In the past two years, I’ve spoken with A LOT of vacation rental and Airbnb owners, and after many thousands of conversations and almost a dozen HomeAway & VRMA conferences later, here are my “best of” horror stories:
1. “You’ll never know what went down at this house.”
If you’re curious about that quote, so is a vacation rental owner and self-manager in California, who found those words written behind a picture when she was done cleaning her walls.
I could go into more detail. After all, hearing the words “sticky,” “chocolate sauce,” and “some kinda crazy orgy” made this conversation unforgettable, but I’ll self-censor a bit in the off-chance my mother ever connects with me on LinkedIn.
2. “If they’re clean, then drink!”
This was what one condo owner down in Florida told his in-house management staff after he reached his breaking point in regard to their subpar cleaning.
In response to the poor cleaning he noticed, he brought the on-site staff into his condo, filled up ALL of his glasses with water (that were supposedly already cleaned), and insisted his staff drink the free H2O.
As it happens, no one from his management team was thirsty… and they no longer manage his (now clean) condo. What a hero!
3. “There was a bouncy castle in the distance!”
If you’ve ever heard a self-manager say, “Nobody can vet the renters as well as I do,” the all-important question to ask next is: “Well…how long have you been renting?”
This story was from a long-time self-managed veteran that had a yuuuuge property.
With a number of previous issues with renters at her very expensive home, she had a specific “no children allowed” policy.
One day after renting to a group that promised to abide by her policies, she was driving through wine-country to check on her property. As she came down her long driveway, she began to notice something gradually rising above the treeline by her property.
What was the growing figure in the distance?
Nothing but a large inflatable bouncy castle.
To her credit, the owner laughed with me on the phone as I told her this was one of my favorite “worst stories.”
4. “And then I got a phone call in the middle of the night…”
A homeowner told this story at one of the HomeAway Summits that I attended:
She explained how she spoke to the renters on the phone as usual, and everything seemed “fine.”
Unfortunately, she learned otherwise when she received a not-so-fine phone call in the middle of the night.
Not only did the parents rent the property for the sake of their kids to throw an after-prom party, but some of them were as overserved as they were underage.
This rental ended with another short-term rental stay…in the local hospital.
5. “I chose not to rent out spring break…It didn’t matter.”
This owner took the only route possible to avoid trouble at his rental condo during Panama City Beach’s highly popular and notoriously rowdy spring break: Rather than attempt to vet groups, he chose not to rent it at all.
As fate would have it, a group of inebriated renters on his floor thought his condo was theirs. Frustrated, drunk, and unable to access “their vacation home,” the guests did what they had to do. They broke down his door!
This one lends credibility to the old adage, “Never say never!”
“So… what should I do?”
We at Rented.com certainly understand that some people prefer self-managing, and some people prefer professionals doing the work for them. And sometimes, people go back and forth between the two options as they enter new stages of their lives. Divorce, death, kids going off to college, new careers, great management offers they can’t turn down…They’re all factors that enter a very complex decision-making process.
Our goal is that when you DO wish to find a management company (who won’t leave your home like any of the ones above), we can be your one-stop shop to 600+ trusted professionals COMPETING for the rights to manage your property. With one of the most homeowner-friendly agreements that the vacation rental industry has to offer, we’re happy to help when we can.
To find out more, give us a call at (844) 736-8334, or chat with us below!
Have a horror story about managing your vacation rental? Leave us a comment below!