8 Replies Latest reply: Jun 27, 2012 10:14 AM by trace! RSS

    What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house

    Active Contributor

      Oy vey. I should have listened to my little voice and not had these people rent from us. But.........after the woman appologized for asking us if our house was "really" as nice as the pictures showed, and questioning every little thing in the contract, I figured it was ok.

      Well......two weeks prior to their arrival, I sent out all the check in, check out info, along with the pass code to get the key to the house, odometer readings and directions to get to our mountain retreat, as well as all sorts of things to see, do, places to eat, etc etc. I never heard from her that she got it and had to write and ask. She said yes, she'd gotten it and read it and all was fine. Great. They were supposed to arrive in our area by 8pm the other night and they called us at 10pm from a town THREE HOURS away and she proceeded to tell me she had no idea how to get to our place, how to get in, and didn't know any details about the house!!!! I calmly asked her to get out the papers I had emailed her and that she was supposed to print and bring with her and all her questions were answered there. She said she had never actually read them, and had printed them out, but her husband had packed them in the boat they were bringing with them and he had  no idea where he'd put them. They were, at 10pm, ordering dinner somewhere and figured they would arrive at our place in an hour. We broke the news to them that they were 3 hours away over very rough terrain and curvy mountain roads. She said she wanted me to read her the directions, step by step to get to our house. I told her to please try to find the information because it was going to take an hour to tell her over the phone everything on the written directions. She said they would get into the boat and call us back. 40 minutes elapsed. No call. We finally called her and she said "oh....we found the papers. And we've got our GPS.....so just give us the street address" IT'S PRINTED ON EACH OF THE PAGES OF INFO!!!!!!  My husband told her that and she said "oh...yeah. I still haven't read the stuff". Then she asked HIM to dictate the directions to her over the phone. To make the long story short, they arrived at 3am. We pretty much told them NOT to rely on a GPS navigator because we live on gravel roads in the mountains and they are often not updated. Well...they got lost instead of following my directions, they trusted the GPS.

      We have a policy of allowing renters to get settled then give us a quick call, we go through the house with them, show them details, ask if they need extra pillows, go over the Homeowners Association rules with them, etc. It takes 15 minutes, max. They've been in the house 3 days and my husband has asked 3 times if he can come up and walk them through and they say "not right now...it's not convenient". Ok.....I can see that excuse once. But not 3 times and now we see them riding a quad around the dirt roads (against our home owners association rules), they've got a child up there we didn't have on the contract at all, and we are starting to really be suspicious of these people.

      Because of the "negative review" issue, my husband says just let them be and I want to go up and kick them out. They don't read anything, they aren't considerate of the fact that they kept us up till the wee hours of the morning when they were supposed to be in the house by 8 or 9pm, and I'm sick of worrying about what else is going on up there. What would some of you do? We live within site of the house. Sort of.....it's a secluded wooded setting so we really can't see the  house, but can see the surroundings.

      Folks...when you get a red flag feeling......trust it! Looking forward to hearing some ideas and opinions.


        • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house
          carol Premier Contributor

          Does your contract give you the right to enter with sufficient notice?  Mine says I can enter any time for emergency, and with 24 hrs notice for any other reason, so I would tell them firmly that I am coming over tomorrow and not take "no" for an answer.


          Then if you find them violating the lease, you can issue an ultimatum -- shape up or ship out. 

          If your contract is silent on the issue, you could still be firm and just go over.   Maybe bring some brownies as an excuse....


          It sounds like these are just clueless people, not necessarily malicious, so a firm but gentle approach may just work. 


          The child is another issue.   Again, if they didn't tell you about the child and you would have charged more for a child, you may explain that politely they owe you $xxx and could they please write a check now? (or you will charge their card).  If your homeowner's association forbids children, you may have to kick them out.  But if there really are no consequences for having a child, then I would let it go after expressing surprise at seeing one (Oh dear, what a shame you forgot to list little Johnny -- I would have left you some nice games appropriate for his age!). 

            • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house
              Active Contributor

              Great advice, Carol. I especially like "oh dear......what a shame you forgot to list Johnny"  My husband went over a bit ago and used the excuse that he had to water some wildflowers we'd planted in a storm damaged area we are trying to restore. While there, he mentioned the quad and the rules....and also asked about the number of guests. They then informed him that a relative is ALSO coming to stay one night. But the weirdest thing is this. She starts asking about where to go for 4th of July fireworks. She's checking out on the 30th.......I pulled out the contract and she had originally wanted to stay for the 4th, but they changed their minds. Unfortunately, she didn't remember and was planning to celebrate the 4th here. Imagine her surprise when my hubby took her signed contract over showing her that SHE changed the date. Thank heaven for copies and it makes me glad I keep track of everything. To not even know how long you are staying in a place?  DOUBLE DUH.

              I also like the  brownie excuse for stopping in. We don't have anything in our contract about access to the house, but that's very interesting and makes sense to add. I'm wondering who else may have such a clause in their contract.

              I dont' really care about the child per se. It's the whole "we didn't bring who we told you we'd bring and we don't know how long we're staying and ......we didn't READ anything you sent us" issue that just worries me. Hubby said they don't seem too bad; the house looked clean and the child is quiet. So...thankfully this issue at this point seems to be a non issue. But I will be holding my breath when they check out.

                • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house
                  carol Premier Contributor

                  Good for your husband, and lucky you figured out she had the dates wrong!  You know, if it weren't so close and personal, it would be really funny.  She gets my vote for airhead guest of the year!.  


                  Here's the access clause in my contract:


                  [guest name] shall, at reasonable times, give access to Carol or her agents for any reasonable and lawful purpose.  Except in situations of compelling emergency, Carol or her agents shall give [guest name] at least 24 hours' notice of intention to seek access, the date and time at which access will be sought, and the reason therefore. 


                  Hope it all works out and they leave on time. 

                • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house
                  thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                  Love the bake some brownies idea.  I was thinking the same thing, homemade  cookies or brownies.  What could be better than a gift while checking out violations . . . .

                • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house
                  New Member
                  We had a long term renter who destroyed a mattress, left food on the counters and uncovered in the fridge and smoked like a chimney in a no smoking home.  We had told the manager that we would be using the house ourselves after his rental was to have expired, you can imagine our surprise to find out he was still there.  There was a day long cleaning of the condo to get it ready for us and we still found dirty clothes and the renters belongings that had been left behind.
                  We asked that his contract be terminated but the manager told us he'd keep a closer eye on him.  We returned a couple months later after making sure he had left and found that the same cleaning marathon had happened again as the place was left filthy.
                  When the property manager told me that he thought we'd do better with a different manager, we didn't argue (or tell him it was our plan to fire him) rather than risk our property again, we just changed managers.  The new manager is a jewel and I wouldn't trade her for the world..  We have had no more issues with renters since she's taken over and when we set dates aside we don't worry what mess we'll walk into.


                  • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house

                    unfortunately when they are in it is almost too late. I found this out the hard way and always check credit and MORE importantly check their previous rental history (download free rental application with rental history)

                    • Re: What to do w/renters you have doubts about once they are IN the house

                      Hi Trish, you mentioned being rural and on a mountain. Same here. I use this fact to my advantage. I had constant issues with guests not declaring everyone in their rental party. But I found a solution. After my guests have filled in and sent me their rental agreement I call and speak with them on the phone..quick 2 mintue call. I read to them, all the names they listed on their guest list and then ask if there ANY CHANCE they will have any extras during their stay. All of a sudden, they recall there MIGHT be A FEW people who POSSIBLY will come and stay.


                      I explain the following...


                      "Due to our cabins being in a rural and somewhat secluded area, we are required to have ALL the names of all our guests in the unlikely event that there is a need for evacuation or any type of search and rescue effort..." I also tell them (and there is a line in my rental agreement also) that if at any time someone unexpectedly decides to join their rental party or come stay with them, they are required to call, text or email me their name and whether they are an adult or child...for safety reasons of course.


                      We are in Southern California, and most people understand the earthquake/wildfire risks here. About 1 in every 4 calls, ends with someone saying like "Oh yes, I forgot....my cousin/friend/brother may come and stay for a night or two". Basically,the guests focus shifts from 'getting one over on me' to 'wanting to ensure THEIR OWN safety'.


                      As a side note...nobody 'requires' this information other than myself However in all these years, only 1 person has asked me who actually requires me to get this information. I simply stated it is very helpful to our fire-fighters in the event of an emergency. And they accepted that without question.