Author Topic: Holiday Cottage Moochers  (Read 25620 times)

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Rusty

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Holiday Cottage Moochers
« on: March 19, 2013, 10:16:43 PM »
Not long ago we acquired a holiday beach cottage and have let it be known amongst family and some close friends that if we are not using it we are happy to allow them to stay.

I never envisaged what a minefield this would become.    So far we have had DH's brother and family stay, eat all food left in cupboards and leave the place with sand everywhere, dirty sheets in laundry basket and generally dirty everywhere.  Niece and boyfriend then asked to use and as they are under 21 and intended inviting friends I stipulated that the place was to be left as they found it.  After they left we discovered a hole in a wall (a fight over a girl apparently), and again sand everywhere and generally dirty.   

Now I seem to have people arguing over when they want to go,  I actually purchased a diary to keep track of when people want to stay and I have them arguing with me if I tell them its already booked!     

All this, and we are not charging one cent!   

My DH is starting to regret buying the place, so I need to deal with it now before it gets worse.   With the Easter Break here coming up we have told everyone its not available (it isn't)and I've had a few people carrying on saying, "But you can go there anytime".   I really did want to be generous and I just don't know how to deal with it now, as I previously said they could stay anytime we weren't.




siamesecat2965

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 10:23:29 PM »
Honestly, if it were me, I'd simply let everyone know that due to the actions of some, it is no longer available for anyone's use but your own family. While it sounds like you were very generous to make the offer, some took advantage.  If it were me, I don't have the time or patience to argue about when its available, and when its not, so I'd simply say, sorry, as of x date, its no longer going to be available.

If you do want to continue to lend it out, I'd come up with guidelines which must be followed, and if not, then that party doesn't get to use it again. Or you can start charging them, or maybe charge a "deposit" that they get back when they leave, if its left in satisfactory condition

I have friends who have a condo at the beach. they let family and friends use it, but have rules. One of which is that you clean it, and wash the sheets. Its small, so the cleaning would take maybe an hour, and can be done while the cleaning is going on.

buvezdevin

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 10:29:59 PM »
Most vacation rentals have rules of occupancy, and in addition to the rental fees there is often a maid or "clean up" fee at the end of the stay, to cover the cost of having a service come in to vaccuum, make beds, etc. to leave the unit/house ready for the next occupant.

I suggest you do the same.

Find a local service which is bonded to do clean up as needed, and stipulate that anyone staying for any number of days must pay that service fee to you in advance.

Have rules written down, and email or hand them to anyone asking to use the unit as well as leaving a copy somewhere in the cottage.  The last rule is that anyone who does not follow the rules is not allowed future use of the cottage.  Other rules include what pantry or other items are not to be used, where to leave all used linens for laundering by the service, what items need to be replaced as used (if any such as toilet paper, paper towels, soap, etc.).

Then, stick to the rules.

If anyone complains about a service fee, you could note that you aren't charging rent or utilities, but having a service for clean up is a requirement.  Don't negotiate.  You are offering a generous favor, you can apply reasonable rules and requirements and anyone who doesn't want to follow them doesn't have to stay at your cabin.

You could either send an email with "update on cabin use:  new rules required to avoid further issues" or let people know as they ask to use your cabin.

And best wishes.
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
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SPuck

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 10:31:42 PM »
The only way your going to get around your regret is firm boundaries and hardy No's. My family has a cottage by the beach, and so far everyone who has visited there has always been respectful of the property. It's your property, and your choice on who gets to stay there or not. There is no fair when it comes to a person's house.

Peregrine

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 11:04:34 PM »
Well, my best advice for not having to loan it out again, is to cite insurance issues. 

It may be a white lie...but just tell anyone who asks that your homeowners insurance will not allow it to be used in that particular manner without turning it into a B and B and getting a permit.....or something like that.

kudeebee

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 11:18:26 PM »
I would definitely come up with some rules and like the idea of a cleaning fee so you can have someone come in and get the place ready for next time.  Post the rules at the cottage, give a copy to everyone when they come to get the key. 

I would add money to cover the basic supplies of toilet paper, paper towels, soap, dish soap, etc. as well as to replace anything that gets broken such as dishes, lost such as towels, and to cover some of the utilities.  So if cleaning fee is $75, add $10 per night--7 nights would be $145,  3 nights would be $105. That is very reasonable--where else could you rent a beach cottage for that cost? Get the money--cash only--in advance.  No money, no key.

I also suggest getting locks for some of the cabinets in the kitchen where you can store your personal food items.  Same for a closet elsewhere so you can store your personal items--even if it means bringing in a new cabinet for that.

I would email everyone and tell them that as of April 1 (or whatever date you choose, but I would make it sooner rather than later), there are going to be some changes for the use of the cabin.  Then state your requirements:
1. You must ask at least two weeks in advance.
2. Our family gets first dibs of course.
3. "No" means no, you will not argue.
4. There are new rules for using the place--list them: bring your own food, clean up after yourself, clean up the sand, etc.
5. New fees:  cleaning fee of xxx and $y a night to cover common supplies, replacement of items.
6. Money must be paid in advance before the key is given.  Cash only.  (Do this or you will never see the money from some.)
7. If rules are not followed, people will not be able to use the cottage again or stay there with others who are using it.

You will have some people get upset with you, so be prepared.  Do not JADE, just state calmly "It is our cottage and we want to have it for years.  So, we need to be sure it is taken care of and unfortunately some people who have used it haven't so that is why we have developed the rules.  If you don't wish to follow our rules that is fine, there are a lot of rental cottages available in the area."

Or do as the pp suggested and stop all use by others.  Insurance issue is a good one to use and may be very true!
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 11:20:40 PM by kudeebee »

WillyNilly

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 11:29:16 PM »
I don't know about charging money - then its a business and you are in murky waters when it comes to taxes, etc.

I think you should simply start saying "no" more. If they argue with you calmly reply "really?  Are you seriously telling me that I shouldn't use the cottage I bought, and I maintain and I paid taxes on so you an have a free vacation?  How is that reasonable?" If they say "but you can go anytime you want!" reply "exactly!  And we want to go that weekend. That's why we bought the place." If they try to push say "if you want a house you can go to anytime you want, I'd be happy to get you in contact with the real estate agent we used."

I think you should call out the people who left the house messy and damaged "you know we offered you the house but it was pretty inconsiderate of you to leave it such a mess. We really don't appreciate it and really aren't keen on letting you use the house again." Let them squirm and apologize, etc. As for the damaged wall, straight up ask "when will you be paying me for that repair?" and absolutely say "no" next time they ask based on "well you still haven't handled the repair from last time, so no of course you can't go again!" Sort of chuckle when saying that one, like its the most obvious thing in the world (cause, really?  It is.)

Softly Spoken

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 11:34:56 PM »
POD to all PPs advice about boundaries and rules. Especially to what WillyNilly just posted! They deserve to be called on their treatment of your beach house - and of you.

You offered a generous gift of a shared space and they are treating it like something they are entitled to. >:( UNACCEPTABLE. No money being contributed = they have absolutely NO say about anything and should be grateful for anything you deign to give them!

If you are still willing to let people stay there, polish that spine and remind them that your allowing them to stay at your beach home is a privilege that needs to be appreciated and the beach home is your property and must be respected. They don't like it? They don't have to stay there!

Honestly, I hope you aren't spending one second worrying about how to be polite in this situation because you owe them absolutely nothing - all the giving was on your end and they are straight out taking advantage.

Guess it's true - no good deed goes unpunished. ::)
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."  ~Frank A. Clark

Bluenomi

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 11:41:49 PM »
They are getting it for free, that's why they are taking advantage. Start charging them standard rates or say no, it's the only way they will learn.

Either that or just tell people you've sold it and enjoy the peace and quiet  ;D

SPuck

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 11:50:37 PM »
I don't know about charging money - then its a business and you are in murky waters when it comes to taxes, etc.

Couldn't have said it better myself. It is your house, no one but you, your husband, and still dependent children have any right to it. It's time to firm up the spine and say no to the house sharing request. If anyone has the gaul to question why you should have unlimited access to the house you paid for, call them out on it. No one but the owner gets dibs. No one but the owner has any right to it.

You can also say to anyone who asks "Because of the previous damage guests have done to our property unlimited access to the cottage will not be possible."
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 11:53:29 PM by SPuck »

Amara

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 12:01:27 AM »
I've been there, OP, and my decision was "it's our house, and it's not available any more to anyone at any time for any reason." There were a couple of quiet exceptions to the decision--parents and two different friends--but otherwise no, just no.

doodlemor

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 12:06:03 AM »
You are such a kind person, Rusty, to even think to share your cottage so generously! 

I think that the PP have all offered wonderful suggestions.

I just want to add that you should double check with your insurance agent about the property and liability issues.  Make sure that guests are covered if you are not there, and for any other instances that you can think of that could happen.  It may be that you would have to pay greater rates for loaning the cottage, and this would help you in dealing with the moochers.

As for the young party group, you might want to check to see if you would be liable if they drink at the cottage and drive.

I'm not trying to give legal advice - I just think that you need to check on the liabilities the moochers could cause.

GSNW

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 12:10:43 AM »
I would not put myself through the headache of charging deposits, booking dates, bla bla etc... this seems to be beyond ridiculous.  The cottage is supposed to be a treat for your family, a reward for hard work, and its turned into a hassle and a bone of contention.  I'd shut it down if I were you and I wouldn't be shy about stating the bare facts.

"Family, the cottage is no longer available for use.  Arguing over dates, property damage, an general filth left behind are unacceptable.  Similar properties can be rented at xyz agency.  Thank you for understanding."

FoxPaws

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 12:25:41 AM »
If ever there were a reason to just say NO! this is it. Send out an email/Facebook/Twitter message today announcing that due to unforeseen issues (i.e. you would have never guessed your own family could be such ungrateful slobs) you can no longer offer the use of your vacation home.

Be prepared for much whining and accusations of selfishness - it's a common tactic of moochers to cry foul when the freebies dry up - but stand your ground. I love the idea of giving out the number of a rental agency.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

cicero

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 12:26:13 AM »
I would not put myself through the headache of charging deposits, booking dates, bla bla etc... this seems to be beyond ridiculous.  The cottage is supposed to be a treat for your family, a reward for hard work, and its turned into a hassle and a bone of contention.  I'd shut it down if I were you and I wouldn't be shy about stating the bare facts.

"Family, the cottage is no longer available for use.  Arguing over dates, property damage, an general filth left behind are unacceptable.  Similar properties can be rented at xyz agency.  Thank you for understanding."
this. so much this.,,

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