My partner and I own a vacation rental property management company in PA. When we started the company, I don’t think we were quite prepared for the experiences that we would encounter both from clients who own and rent out their homes and from guests. I feel that these stories are just too funny, ridiculous and/or unbelievable to not share with others who are in this industry. We have seen some very crazy, shake your head, cannot believe we have to put a sign in the house for this things over the past year and a half. I hope you enjoy these as much as I am writing them. I also hope that some of these will help homeowner’s and guests out with do’s and do not’s of short term vacation rentals.
Our very first experience was probably one of the funniest so far.
We had a client who was renting out their house. Right before the first guest arrived for the season, they had an issue with a squirrel that came into the house through their fireplace. After a lot of phone calls to wildlife centers, it was determined that the squirrel was a flying squirrel (I had no idea we even had those here) and that it was born in the chimney. The wildlife refuge person was able to evict the squirrel from the house and we thought that was the end of it.
The guests checked into the house about three days after the eviction. I got a call later that evening from the man who booked the house. He is trying to explain that they are having an issue at the house but he is laughing so it was hard to understand him. He says “I’ll text you a video, watch it.” After a few minutes this video comes through. A squirrel comes out of the fireplace and everyone screams. This scares the squirrel so it runs up the stairs and climbs on the railing of the loft that overlooks the living room. It stands there for a few minutes and then it proceeds to do what could only be described as a swan dive from the railing, wings outstretched, speeding towards the ground and lands perfectly in a red solo cup on the coffee table. The kids in the house were cheering and clapping yelling “that was so cool,” “oh my God that was awesome”. After about a minute, the squirrel jumps out of the cup and jumps on the floor running. One of the guests proceeds to lead it towards the door with a broom and out he goes.
I call the guest back, we are both cracking up at this point and a little amazed at the acrobatics of this squirrel. The gentleman tells me that they were able to get it out of the house and that all is well. He was mistaken.
The next day I get a video of the squirrel flying out of the fireplace and landing on the coffee table. Apparently it was popping its head in and out so they decided to turn the video on. Once the squirrel lands on the table, the kids start cheering and the adults start panicking. What happened next can only be explained and understood if you have ever watched the squirrel scene in Christmas Vacation.
The squirrel starts to run towards the two women at the back of the living room. They start screaming and run around the dining room table as the squirrel gives chase. At this point the kids are chasing the squirrel and the men are trying to”guide” the squirrel out the door but it’s coming at them fast. They jump in front of the 2 women, knocking one of them over the arm of the recliner and now the one women and the two men are in front of the squirrel and the kids are not far behind. They run up the stairs and so does the squirrel, and then the kids. Everyone is screaming. They all start coming down the stairs, now the kids are in front of the squirrel. Everyone hits the bottom step and then head into the dining room and around the table again. The lady that was hip checked over the arm of the recliner chair is now screaming and running towards the kitchen counter (the squirrel ran right through her legs) and jumps on it. At this point, somehow the squirrel got in front of the rest of the group and is now being chased by them. Whoever is videoing this is out of the frame, away from the chaos, laughing his ass off.
The squirrel goes up the stairs with the group hot on his tail, screaming and chasing him. The squirrel makes it to the top of the loft railing again and jumps. At this point, the group comes running down the stairs to try to get behind it and chase it out the door. The lady on the counter is screaming and laughing, the kids are laughing. Someone runs by the broom and shoos the squirrel out the door. The lady on the counter pees herself from laughing and I think the man behind the camera may have peed himself too.
I am watching this video with a mix of horror and unadulterated laughter. All I can say is “Oh my God, I cannot wait to read the review they write about this.” Again, the gentleman who booked said “Ok, he’s out. Hopefully we scared it enough that he won’t come back.” I am not sure if he truly believed this.
You can probably guess what came the next evening. It seems this squirrel liked to come out at around 8 pm. I think that they all hoped it was gone for good but expected that it would be back because they were ready to record as soon as he popped his head out…..again. This time he came out, ran to the dining room table and they were able to shoo him right out the door. At this point the gentleman sent this text: “Candace, while we really enjoyed the show that this squirrel put on the first night, and this is an experience that none of us will ever forget, we are starting to feel like we are in a Vacation movie. We really need to evict the squirrel.”
The next day I called in the troops and we gave the squirrel a final eviction notice and padlocked his door. The squirrel did not return for the remainder of the trip. The guests were such good sports and put up a fabulous review that included the story of the squirrel and titled it “The Summer We Vacationed With A Flying Squirrel.”