11 Replies Latest reply: Jul 24, 2018 8:48 AM by shelbie350 RSS

    Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up

    shelbie350 New Member

      This past weekend my home was rented by a large group, my home is large and on several acres on a lake.  I got zero communication from them the entire time they were there until the day they left when they texted me about a stray dog hanging around and damaging a screen door at my property.   They claimed they thought the dog belonged to the property????  How ridiculous. 

       

      Turns out they had a dog inside my home based on dog hair left behind.  They report the stray was black and the dog hair was light colored.   I have a no pet policy and a rental agreement that states that.  The screen door was ripped from the inside not the outside from a dog scratching to go outside and I have pictures.

       

      I have a $500 damage deposit and want to keep all of it to cover an extra cleaning fee and repair of a brand new screen door.

       

      My question is about their attempt to cover this up claiming a stray dog????  I know all my neighbors and they report an unknown dog hanging around this weekend.  They even went as far as buying dog food for the "stray" and leaving a note behind about it.

        • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
          feibus CommunityAmbassador

          Can they tell you more about this "stray"?

           

          Yes, it makes sense that if there's a dog inside and it sees a dog outside, it might try to scratch at the screen to get out.

           

          As for damages amount: it's up to your RA and state law, but you should be able to keep the amount related to the direct expenses you incur to repair any damages.

          • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
            georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

            Every property, especially on that is nicely secluded on several acres should have exterior cameras.

            It protects your neighbors and your property.

            Unless you have proof, you just dont know and can not claim anything.

            Good Luck

            • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
              floridarob Active Contributor

              Even without any 'proof' from cameras, you should still attempt to claim whatever you can from the guest. If they fight back, and you lose because of some local law, or whatever the case may be, it is still worth taking a shot. Go for it!

               

              There very well may have been a stray dog hanging around the property. Their dog would have attracted it! None of that changes anything. As guests they are responsible for what happens in and to the property while under their care.

               

              My reaction was their dog was all excited trying to get out to go see the stray dog, and that is why it was of issue for them.

              • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                hmmmm Senior Contributor

                Take pics, and charge them replacement costs.

                • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                  green_mango Active Contributor

                  I'd let the "mystery stray dog" story go - just ignore it.  Withhold from the deposit the cost of repairing the screen door & possibly the cost of extra cleaning, if any.

                  • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                    One of our very first guests 20+ years ago, claimed a stray dog followed the husband home after a jog/hike in the area.  I communicated after the stay that we had heard a dog barking at our guesthouse during their stay and that we had a dog policy and a dog could stay for a nightly fee.  She was livid and thus told me the stray dog story and the communication was very unpleasant causing a few sleepless nights.  This was way before the review craze, but I still did nothing relative to withholding money.  The house was fine, but I learned my lesson.  And the lesson is that we do nothing unless there is extensive damage, that would take a lot of time or money to deal with the damages.  And we definitely put dishonest people on our never-book-to-again list.  We live on the property and since that time, drop by to service both the pool, spa and the BBQ each day. We are required by county regulations to have an onsite manager. It is really impossible to get away with undisclosed guests or pets. 

                     

                    BTW, in the 20+ years living on the ranch there might have been one stray dog.  Our ranch is in the middle of nowhere.  It would be highly unlikely that we would see a stray dog atop the mountain.

                     

                    I might add that if you want to avoid a possible negative review, you might consider doing nothing.  Yes, it might cost you extra, but if it was me, I would let it go.  We have had guests that have destroyed screen doors requiring my husband to re-screen the door.  As for dog hair, that might take a little extra vacuuming and a lint brush.  Yes, it is very irritating and I feel you pain, but think about it before you act.  Is it really worth the hassle it may cause if you charge them?  Just me...

                     

                    Edited...

                    • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                      shelbie350 New Member

                      Thank you for all your replies.   Since posting I have been communicating with the guest and she admitted to letting this "stray" dog in the house.   This dog clearly had accidents in which they used kitchen towels to clean up and left the pee towels in our laundry room, rather than run a load of laundry themselves.  Unbelievable to me.  They also let the dog on my patio furniture.  My next guest is actually allergic to animals and now I have to shampoo carpets on top of the regular clean.  Between the screen repair, extra cleaning fee and shampoo fee, they will be losing a good amount of their deposit. 

                       

                      A bad review is possible at this point and it will go both ways.  People need to be accountable. 

                       

                      Finally, it is suspected that they actually dumped this dog.  No one has seen this dog in our area before. 

                        • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                          scowol Active Contributor

                          This goes into the growing category of "just when you think you have heard it all."    I appreciate you sharing. 

                           

                          I use an e-signature platform for my RA, and require all of my guests to fill out a "Pet Addendum - Declaration / Non-Declaration of Pets and Animals"   They have to initial next to the box to declare a pet or confirm no pets.  It has worked beautifully because it forces the guests to make a positive or negative declaration. 

                           

                          Anyhow, in addition to "pet", I have update the wording to add "animals of any kind" to the RA. That way, it won't matter if they say it was a stray and not a pet.

                           

                          P.S.  I'm sorry you had to endure this. 

                          • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                            Maybe I am a bit of a skeptic, but I am not sure about the stray story.
                            Never the less....

                            • Re: Undisclosed pet, damages and cover up
                              green_mango Active Contributor

                              Thank you for the update - it just gets even more far fetched - at least they admitted *they* let the "stray" dog into the house - so that's on them, and I wouldn't at all feel badly about using their deposit towards repairing the door and a deep clean.