25 Replies Latest reply: Feb 25, 2018 9:53 AM by sward6880 RSS

    Stop It !!!!  Stop It !!! Stop It !!!!

    georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

      HomeAway.....

      are you aware that our homes exist in the "Real World"

      That means ...

      we have neighbors...and in many locations Government Regulations are ready to pounce and reign in the category.

      STR's are NOT liked, nor well regarded in much of the country, or in the world these days.

      The best way to operate an STR is quietly and without overcrowding.

      That means...4 Bedrooms = 8 guests or 10 at the maximum. 3 Bedrooms = 6 guests or 8 at the Maximum. ETC.

      The fewer guests, the less the neighbors are annoyed and the less destruction and wear and tear on a house.

      So PLEASE stop giving this kind of advice....on TV, and in your bulletins:

       

      Here are three things groups are typically looking for when booking a property:

      1. Washer/dryer
      2. Extra supply of towels and linens
      3. Plenty of sleeping arrangements - optimize your space by adding more options such as pull out couches, daybeds or even bunk beds!
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          ohst8er Premier Contributor

          Our condo regime (otherwise known as an HOA) has very strict rules as to number of occupants per bedroom.  Violation results in EVICTION.  To Georgy's point VRBO, PLEASE DO NOT encourage owners to encourage more guests than legally allowed!

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            green_mango Active Contributor

            I actually changed my max from 10 down to 8 and increased my nightly rate.  I am still prepared for 10 if needed, but all my listings on sites say 8 - so now if someone asks for 1 or 2 more people I have the option to say yes or no.  Much to my surprise, I've only had 1 group ask to bring more people.  When I had 10 listed I got more requests to bring extra people than I get now (of course, back then I got more inquiries period - so maybe that's why!).

             

            In my area it's popular to cram in as many people as possible.  So, I suppose in that regard I'm less competitive - but I'm ok with that.  I just don't want that much wear & tear on my house.  I was recently checking out my comp set in the metrics and was shocked at how many homes sleep more than I do, but are literally half the square footage.

             

            My listing says we offer a premium home with nice amenities and our goal isn't "heads in beds" - that's just not my niche. 

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                twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                We did the same. Almost 4000 square feet, 4 queen beds, but only three bedrooms.  NO sleeper sofas or air mattresses.  We limit occupancy to six and require everyone to sleep in a bed  We're not a flop house, for goodness sakes'!

                 

                It always astounds me when I see a 1900-square foot three-bedroom, 2 bath place that is advertised as sleeping 14!  When my husband and I share a hotel room, I sometimes have to run downstairs to the public restrooms because ours is occupied.  How in the world do 7 people share a bathroom?  Especially when they are travelling - normal routines get all messed up.

                 

                Our neighbor down the hill advertises their home for 14 at $700 per night, and then wonders why she gets large groups of friends that make a lot of noise and leave her place a mess.  I'm giving her some slack on this - she is brand new at renting.  But she does not consider her property her home (long story there!), and then wonders why her guests don't treat it better.  We routinely get our guests thanking us for "sharing our home", and we have very little trouble with our guests.

                 

                Add me to the list of owners that object to the advice to "pack them in like sardines!"

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                feibus Senior Contributor

                Yeah, that video made one bedroom look like the barracks on a submarine.

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                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                  Heads in beds is apparently the new message. I noticed on the HA TV show that the host is always pointing out spaces to add extra sleeping options.

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                      martyp Contributor

                      What HA TV show are you writing about?

                       

                      There was one mega-mansion that slept 40. The county sheriff had been called multiple times and one neighbor (an Equifax executive) sold his house to get away from the disturbance.  The county commissioners passed an overly strict ordinance that will shut down the Vacation Rental Home business after the one year grace period.

                       

                      The occupancy limit specified in the ordinance is 2 people per bedroom plus 2.  This allows for sleeper sofa in the living room. This number seems like a reasonable amount to me.

                       

                      My warning to all is be careful and be considerate of your neighbors; they have the voting power to shut you down.

                       

                      Marty

                        • Re: Stop It !!!!  Stop It !!! Stop It !!!!
                          georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                          the tv show is the vacation rental property show produced by HA

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                              calicalling Active Contributor

                              We host large numbers/groups of people, but never more than our legal occupancy which is limited and approved by our town. Further, we've never had to call police or had neighbors call police. I do think that this can be done well, its just a matter of choosing to do the work to do it well. And doing it well comes with expenses and oversight required. It's more work before, during and after the stay, I'll give you that for sure. But it doesn't have to be a sardine situation. I have guests coming next month for a wedding, a 70th birthday and an ash scattering. It feels to me like a privilege to be able to provide families a place to experience these life events together.

                               

                              I've noticed VRBO/HA promoting large groups of guests on this board and I've replied with my experience and questions but all I've heard in reply from VRBO/HA is, well, nothing.

                               

                              Again, this can be done in a way that is good for the property, the community, and the bottom line. But encouraging owners to provide illegal or even uncomfortable arrangements for guests is just stupid.

                        • Re: Stop It !!!!  Stop It !!! Stop It !!!!
                          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                          Not only is it annoying to neighbors who have to get up for work every day, but what about the extra water/sewer, electricity, etc. At some point we are just trading dollars all the while our homes are being over used.

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                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            Our town restricts nightly rentals based on bedrooms, not beds. They count every human, even newborns. So encouraging us to add beds into our space is a non-starter. I did exactly what green_mango did, which is to artificially limit my numbers. We can sleep more, but we don't admit it.

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                                twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                in my area the law is only 2 unrelated people per bedroom, which of course could still be more than 2 per bedroom if a family reunion....BUT WHY??? I not only restrict my guests to 6 (3 bedroom place) I also don’t allow for any more than 6 whether overnight or daily visiting. Wear/tear is not just additional expense for those in beds but overall.. So, if a family is coming to visit other family members they need to go their home if it exceeds 6 people overall.

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                                susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                                I could do what HA suggests or follow New Rehoboth Beach regulation for STRs: The Residential Rentals Ordinance also regulates overnight occupancy limitations that are permitted to be maintained for each property. The overnight occupancy shall not exceed two persons per bedroom plus an additional two persons. For example, a rental dwelling that is three bedrooms will have a maximum occupancy of eight occupants. Children six years of age or younger are not included in the occupant count.


                                I think I'll keep it legal and not risk losing my rental license.

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                                    bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                    Our county regs are worse...2 persons per bedroom regardless of age. 

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                                        linky17 Active Contributor

                                        You say "our county regs are worse* ... 2 persons per bedroom regardless of age."  (*Emphasis is mine.)

                                         

                                        I say: Great!!  Bring on the regs!  Whether it be the now relentless, often punishing push for Owners to blind-book Guests, or the seeming non-vetting of Owner/ship and/or Travelers, VRBO/HA has demonstrated -- time and again -- a disinclination and/or an incapacity to weigh meaningful screening (ex. the erstwhile 'Best Match') into its now double-paid booking process.

                                         

                                        The tighter the municipal regulations?  The better for all who responsibly own, who will honestly occupy, who innocently neighbor.  IMO.

                                         

                                        Thank you, georgygirl, for the OP.  While I (think I) know that VRBO/HA has a government relations 'team?'  In terms of PR, hands down: AirBnB always emerges as the thought leader, the proactive community partner, the go-to brand.

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                                            bobbie32 Premier Contributor

                                            I was responding to Susan's post that indicated that the powers that be in her location allow extra people in addition to the 2 persons per bedroom.  Our county used to not restrict the number of people.  But now they do not even allow a person on a sofa-bed.  People should now get rid of their sofa beds.  I have no problem with the two-persons per bedroom - period, but other rentals have always offered a bed of sorts for an extra person or two.  And frankly since enforcement is complaint driven, people will continue to bend the regs. Our county simply cannot enforce - no money to do that.  The owner can only do so much.  BUT it should fall to the owner, and HA/VRBO should have nothing to do with occupancy.  They should stay out of it and not encourage more people than the regs require.

                                             

                                            So in our county, a couple booking a rental with a single bedroom cannot bring a baby.  People might disagree with this, but it is now the law.

                                        • Re: Stop It !!!!  Stop It !!! Stop It !!!!
                                          georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                                          I think you, and as bobbie32 says and others under govt restrictions already are better off.

                                          It is the non regulated areas that will run into problems.

                                          HA is not acting in our best interests by encouraging owners to create additional sleeping arrangements.

                                          It would be better for the future of our industry to proactively take steps to minimize bringing regulations crashing down on our heads.

                                          For example, Charleston SC is in a battle for STR survival due to "party houses" and cramming too many people into neighborhood homes, that caused the anti STR groups to rally. I think this happened in Nashville, and will happen elsewhere too.

                                          This clamp down can happen anywhere....and is happening all over the world.

                                          HA woud serve the industry better by stepping into the gap and educating owners and PM on how to prevent problems before they happen.

                                          One major way is to stay under the radar....don't overstuff a home.... and don't teach new owners how to maximize every inch with another sleeping component.

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                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                              Whike I would love nothing more than there to be “LEGAL” VR’s the problem is that platforms are still allowing illegal VR’s to advertise. Many of the VR’s in my location are prohibited by law (in the City) (I am outside of city) and the City has been meeting about these illegal VRs and have not come to any agreement about how to make them legal, but yet they still operate. They talked about requireing a business license and a fee of a certain amount if you rent for 95 days or less and then an additional much larger annual fee if you rent longer than that. Nothing was resolved, but yet they are still all renting???? Go figure!

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                                            treeguy Contributor

                                            When I started out I would allow people to have as many folks as they wanted.  I soon learned that the added expense for consumables, wear and tear and additional cleaning simply was not worth it.

                                            Now I state in my house info that the house is set up and stocked for six.  Eight is the max and they might consider bringing additional TP and such for the additional two.

                                            I do make exceptions for young children.

                                            • Re: Stop It !!!!  Stop It !!! Stop It !!!!
                                              thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                              Plenty of sleeping arrangements - optimize your space by adding more options such as pull out couches, daybeds or even bunk beds!

                                               

                                              Agreed:  this has to be one of the worst pieces of advice to give to owners, especially those who are just starting out and may not be fully aware of the problems which could rain down on their heads . . . .

                                               

                                              Others have already remarked on the many reasons to avoid the "sardine" approach to vacationing.

                                               

                                              The first thoughts which occur to me:

                                               

                                              It violates my locale's occupancy rules (health, fire, zoning, environmental (due to concerns about septic system damaging local wetlands and ponds), and other agency regulations)

                                              It places a burden on the house's hot water supply, and guests will be taking tepid, then cold showers.

                                              It is a definite hazard and poses huge damage to septic systems.  More $$,$$$ expenses.

                                              It presents additional wear and tear, degrading the property, and requiring increased effort and additional $,$$$ to maintain, refresh, repair, and replace furnishings and home systems.

                                              I expect overcrowding violates my property insurance and I could find myself without coverage for any incidents.  ("oh, we had 14 guests last week, we added three sets of bunk beds . . . . .  I can picture my agent's reaction).

                                               

                                              So, I'm with everyone else who finds this advise simply astonishing.

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                                                ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                                                Need I say more?  Oh, housekeeping just quit.

                                                Sardines.jpg.jpg

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                                                  linky17 Active Contributor

                                                  I will say that this misguided advice on the part of HA is mitigated -- to an extent -- by its own 'traveler profiles.'  Case in point: rec'd an inquiry for a two night weekend, with the prospective Guest wondering if I would consider as many as 9 people.  (Sidebar: this 3000 SF home has three dedicated bedrooms, with the option of two Aero Beds that could be set-up in a spacious Den.  Also, my listing clearly states that 7/8 folks are a 'stretch,' dependent on the travelers' sleeping arrangements.  The property is well-maintained and ideally located.  Mostly?  It's not intended -- nor is it presented -- to be a 'cram-'em-in' kind of place.)

                                                   

                                                  I ask the prospect what the 'sleeping configuration' would be?  He responds: (multi-generational) family - 4 couples/1 single.  I toggle-on to his HA profile.  Last year, same timeframe, he's written a 5-star review for a nearby property, conferring that he and "9 other guys" were pleased with the experience.  They were here for a ballgame.  His proposed 2018 dates correspond with a significant MLB rivalry, walkable from my home.

                                                   

                                                  So, the Owner of that 'reviewed' property did not rate him/that group, and has since been shut out of operation by the city prompted, initially, by neighbor complaints. And, thereafter, by code violations.

                                                   

                                                  Back to the 'traveler profiles.'  When complete?  Useful.  And I'm grateful for them ... when they're complete.

                                                   

                                                  As to HA's reccos re: over-stuffing our homes?  Utterly contrary to best practices. 

                                                  • Re: Stop It !!!!  Stop It !!! Stop It !!!!
                                                    sward6880 Contributor

                                                    Here in the Disney area maximising "heads in beds" is the road to ruin on account of the wear and tear that others have referred to.   To encourage over occupancy is outrageous on the part of Homeaway.   Interest in the provision of extra towels and linens typically means that guests will use them all and leave a nightmare for the housekeepers.

                                                     

                                                    In Central Florida (with well over 30,000 vacation rentals) the key drivers seem to be :

                                                    1.   How far to the theme parks  (location specific)

                                                    2.   Great Wifi (typical of anywhere)

                                                    3.   Hot tub or spa

                                                    4.   Child friendly ( strollers/ high chair/ pool safety fence etc.)

                                                     

                                                    No doubt in other areas  / countries the "typical" drivers will be entirely different.     We have rented recently in Oxford (the one in England)  - here parking ( as is common in many British towns and cities) is a nightmare.   So the number one criterion for many will be "dedicated parking space" or "secure parking".   This will be followed by "free wifi".     

                                                     

                                                    Our home for most of the year is in Spain on the Mediterranean Coast  - lots of vacation rentals here which in the main are a second home of the owner, not licensed or controlled.  There is a lack of dedicated property management with friends / neighbors preforming some of the necessary roles.   Here the key drivers for renters are "distance to the beach", "private pool",  and (you guessed it) "wifi" which in this area can be anything from "slow" to "non existent". 

                                                     

                                                    The point I am making is that there is no such thing in a global sense as "things groups are typically looking for when booking a property" .......