It’s a beautiful summer day and you get a phone call from your rental cleaner. They’re upset because they walked in to find the house in a shambles. They have other places to go and this is going to take a lot longer than they are able to do. Your heart sinks.
If you’ve been renting for any significant amount of time, you know this is one of the risks of the business. If not, you need to know that it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when” this will happen to you. The chances of it happening can be minimized, but not entirely eliminated.
What Can You Do?
- Vetting your guests. Checking reviews from other owners can be helpful. Read comments and look at the overall “stars” for the guests.
- Don’t allow “Instant Booking”. Last minute guests are far and away the most likely to be disrespectful of properties.
- Be specific, VERY specific, about the rules of the property. Pets or no pets, smoking or no smoking, age requirements, occupant maximums, and even if you allow alcohol/marijuana consumption. Make sure the rules ALSO state the penalties to the guests should they choose to ignore them.
Know that it happens all over the world. You need to decide if renting your home out is worth it.
Preparation is never a waste of time. If you have a plan of how to handle the situation, should it arise, then you will be less put out when it does. Depending on the level of destruction, it’s a good idea to:
- Have an agreement with your cleaner(s). Are they paid a flat rate normally? Is there a time constraint on their work? Do you expect THEM to clean when a guest has left the house exceptionally bad or are you going to step in? Again, be specific in your expectations.
- Pictures, Pictures, Pictures. Before, or what the property SHOULD look like, and after EACH guest will protect you if you need to file an insurance claim. The good news here is that most of the time you won’t.
- If you’re not in the area, make sure you have a neighbor keep an eye on things. If a wild party takes place on the 2nd day of a week-long rental, it’s better to know then, not when your cleaner arrives.
After it’s all said and done and ready for the next guest, consider a possible revision to your rental agreements. While it may seem like you don’t trust anyone, it only takes one…to break your trust.