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Sometimes you just can't win

The joys of running a rental property

Sometimes you just can't win
22 July 2020

This year has been a difficult one for everyone, the Corona virus has changed the world as we know it and for most of us life will never be the same

Here in our beautiful part of Spain, we have been fortunate, with very few cases locally and an exceptionally low death rate

However it has affected our holiday rental business as it has with many other businesses. We have a lovely guest house that we rent either for Bed and Breakfast or Full House Rental. We were having a very good start to the year, with higher than average number of bookings and most week we were full, if not every day then most days of the week.

When lockdown started, we were fully booked for the well into coming the season, with only a few weeks into July and August to fill. Of course we had to cancel the immediate reservations and in the end lost 8 weeks of bookings. Rather than be despondent, we used this time to do some work around the house and garden that we had wanted to do for a while, and we began to prepare our strategy for reopening

Normally we only accept full house rental bookings of 7 nights or more during the high season months of July and August, and weekends or B&B with no minimum stay restrictions during the rest of the year but this year we decided to have everything available with no minimum stay policy throughout the high season

Once lockdown eased and people were allowed to travel within their own regions, we started to get the weekend bookings, complying with the restricted numbers we were allowed to accept and before a few days were over, we were fully booked for all weekends through to September. 

We, or I should say I, worried at the difference in income from a one week booking to a weekend booking that we would be earning this year, and whether we had made the right decision, but it was a false worry. Once the weekends were booked, we started to fill the weeks, up to the point where I was and still am turning away people on a daily basis. We took on a friends house and completely filled that too. Things werent to bad after all, we would gain the income we had lost

But the guests have changed, no longer did we have family groups here for their annual holiday together, now it is groups of friends, old and young, who want to party until the early hours of the morning.

Loud music, laughter and singing keeps us and the neighbours awake. After the first couple of weeks of this we had to do something. We sent all our future clients a message, telling them of the new conditions, no loudspeakers allowed, music in the garden to be at an acceptable level at all times, no noise after 12pm, respect the neighbours etc. We spoke to them on arrival and explained the why we had had to implement these conditions. Tranquila, they all said, we are here to relax not make a party. They still brought loudspeakers in, now when we weren’t looking, they turned up with more than the allowed number of people and expected us not to notice, and lied when we asked them about it, they continued to party in the garden until 3 or 4 am.

We had to be firmer, we now decided to close the pool and garden area at midnight and the guests would have to retire to the patio and house, from where the noise would not travel too much. We produced a contract stating the new conditions which we sent to all guests and asked them to read and agree to before they arrived, and gave them the option to cancel with full refund of their deposits without any problems. All signed, tranquila they said, we will not make a noise, we are just wanting to relax, you will not have a problem with us, we understand, we will retire to the patio at midnight without any problem

So what happens, they still continue to bring the music systems, although we havent had to tell them to turn the music down recently, they still want to party in the garden, they are having a good time and dont want the night to end, but their singing and shouting is as loud as the music was. We now cant go out in the evening as we have to be there at midnight to close the garden, all are very friendly, yes we understand, dont worry,its not a problem

Then they leave, tell us they have had a wonderful time and will be back. We are happy they didnt get upset and still enjoyed themselves.

Two or three days later we get one star reviews, saying that the house was lovely but they werent allowed to use the garden after midnight, they wouldnt have booked if they knew this as they wanted to party with their friends

So what can we do, let them make the noise and risk the neighbours calling the police if it is still going on at 4 or 5 in the morning, or put up with the bad reviews. Try as hard as we can, it seems we just cant win

 



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