Having purchased a rental property, most owners work hard to outfit the place with décor & amenities that guests will find attractive, comfortable & useful. This is a great idea – within reason! Below are a few things Eyes & Ears recommends not having at your summer vacation rental.
- Bikes – Most rental companies discourage owner provision of bikes for guest use in favor of weekly rentals through one of the many “beach supply” places on the Outer Banks. This is for safety & liability reasons. It’s hard for remote owners to assure the safe operation of a bike and that it is being regularly checked & serviced.
- Grills on the Deck – Sure, its nice to go from the grill on the deck right into the kitchen, but this creates a safety hazard – especially if the decks are wood. Grills rust out at an amazing rate in our salt air, and a failure in the grease pan can create a mess & fire hazard. Keep them on the concrete, with a grease mat underneath, and preferable chained in place so they don’t get moved upstairs.
- Glass Table Tops – While many dining tables have glass, I’m more focused on glass tops for coffee tables, bedside nightstands and such. Given the wear & tear of anywhere from 6 to 20 new guests in week after week, its inevitable the glass will be chipped, cracked or outright broken. Certainly a safety hazard, but custom-cut glass tops aren’t inexpensive.
- Complicated Electronics – Unless you have an AV guy on retainer, think twice about providing a vast array of AV or entertainment gear. You can write use instructions ‘till the cows come home & tie remotes in place, but the general tendency is to push buttons & move connections around and then read your instructions when things don’t work.
- Tools of Any Kind – Other than perhaps a screwdriver & pliers, don’t go overboard to help guests be self-sufficient if something is loose or falling off. Let the pros take care of the issue. Too many tools sometimes encourages more loose things and misuse when in the hands of the young or inexperienced.
- Garbage Disposals – Especially if your property is on a septic system! You’d be amazed at the things I’ve pulled out of a kitchen disposal. Some too gross to mention. A whole clamshell in the disposal can become like shrapnel if an unsuspecting user flips it on. That’s why the switch is generally located under the sink or wall-mounted several feet away.
- Baby Gates – Really, Mike? When is the last time anyone confirmed they were in sound condition? When is the last time anyone confirmed they will actually fit where intended? Did the 70 pound dog beat the gate apart? These do get replaced a lot due to wear & tear. If caring parents want a baby gate, let them care a bit more & provide their own. Reduces your liability.
- Anything You Treasure – If you’d be upset that some “personal touch” item, heirloom, decoration, etc. went missing or got damaged, get it out of your rental property.
Then, in closing, a bit about PMs & guest damage.
- PMs want to avoid guest damage issues like the plague.
- Absent a statement from the guest, or iron-clad evidence, there is little to establish a basis for guest damage claims. PMs are eager to write things off to wear & tear, which means issues caused by normal use (yes, heavy but still normal given the circumstances) over time.
- Even though “it wasn’t broken/missing when we left” or “it wasn’t broken before these guests” may be 100% true, the PMs will avoid even digging in.
- Guests will say, “it fell off…” or “we noticed some leaking…”.
- HSKG & Inspectors will say, “it’s missing/loose” and ignore the fact the drawer handle was ripped off, the door knob was twisted off, or the, “loose handle on the oven door” actually pulled the oven door apart.
- E&E will dig in and give not only a complete documentation of the issue, but if 2 & 2 can be put together, we will offer a “how.” This has proven effective in some cases, but not in others, towards getting money back.