So we have this lovely house in Italy and I'm really grateful that we do but I have such mixed feelings about renting it out. I'd be so happy to leave my clothes in the wardrobe, find everything where we left it when we return and not have to worry about keeping up standards generally. However, letting the property out to holiday guests does bring in money to pay the bills, community charge, tax, water, refuse collection (even though the door to door collection recently introduced is not coming up our road because the electric vehicle can't manage the climb so we end up taking the rubbish to the tip or isola ecologica as it prefers to be called ourselves while still paying full whack). I also think its better for the village generally that the house is occupied, it must bring in some income for the local shops and services and our neighbours who look after the property for us love having guests around. So that's what we do, the guests book direct with us, no agency or middle man, Mario lets the people in and explains whats what, Lina does the cleaning and laundry, to an exceptionally high standard I'm pleased to say.
However, the last time we went to the house Lina hadn't been too well so she had simply stripped the beds and not done any cleaning. What an eye opener that was. The only guests, 5 adults, had been in the house 5 days and the place was filthy, old food and wrappers on the kitchen floor, fag packets under the bed and lets not talk about the state of the toilets. I got stuck in and cleaned the place, fair enough, but what really annoyed me was the way pans and crockery had been put away dirty, the coffee maker put back in the cupboard still with the old grounds in it.
Even my pretty oil cloth, that matches the bigger one so that both outside tables go together, had been put away in this condition, totally ruined which made me very cross indeed. Everything was mixed up, I know its hard to remember where you got things from but logical to keep similar glasses or plates together.
I try to provide nice things in the house, I've stayed in places where its been hard to find a tea cup that wasn't cracked, but I have a tea pot (with a cosy)
I have good quality equipment.
Originally we provided playing cards and an assortment of jigsaws till we went back once and I found cards in the garden ruined by the rain and pieces of jigsaw blowing around from goodness knows which box. We take a small security deposit but this wouldn't cover a major breakage so really we are working on trust. Obviously its impossible during a short changeover time to check everything and few people admit to breakages hoping they won't be noticed.
The great majority of our guests are lovely, give us useful feedback and have been known to leave small gifts for the house, herb plants, candles, little bits of pottery, all of which I really appreciate. I don't want to stop renting the house, I don't want to lower the standards but I do want people to realise it is actually our home they are staying in, our personal items they are using and treat it all with respect. Not too much to ask surely.