SOME OF THE PHOTOS INCLUDED MAY BE DISTRESSING TO OWNERS!!!
Already, this early into the 2016 season - some Owners have had problematic rentals- which doesn't bode well... This seems to be becoming more and more of a problem for Owners to deal with as the years go by, with more and more guests leaving the Holiday Home in an unacceptable condition, or causing damage during their stay.
There is also an alarmingly increasing number of incidents with over-crowding, whereby unknown guests are staying without the Owner's permission:- one such example in the 2015 season, was a booking taken for 6 people and 12 found to be staying! (Which obviously breached the Owner's Terms and Conditions, contravened all park rules plus invalidates all insurance).
This situation isn't overly "helped" by some Owners offering rentals which go above the berth of their Holiday Home:- so please ensure you check the manufacturers guidelines when advertising yours; the berth will be clearly stated on your original sales documents.
Usually: (if it has additional sleeping in the living area)
- A 2-bedroomed Holiday Home can sleep 6
- A 3-bedroomed Holiday Home can sleep 8
- A 4-bedroomed Holiday Home can sleep 10
This INCLUDES infants - so "size really does matter!"
Private rentals are not helped by the site rentals at all as far as damage or mess is concerned. None of the Holiday Companies charge a damage deposit, (only ever a "deposit" to make the booking), and there is never any recourse should damages or mess occur during a site-rental stay. Which basically means you could book a site rental Holiday Home direct through the Holiday Company, steal everything in it, trash it, graffiti walls, rip bedding, smash everything to bits and nothing will happen when you leave... apart from maybe a leaflet through your door a few weeks later offering you a "special deal" to go stay again....
The Holiday Park staff are generally appalled by this:- there are many "Housekeeping Managers" and it's costing them a small fortune in replacement itinerary each season through damage or theft. However it doesn't look like "company policies" will change any time soon. One particular Holiday Park company has just started leaving a financial itinerary inside the Holiday Home for site guests, which shows the replacement cost of any items that should be found to be broken or missing on departure and are now charging guests should this occur - but that seems to be as far as it goes for now and is limited to just the one company at the present time.
"IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME"
Yes it can and yes it will at some stage! NEVER think that as an Owner, damage or mess will not occur. The ONLY time you can guarantee that 100% - is if you don't rent! Sometimes "family" or "friends" can be the worst offenders, so don't rely on the fact that you "only ever rent to people you know." It's also more difficult to deal with when it does happen, if it is "people you know."
"I'M OK AS I "VET" MY GUESTS"
HOW? Even by doing a "meet & greet" yourself does not not guarantee a "safe" rental... The nicest and most well-spoken of guests may turn out to be the ones who cause the most damage! NEVER judge by appearance, you may have shown them around your Holiday Home for half an hour and they may well have been the most pleasant of people during that time, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's how they will behave for their entire stay in your property once you have handed those keys over.
"I'VE NEVER TAKEN A DAMAGE DEPOSIT"
I've never taken a damage deposit as it has never been necessary... The day WILL come when you regret those words! Even if you are renting to someone you "know" - a damage deposit is a MUST for a private rental. NEVER rent without one!
"MY GUESTS CLEAN FOR THE NEXT PEOPLE IN"
Just wrong in every way! Never rely on your guests cleaning to "guest-standard" plus how will you ever know who caused damage when it comes to light? (and it will!)
Is the first step! It won't EVER stop a "bad rent" from happening, but there are steps you can take to hopefully make the guest realise there are consequences to their actions whilst staying at your Holiday Home plus there are things you can do to avoid obvious "accidents waiting to happen!"
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
MAJOR factor! Make sure your Terms and Conditions have both "damage" and "mess" clauses and state that ONLY those named on the booking forms are permitted to stay overnight. Make it very clear as to what the consequences will be if damage or mess occurs during a rental, or if additional guests are found to be staying. If the guest could lose a deposit/damage bond - make sure they are aware of this. State that if the damage, or additional cleaning involved exceeds the deposit or damage bond: action WILL be taken. ETK offer a full document service to all Owners - whether they are ETK members or not - just click here for details.
Make sure you have a clause on your booking forms clearly stating that their signature confirms they are agreeing to your Terms and Conditions... no signature = no contract between you = no come-back whatsoever if your Holiday Home is demolished during their stay. ETK offer a full document service to all Owners - whether they are ETK members or not - just click here for details.
You should always give your full home details to guests, but in return, NEVER rent unless you have the guest's full details! It's quite acceptable to do everything electronically, but unless you send something via post to the home address given, you may never hold the correct details for them. 1 High Street, Toytown, SE14 8NG doesn't mean a thing until your guest has received and confirmed they've received whatever you've sent them and you may need that should the rent "go bad!"
Will happen! But you can do your best to avoid anything too major, simply by what you provide in the van during a rental! Glass-topped tables are a definite NO! Never have lots of china ornaments around or free-standing mirrors. If you rent to families - provide plastic plates, beakers etc for the Littleys to use instead of your dinner service and glasses. Doesn't necessarily mean they won't use your breakable things - but at least the option is there! Don't put your best "wedding present crystal glasses" in there for rental use!
ALWAYS have a basic stock of cleaning materials available for your guests to use. It doesn't necessarily follow suit that they will be used of course, but it will encourage them to attempt a clean during their stay. Provide a hoover or at least a broom / dustpan and brush.
Always useful to leave clear "guidelines" within the Holiday Home as to what you expect of the guest as they leave. ETK offer a full document service to all Owners - whether they are ETK members or not - just click here for details.
How to Deal with a "Bad" Rent:
The first major issue is to decide what a "bad" rent actually is... a few bits of rubbish left laying around and an unclean oven or work surface does not constitute a major breach of your Terms and Conditions! NEVER expect a full "change-over" clean from your guests. It's just unrealistic. Much as you would like or expect to find the Holiday Home as you left it for them - it won't happen and you can't expect it to. Your guests are on holiday. The last thing they are going to want to do is scrub from top to bottom before leaving. However - it is not unreasonable to expect them to leave it in an "acceptable" condition on departure. Owners need to apply a "Common Sense" rule when dealing with a potential sub-standard rental...
Once you have discovered you have been the victim of a "bad" rent - the first rule of thumb is to STAY CALM! Little will be achieved if you lose your temper, (much as you may want to!), and you MUST remain professional at all times. There is no point whatsoever in getting into a verbal brawl with your guest.
If an "eviction" situation occurs, you will usually find your Holiday Park Security will help if necessary. Explain the circumstances to your Park office and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your Park staff do not want "problem guests" to stay on site any more than you do!
Take photos. An absolute MUST. Make sure you have clear photos of any damage or mess. If you employ a cleaner, make sure they are aware that should any damage or mess be found - they must take photos on your behalf and get them to you asap.
Contact your guest asap after departure. It's best to do this via email, or post, so you have written proof of what has happened and include the photos. Be calm! Explain what has been found and explain what the consequences are (as per your Terms and Conditions) and whether a partial or full deposit/damage bond retention is applicable. Don't apologise! It's a common place to start your missive with "I'm very sorry but I have found..." etc - don't! It's far better to be blunt and to the point: "Further to your departure on..., the following problems have been found:" Word the communication carefully, (another reason for putting it in writing - as you can ensure it reads correctly before sending!), do not lose your temper and do not swear at the guest!
If the damage or cleaning costs exceed the deposit/damage bond, obtain a quote and forward a copy to the guest. Obviously this may not be possible on their departure day, so make sure you inform them a quote is being obtained and will be forwarded to them.
There will usually be one of two responses from the guest... You will either not receive a response at all... or they will come back to you and deny any of the problems were caused by them. It is very, very unusual for a "hands-up" situation to arise and for the guest to admit to any problems caused, (does happen sometimes - but not often!)
If you receive no response, but the deposit/damage bond retention covers your costs... matter closed. If your costs exceed the deposit/damage bond, contact the guest (in writing) with details with an expected payment date. State what the consequences will be if the invoice remains unpaid and be prepared to take the matter further.
The far more frequent response is that the damage was not caused during the guest's stay and usually they will state that the Holiday Home was either "like it" on arrival... or they will start to complain about various issues regarding cleanliness etc on their arrival. Make sure you have stated clearly in your Terms and Conditions that NO retrospective complaints are upheld and that should any complaints be necessary - they are made during the stay, not after departure. There's your answer to the guest's response! ETK offer a full document service to all Owners - whether they are ETK members or not - just click here for details.
Should you need it, there is always the Small Claims Court option to take matter further... Initially there will be court fees to pay, which you will have to cover, but automatically get added to your claim against the "defendant" by the Court. But be aware... even if you "win" and the case is awarded in your favour, actually having the guest's invoice paid is still not guaranteed. It will however show on the guest's credit records that the case has been found against them.
ETK are always here to help if you need advice with a "bad" rent, or just a shoulder to cry on and even a spleen to vent! A rental that goes wrong can be exceedingly upsetting for the Owner and we'll do our best to help where we can.
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