Author Topic: Holiday Cottage Moochers  (Read 23330 times)

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JoyinVirginia

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 01:20:04 AM »
We have a beach house we bought last year. To help pay the mortgage, we do rent it out using a property management company. We can use it as much as we want, we just have to let the management company know dates. There is maid service available for $95 and when we have let family use it, we don't charge them anything but they do have to pay the cleaning fee to the management company. Saves then time, saves us headaches, and keeps the cleaning service employed.

Promise

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 01:31:41 AM »
I agree with the previous poster. Get a property management company in to do bookings. It takes you out of it. When moocher asks to stay, you can say, here's the number for the property management firm. They'll tell you how much it will cost. If you use the code (friends) they'll give you a 20% discount. If they argue, just say, our previous guests who stayed for free didn't take care of the property before they left per our agreements. We were left with no option other than getting a third party involved. You are more than welcome to book through them.

blarg314

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 01:42:02 AM »

Given the experiences you've had, I think you would be perfectly justified in rescinding your general offer. You could still leave it open for specific friends or family you trust, but keep it to a small number and don't publicize it.

If you still want to let people use it, I think it's a great idea to have your visitors pay for clean up service by professionals (vacuuming, cleaning the linens, cleaning the bathrooms and kitchens), and collect a damage deposit which they get back after the place has been inspected that can cover anything beyond basic cleaning, and the cost of any food or other consumables they eat. It's probably worth checking your insurance, to see if major damage caused by visitors when you're not there (fire, flood etc) is covered.


weeblewobble

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 01:55:48 AM »
The boundaries you have drawn have not worked for you.  Your family is abusing your trust and have the nerve to tell you when YOU can use YOUR property.  So you have to redraw the boundaries.

"Family, I'm afraid that the dates you've asked for will not work.  Because of damage to our property and violations of our trust, we will not be lending the cottage to anyone for the foreseeable future.  Please do not call about using the property unless we call and invite you."

Be prepared to be called selfish, welchers, etc., but the fact is, these people don't appreciate the gift you were trying to give them.   

Last_Dance

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2013, 03:48:19 AM »
Even if they are family, you should charge them rent and make them pay for damages.
My dad's cousin has a small flat in a seaside city, which is for rent when she's not using it: my family and I went there a couple of times and we always paid our rent.
We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

Rusty

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2013, 04:56:43 AM »
Thanks for some good ideas so far, I like the idea of a cleanup fee (for those who I know won't leave it clean), and I think I'll look into a cleaning service in the area that I can call on.

DH spoke to his niece about the damage and she at first denied all knowledge, but then said her father would fix the hole in the wall (he's more likely to walk on water than fix it), so we said we'd fix it but she should contact the friend responsible and get some money from them (so far heard nothing).

I do still want to allow people to use it, perhaps I'll draft an email to be sent upon requests along the lines of some of the posters suggestions.

I don't really want to charge people but we certainly don't want to be taken advantage of.

DH has already decided to lock some of the cupboards for our personal stuff.

camlan

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2013, 06:46:25 AM »
My aunt and uncle had a little cottage on a lake in the mountains. They stayed there sometimes, sometimes they rented it out, and sometimes they were kind enough to let their relatives use it. I remember they offered it to one of my brothers for his honeymoon. We were all very grateful and took good care of it.

To help solve the issue of your family demanding the house on their schedule, you can give them a schedule of when it might be available. You and your family write down all the dates you might possibly want to use the house, and then let the others know what the free dates are. Let them know that's it's first come/first served. And if you want two weeks notice, tell them, don't ask them, for two weeks notice.

By all means lock stuff up. Cabinets, a closet, even a room if you feel like it.

Write up a list of rules and email it to everyone. Then post it prominently in the house. Make a "Before You Leave" checklist--lights off, sheets and towels washed, floors swept/vacuumed, specific food items replaced, etc.

But the big thing is to make it clear to everyone that you are lending out the house as a favor. If the rules are not followed, people will lose their privilege of staying at the house. If enough people break the rules, the privilege of staying at the house may be taken away from everyone. The house was purchased to give enjoyment to your immediate family, not to give you the stress and hassle of being unpaid landlords, of having your home destroyed by guests who put holes in the walls or break things, of people leaving it a mess, of having the food you paid for eaten and not replaced.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

YummyMummy66

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2013, 06:55:32 AM »
I just wanted to say, "I love the beach!".   Can I come stay in your cottage?   I would leave it exactly as I found it!   :)

Jones

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2013, 07:12:05 AM »
My grandparents have a woodsy cottage they loan out to the family all summer. My grandmother put a "things that must be done at the end of your stay" checklist in the kitchen. They check on it regularly throughout the season and track who cares for it and who doesn't. Their system works pretty well.

Otterpop

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2013, 07:18:37 AM »
Rusty, I am a property manager and your first post infuriated me.  I think the title should be "Holiday Cottage ABUSERS."  Anyone who's entourage left the place dirty, empty of food and put holes in the walls would be banned indefinitely, or until THEY fixed the problem.  They are not only getting a place for free, they are actually costing you time, money and aggravation.  They are ruining something you and DH have worked for.  No one is "owed" that. 

I am glad you are thinking of enforcing rules.  Rules are necessary to ensure the continued enjoyment of a thing for everyone who receives benefit.  Please revise the boundaries for your family, explain why, and by all means:  Do it in writing (mass e-mail, brief contract, signs, whatever).

Margo

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2013, 07:33:23 AM »
I agree that these people have been takign advantage of you.

I would have expected that people knowing this was your holiday cottage would realise for themselves that sheets need to be cleaned etc but as they obviously don't , then I think you need to draw up some rules and let people have them when they ask to use your cottage, and have a set laminated and left in the cottage.

My BiL owns a holiday apartment in Turkey - he and my Sister are very generous about letting family use it - the arrangements are that you pay something for the use (this is variable - It helps cover electricity, water and maintenance costs, so it's usually a bit more if you go in summer when you are likely to be making heavy use of the AC, for instance)

They explain that the place needs to be cleaned (which includes washing the floors and emptying all bins) and the sheets and towels washed, before you leave. There is a list of how the various appliances need to be left (e.g. fridge unplugged and door open, washing machine unplugged, water turned off in lobby etc)

Food wise, the understanding is that if you use anything you must replace it, so that there is never less available when you leave than when you arrive. I don't think this has ever needed to be spelled out to anyone. I know that before I went the first time I asked whether there was anything which they didn't want us to use (even if we replaced it) but I would take for granted that you replace stuff you use.

This has worked well with my family, BiL's family, various friends and even friends of friends.

it's a shame that your family is trying to take advantage but I think you need to set some boundaries.

In light of the problems  you have had, I think these need to include  firm, clear boundaries:

 "This is our holiday home, our use of it will always take precedence over any other requests for the favor of using the property. If we say no, we mean no, and if you try to argue then we will simply take you off the list of people we are willing to lend the property to / then your next request will automatically get a no as well.

Any request from anyone who has  who has in the past  failed to leave the property in the condition they find it in, both in terms of cleanliness and stocks  food and other items will automatically be refused.

If any damage is done to the property while you are using it, you are responsible. If a friend or guest or yours damages the property, you are responsible. Any damage must be repaired by professional contractors proved by us and carried out to our satisfaction. If the damage was caused by someone who was your guest or friend then You are responsible fr the repairs. Whether you are able to recover the cost from your guest is a private matter between you and your guest"

I would also add something like

"renting a property in this area costs around $xx per week. While we don't want to have to start charging family and friends, we cannot afford to further subsidise your holiday by paying for cleaning, replacing times we have already paid for, or repairing damage caused. We would like to be able to carry on offering you the gift of free accommodation but can only do so if you treat us, and our property, with respect and consideration."



*inviteseller

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2013, 08:30:58 AM »
I would put a stop to it now.  You and your DH were beyond gracious and people took a lot of advantage of it.  I would tell those who call that due to damage having been done, you no longer allow anyone to use it.  Trying to get deposits and set schedules turns your relaxation spot into a job that isn't fair to you because others are jerks.  My parents had a place in the mountains, a friends family had a place at the beach and I remember my parents and her parents talking about why they never let others vacation there and both said it was because of the lack of respect for the property. 

Winterlight

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2013, 09:06:58 AM »
 
We have a beach house we bought last year. To help pay the mortgage, we do rent it out using a property management company. We can use it as much as we want, we just have to let the management company know dates. There is maid service available for $95 and when we have let family use it, we don't charge them anything but they do have to pay the cleaning fee to the management company. Saves then time, saves us headaches, and keeps the cleaning service employed.

I think if you're going to continue to loan it out, this is the way to go. However, neither BIl nor Neice would be allowed to borrow it since they've proved they aren't trustworthy.
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And how, and when, and where.
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Emmy

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2013, 09:29:11 AM »
I think you should limit your circle of those who borrow it to the most trustworthy of your friends and family only.  Niece and BIL have already proven themselves to be unworthy.  For potential guests who expect you to rearrange your schedule to give your cottage to them for free (oh the entitlement!) should also be told the cabin isn't available.  Guests who act entitled to your property are not likely to respect it.  I like the idea of having a fee for maid clean-up and using a management company.  I imagine if you started charging a fee for guests, even a small one, several people may lose interest because the freebie is gone.  Offering your family something nice should not cost you time, aggravation, and money.

sparksals

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2013, 09:39:02 AM »
I think you have a good plan, OP.  I would suggest, though, that instead of sending out an email with the rules and regulations as people request to use the cottage, that you send it to everyone who has already used it and then  to any new ones as they come up. 

I would also make the cleaning fee mandatory.  You never know if the place will be cleaned to a proper standard.  Your idea of clean may be very different than other people's.   The cleaning fee is pretty standard in the cottage rentals I have ever had. 

I was furious for you reading the condition your BIL and his family left the place.   I also think the niece got away scott free by not accepting responsibility for the damage.  It would be a good idea to include in the rules that cost of damage is their responsibility.  You may even want to take a deposit. 

It sounds like you are a generous person.  Don't let them take advantage of that wonderful quality.