15 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2018 9:17 PM by bulajack RSS

    Guests from Hell

    bulajack Contributor

      How do you handle the guests from hell?  I have rented my vacation condos for close to 20 years with no problems.  I recently sold my home, and purchased a new one, which I gutted and basically rebuilt.  Started renting it 3 months ago.  Everything was fine until the recent rental.  Within the first 12 hours I received 31 messages from Nexia, (think Alexa) about the air conditioning.  Although I provide detailed instructions, they cannot figure out how to run the AC, which they complained is broke.  They complained about a broken kitchen drawer, which they apparently broke.  The kitchen cabinets are brand new.  The new automated lock no longer works, the maintenance man stated that it had been abused. They complained that there is no hot water. (Turn the handle on the left)    After listening to their complaints, I made what I consider to be a kind gesture:  I told them they could move out and I would refund their money, not charging them for the 4 nights  they stayed. They arrived on July 4, as of July 8, I still had not received one penny from HomeAway for this rental.  I truly tried to address their litany of complaints, as I want guests to be happy.  So, what did they do?  They called HomeAway saying that I kicked them out!  Sunday, the rep from HomeAway actually called me on their behalf. These people are staying for 6 weeks.  I have no idea as to what I can do to make them happy.  I realize that you cannot fix stupid.  If I would have had a chance to speak with them before renting I would not have allowed them in my home.  At this point, I am concerned as to how much more damage they will cause.  Does anyone have any idea as to how I can protect my property, other than flying down to baby-sit these people?  Private message me and I will give you their names so that no one else has to deal with them.  Rant over.

        • Re: Guests from Hell
          feibus CommunityAmbassador

          Talking to them wouldn't have helped... crazy doesn't always come out in a phone call, you have to wait until they're under stress.  I had a rule about dating where I had to wait "four seasons" to find out if my gf was nuts.  "Nuts" can't hold itself in for a year.

           

          6 weeks?  Are you possibly jumping from "short-term rental" territory to "long-term rental" as it pertains to your state laws and tenancy?  If so, you might have an issue getting rid of the tenant when their agreement expires.  Something else to worry about.

           

          Do you not have any form of on-site management that can take care of this for you?  If not, yes, you might have to fly down to handle them if this keeps going in the direction it's going, since that makes you the on-site manager.

           

          Meanwhile, handle everything according to what your contract allows.  If it allows you to evict a guest and you feel that's your best course of action, then you're within your rights to do that and HA has no say in it.  If it does not explicitly allow you to evict a guest, then you need to suck it up and resolve the situation (back to on-site management taking actions).

           

          I'd charge them for the lock if you have proof it wasn't broken right before they arrived (back to on-site management that can do a pre-check-in check).  The drawer could well have been not functioning properly even if it's new.

           

          And if you want something to help you calm down, check out my thread on the topic: The specified item was not found.

            • Re: Guests from Hell
              hmmmm Senior Contributor

              Great advice.

              • Re: Guests from Hell
                hill5185 CommunityAmbassador

                Ha Ha ....did your GFs apply the same rule to you???

                • Re: Guests from Hell
                  bulajack Contributor

                  I was in the condo previous to their arrival; the kitchen drawer was fine, as was the automated lock.  I do have an on Island manager.  The guest apparently told HomeAway that I had not provided management contact details, which is simply not true, as the guest had previously called the manager at the provided phone number.  The manager is going to the condo, today, to show the guests how to turn the handle on the left to get hot water.  Is it too early in the day for a glass of wine?

                    • Re: Guests from Hell
                      feibus CommunityAmbassador

                      It's always 5 o'clock somewhere.

                       

                      So if you were there right before the guest, you can charge them for the lock using their security deposit, if that's in your agreement.  And, yes, I'd have the manager stop by and patiently answer all their stupid questions and complaints until they run out of steam.  Then send a bottle of wine... to your manager

                        • Re: Guests from Hell
                          bulajack Contributor

                          The Manager just called after speaking with the guests.  The guest went on and on about all of the homes he owns on Grand Cayman and in Texas.  She thinks his deck ain't fully shuffled.  Now that the plumbers on his way over, the hot water has mysteriously fixed itself.  This is the last time that I rent the condo for more than  a 2 week stay.  Taking your advice; sending wine.

                    • Re: Guests from Hell
                      ohst8er Premier Contributor

                      But you DO have a chance to speak with them before renting, bulajack.  I speak with ALL my guests prior to giving them access to my place.   Yea, money has already changed hands, but money can change back just as easily. 

                        • Re: Guests from Hell
                          bulajack Contributor

                          Hi.  Thanks for your comments.  Unfortunately, HomeAway sends you further to the bottom of the barrel when you cancel.  This is a new rental, after selling my other vacation rental which I owned and advertised for 15 years on HomeAway/VRBO.  My new listing is way down the list.  Seriously thinking of doing long term rentals.  I do not need the stress of either allowing people with whom I have not spoken book my condo, or; suffer worse rankings because I cancel after the fact. 

                            • Re: Guests from Hell
                              ohst8er Premier Contributor

                              bulajack, I hear ya, but I refuse to:

                               

                              -Allow anyone to stay in my condo that I cannot vet.  We have IB, so that means we have to let people book, THEN vet them.  I have all my list of rules on my listing, then when they book I call them, I check them out online, I ask questions, whatever I need to do.  And if they don't pass the sniff test (you said you are a grad student, but your college bio says you're a sophomore on the hockey team?--buh bye. )  I tell them to cxl, and why.  If they drag their feet I tell them this is the rules, you were dishonest, whatever, you cannot stay here, if you want your money back, CXL.  Most will.  If they don't, cxl them yourself, and don't lose a minutes worth of sleep over it. 

                               

                              -Allow VRBO to hold me hostage, therefore creating angst in cancelling, lest my cxl metrics go to pot.

                               

                              How do you keep from sweating your cxl metrics?  Don't look at them.  How do you improve your lot in life by moving up on the list?  Send your listing to all your friends and family and ask them to look at your listing.  Looks means interest, and interest will boost your rankings.  I know it may sound a bit underhanded, but if you are in the game, you gotta work the rules to your benefit.  Underhanded would be telling people you are ocean front if you are not.  You're just trying to get people to be able to give you a passing glance. 

                               

                              Do you have the new rates editor?  If so, I have some tips there, too. 

                          • Re: Guests from Hell
                            green_mango Active Contributor

                            Sorry - sounds like off to a rough start but hopefully they'll get settled in and do better.  Why couldn't you speak to them before they came down?  Once you accept a booking you should have the guest's phone number - anyone staying 6 weeks I would definitely give a call.  It's going to be a long 6 weeks - sorry, I just had miserable guests for 8 days and it was stressful - I can't imagine 6 weeks.  At least you have a manager who was able to pop in.  Hopefully you have cleaning set up a couple times during their visit so you can hear back about how things are looking?

                            • Re: Guests from Hell
                              bulajack Contributor

                              Sooooo.  The Guests From Hell departed after 41 days.  Due to their "concerns" I flew down to check out the condo. (Thank God for Frequent Flyer Miles)  I arrived at 2:00 PM, to find the Housekeeper waiting outside.  Check out time is 11:00 AM--they were still there.  After walking in, the first thing I noticed was something brown on the new draperies.  Sure enough, there was chocolate ice cream in the freezer.  There was also something red on the drapes, which took a while to clean.  There were stains on the wall behind the sofa, looked as if someone shook a can of Coke and sprayed it on the wall. There were, also, huge stains on a kitchen wall.  The new sofa needed to be cleaned.  The repair man fixed the broken cabinet drawer, which was 3 mos. old.  Curious as to what went on in there.  Brought down a new automated Schlage lock.  These locks usually last three years; this one lasted 3 mos.

                               

                              These people sent me a list of complaints a few days after arriving.  In the words of the manager, who has managed vacation rentals for over 20 years, "There is nothing that anyone could do that would make these people happy".

                               

                              New guests arrived on the 16th.  I spoke with them when they arrived.  Seemed nice and responsible.  Showed them around the condo and they were happy.  Am staying in a hotel, going home, tomorrow.  Needed a break after dealing with this!

                               

                              Thanks for letting me vent!