9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 26, 2012 12:59 PM by marilyn RSS

    Potential guest  going through our contract with a fine tooth comb - should this be a red flag?

    New Member

        I'm just concerned if I'm over reacting.  We've been renting our home for over 4 years and using a contract ( which we paid a lawyer to go through).  It's a reasonable contract , but we want to protect ourselves.  Our home is on the water, we've put our life savings into it and we just want to be protected.

      A potential guest has gone through the contract with a fine tooth comb and has asked to change the wording on a few points in the contract.   They aren't big changes - as he put it, he'd like to just "soften the wording."

      My gut feeling is to pass this guy and his little family over, I worry that even if we agree to these changes, that he might be the type that will get nitpicky about other things.

      All of our guests have been extremely happy with our place - no complaints.     The guy seems on the up and up (found him in white pages, and via other searches), but just wondered if there was a way to find out if he's notorious for giving owners a lot of grief....I welcome some advice. THANKS!

        • Re: Potential guest  going through our contract with a fine tooth comb - should this be a red flag?
          sophie Senior Contributor

          There are some discussions on this forum about renters wanting to change the contract or the wording of the contract. The consensus is DO NOT CHANGE THE CONTRACT FOR HIM! I would walk away immediately. Even he is agrees to your contract, I wouldn't rent to him! There is usually no good that can come from this. Here is a recent discussion:




          You are not over reacting.  We learn to have a gut feeling when in this business and your gut is spot on with this guy.  Tell him very nicely that the property is no longer available for rent and wish him good luck in his search.


          Keep us posted. He probably won't be happy but he won't be able to leave a review if he's never stayed in your house.

          • Re: Potential guest  going through our contract with a fine tooth comb - should this be a red flag?
            thaxterlane Premier Contributor

            Yes, you should be concerned and proceed cautiously with this guest.  We have a two page contract (brief by many standards) that we have been using for many years and we have had one question in all that time.  It was a question to clarify which utilities were included in the weekly rental rate.  All are included - we recognized the wording could be improved and corrected our template.  But, a few points? 


            I would avoid a guest that wants to change the wording on your contract.  It may signal a tendency to ask for exceptions and be overly critical.  It doesn't suggest a positive or easy going nature - not a great beginning for a potential guest. 

            • Re: Potential guest  going through our contract with a fine tooth comb - should this be a red flag?

              If it's something that was an oversight, such as the previous example of not specifying which utilities are included, then sure, go ahead and make it more specific.  We all need to keep in mind that some of our renters may have had bad experiences with previous homeowners and are looking to prevent a repeat of a previous bad experience.


              But if they are looking to "soften" the wording, then they are effectively doing 2 things:


              1. They are changing the nature of the product being offered.  You are offering the house with a specific set features and conditions for an agreed price.  Although it might not seem so on the face of it, but they are asking you to provide more value for the price listed by changing the condition.  You are under no obligation to do so.


              2. They are setting themselves up for protection from a likely event that will occur during the rental.  Perhaps they have a party planned, they plan to invite extra people, or have a child that has been knowne to flush weird stuff down the toilet.  They know they are planning to do something non-standard, and want to make sure they can't be called on it.  No thank you.


              And that woudl be my reply - "At this time we've decided not to rent the house that week."   You don't have to say why - perhaps you plan to use it yourself.  Just be careful not to make it personal - this person may be litgious by nature and you don't want to give them any reason to start threatening a discrimitation lawsuit. 


              Of course, after they understand that you won't be renting the house to them, you can change your mind about using that week yourself, and put it back on the market.

              • Re: Potential guest  going through our contract with a fine tooth comb - should this be a red flag?
                Active Contributor

                Your potential guest is probably a lawyer - and I'm not badmouthing lawyers - I'm one myself.  And we just can't help ourselves - we like to "tweak" things!  I'm on board with the rest.  If they want the home under the terms of YOUR contract, they'll have to sign it as is.


                The reason I looked for this forum is because I just had to vent re: some communications I just went through with a inquiry.  Behavior like this is a RED FLAG!  I try to post as much information as possible about our home and our area on our site. 


                For those inquirers who have never been to our area, I don't mind answering a few additional questions.  But here's what I got:


                We "may" be interested in your home and would like to know the cost including special rates, taxes and pet fees, if applicable. Any info. about the ferry schedule and costs, the club fees and pool schedule will be helpful too."  Okay, no problem, that's easy to handle.  I also tell the inquirer that we're leaving for the island this Friday, and that I'd like to get paperwork and information out prior to our departure.  


                Next, it's Do you provide a child seat for use with your bikes?  No, I provide bikes, but not a child seat. 


                Next it's "We are still trying to decide if we can do our spring break [at your home] but to help with the decision process I have another question  Is there a type of shuttle service to get us and our belongings from the mariina to the house?  We are trying to decide what to bring and thought we could walk with it all to the house, which we decided is about 1 to 1-1/2 miles from the marina.  What would be our best bet to get us and our belongings to the house?"  Now I'm thinking Good God, woman - it's a 3-day weekend!"  I provide the answers and tell her it's a fully furnished house, and again remind her that we're leaving tomorrow and I want to get the process going!  Their stay is less than 3 weeks away! 


                This morning it's:  "We're bringing our dog and have a "couple" of questions re: the dog laws.  Can we bring him to the beach any time of day? Are dogs allowed in the wildlife preserves to walk with us on the trails?  Are dogs allowed on the grounds of the lighthouse? Does he have to be crated on the ferry? Pretty much can you tell me where we can and cannot bring our dog when we are exploring the island?  This is our last concern  If he is pretty much allowed to go where we go on the island then we are set to go ahead and proceed with the reservation.  If the laws are restrictive about dogs we'll have to consider this a bit more for we would hate to crate him all day while we are out and about "  DING, DING, DING - the alarms go off!  Of course we require that dogs be crated when guests are away from our home. 


                I just sent her a note that said "Upon further reflection, we decided this may not be a good fit.  Thank you for your interest in our home. Best regards."


                I am exhausted and it's not even 7AM!  I may have lost a booking, but I'm thinking I saved a headache and a lot of hassles!