Author Topic: Holiday Cottage Moochers  (Read 25920 times)

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Midnight Kitty

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2013, 07:55:26 PM »
Resentment is kind of an emotional acid that will eventually weaken and destroy relationships.  When you allow family members to treat your vacation home (and you) badly, it is impossible not to feel resentment for the disrespect and work that they have chosen to make for you.
This is so true and so well phrased.

I just posted in another thread, "A grudge is the acid that eats what contains it." I think these adages have the same root.
"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit.  The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are."

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JenJay

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2013, 09:18:11 PM »
DH has a distant relative who owns a beach house. She only allows people she's personally close to or people they've vouched for. The first time we stayed we had to put down a $100 deposit, just in case.

There was a list of rules posted on the fridge which included -
-replace any non-perishables as needed (basic kitchen staples and condiments were kept stocked)
-replace/fix anything you damage, break, stain, etc.
The morning you leave-
-strip, wash and replace the sheets on all used beds
-run all dishes through the dishwasher & put them away
-vacuum or sweep & mop all floors
-wipe down the kitchen and bathroom counters
-take out all trash

At the bottom of the list it was stated very clearly that leaving the house in any state other than exactly how one found it would result in never being invited to use the home again. We were further told by family that she wasn't kidding and several relatives had indeed been banned.

If I were you I'd send everyone a generic email explaining that there had been some "misunderstandings" about the conditions the house has been left in, you are not willing to employ a cleaning service to accommodate everyone else, and from this point on *your conditions and expectation, and the consequences for not following them*. Then stick to it! It might take one relative getting banned, but I bet it won't take two.  ;)

kudeebee

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2013, 11:47:24 PM »
Because we had indicated an interest in occasionally hosting family members who could really use a 2 bedroom vacation rental, the husband told us the name of the property management company he selected.   He said he makes family go through the management company, too, because he doesn't want to get into arguments with his family over a vacation rental.  Besides, he still lives primarily on the Mainland and can't inspect the unit after other people stay there.

I highly recommend you get a property management company and use them whenever anyone else wants to stay in your vacation home.  It's better to have someone who lives nearby and who is paid to check.  They will do a better job than asking a neighbor to check for free.  It makes your life so much easier and provides employment for cleaning services and a rental agent, which will buy you much good will in your home away from home.

This!  Especially the bolded.  It will make your life so much easier and take you out of the equation of the battle for dates, if something is damaged, etc.  Renters pay cleaning fee, refundable damage deposit, and a modest fee per day to help cover your utilities, etc.  The reasonable ones will do so, the ones who want a free ride and would abuse the place, won't.

Rusty

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2013, 01:14:39 AM »
After reading all the posts I was starting to feel quite depressed.   DH and I were very fortunate last year and came into a large sum of money.   Purchasing the cottage was meant to benefit not only our immediate family, but the wider family, and as I said some close friends.   We are delighted we are able to do this.

I think we will be adopting Jenjay's suggestions as that is exactly what I would expect.    Its a shame we are forced to point out to people the obvious, but I do think now that getting something for nothing might be the problem in itself.

By the way the legal drinking age here is 18 so there are no issues for us as noone under 18 would be staying here alone.  Niece is going to be told that due to her and her friends irresponsible behaviour her access to cottage will be limited to when her parents are there.   

I think I will also inform people that I will only deal with bookings by email, as I seem to be spending too much time fielding calls.  DH likes the idea of a $100 non-negotiable fee, to be held for bond or cleaning but I think only certain people will be actually called on to pay it.   

Slartibartfast

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2013, 01:57:38 AM »
I think I will also inform people that I will only deal with bookings by email, as I seem to be spending too much time fielding calls.  DH likes the idea of a $100 non-negotiable fee, to be held for bond or cleaning but I think only certain people will be actually called on to pay it.

If I were you, I'd phrase this differently: there's a $100 charge for the week, to cover cleaning afterward.  You're not making money (with the associated tax implications), you're just acting as the conduit to pass the money to the cleaning person/service.  HOWEVER if there are specific people you trust to always leave the place in good shape and you have a way to verify (like you happen to be coming up the next week), you can always surprise them by refunding their money later if you ended up not needing the cleaning person to start with.  If you make "must pay the fee" the default, though, you'll have fewer arguments later and less stress over trying to decide whether X or Y relative are trustworthy enough and how offended they'd be if you decide they're not.

Not to scare you, but a vacation home caused a rift in my family which didn't get repaired for thirty years.  My grandfather is one of three boys.  Their parents (my great-grandparents) had a vacation cottage which was the source of great family memories for them, and later, for their families as they grew up and married and had kids of their own.  By then, though, you had my great-grandparents, the three sons and wives, and then THEIR assorted eight or nine kids who were growing up and wanting time at the cottage as well.  Suddenly there were twelve families fighting over who would get the prime weekends.  My grandparents ended up buying their own cottage on the other side of the lake to avoid all the fighting, which my great-uncles deemed "not fair" (since my grandfather was the only only one of the three well-off enough to afford to do that) and they didn't talk for decades.  I grew up going to my grandparents' cottage and visiting the great-grandparents only for an afternoon or so, but my grandparents have already made it clear they want their cottage sold when they're gone so there's no strife over it.  So far it's been fine - in big part because they've been clear that it's THEIR cottage.  Not owned by the "family," not jointly shared, but THEIRS to do with as they want to.  It sounds off-putting, but I think it helps.

kudeebee

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #50 on: March 21, 2013, 08:10:03 AM »
I think I will also inform people that I will only deal with bookings by email, as I seem to be spending too much time fielding calls.  DH likes the idea of a $100 non-negotiable fee, to be held for bond or cleaning but I think only certain people will be actually called on to pay it.

I would be very careful about the bolded or you will open up a whole new can of worms as word gets out amongst the family and friends about how certain people are favored more than others.  Because it will get out, either on purpose or accidentally, no matter how discreet or careful you think you are being.  Then you will have a whole new set of issues to deal with.

If you are going to collect a cleaning fee, do so from everyone.

JenJay

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #51 on: March 21, 2013, 08:13:01 AM »
I wouldn't call the $100 a cleaning fee because then the relatives will most likely think "Hey, she's got that money to hire a cleaning crew. Why should we do it?" and leave a mess. Then Rusty has to go to the trouble of finding a reputable cleaning company, etc.

I think it's better to call the money a refundable deposit, post the rules, hope for the best and, if there are messes or damages, use the money to get the house back in order. Then you contact the messy people and say "I'm sorry to tell you that, due to the state in which you left my home, you will not be invited back." They'll whine to everyone and word will spread that the Rusty family means business and you'd better darn well take care of the house if you want to enjoy it.

If the home is left in a good state the money can be refunded, which will go a long way to smooth any ruffled feathers over having been charged to begin with. Once they see that they'll get the cash back if they clean up, they'll clean up. And I agree that you should collect the deposit from everyone, at least at first. Otheriwise it isn't so much an "accidents happen" deposit as a "we don't trust you but we'll give you a chance to prove us wrong" deposit.

TootsNYC

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #52 on: March 21, 2013, 08:20:14 AM »
I think I will also inform people that I will only deal with bookings by email, as I seem to be spending too much time fielding calls.  DH likes the idea of a $100 non-negotiable fee, to be held for bond or cleaning but I think only certain people will be actually called on to pay it.

I would be very careful about the bolded or you will open up a whole new can of worms as word gets out amongst the family and friends about how certain people are favored more than others.  Because it will get out, either on purpose or accidentally, no matter how discreet or careful you think you are being.  Then you will have a whole new set of issues to deal with.

If you are going to collect a cleaning fee, do so from everyone.

I agree, especially with the gimme-pig actions and attitudes that your family has demonstrated.

It was interesting to me that you said you "came into some money"--There is some weird thing that people have over money that wasn't "earned" (inheritances, lottery among them).

It's as if they say, "that person didn't earn the money; they don't deserve it; why shouldn't it be mine?" It starts small, with people simply saying of stranger, "I hope they give some of their winnings to charity!" and goes so far as them *arguing with you* over when you can use your very own vacation home.

Aquamarine

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #53 on: March 21, 2013, 11:08:41 AM »
   As someone who grew up with a second vacation home and one who has one herself I can say with 60 years of personal experience stop loaning your home out to anyone.  If they want to vacation, they can rent a home or buy their own, if that's not in the cards, then maybe they don't get to go on vacation; it's not your job to provide a cheap vacation destination for people. 

   Your vacation home is supposed to be a haven, a get away place, an oasis for you to go to.  If you have to worry about cleaning services, monitoring checklists, cleaning services and deciding on "punishments" for those that don't obey the rules (almost everyone) you will not enjoy your home in the way you should.  Seriously, keep it for yourself, it is the only way to keep it so you can truly enjoy the home.  Be firm about this and don't explain yourself when telling people you no longer loan out the property, if they push give them the name and number of a local property rental.  Doing this can make the difference between truly loving your get away spot or coming to hate it and viewing it as a huge pain in your behind. Having a second home in itself still involves some hassles and work, you do not need others adding to this already existing workload.  Once word really gets out about the property people will nag, hound and inundate you with requests to the point where you won't be able to use your own property at the last minute should an opportunity present itself because you promised it to someone else.  Naturally peak vacation times is when everyone and their mother will want to use the home.

  Hire a service or pay a neighbor to stop in every few days and check on the property to be sure all is OK.  Hopefully no one had made copies of the keys you lent them (it happened to my parents).  Changing all the locks is really not a bad idea.

  I have seen this issue from both sides, my parents would loan their property out which the main reason when I bought my beach house years ago I determined that no one else would ever stay there unless they went with me.  There is a peace and serenity in knowing that everything is just as YOU left it, everything put away, cupboards stocked with non-perishables, laundry done, car intact, everything clean, your books and possessions exactly where you left them, the clothes in the closet and toiletries in the bath unmolested.  You should be able to go to your vacation home with packing very little because everything you need has been stocked in the home.  If you loan the property you expect these things to disappear.

  Make this you personal piece of heaven on earth and I'm afraid other people do not figure in making that a reality for you.
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2013, 11:08:51 AM »
I wouldn't call the $100 a cleaning fee because then the relatives will most likely think "Hey, she's got that money to hire a cleaning crew. Why should we do it?" and leave a mess. Then Rusty has to go to the trouble of finding a reputable cleaning company, etc.

I think it's better to call the money a refundable deposit, post the rules, hope for the best and, if there are messes or damages, use the money to get the house back in order. Then you contact the messy people and say "I'm sorry to tell you that, due to the state in which you left my home, you will not be invited back." They'll whine to everyone and word will spread that the Rusty family means business and you'd better darn well take care of the house if you want to enjoy it.

If the home is left in a good state the money can be refunded, which will go a long way to smooth any ruffled feathers over having been charged to begin with. Once they see that they'll get the cash back if they clean up, they'll clean up. And I agree that you should collect the deposit from everyone, at least at first. Otheriwise it isn't so much an "accidents happen" deposit as a "we don't trust you but we'll give you a chance to prove us wrong" deposit.

I agree. And I can tell you, if someone in my family had a vacation home, and was nice enough to let me use it, I'd not only pay whatever deposit they asked for, but I'd also leave it the way the owners asked.  As someone else said about their home, its simply, wash the sheets and remake the beds, run the dishwashwer and put the dishes away, and so on. It shouldn't take long.

 My mom's cousin had a beach house, which they spent most summers at.  BUt a couple of years, they went away, and we were able to use the house for a week or two at a time. I know my mom was careful to leave it clean, with beds made, etc. for them, and I was cautioned to be careful with their "stuff" as well. And she knew my mom well enough that no money was ever involved. Of course one summer we had my little cousin, who today, in his own words, was a "hellion" so I'm sure that was a tradeoff!

Lynn2000

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2013, 11:16:42 AM »
After reading all the posts I was starting to feel quite depressed.   DH and I were very fortunate last year and came into a large sum of money.   Purchasing the cottage was meant to benefit not only our immediate family, but the wider family, and as I said some close friends.   We are delighted we are able to do this.

I think we will be adopting Jenjay's suggestions as that is exactly what I would expect.    Its a shame we are forced to point out to people the obvious, but I do think now that getting something for nothing might be the problem in itself.

By the way the legal drinking age here is 18 so there are no issues for us as noone under 18 would be staying here alone.  Niece is going to be told that due to her and her friends irresponsible behaviour her access to cottage will be limited to when her parents are there.   

I think I will also inform people that I will only deal with bookings by email, as I seem to be spending too much time fielding calls.  DH likes the idea of a $100 non-negotiable fee, to be held for bond or cleaning but I think only certain people will be actually called on to pay it.

If I may be honest, I don't think it's reading the posts here that should depress you; it's the behavior of the people who have abused your generosity in real life. It's wonderful that you want to share the cottage with family and friends, and you don't need to stop doing that. But establishing some rules, and even an upfront fee required of everyone, is completely reasonable, and not rude or ungenerous in the least.

As I mentioned before, don't think of the rules as punishments because of a few bad apples, but as helpful guides for people who want to treat the property with respect but just don't know exactly what that means to you. For example, if a relative lent me their vacation cabin and didn't mentioned anything about rules, chores, etc., I would probably assume they didn't have any beyond what *I* thought was obvious (like not making a hole in the wall)--I would assume they had that all taken care of "behind the scenes" and that I didn't need to do anything (like laundry or vacuuming) because if I did, surely they would have told me so. And then later if I heard that my relative was mad at me, or was even banning me from using the cabin again because I didn't clean it, I would be really embarrassed, and maybe even upset at the lack of communication.

Note: I am definitely not saying you were at fault here, because it sounds like your previous bad guests were really bad, and they might not have obeyed rules even if you had given them some. But for the in-between people, who want to do the right thing but don't automatically know what that is, rules would probably be really appreciated. And don't present them half-heartedly, as though you don't really want to and don't think they're important; just be straight-forward and upfront about them.

Also, I think it's actually more polite to require the fee (if you have one) upfront from everyone (or at least, everyone upon their first time staying in the cabin). As others have said, you can refund it later if they left the cabin in good condition, and having proved themselves once at the cabin, maybe you can choose to waive the fee for later visits if there continue to be no problems. But, among people who have never stayed at the cabin, I think it could be construed as rude to only ask for the fee upfront from select people, because this means you have to make assumptions about them based on other situations, personality, closeness, etc.. Requiring it of everyone for their first stay is more objective and if someone balks, they won't be able to point out that you let Cousin Susie stay there without paying even though it was her first time (thus forcing you to admit that you plain trust Cousin Susie more).
~Lynn2000

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2013, 11:21:27 AM »
I think I will also inform people that I will only deal with bookings by email, as I seem to be spending too much time fielding calls.  DH likes the idea of a $100 non-negotiable fee, to be held for bond or cleaning but I think only certain people will be actually called on to pay it.

I think what I would do is the first time anyone stays after the new rules are in place is charge everyone the deposit.  Then, once you know which ones are responsible and clean up after themselves, you can tell them the next time, 'I didn't need to use any of the money you left on deposit the last time so I don't need it again this time.  I'll let you know when you need to give me a deposit again.'  And I'd even make the deposit larger for those groups who've already demonstrated lack of respect for your property.

I would make your expectations crytal clear, with penalties for not abiding by them also clearly stated.  And stick to it.
After cleaning out my Dad's house, I have this advice:  If you haven't used it in a year, throw it out!!!!.
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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2013, 11:29:22 AM »
I am going to POD Rosewater. 

I would stop allowing free use of your holiday home.

The more people you allow to stay there, the less it will be your own little haven and the more it will be like just another hotel.  And I don't think that you want that.

Does that mean you need to cut everyone off and no allow anyone else to use it ever?  Not necessarily.  I think that you can still offer it to family or friends who you are especially close to, and who you know are respectful and trustworthy.  But I would definitely put a stop to the free-for-all, anyone can ask for the use of the property thing that you are trying to manage right now. 

Remember... just because you let some family or friends use your beach house does not mean that you have to let anyone who asks use it!

Shoo

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #58 on: March 21, 2013, 11:50:33 AM »
So you came into some money and purchased this vacation house.  Now you want to "share" the house with your friends and family.

What if you hadn't come into the money?  What if you'd had to save for years and years.  Sacrificed and scrimped.  And then FINALLY!  You were able to buy your dream cottage.

Would you put up with this kind of nonsense from your friends and family?  I bet you would not. 

I think you should treat this vacation home as if you'd had to save and sacrifice and scrimp for it and it is precious to you.  No way would you let anyone abuse it because you worked HARD for it.

That's how you should treat this home, I think.  It's yours, and you want it treated well.  Don't let people stay there who don't respect your property.

Those who have proven what louts they are should NEVER be allowed to borrow your home again, IMO.

FoxPaws

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Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #59 on: March 21, 2013, 12:38:39 PM »
I think it would help to remember and to remind others that this is your vacation home - not "the cottage" - your home.

Would you allow anyone who asked to come and stay at your primary residence if you weren't there? Would you have any qualms about rescinding invitations or demanding restitution if your hospitality were abused or your property damaged? The same rules apply here.

It does not matter if you saved for years, came into a sum of money, or the real estate fairy bestowed it upon you in a puff of purple smoke - it's your home and you have every right to decide how it is used. Up to and including saving it strictly for yourselves.
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