Chaperones and beach rentals

Discussion in 'Rentals - Vacation' started by DBOldford, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

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    Homeowners beware: This past weekend, our house was inadvertently rented (by our management company) to a large group of young people celebrating their high school graduation. They were from the Birmingham area and were there not with parents, but with a so-called chaperone, absolutely against our rental policy. Turns out this man works for the same group that chaperoned the Holloway girl's high school trip to Aruba, where she disappeared. When I called the house on Friday night, the chaperone was not on the premises, nor were any parents. When they checked out the next day, the house and the swimming pool area were littered with beer bottles and broken glass. Some chaperone. Thankfully, no one was hurt. I cannot imagine what parents are thinking to send their children off in this kind of situation, one that would seem to invite a tragedy. We will certainly be doing our own screening of folks who rent our house in the future. The parents of these children were lucky; the Holloways were not.
     
  2. beachmouse

    beachmouse Beach Fanatic

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    I just don't get some parents these days. I used to know a guy who worked for the Walton County sheriff's office. He told us of a couple of occasions where he'd gotten to deal with groups of drunk 12-13 year olds- parents nowhere in sight.

    He said he actually enjoyed calling the parents and telling them they had to make it from Birmingham/Montgomery/Atlanta by 3:00am or their kid was getting charged. Maybe if they were inconvenienced it would sink in to their skulls that it was a bad idea for them to dump their kids unsupervised by the beach.

    Ya know, 98-99% of the people down here, local and tourist alike, are genuinely good folks. So what is it with the 2%'ers who behave like they were raised by wolves?
     
  3. BeachDreamer

    BeachDreamer Beach Fanatic

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    That is so sad, Donna. I can't even fathom sending my kids off with some other adult to party like this. It scares me to think what could have happened to those kids. Is there any recourse for you? Could the chaperone company be complained to, for deceiving you as to the occupants, as well as providing a drinking environment for teenagers? Very bad for business! Grrr...
     
  4. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    Fortunately, in the 3 years we've been renting our cottages, we haven't yet had that problem. However, at least one other person who rents in our community had very serious problem with renters who were young. The neighbors in the other cottages called the police and they were taken to jail (what they did was bad enough to go to jail for). Another person who rents had young people staying at the cottage who supposedly had a chaperone who was nowhere in sight. They were evicted.

    So far, we count ourselves very lucky but I'm sure our day will come. To do your best to avoid this problem, prominently state that "no one under 18 is allowed to rent without someone 25 year old or more on the premises each night of the stay" and let them know they'll be asked to leave and forfeit their deposit or pay some kind of fine if they do not follow this requirement (ask your agency if you have one if this is enforcable and, if so, how); ask your neighbors to let your agency or you know if it looks like the people staying there are under-age and that you would welcome their intervention and that you, of course, would do the same for them. Give them the contact number for the agency. Post the property/community rules in a prominent place.

    I think the places that are the most at risk are the bigger places that rent to a lot of people because young unchaperoned people are probably more likely to want to travel in groups and share the cost.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. southof30A

    southof30A Beach Lover

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    The real party at fault here is your "management" company. Post the offending company's name on this board so we can all keep an eye on them.
     
  6. CampCreekLou

    CampCreekLou Beach Lover

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    Paula,

    Sounds like your second story was my place.....

    Fortunately no damage to our place. But rumor has it they did some to the place they were moved to.

    Not much you can do when the renters lie to your management company. I'm just thankful the owners in the neighborhood are watching out for each other.

    C.
     
  7. Sea Star

    Sea Star Beach Lover

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    I, too, would be curious to know who your management company is. Glad to hear nothing "bad" happened to any of those kids, and I hope the damage to your house is minimal. It seems like the people who organized/chaperoned this trip should be charged with criminal offenses to minors. And parents wonder why their children get hurt, disappear, etc. !!?? How sad.
     
  8. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    If an adult rents the place for teens, the rental company may not know what's going on.
     
  9. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    It is unfortunate that these kids are wrecking your homes. I feel for you.

    Some of you are wanting to point fingers at the management companies, but how many of you think that the teenagers went in to the office to get the key? I think the management company is doing what they can. Do you want them to install "security" cams on the outside of your home, so that they can track who comes and goes?

    Some of you point the fingers at the parents. I think you are more on track. I would also remind you that these are high school graduates are about to go off to college without a chaperone. Do you expect the parents to supervise their kids' daily actions when they leave for college?
     
  10. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    I think the best thing is to have people who rent out places in the same communities keep an eye on each other's places if possible when they are there. It's not too hard to spot trouble brewing or a lot of young people who need to be chaperoned, and a quick call to the rental agency or owner with the intention of asking them to leave for having misrepresented themselves (and losing the money they invested in the vacation) will make them think twice next time. I don't know what the rules are though for not returning vacation deposits/fees when people misrepresent themselves. I certainly would contact the owner/rental agency if I was in the area and saw people potentially abusing a property in my community or if I thought people were underage.
     
  11. UofL

    UofL Beach Fanatic

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    Did this just happen? The week of June 6th? The big house next to us had a lot of partying with one token person who was over 25 (looked it). Didn't see him much. The rest looked young but I can't tell anymore. The people next to us called the police on Tuesday because of the noise. They said they were quiet after that.
     
  12. southof30A

    southof30A Beach Lover

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    Yes, I do feel it is the responsibility of the "management company" to monitor their renters' activities. No need for a security camera - it is usually pretty obvious from the outside when you have a house full of teenies on a party roll. The responsibility of the management company is more than just collecting rents - they have an implied duty to protect my interests as a property owner while my property is on their rental program. Supposed to be a partnership, remember?

    I like the idea of all of us monitoring the activities going on around us. Any guest (kids or adults) who are acting up should be kicked out!
     
  13. lenzoe

    lenzoe Beach Fanatic

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    One thing you can do if you notice loud, obnoxious, or un-chaperoned activity is to call the management company of the property so that they become aware of the problem. A neighbor of ours did this with our management company last year. The management company dealt with it and subsequently notified us. We were grateful.
     
  14. BeachDreamer

    BeachDreamer Beach Fanatic

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    SJ, hopefully if people diligently raise their children, they will be able to make smarter decisions about whether or not to go on a weekend party binge like this one.

    It's true that the rental company can only do so much to discourage this. Would it be effective to put in the agreement that teenagers need to be with their parents or guardians, rather than a "chaperone"?
     
  15. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    Welcome back - that would be Donna's house, "Conch Out", next to the one you were in.

    I yelled "go Cardinals" at some people on the porch but got no response. :lol:
     
  16. UofL

    UofL Beach Fanatic

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    That must have been the people on the other side of the duplex - they were from Tallahassee and Washington State. Sorry we missed you. We rode our bicycles every morning, then went to the beach (took down our tent everyday, thank you:) until 3:00. We love this spot. Found someone I worked with in Louisville (KFC R&D) who now works in Seaside. Glad there wasn't so much damage this time.
     
  17. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    I don't have the answer to solve this problem. I know that a chaperone is nothing more than someone who is old enough to obtain the rental keys, buy alcohol, and get kids out of trouble (jail)when necessary, without informing the parents . They are not there to supervise and keep kids. Unfortunately, parents are often willing to put on their blinders and pretend not to notice.

    As BeachDreamer suggested, it might be a great idea to require a parent or legal guardian to check, with the exception of married couples who may be under 25. I was a teenager once, and you wouldn't have wanted me to stay at your house with only a chaperone (alcohol purchaser) and my classmates. However, if I were staying at your house with my friend and his parents, you would have loved for me to stay.
     
  18. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

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    I am receiving more information on this situation hourly, some of it from those of you kind enough to offer firsthand observations via this Message Board. Thanks for that. There are two reasons I posted this message here and elsewhere (the Aruba travel Web site). First, I would hope that parents would take note that the chaperone they hired to protect their kids was AWOL at critical times and that there was illegal abuse of alcohol under this person's supervision, which was all too apparent and is documented in photos after they left the premises. Our objective is to make parents more aware of the dangers of sending their children off without parental supervision. Second, I think that all homeowners should ask more questions of their management companies and make sure rules are in place to prevent a tragedy. We have done this over the past weekend and today with ours and they are already taking measures in response. The reason I have not and will not mention the management company by name is that they were misled, too and it could happen to others with other companies. Other than this occurrence, we believe this company does as good a job as we would get with other area management companies in the area.

    I will point out that homeowners need to read the fine print in their rental agreements and check it for changes from one year to the next. For example, it was pointed out to us that they equate the term "guardian" to that of "chaperone" (not a legal equivalent) and that the 1:4 ratio of parents to underage persons is for the Spring Break period only, although this is not clearly stipulated in the contract language. We are in the process of clarifying this in no uncertain terms right now. We will also be making periodic calls directly to our home at critical times, asking to speak with a parent.

    Finally, we will also have friends, family members who live there, and neighbors keeping an eye out at the house, in addition to the management company. If we have any reason to think that minors are being served alcohol in our home, we will call the County Sheriff and have arrests made. I would venture that parents unwilling to make the trip to the beach with the kids to prevent this from happening will make a trip down to Juvenile Hall in record time. That sounds harsh, but we are not willing to assume liability for unsupervised underage kids when their parents are not assuming responsibility. And never mind the so-called chaperone. One posted reply from the other site actually asked didn't I know that the adult chaperone's job is to buy the beer and take it to the house. Egads.

    If a hardline attitude can save one life or future for one of these kids, it will have been time and angst well spent. So I will now climb down from the proverbial soapbox and hope that those who might be effected by situations like this will take our message in the way it is intended. We want everyone to love Grayton as we do and to have a great time down there. In fact, we like the idea of our renters thinking of our house as their house at Grayton Beach. But above all, we want people to be as safe as possible.
     
  19. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    Your soapbox is very well taken and shared by all of us. I think it's important for all of us who rent to check the wording of our contracts with our agencies regarding minors and guardians/chaperones, our legal rights to keep any rental money even if people are dismissed from the cottage because of misrepresentation or other reasons (or damage property), other legal rights we have to protect our guests and property, and under what conditions guests can even go to jail (e.g., providing alcohol to minors if they are the guardian/chaperone even if they are not present but make it possible in other ways for this to happen). Granted, this is a rare event, but this message stream is a good reminder that we have to think about it. I certainly will be checking the wording of our agency's rental agreements regarding minors and will be asking them how they deal with this. Thanks for raising this issue and encouraging this discussion.
     
  20. phdphay

    phdphay Beach Fanatic

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    Last summer a family with teenagers was renting our house for a week. Our neighbors who don't rent sort of keep an eye on things and noticed that the kids were very unsupervised. They saw the teens smoking marijuana and jumping from the second floor balcony into our pool! Thank goodness no one was hurt. Now we have signs everywhere saying, "No diving from porches." Of course, does that mean that we need to post signs for EVERY stupid thing someone could do, like, "Don't set your hair on fire" or "Don't jump on a knive if it is pointed towards your body" or whatever?

    But, heck, even our own kids can be thoughtless. My daughter was staying at our house with a bunch of friends during Georgia Tech's spring break this year. One night they stayed up until sunrise partying. Besides having neighbors complain, the pool guy just happened to come that morning to find the pool and pool area full of Silly String and beer cans. He woke them up (you know they were hung over) and made them clean up so he could service the pool. I read those kids the riot act. They know that if this ever happens again, they can't use our house. BTW the next time they used it, the place was so pristine that the cleaning service didn't change all of the beds because they were made up so perfectly, they thought they were unused. The next set of renters complained because the sheets were dirty.
     

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