Author Topic: Holiday Cottage Moochers  (Read 24392 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Emmy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3794
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #75 on: March 26, 2013, 04:08:57 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.

As others have suggested, a rule list may let people know how you expect the cottage to be treated and may be a reminder to them to do so.  However, if these people are inconsiderate, I wouldn't bet on them following it.  I also like the suggestion of charging a deposit/clean-up fee and using a management company to do it.  That way friends and family get to enjoy the cabin for minimal expense and you have one less headache and can know your cottage is clean for the next visitor. 

Since you don't want to charge a fee and you can't make people be respectful of your property, I think you are left with a few options and none of them are ideal.  You could put up a rule list and hope for the best.  If people continue to leave a mess and treat the cottage with disrespect, the choices left would be to either close it off to everybody, close it off to the few who have abused the privilege, or put up with how people act.  I think you wanting to loan your cottage to family and friends is wonderful and generous.  Like another poster, I also get the impression you feel a little guilty/or you must share your good fortune with your family.  On the same note, it seems like your family may be jealous of your good fortune and feel entitled to it (hence the arguing over the cottage).


fluffy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 609
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #76 on: March 26, 2013, 12:21:41 PM »
I agree with all of the PPs that you should charge a cleaning fee to everyone. If you feel bad about taking the fee from people who leave the cottage fairly clean, you could always put it in a kitty for doing upgrades or making purchases that will benefit everyone (board games, books, etc for the house). Or you could use it to purchase things like toilet paper and coffee (you know, the essentials :D).

I would consider sending out an email that, going forward, anyone who causes damage and doesn't fix it, or who gives you guff about the schedule, will be banned for a set time. Maybe six months for people who argue about the schedule and a year for people who cause damages? Just be consistent with your enforcement. Eventually, when people start losing access, they'll learn not to give you a hard time about something you're doing out of the goodness of your own hear.

Personally, I would probably stop letting people use the house.

HoneyBee42

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 593
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #77 on: March 27, 2013, 08:06:21 AM »
I'm in the camp that finds it rather difficult to bend my brain around the fact that the OP wants to continue to offer the use of her property after repeated instances of having that generosity abused (here I am including not just the BIL and niece but also everyone who persists in asking after being told 'no, already booked').

If I were in the OP's shoes, the BIL would definitely have been confronted about his abuse of the generosity, and the niece would have been informed that since *SHE* is the family member who requested use of the property that *SHE* would be responsible for the repairs which would be performed by a reliable small-jobs contractor.  And then all and sundry would be informed that the offer of sharing had been permanently revoked due to repeated abuse of generosity and lack of appreciation of that generosity.

For me, it'd be a sufficient hill to die on that I'd go so far as to take niece to small claims court if she didn't pay up.  As a bonus, any resulting family rift would result in fewer people asking to have the opportunity to wreck my property.   >:D  If that's too much, I'd just go ahead and get the contractor to do the job (because any slipshod work will ruin enjoyment since you'll have the "scars" to remind you) and then present niece with the bill and let it be known that until niece ponies up the cash for the repair of the damage that *NO ONE* will stay there, and that *only* niece may be the one that presents the payment so no one thinks that you're collecting on the debt more than once.  Whether niece gets the cash from the person who actually did the damage or not is immaterial, IMO. 

Barring that, if there's really no way around continually offering up the generosity to be abused, I do agree w/ others that a property management company (which understands that the owners have right of use at *any* time, and any non-owner may be 'bumped' with an agreed upon lead time) and cleaning fee and that whoever signs for use is also responsible for repairs (again, by small-jobs contractor, no DIY).

GrammarNerd

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 569
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #78 on: March 27, 2013, 09:48:23 AM »
I like this ^^.

If niece was old enough to go there without daddy, and was old enough to invite friends, then she's old enough to manage those friends and to accept responsibility for the damage that *her invited friends* did to your property and pay for proper repairs.  OP, look at it this way: she and her friends saved money by using your cottage for free.  Now's the time to take that money they saved and make it right with you.  Maybe she needs to save it, but she needs to make it right.  She's a grown-up, and she should start acting like one.  (refer back to first sentence of this paragraph.)

OP, I think we all get that you want to be generous with your family.  But the thing is....they don't appreciate it, and they don't see it as you being generous.  They see it as if they're entitled to it, which they're not.  So that idea of being generous goes right out the window.  What if you'd put the money into a program where you got to go on a cruise once a year?  Would you feel the need to give away your yearly cruise just because you had entitled relatives?  I hope not.

I like the idea of letting all and sundry know a few ground rules.  First, that you have, in good faith, lent the cottage to various relatives.  You were trying to be nice and let them use it for free, yet your thank you from them was that people ate all of your food, left your home filthy, and in one case actually damaged your property.  Ask the question--point blank--'how is this even remotely okay?'  And then some people have started arguing with you about when they think they should use your property.  Again, how is this okay?

I would start harassing the niece about the damages.  Tell her you want quotes.  Or tell her you have a quote and you expect the money by X date.  Like I said, if she's old enough to stay there alone, she's old enough to accept responsibility.  Welcome to adulthood, honey.

And again, OP, I know you want to be nice, but the thing is that your family has no respect for you or your belongings.  Start being a little bit less nice and they'll either leave you alone or 'man up'.  And note: when I say less nice, I mean not rolling over and accommodating their every whim.  You can be perfectly polite, but you can call them on their entitlement.  "You expect me to give up MY cabin for Easter?  Yeah, it's mine, and I can go there whenever I want, and I want Easter!  That IS why I BOUGHT the cabin...duh....so I could use it whenever *I* wanted to."

sammycat

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5950
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #79 on: March 27, 2013, 09:54:51 AM »
I'm in the camp that finds it rather difficult to bend my brain around the fact that the OP wants to continue to offer the use of her property after repeated instances of having that generosity abused (here I am including not just the BIL and niece but also everyone who persists in asking after being told 'no, already booked').

If I were in the OP's shoes, the BIL would definitely have been confronted about his abuse of the generosity, and the niece would have been informed that since *SHE* is the family member who requested use of the property that *SHE* would be responsible for the repairs which would be performed by a reliable small-jobs contractor.  And then all and sundry would be informed that the offer of sharing had been permanently revoked due to repeated abuse of generosity and lack of appreciation of that generosity.

For me, it'd be a sufficient hill to die on that I'd go so far as to take niece to small claims court if she didn't pay up.  As a bonus, any resulting family rift would result in fewer people asking to have the opportunity to wreck my property.   >:D  If that's too much, I'd just go ahead and get the contractor to do the job (because any slipshod work will ruin enjoyment since you'll have the "scars" to remind you) and then present niece with the bill and let it be known that until niece ponies up the cash for the repair of the damage that *NO ONE* will stay there, and that *only* niece may be the one that presents the payment so no one thinks that you're collecting on the debt more than once.  Whether niece gets the cash from the person who actually did the damage or not is immaterial, IMO. 

Barring that, if there's really no way around continually offering up the generosity to be abused, I do agree w/ others that a property management company (which understands that the owners have right of use at *any* time, and any non-owner may be 'bumped' with an agreed upon lead time) and cleaning fee and that whoever signs for use is also responsible for repairs (again, by small-jobs contractor, no DIY).

I totally agree with this, particularly the part I bolded.

Texas Mom

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3838
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #80 on: March 27, 2013, 01:40:18 PM »
The op has gotten a lot of good advice here.

Here's my .02, which echoes what others have said:

Find a property management company.  Talk to one & see how they suggest you handle your situation.  Believe me, they've seen situations like yours before and are equipped to handle it.

Then, you can go back to enjoying YOUR cottage without the aggravation and worry of playing maintenance, housekeeping and booking agent.

Rusty

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 159
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #81 on: March 27, 2013, 06:51:16 PM »
Thanks for all the good advice.   

DH and I have decided that, as we seriously underestimated the amount of angst loaning out our cottage had the potential to cause, that we have probably created a monster.   DH has decided (I was more reluctant) to restrict loanouts to our immediate family for the time being, to create a breathing space while we re-think the whole process.   I'm sure we'll be able to come up with a more suitable arrangement, ie., maybe a management company.

I think a lot of people are right to say that perhaps there is an amount of jealousy attached to our good fortune, and that certain people feel entitled to abuse our offer of a free holiday because of this. 

As to the BIL and niece concerned (same family), DH is going to speak to the family and tell them point blank that we were not at all impressed with their behaviour.  Knowing the BIL though it will just be brushed off as a "storm in a teacup".  Going to be interesting next time they ask to use the cottage (not happening).

Not everyone has left the cottage in poor condition and thats why I was reluctant to act, but DH thinks a total ban at present is the answer, then later on we can loan out only to trusted family & friends.

JenJay

  • I'm a nonconformist who doesn't conform to the prevailing standards of nonconformity.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5818
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #82 on: March 27, 2013, 07:14:40 PM »
Sounds like a good plan!

Lindee

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 371
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #83 on: March 27, 2013, 07:47:44 PM »
Good idea, I hope you are able to enjoy your cottage without all this hassle in future. You sound like a lovely couple and don't deserve the treatment you have been  getting.

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4522
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #84 on: March 27, 2013, 08:05:47 PM »
People's responses to your restrictions on the use of the cottage should determine your future course. Oh to be a fly on the wall :)

Amara

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2494
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #85 on: March 27, 2013, 08:13:23 PM »
I am sure, OP, that this decision is making you both breathe easier. Relax and enjoy your cottage and the lack of stress.

doodlemor

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2146
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #86 on: March 27, 2013, 08:28:54 PM »
You and DH have made a wise decision, Rusty.  You can now enjoy your cottage without all the stress.

I also think that some of your relatives are jealous of your winnings.  When you won the $$$$ it changed the family dynamics, and it may take awhile for some of your relatives to get accustomed to the idea of you and DH being so "well off."

Lady Snowdon

  • Super cool awesome title
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5957
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #87 on: March 27, 2013, 09:14:57 PM »
Rusty, I think you guys made a good decision, and I think my grandparents and my uncle could sympathize with your torn feelings on who can use your cottage. 

Growing up, my grandparents owned a timeshare in AwesomeSkiingCity, and owned a condo in LessKnownSkiingCity.  The condo was free to anyone in the family; you just had to ask ahead of time, bring the sheets/towels/etc up with you, wash them and bring them back to my grandparents when you were done.  My grandparents had to keep a separate scheduling book open with every use of the condo blocked off, and they always made sure to block off the weeks that they wanted first.  It was still very hard for them to visit the condo as much as they wanted to though; all of us enjoy skiing, and free accommodation at a ski resort is nothing to sneer at! 

Around the time I was in college, my grandparents either sold or gave the condo to my uncle and his family, and got rid of their timeshare.  It was a huge adjustment for the rest of the family.  The condo is no longer open to anyone who wants to use it (I think some friends of the family may have caused some damage one time, as well).  My uncle's family uses it almost every weekend in the winter, and they use it quite a bit in the summer as well.  There are a couple of weeks throughout the year that some people are allowed to use it.  It probably took a couple of years before everyone in the family had adjusted to the idea that our extended family doesn't have a "free" place to stay at a ski resort, and I know my uncle faced some opposition in wanting to have the place free for his family, since he pays for it all.   

MrsVandy

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 524
  • Formally futurelillady
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #88 on: March 28, 2013, 03:59:56 AM »
I've been following this thread for a bit, and I think you have made the right call for now Rusty. Its unfortunate that some bad apples have spoiled it for others.
If in the future you feel like sharing thatís 100% up to you. But make sure you lend on your terms.




rose red

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7484
Re: Holiday Cottage Moochers
« Reply #89 on: March 28, 2013, 11:26:24 AM »
Your husband is right.  You are trying to make people happy, but entitled people don't care or respect your happiness or property.  Please work on how to stop feeling guilty for your good fortune.  There are always people richer or poorer than us.  As long as relatives are not starving in the streets, it's all good.  If they feel jealous, then they should have cleaned your cottage to continue years of free vacations.