Consider that "renters who should be avoided" CAN -- and with absolute ease -- simply input random e-addresses + profile info when making an inquiry, a RTB, an IB.
Might be best to weigh how it is that you permit folks to engage your property? Inquiries + RTBs allow for back-and-forth. And even the scantest of info (area code, et cetera), in addition to name, will enable you to Google. IB is a 'blind' engagement, but vaults you to the north of all other, non-IB listings which, depending upon your geography, might be to your advantage in terms of property visibility.
Nothing is fool proof.
I had the renters from Hell this summer. Very ugly.
Could find nothing on them.....but red flag I did not put together.
The wife booked, the husband corresponded for the payment, the contract and every email contact.
The wife said, when she did an inquiry that they had been coming for 23 years.
But she was a new Traveler......Hmmmmmm
New Traveler to Homeaway/VRBO and she has never in the 23 years used the platform before?
After spending a very ugly experience, I sat one evening and it dawned on me....He booked before and had bad reviews about their family as renters.
I called HA, which, I knew in advance I would not be able to obtain the confirmation that he had rented from the site before, but had to try.
I understand the policy for not disclosing.
He was one very unpleasant human being.
Almost 30 years in the business and I had never encountered someone so mean, rude, and disrespectful.
Thanks for the responses. I do have instant bookings, but sometimes we also get inquiries.
I like to google the heck out of my guests before they arrive, just so I can get an idea of what they're like.
If I find out others have had a bad experience with them then at least I'll be ready.
I'd also like to warn others of any bad apples I encounter.
If you rent enough you are going to get some bad apples, but you can do a lot to screen out bad renters.
1. Generally people who start off wanting to haggle or bend the house rules are going to be problem guests.
2. We try to lookup all of our guests on Facebook, Linkedin and a google/bing search to get some context. What do they do for work does their information match what they are providing, etc.
3. Hold a good size security deposit and don't fall for guests who want to trade off security deposits for insurance.
4. Have a strong rental agreement and make the guest electronically sign the agreement, not just accept with the checkbox on HA which will not hold up in court.
5. Outline your house rules, fees for additional occupants, fees for deep cleaning in case of smoking and pets and make it clear that parties, events, etc are not allowed. We switched out rental agreement to only allow the people explicitly listed on the contract and nobody else.
6. Have outdoor security cameras and let the guest know that you have CCTV cameras, this will stop a lot of bad behavior!
And last but not least, call and speak to the guest on the phone and ask what the purpose of their trip is, have they ever rented a vacation rental home before, etc. Follow-up by mailing out a welcome kit with your house rules, driving directions etc. before check-in time. The guest who booked six months ago is not going to remember your rules unless you remind them. Post the rules on a sign in your home as well.