule in my contract and rules specific to what will happen if not followed.

                                              -I should have better expressed my concerns regarding payment.

                                              -I should have given her a warning, prior to just saying i'm cancelling the agreement - i probably could have saved this one.

                                                • Re: Late with deposits..
                                                  anja Senior Contributor

                                                  We have all learned from our experiences ...especially from difficult circumstances with individuals. We  know we're right often...contracturally = legally, and we learn our thresholds of how much we want to put up with. No one likes to lose income, but sometimes it's better not to have a P.I.T.A.  {pain in the a_ _}  ...when the red flags go up. This didn't work out for either of you....but it's not because you did not try to give her time to "make good with you".


                                                  Too bad  that she chose to react in defence of her negligence.... with no apology....she never showed you respect....and she never regarded that this is your business....and she breached her contract with you.  She lied, too.  So, she's showing you her character.  She's nasty and judgemental {of you}.  A sincere apology can go a long way...but she's not of that moral character.  She wasn't rude to you earlier only because she was wanted something {from you}.  Now, you see her moral character.  She  is lacking  in remorse, in responsibility and regard for you.   {That's a big red flag for me.}


                                                  It's my opinion  that she's not a candidate for "private owner rentals".  There are plenty of people who are judgemental, threatening, and nasty when it is they who are in breach of contract.


                                                  I'd be so happy that she's not coming!  I'd be relieved.  I think you dodged a "bad renter" experience with this woman...and her "group of five people".  It started out bad...and she gave you no assurance that she's reliable and trust worthy enough to continue with.


                                                  Yes...you could have risked having her come...paying  cash on arrival. That was always an option. But, you had a bad feeling about this group, from the start.  I think you did what your gut ultimately said it should.


                                                  I've only had a few nasty people {and all were women} on the attack of my policies....and even one who became verbally abusive after I wouldn't make an exception for her "situation"....but they all wanted something that they could not get ...to "use me and  my property their way".


                                                  In this situation, unless her tone with me was different, I would not be offering her to come now, even if she came with cash on arrival.  I'd be sending her money back, today, by express...so she gets it in time for her to find another place to stay.  I do hope that she's learned to "respect a contract"....for the next owner she tries to book with.....but I'm not going to hold my breathe with these types of people.


                                                  I'm sorry it didn't work out differently, in the end.  This is clearly a disappointment for you....and your remorse reflects your good character and sincerely as the owner!  She lost a nice house owned by a good person. That's how I see it.


                                                  There are some threads on this forum on "contracts"...and some examples that owners have shared...check out the cancellation policies. You can use the above "Search For Answers" field for "contracts" and "cancellations"  to get some ideas of what owners do. And...ask here.

                                                    • Re: Late with deposits..

                                                      All: Thanks all for the kind words and support!


                                                      I was actually considering giving her a break on the rent when my brother asked why I was rewarding her for a late payment (and driving me crazy)??  I sort of felt as if I contributed to the issue a bit but then decided he was sort of right.  ANJA - You're right and my gut said intially that this lady would be a PITA.  AllI can say is...Go with your gut!!


                                                      She did miss out on a nice place - I'm a fanatic with my home.  I clean and repair everything myself.  I sold my classic car, a Corvette to buy the condo.  It was the car I waited for my entire life but I was trading one dream in for another.  My wife thinks I traded one obsession for another - she's right!