How do you stop renters from trashing your rental?

Discussion in 'Rentals - Vacation' started by Philip_Atlanta, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Philip_Atlanta

    Philip_Atlanta Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    1
    First off, most of our renters treat our houses great and for that we are grateful. However; there are always those (last year we had two specific groups) that, well, trash the house.

    Any ideas on how to get your guests to respect the property?
     
  2. Santiago

    Santiago Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Messages:
    635
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    seagrove beach
    From my experience the answer is, get ready, you don't.
     
  3. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Napa Valley, CA
    Our housekeeper says that in her experience, the nicer the house is kept by the owners, the more likely that renters will treat it well. She also suggested placing some out-of-the-way family photos here and there as a reminder that the renters are guests in your home, albeit paying ones. Seems reasonable. Still, about once a year we have a set of renters who leave a totally disgusting mess of the house (emphasis on disgusting...parents, you wouldn't believe some of the things your unsupervised children do) or risk their lives doing something incredibly stupid which is in no one's interest.

    Here are some of things we do:

    (1) Next year, we will not allow the house to be rented out during the month of March or in April, until Easter week, when real families start to come. Another time to look out for is the last few days in May/first few in June, because that is the week of senior graduation parties. (Alas, we hate to do this, because it probably keeps a lot of very nice kids from staying at the house; but experience has taught that these are the times when the most abuse occurs.)

    (2) Require your management company to get a written confirmation of how many adults and how many <25 yrs. people will occupy the house. Look at your ages and ratios and think about it. we require a 1:4 ratio and the 1 part must include persons >40 yrs. of age. You might want to call the renters ahead of time, have a chat and trust your instincts. If you call Mrs. Mary Smith at the phone number provided by the renter and they tell you she's off at school, this is a clue.

    (3) We sometimes call on a Friday or Saturday night to inquire if the renters found everything they needed and if everything is as promised in our advertising. Ask to speak to "mom or dad" and listen for what's going on in the background. Once, we found out that the management company had mistakenly had the cable company take out the cable box, while the renters were there over the Thansgiving weekend! (Can you say "football?")

    (4) Be realistic about how the house will be used. White/white shabby chic sofas and chairs will not stay white...it's the beach...sand and water are here. Also, even if your house is "no smoking," people will smoke. Hopefully, they will do this outside and you should provide some sand buckets or a big, ugly unbreakable ashtray for the butts. Only the big butts are good in your pool.

    (5) Try to encourage repeat business from the renters who take care of your property. Then the house is not available for the unknown tenants.

    Good luck. Our fear of large groups of unsupervised college (or high school) kids trashing our house or hurting themselves or worse is a far greater worry for us than any hurricane season. And make sure your management company knows that you simply won't tolerate mistakes where inappropriate renters are allowed into your house.
     
  4. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    Donna thanks! I have actually tried some of your methods. Some, I intend to start on a going forward basis! I am with you 100% on the Spring Break suggestion. Hadn't thought of the late May scenerio. Makes perfect sense though.
     
  5. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,747
    Likes Received:
    221
    Location:
    Michigan but someday in SoWal as well
    Very useful advice as always, Donna. I hadn't thought about the family photos (though we do have a few older photos of family members at the beach at the cottages). We also like to rent to families so our advertisement says things that suggests we are in a family friendly community, complete with toddlers. I find that families tend to be wonderful guests and are so appreciative of a nice place that helps them have an easy vacation (and has things for kids to do so the parents can relax). I think Donna is right that if the guests see that you take good care of the rental and of the guests, they respond in kind. Also, if you advertise to families, it's less likely that college and younger kids will be as attracted to it because they may not want to picture themselves hanging out with younger children and tired (but relaxed) parents!
     
  6. pokey

    pokey Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    1
    Philip- You need to rent to only anal moms that don't get the kids out of their sight, like me! :rofl: I hate the thought that anyone would trash your house or anyone elses. Even with teenagaes, I didn't let mine eat in the den, sit on the furniture with wet suits, we leave our shoes and beach bags outside, etc...

    If you are renting to families, how about a letter ahead of time reminding your renters that this is your home and you would expect them to treat it as if they are visitors (which they are.) Of course, there are people that trash their own homes so don't think anything of making a mess of yours!

    I assume those that made a mess of your home came after we did, as it looked great to me!
     
  7. Destiny

    Destiny Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2005
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    West Central Georgia
    :banned: :pissed:
    Sorry to hear about the trashy renters. We are renters and always appreciate clean, nicely furnished accomodations. I am a clean fanatic and sometimes the place is cleaner when I leave than it was on arrival. :D
    My husband and I no longer visit the beach during spring break. We usually visit spring, fall and winter as often as we can.
    Good Luck with your future renters.
     
  8. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Napa Valley, CA
    When we bought our house, which is quite large, we didn't consider that spring breakers would see it as a reasonably priced alternative to hotel rooms. Naive? Probably, but we don't like to think that way. Once we got beyond hysterical laughter at the idea of two people having such a big house, all we could dream about was family reunions and lots of friends and the chance to offer everyone maximum privacy under one roof. Not to mention fantastic Gulf views and easy access onto the beach. When I was growing up down there, Grayton was not for spring break vacationers. It was a family vacation spot. There was no Red Bar and there were also no big houses.

    Some of the things that make Old Grayton wonderful for us are also the attractions for underaged renters. Reality-based parents probably see it as a safe alternative to Panama City Beach for their kids drinking and going wild. The beach is right there, as is a nightclub where they can drink. No need to drive, at least not very far. Many of these kids have very convincing fake IDs. As much as I love having the Red Bar there as a restaurant and a neighborhood jazz bar, it is also a magnet for partyers creates a significant parking problem for nearby homeowners. One of the biggest problems, too is Red Bar strays creating destruction to the sand dunes. One night we watched a small group leave the Red Bar, climb into a black pickup and proceed to roar up and down the dunes along the public access to Grayton Beach. We are not bothered by noise, at least due to the noise ordinance. But I must say, it would not break my heart to see it move elsewhere.

    We have been very fortunate, overall and have had only two sets of renters that incurred any damage over the past four years. They were required to pay. The house has been totally trashed from a cleanup standpoint, including the most revolting kinds of messes that one could ever envision, about once a year. As I mentioned, this has occurred consistently during the spring break period or the week immediately following high school graduation. So we will be blocking our house off for use during those weeks in the future. I'm sorry that some nice families will not be able to use the house then, but we have had it.

    Once management companies see more owners doing this, they might take a more active role in screening and monitoring so this does not happen on a regular basis. I know they can't be in every house. But I also think that retaining the services of a security person during the spring break period would be a wise move. We would be willing to help pay the cost. It makes no sense for an entire community to become a lawless zone where people have their property abused. This happens year after year, in spite of assurances that the problem has been dealt with. Parents, think twice about allowing your child's involvement with these mass rental situations. The synergy can turn an otherwise good kid into a destructive force that you would not believe possible. It is a threat to our property but, more importantly, not infrequently a threat to your child's life.

    It isn't reasonable to expect an owner to accept that having the home trashed is by a group "having a little too much fun" is part of renting. That isn't what we signed on for, isn't what the rental policy/contract says, and isn't consistent with common decency.

    On the :razz: side, we have had mostly lovely families staying at the house. Each year, we receive holiday cards, many with delightful photos, of the family reunions. Some of our repeat guests have actually spent more time at the house than we have. We want our good visitors to think of the house as their own home at Grayton Beach. :welcome:
     
  9. Philip_Atlanta

    Philip_Atlanta Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the advice! We have already implemented the family photo thing, but there are many other nuggets in here of great value. BTW, by trash I don't necessarily mean damage. What I mean is last time this happened, the house took 9 solid hours to clean as opposed to the usual 3-4. It was described to me as if they had a huge party and then left the house (windows open, food everywhere, dishes in living room, beer cans left around pool, etc..)

    Interestingly, for us, these have all happened while 40+ year olds were there. We've done fairly well at sniffing out teenagers...
     
  10. Cork On the Ocean

    Cork On the Ocean directionally challenged

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,452
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Seacrest Beach
    In addition to the family photos, i tell my clients to leave little handwritten notes around the house about how to operate things or where things are located - like "We are happy to share our home and hope you have a wonderful vacation, you will find some chairs and beach toys in the upstairs closet etc, etc." Also maybe, "You will find that the washer works best with 1/2 cup of liquid detergent and the buzzer is kind of loud on the dryer but your towels will be nice and warm when it goes off"

    Just little notes around the house that you might leave for a friend. Obviously, there will be accidents - red wine on the white carpet (happened at my place last night and I was right there - :blink: ) but at least if they see little friendly notes, they are reminded that it's your home. I think a note saying that you "expect" them to treat it with respect could be taken negatively but lots of ways to do it very subtley.

    No one will ever take care of your home like you and in the end, you might need to put some money into remodeling but you've got a great place at the beach that other people helped pay for :D
     
  11. Duchess

    Duchess Beach Lover

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Blue Mountain Beach/Reynoldstown
    Who else has had stuff stolen?

    We just took over our rental from a management company for good. As much as we loved the extra income, our tax guy advised that it wasn't as advantageous as we thought. So 2006 is the year *we* get to use our place! We look forward to letting friends and family use it as well; a buddy of ours is down there right now for his birthday. I look forward to not having to inventory the crap that's been continuously stolen each time I go down. First to go are always the laundry basket, chip clips and remotes. I kid you not! I'd be interested to hear what others have found "missing". We have had folks leave stuff as well.....the most interesting being a nice, large, working gas grill with a full tank o' propane. Can you believe it?
     
  12. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    Re: Who else has had stuff stolen?

    Worst experience I ever had was from my former managment company. On my monthly statement I had a charge for "service on my grill". Called assuming it was a mistake, since we didn't have a grill. No mistake. They had a guest that wanted one. They went and bought a charcoal grill, charcoal, and lighter fluid and delivered it to our house for the guest! The sweet guest used it, left it uncovered on my DECK! It was all rusted and had stained my deck. Let's just say, the management company and I parted ways briefly after that incident! Good to hear you will actually be able to enjoy your home now!
     
  13. seagrovelover

    seagrovelover little sugar

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    Messages:
    2,983
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St Louis Missouri
    I will never understand how someone who rents a vacation home could be so inconsiderate!!! I feel that it is a privilege to be able to stay in a beach home no matter what the cost is. We have always kept our vacation rental as if it is our own, we cherish every single minute at the beach and appreciate that someone worked very hard to purchase their beach home. I wish every renter would be a little more careful!!!! so sorry that you had such selfish renters.
     
  14. Beachlover2

    Beachlover2 Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Messages:
    800
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    SoWal
    I think I mentioned this once before - last April - someone took my comforter - shams - pillows etc. I couldn't believe it. The worse part was the property manager gave them back the deposit without checking the place out (how can you make a bed without a cover). When they tried to call the people the phone number was disconnected and when they went to put the charge on the visa - that was declined. I guess they liked my decorating taste :floor:

    I think the number one way to stop abuse - is be there yourself. I think people think twice about abusing the place when the owner is the one that checks them in and will be the one to check them out. I know easier said than done - we have been renting since 1998. I think most things disappear because they get broken or as in the case of my crockpot - they burned something in it and decided they didn't want to clean it same principle as to my missing fry pans etc.) I just wish we were there to do this but that is impossible for now.

    The grill - now that is another story - that now stays in the garage and the only one that uses it is us and our snowbirds - because I can trust them.
     
  15. InletBchDweller

    InletBchDweller SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Messages:
    6,804
    Likes Received:
    263
    Location:
    Prairieville, La
    I know someone that had a rental at Seacrest Beach. He paid a maid, and paid her well but she counted every dvd, cd, book, etc. after a guest left. It was a pain and expensive but he said that there was never a problem.

    I rent and clean my own units and I too believe that when the owner checks in the person and checks them out it makes a difference.

    Too Far Tampa I used to take care of your place and you would not believe what a bunch of college kids did to your place once. :eek: :eek: :eek:
    I could not believe that people could be so disrespectful and their parents took up for them. I believe that one ended up in a lawsuit.
     
  16. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Meow

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    27,017
    Likes Received:
    1,117
    :eek: gttbm...so if a guest at your place had wanted a new car......????? That is just about the crazist thing I have ever heard! I take it you declined the charge!!!!?

    So far we have been fortunate. Of course, I have never seen what the place looks like after they leave. I am on my third paper towel holder. For a while there, I thought about leaving some BB&B coupons for our guests so they could purchase their own! After our first Guest Book walked out of here, the new one has remained. I do love reading what our guests have to say.
     
  17. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
     
  18. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Napa Valley, CA
    Management companies are preoccupied with renters much more than with owners' needs. Everyone needs a reality check on this, believe me. Ours even told me once that I really didn't need to know when the renters were abusive, that they would take care of it. Well, I don't want to ever rent to such people again. And I would feel pretty stupid unknowingly sending them a Christmas card with a nice beach photo and a "thank you" for renting our house this past year!

    Here's a silly story. I never use electric can openers because they rust and retain disgusting food remnants on the apparatus. Plus, the manual openers are more convenient and are quite effective if you have a good one. We have three good ones in our kitchen. A family of 10 rented the house over Thanksgiving weekend and demanded an electric can opener, because the grandmother had hand surgery. So...out of 10 people, no one could open a can? Give me a break. I refused to pay the charge and delivered the electric opener to the management company next time I was down.

    None of us should let these people get away with this kind of nonsense. Without the properties, there are no renters... :shock:
     
  19. Sheila

    Sheila SoWal Insider

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Messages:
    5,784
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Snellville, GA., Seacrest/Seagrove as often as we
    My kind of woman! We don't own and electric can opener either!

    For the most part we have had very positive experiences with our renters. We do have repeat guests and I have a few that we stay in touch with throughout the year.

    I want to empahsis the guest in my earlier post was an exception not the rule. But, once and a while you get one or two that are just mind boggling!
     
  20. DBOldford

    DBOldford Beach Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Napa Valley, CA
    I absolutely agree. The vast majority of our renters are families who come back year after year. They share their photos and memories with us. Some have stayed in our house longer than we have! We have even hosted the Atlanta Ski Club on many occasions and they have been great guests. All in all, we have been very fortunate with our renters. And we do keep in mind that we could always take the house off the rental program and avoid all the angst. But on more than one occasion, we were pretty happy to have renters in the house when problems arose that would have been awful but for early detection. The weird requests and even the abusers keep things interesting, I guess.
     

Share This Page