Avoiding Nightmare Guests

7 practical steps towards trouble-free bookings


When you bought your vacation home, I’m certain that guests causing damage wasn’t part of the dream.  But if you are planning on renting out your home, guests damaging your home is a nightmare scenario you need to confront.

Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of hosting a nightmare guest – and lessening their impact if you do.  As usual, a bit of planning and forethought can help no end.

  1. Protect your home.

Before you rent out your home, we always recommend you remove anything you consider treasured or personal. Ditto the delicate and expensive stuff. If you’re unsure, we can help you do an audit of your home prior to letting to help you identify how to “guest proof” your home and possessions.

  1. Screen your guests

Before you accept a booking, run a simple check online. Social media profiles alone can give you an insight about whether you want to accept a guest or not. Short stays where the guests are under 21 or give a home address close to the rental property should also ring alarm bells.

  1. Make the terms and conditions clear

Make sure guests have access to your rental agreement prior to booking and require their signed acceptance of it as a criteria of booking. Give guests plenty of opportunity to ask questions and make sure they understand the key points.

If you are unsure what your booking agreement/terms and conditions need to include, we can help you draw up a suitable booking agreement for a small fee.

  1. Offer guests insurance

We use a scheme which, when the guest pays a small fee, covers the guest for damages up to the value of $500, provided the damage is reported during their stay. This helps to avoid disputes over security deposits (and subsequent poor reviews or ratings).  Whether you decide to go with a security deposit or an insurance scheme, it is important to ensure the guest understands the scheme and what their responsibilities are. I suggest making this a criteria of booking.

  1. Make guest liability clear

Even if you don’t take a security deposit, guests need to understand that they will be liable for any damage they cause which is not covered by the vacation insurance scheme. Check payment cards have an expiry date which extends beyond the rental period. Do a thorough property check before each guest arrival so you can satisfy yourself about the condition of the home when your guest arrives and encourage guests to do the same in order to minimise the likelihood of disputes. This is something Eden can help with.

  1. Provide a good welcome pack

A good welcome pack will not only help your guests with orientation, it should also provide some gentle reminders for guests about the terms and conditions of booking. As well as providing emergency contact details in case of problems, if you are using an insurance scheme, it’s a good idea to make it clear guests that damage must be reported while they are staying at the property if cover is to be valid.

  1. Leave gentle reminders

If there are particular rules or quirks that guests need to know, then there’s no harm putting some friendly reminders around the home, as well as in the welcome pack.  For example, you might want to post a note by the trashcan reminding guests of the trash collection day if they are expected to take out the trash. However, be careful with tone and quantity… You don’t want to disrupt your guests’ “home from home” experience.


With these seven actions you should be able to protect yourself from the worst.

But before you rent out your home it is important that you prepare for – and plan for – there to be some damage to your home – even if it is just from the increased wear and tear. It is vital to have a contingency fund in place so you can get things fixed quickly, without being dependent on insurance pay-outs or disputes with guests to be resolved. Failure to fix things quickly will impact your future guests, their reviews, and, ultimately, long-term bookings.

If you need support with planning or actioning any of these seven steps, a good property management company should be able to offer advice and assistance.

Eden Vacation Rentals currently helps our guests with:

  • Property audits
  • Preparing your home for rental
  • Help creating your terms and conditions of rental and other paperwork
  • Guest insurance schemes
  • Managing guest bookings
  • Pre-arrival checks
  • Guest welcome packs
  • Home management and maintenance

For help or advice, please contact us on one of the following numbers.

From the USA:  407 396 8839
From the UK:    0333 332 1411



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