The Biggest Problem with Messy Guests, and How You Can Fix It

I’m sorry I have missed a few weeks. It has been a very busy start to the summer season, our busiest all year. On this weeks episode: Messy/Destructive Guests. While it is true that when you book an AIRBNB/VRBO etc. home, you are required to pay a cleaning fee, security deposit/damage insurance (VRBO).

I think that some guests are confused as to what this covers. Actually, I had one guest who told me that he thought that meant that he could leave the house as messy as he wants to and destroy whatever he wanted to because he paid for the cleaning and the damage insurance (this particular guest did over $4000 damage to one of our homes).

I think we need to clear this up!

When you are renting a home (at least one of ours), they are left to you in immaculate condition. They have been cleaned and sanitized, all of the guest info is arranged nicely on a table or counter in the home next to a gift basket that we provide. The cleaning fee that you are paying is to cover the cost of cleaning and sanitizing the house for the next guest. Now this does not mean that you leave the house in utter filth, food everywhere, garbage everywhere, dirty dishes, food in fridge and freezer. This means that you keep up after yourself, like you hopefully would at home. If you spill something, you clean it up, if you dirty a dish you wash it, if the floor is dirty you sweep/vacuum/mop it. You dispose of your garbage in the trash can and before you leave (in our community) you take the trash to the compactors. Housekeeping then come in, and cleans and disinfects the house, and does all of the laundry, remakes the beds, puts out clean towels and supplies for the next guest.

The same thing applies to the damage insurance through VRBO. It does not give you permission to destroy the home. It’s for accidental damage. It comes in handy when a guest accidentally breaks the glass top on a $2000 convection/self steam cleaning, counter stove (that recently happened in one of our houses).

If you are leaving behind a complete mess that takes them hours to clean or forces them to call in additional people to help them clean, especially on turnover days, then you will be charged for that. Keep in mind, we take pictures after each check out and prior to each check in. So the housekeeping fee that you paid covers the first two hours of housekeeping, anything above that is your responsibility to pay. If they have to remove garbage from the property, you’re paying for that as well and you are getting black listed from our community. It is a very simple thing to read your contracts, read the check in/check out instructions and rules and return the house to the owner in decent condition. It’s disrespectful and condescending to come into someone’s home under the notion that you paid a cleaning fee therefore you can just trash the house and leave garbage everywhere.

Recently we had a guest who stayed in one of our homes. Now again, we take pictures prior to arrival, I personally enter the home before each arrival to set out the info book, badges and a gift basket that we make for every guest. Our houses are 5 star, and our cleaning company is 5 star. So this guest proceeded to come into the home and the very first thing she did was order a fight on pay-per-view under the owner’s account. I politely called her and straightened that out. I did not hear from her for the rest of the weekend. On her check out day, she called at 10:03 AM (check out is at 10 AM) and told me that she was not going to make it back to the house for check out at 11 as she had to take a family member to the airport and was running late. I politely explained that check out is at 10 AM. She got upset and tried to say that the listing and the contract both said 11 AM. I pulled the contract and emailed her a signed copy showing that the check out time was 10 AM, and took a screen shot of the listing showing the same. I told her to get back as soon as she could because the cleaning company was going to come in by noon. She said ok. When we got to the house at 12:30 PM because she didn’t leave until 12:17 Pm, it was trashed! Food and garbage everywhere (I wish I could post pictures of this), food left in the refrigerator, beer cans and alcohol bottles strewn all over the owner’s property. We took 20 full trash bags from the house, 3 very large boxes and a giant piñata. We had to call the contractor to pick it all up in his truck. So on top of her leaving over 2 hours after check out, she left the house a mess. I contacted her and she ignored me so I went through Airbnb to get this resolved as we were charged extra money by both the contractor and housekeeping. Finally, after weeks of this she answers Airbnb and then proceeds to try to convince me that the house was filthy and smelled when she arrived (I check all of the guests in personally), and that she was going to put up a bad review and she was not going to pay the additional cost because she should’ve been allowed to leave that garbage there because she paid the cleaning fee. Needless to say, if she does not pay it and Airbnb does not resolve it, we will be taking her to small claims court which will end up costing her more money.

Moral to this story: Please treat these homes better than you treat you own. These homes belong to people, to families and they are trusting that you are going to take care of it while you are there. Don’t be destructive and don’t leave additional messes behind. It’s only going to end up costing you in the long run.