Friday, 8 June 2012

Time for a rant

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.


  1. I am not surprised that you're feeling cross, you have every right to! My goodness, what a state to leave things in. We always tidy up when we are leaving, I think it's polite, even though you know that someone is going to be coming in to clean the place. I don't think I could bear to have other people in my home if they treated it with so little respect.

  2. I can fully understand why you are so disappointed and cross by how your found your home - I wonder how often it had been left in a similar state but your lovely cleaner has gone above and beyond in her cleaning regime.
    The subject of differing standards of cleanliness is an interesting one but from your stand point as someone how rents out your second home should you expect your paying visitors to leave it the way they found it ?
    To change the subject slightly we have some people who have a holiday bungalow a few doors up from me which my neighbour and I refer to as 'posh but dirty' as they sound like royalty but their place is a complete tip - untidy and dirty -
    Sadly I think some people don't think they have to keep a holiday let clean or tidy and will feel quite justified in leaving it a mess because they have paid, regardless of it being your home.
    Perhaps you need to be very clear at the booking stage what you expect from paying guests.
    I would be as upset as you.

  3. I don't understand how people can be so uncaring of your feelings. When we rent we always try to leave the place as close to the way it was as we can. It is called respect I believe.

  4. Presumably you know who the culprits are. Is there no way of shaming them?

  5. I agree with cheshire wife. But also know it is nigh impossible. We ran a b&b for ten years. Sheets covered in tanning cream and make up, broken glasses put outside where our cats could walk on them, fag ends everywhere. But those sort were few and far between thank goodness. With the good you get the bad.

  6. Totally understand how you feel. We had a holiday home in Spain that we used to rent out and had some very similar experiences to the one you describe, sadly. As you say, the majority of people are lovely, but it's the few rotten apples that really spoil it. My sympathies.

  7. What a shame and so disrespectful! I'd be absolutely fuming, to put it mildly. We always leave in the state that we found and spend some time on the morning of departure making sure everywhere is clean and tidy. So sad! Ros

  8. We have a holiday home in Devon and we've never rented it out for this very reason - there are some pretty disrespectful people out there! I would like to see the inside of their homes! Perhaps you could have a book with what you expect from paying guests? We also run our own business and employ staff and it infuraites me when they all go home at the end of the day leaving their dirty cups and plates on their desks - there are sometimes three or more cups on each desk and its muggins who ends up washing them!

  9. I hope such guests are in the minority. I expect you'll not be letting to them again! Some people, eh...

  10. Not too much to ask at all. Like June, we've never rented our Spanish house, even though that means it's unoccupied most of the year. I hope your guests lost their security deposit.

  11. I'm not surprised you feel like ranting:hopefully this coming summer will bring a more considerate set of holiday letters to your Italian house.:-)

  12. The nerve! Could it be that the people that caused this also rented the chambre d'hote that we stayed in while in Bretagne? The madame had a letter-sized, laminated sign forbidding guests to eat in the room. INTERDIT! I wonder what she experienced to have to put up a message like that.

  13. Not easy the whole renting malarky, especially when it's a place that you visit and like to spend time at too. We rent out, both holiday and a permanent home, but we've never seen either and most likely won't be visiting or living in either, they're investment properties only, makes it easier to be detached from damage or neglect. When we rent a holiday cottage for ourselves we always leave it spotless and in a condition I'd like to find it in myself. But I know from experience that not everyone does that.