Archives For Damage Protection

"Caution Tape" on flickr, by Picture Perfect Pose (CC BY 2.0)Not every vacation rental owner has a tale to share about The Nightmare Guest – but plenty do. While most guests come and go with few if any issues, owners occasionally find themselves facing some level of destruction or disruption.

Bad situations don’t need to be monumental, either. Finding out someone was puffing away in your non-smoking house, or that Fluffy made a mess on the carpet that nobody mentioned, can just as easily raise your expenses and blood pressure.

Even if you’ve never had a problem, building more hands-on customer service into your management process can help stave off problems in future and create a more positive experience for great guests who are excited to visit.

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"Broken Reflection" from Flickr, by shinealightFor most vacation rental owners, property damage from careless or destructive guests is rare; screening, renter restrictions and damage deposits — as at least some would argue — help reduce the risk for outright bad guests.

But when you’re left facing post-rental repairs or extreme cleaning, should you keep the damage deposit, pursue a bigger claim (when warranted), or take a deep breath and move on?

Document everything

Before you decide what to do next, carefully document the damage with photos that are stamped with both the date and time and make detailed notes so you have a record to refer to later.

You may not be the first person on site, especially if you don’t live near your vacation rental, so have proper protocol in place for your property manager, cleaning crew or anyone else who may be there.

For example: ask them to contact you first, then take photos on your behalf if you’re not in a position to get to the home right away. Continue Reading…

Often new vacation rental owners ask me how I balance using my own home as a second property and renting it out as a vacation rental during the times I’m not there. While I want my home to be comfortable and suit my own personal tastes, I have to balance that with the tastes of my guests, as well as the safety of my personal items.

Your guests should feel like it’s their home for the duration of their stay. For most travelers who’ve chosen a vacation rental, this means homey, yet sparse, so they can settle in. Here’s a few tips for de-personalizing your space for others’ use, but still keeping your vacation home friendly for your own needs.

decluttered bedroom

Create a cohesive theme

Give your home a cohesive theme (i.e. ski lodge, tropical), but don’t stylize it completely to your personal taste. A few key pieces you love are welcome, but might need to be put away when you have guests.

Empty drawers

Make sure you empty dresser and cabinet drawers of unnecessary items prior to guests arrival. May travelers like to unpack their personal items into the drawers to help them settle in. Continue Reading…

Property Damage ProtectionWhether someone trips and breaks a dish over dinner or one of your guests throws a wild party, it’s almost inevitable that at some point, your vacation rental will suffer some damage.

Because of the near-inevitability of this, security deposits are a routine part of rental transactions.

Typically half the rental fee, a security deposit — also called a damage deposit — is typically collected by check or credit card and held until after the guest leaves and you or your housekeeper has had a chance to do a final inspection. Any damage or extra fees (e.g. additional cleaning) can then be deducted against the amount; any remainder is then refunded.

It’s a pretty straightforward process. However, deposits and deductions can also be a source of contention for two reasons: Continue Reading…