Lay My Hat home page Lay My Hat Forum
The forum for holiday rental owners


 
  FAQFAQ    SearchSearch    MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups    RegisterRegister  
  ProfileProfile    Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages    Log inLog in 

How to avoid bad guests
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Lay My Hat Forum Index ->
Managing your guests
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Rosehill



Joined: 12 Nov 2018
Posts: 31
Location: Rosehill Paignton devon

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:29 pm    Post subject: How to avoid bad guests Reply with quote

We have recently had guests who have cost us around £1000 in additional cleaning, replacing bedding and linen. They brought around 9 dogs when only one is permitted and other pets including a reptile in a cage. The cottage was apparently full of boxes and their belongings which suggests they were using the cottage as temporary accommodation whilst they were moving.

This has caused a lot of upset to us and we would like to avoid these kind of guests staying again. I would be grateful for any suggestions?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 258
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's really tough Rosehill. Sadly, I think your experience has been pretty extreme and "bad" guests often do not much more than break something and hide the evidence. I'm not sure it is possible to avoid totally guests who behave badly. Others may say differently. Perhaps one thing you might do is go back to basics and examine the process that "allowed" such guests to stay.

I think you said you are at a distance. Did you have any direct contact with these guests before they arrived? Was there anything to alert you that something might not be all as it seemed, eg how long they wanted to stay, whether they were looking for a "deal", what questions they asked, etc?

Are your terms and conditions tough enough? Are you taking a sufficiently large deposit? Are you being tough enough in chasing additional costs for the damage they've done?

I wonder as you are at a distance whether there is any way to have your place checked while your guests are staying? For example, could you arrange someone to be there to meet them, and insist that a cleaning service is provided every week, so that someone has access to the property. At least that would have alerted you to the 9 dogs and could have given you a reason to ask them to leave.

This may sound like a grim thing to have to do, but one of the first things I do when someone books is check their address on Google streetview, so I can see where they live. It's not fail-safe of course, but at least gives me a clue as to whether they are going to be able to afford to stay with us and how they might look after our gite.

Here's hoping all your future guests are just perfect.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Rosehill



Joined: 12 Nov 2018
Posts: 31
Location: Rosehill Paignton devon

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your responses. we live in yorkshire and the cottage is in Paignton and we use cottages.com so are bound by their T&Cs. We haven't seen the cottage since it happened and just been informed by our cleaners.

The guests asked to stay another week and we thought nothing of it. The next we heard the cleaner said the place was a complete mess. This is not the first time either and had another guest who made a mess leaving soiled bedding again causing more costs in cleaning. They then had the cheek to leave a 1 star review which we can't remove as it's on a 3rd party site that cottages.com.

We never asked for a deposit previously but will be asking for £100 going forward. We had considered asking the cleaner to inspect during a guests stay but thought this might be too invasive. We have also thought about changing agents to someone more local who might have better quality guests.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zebedee



Joined: 12 Sep 2014
Posts: 1038
Location: yorkshire dales

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you asked your agent to compensate you?

The most important thing to have if any damage or breakages occur are photos showing everything. This is not such a problem these days as your cleaner can take photos and WhatsApp them to you at no cost to her. But you must make sure the cleaner is fully briefed that this is what is expected from her.

If you have photos, it is difficult for the agency to minimise your problem - a photo is better than a thousand words etc and is not subjective.

You can then also use them for going down the small claims court route that has been mentioned in another thread (if your agent does not fully compensate you).

It isnt acceptable to have this happen, and you must make a fuss about it and take action.

I am very sorry for you, and don’t mean to sound harsh, but we also have to be a bit realistic about what people occasionally do.
There are several examples of a forum member going to the small claims court and being very successful if you do a search.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ecosse



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 802
Location: Saint Gervais les Bains, France

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have my sympathy - a bad set of guests just puts you on edge... even if the next ten sets of guests are wonderful.

Do you manage the bookings yourself or is it all done by cottages.com? If you do it yourself, whenever you get a feeling something isn't right, you could consider slipping a hint that they would find it difficult to get away with any breach of contract, such as a sentence mentioning some close friends (real or imaginary) who happen to be neighbours of your cottage, that you might be visiting that week. Basically a white lie that wouldn't worry a decent set of guests, but would put the dishonest ones off booking in the first place.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Rosehill



Joined: 12 Nov 2018
Posts: 31
Location: Rosehill Paignton devon

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks both. We are persuing compensation from the guest although don't expect to get much or anything. Not sure if it's the agents responsibility to pay for damages but they are helping to claim from the guests. The agent manages all the bookings.

The most important thing now is to try to prevent this sort of thing happening again. Whether that is by changing agents to a company that does more due diligence in vetting guests before allowing them to stay. Or by paying someone to check up on guests during their stay but some people might find that invasive. Any further suggestions are appreciated.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dusty



Joined: 19 Dec 2012
Posts: 351
Location: St Cernin de Labarde, Dordogne

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rosehill, the biggest incentive in focussing guest behaviour is the damage deposit. Good guests don't mind paying it as they know they will get it back after their holiday and bad guests will focus on that during their stay. I would say that £100 is probably not enough of an incentive, we take £200 but I know other places that take a lot more. It is a bit of an additional admin. overhead but goes a long way to help avoid the problems you encountered.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 802
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A dreadful experience and the guests were clearly taking the 'michael' by bringing nine dogs (nine!!) and other random animals. They probably chose your rental above others because you are not on site and not charging a damages deposit.

I agree with Dusty that money focusses guests on how to behave. Money talks. We take £200 as a damages deposit. We've rarely had anyone question it or quibble about it and if they did it set alarm bells ringing. I wouldn't consider taking any less …………….
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Nuthatch



Joined: 29 Mar 2010
Posts: 190
Location: Yorkshire

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree with everyone as above, and £100 isn't enough to be a deterrent to damage. We take £250 for a sleeps 6 property if that helps.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
gardenboy



Joined: 02 Jul 2011
Posts: 267

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had guests with 7 dogs, I charged them a bigger deposit, say 500 gbp, which they paid. The place was absolutely spotless at the end, like amazing. No dog poo in the garden either.

The street view tip is good, I do that, the 2 problem guests i have had in 16 years now gave me fictitious home addresses. So now any hint of an incorrect address sets of massive alarm bells.

Yes charge more deposit, I charge 400. Nice respectful guests dont mind at all as they know they will get it back.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Cymraes



Joined: 07 Jul 2015
Posts: 428
Location: North Wales

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rosehill wrote:

. Whether that is by changing agents to a company that does more due diligence in vetting guests before allowing them to stay. Or by paying someone to check up on guests during their stay but some people might find that invasive. Any further suggestions are appreciated.


The big nationals don't care. We had some dreadful guests via Sykes. When I reported them and suggested that Sykes banned them from the site to protect other owners the reply was that they couldn't (wouldn't!) stop them booking on line. That is the one and only time I've had to keep a damage deposit.

Personally I wouldn't be at all happy to be checked up on mid stay.
_________________
Caro
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 6084
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gardenboy wrote:

Yes charge more deposit, I charge 400. Nice respectful guests dont mind at all as they know they will get it back.


How do they know they will get it back? Is it held independently in an escrow and resolution service?

From the guests’ pov, one issue with these deposits - particularly if significant - is the often totally vague nature of any description of the circumstances in which the owner might choose to withhold whatever amount takes their fancy, or the T&Cs they naively think they can impose. Whereas all of us on this forum would be fully aware of the requirement to detail and itemise the justification for the calculated amount withheld, unfortunately there are many owners who regard the deposit as a means to impose an unreasonable charge, or even a “fine”, with no financial justification. A typical example is “The place was left in a mess so I deducted £100 from their deposit” instead of “... it took an extra 3 hours to clean at £x per hour, and one sheet was ruined at a replacement cost of £y” etc.

Maybe some kind of independent arbitration service would provide guests with the necessary confidence, and protect the reputation of most of us owners. More admin and interference though!
_________________
Our Facebook page
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
GillianF



Joined: 20 Aug 2012
Posts: 802
Location: Dordogne

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am firmly on the side of taking a damages deposit (we charge £200 for a sleeps 6) and have rarely had to use it.

When I have had to use the deposit it has been (three times) to post back items left behind and then I returned the balance. A few times I have retained an amount for damage/loss/breakage/cleaning. In the case of damage the guests usually pointed it out/owned up before they left. In cases where I discovered damage or loss after their departure I detailed the cost of cleaning/replacement and provided receipts where appropriate. I don't suppose everyone was thrilled to lose some money but no-one ever seriously objected - most made no comment. I always tried to be reasonable, polite, professional and non-judgemental.

The downside of a damages deposit from the guests' point of view if it is too large is that it is money they have to provide up front of their holiday. They may be perfectly confident in getting it back but it is still an extra chunk of money to find in advance.

Our T&Cs lay out the purpose of the damages deposit. In the house information they see (if they bother to look) when they arrive it tells them how we expect the house to be left: cleaned up any spills etc. in the fridge, cleaned the hob, oven and barbeque of grease/food, leave the bathroom/loo clean. I say they don't have to strip beds or hoover. If specifically asked about how they have to leave the house I usually say that a reasonable person who has cleared up after themselves as they've gone along should have no problem. I state that any breakages/loss will be charged at replacement cost taking into account wear and tear but that we know accidents happen and are reasonable.

It's not perfect and open to misinterpretation and mis-use (by them and us) but it's worked well for over 25 years.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SPJ



Joined: 28 Dec 2015
Posts: 258
Location: Aquitaine

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thoroughly agree that a security deposit is an absolute must and is not an issue for anyone bona fide. We ask for £150 and have never had to use it. But then we are on site and people very clearly know they are in "our home" as we live in it during the winter. Several have commented on this and have said how they are taking care of it!
Re the "checking up on", I think it can be presented entirely differently as a housekeeping service that comes with the cottage. Many top end gites wouldn't dream of offering anything else. An alternative is to provide a linen basket with beautifully ironed clean linen the mid weekend and offer to make up the beds. Quite frankly, you only have to get one foot in the door to see if there is a major problem (like 9 dogs and boxes everywhere).
Again, being on site has huge benefits. Without making a big deal of it I pop down to the cottage once or twice during their visits eg with extra maps, or to offer to telephone a restaurant to book a reservation for them or to water the pot plants on the terrace. It's part of my service to them and it is always welcomed. Usually I finish up chatting in the kitchen, so can see all is well.
In all of this, I remember very clearly this is MY property. They are GUESTS. It is in my interests and in the interests of my future guests to ensure that my property is respected and well cared for.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Rosehill



Joined: 12 Nov 2018
Posts: 31
Location: Rosehill Paignton devon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for your responses. We will certainly be taking a deposit on the future. As we don't live near the property we were also considering a management company who can check the property and deal with any issues. Has anyone had any experiences good or bad with management companies?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Lay My Hat Forum Index ->
Managing your guests
All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group