There is a cost of doing business with Vacation Rentals. As much as we like to bring in income, every year as a homeowner you will need to replace some towels, glassware, and utensils. It’s usually a minimal amount, but just like a business you need to view it as an expense of running a business and what you can do to continue to make your rental a top rated destination. Things will happen and if it’s under a fifty dollar replacement or repair fee, it’s something as an owner you should treat it as an expense. It’s not worth nickel and diming your guests as accidents will happen and it’s usually reported and a minimal cost that they are more than happy and willing to pay for.
Now, sometimes and this is a very rare occasion people actually do some damage that costs hundreds of dollars. In my over a decade experience in managing Vacation Rentals, I have had this happen maybe a handful of times. Most of the time, people call immediately to report it so we can repair and/or replace it. Once in a blue moon they don’t and then deny any damage and say it was not them. If you are stuck on this predicament, you want to make sure that you are ahead of the game.
Prior to guests arriving, have a checklist for everything. If you are not the person checking on your home, make sure to check with your property manager and see if they have a system in place. If it’s just you, have a list for your cleaner and make sure they go through as they clean. It’s good to have some sort of inventory list. Take pictures often as to make sure you constantly have updated evidence as you may have to report this to a vacation rental insurance agency that covers damages or a vacation rental listing provider such as Airbnb or Homeaway. Some do offer protection plans for guests. It is highly recommend to go this route of requiring these over a flat security deposit. It is much easier to deal with if there are any issues. Renters are much happier and more willing to pay a flat fee rather than giving out a large amount for a security deposit.
When this happens, if you are not covered through a damage insurance company, you may have to go to small claims court depending on the amount and if they are willing to pay or refute it and fight you. The insurance companies, do protect you and are much easier to deal with. It’s a few forms and photos uploaded and your own your way. They send a check and you can repair or replace any damaged items.
As scary as this may sound, it truly is a rare event. Most Guests are wonderful and there aren’t any issues. But it is better to be prepared for an unfortunate event. As things can and do happen.