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Gite owners’ tips for messy guests

Many readers responded to a cry for help from one gite owner over a nightmare family. Here are some of the best:

GEOFF Botley looks after properties in the Carcassonne area. He said: “We had one family who destroyed four sets of bedding with blood stains, including one sheet that was painted over. They used white paint to try to hide blood stains. Another group had a coke fight in the utility room.”

Mr Botley works for an on-site agent on behalf of the owners and, as such, passes all information back to them. He said: “We don't know what damage deposit is held in all cases but it is usually £150 or more.”

He advises people thinking of letting out a property to make sure the damage deposit is reasonable; include cleaning in the rental price, and charge for it. He added: “Make sure guests are aware that damaging the property will damage their wealth.”

He said: “This year we had to smile at the Germans who apologised for the war, an Irishman who wanted to know where he could hire a wheelbarrow and an English woman who brought crutches ‘just in case’.”

BARBARA and Mike Bird in Burgundy have rented their own gite and managed rentals for a number of other British owners for eight years in the Morvan Park. They had one set of guests complain that the property was in the wrong country.

Mrs Bird said: “They said the area was not for them because they really wanted a small house in a Spanish fishing village.

“We have had lots of ‘wildlife issues’ with guests as we have wild boar, deer, badgers and red squirrels all in the vicinity of the cottage.”

The couple also had to call the fire brigade out at 1.00 after a man had fallen down a steep flight of stairs. He was a known sleepwalker but had still been allocated the room at the top of his stairs by his family. “The one thing most people fail to pack for their holiday is common sense,” said Mrs Bird.

She added: “On the whole, there are lovely people but, as with everything, it pays to cover all eventualities. We charge a cleaning and breakage deposit which is collected with the balance payment and refunded a week after departure if there are no issues.” The couple also put a checklist in to help on the departure day.

Mrs Bird said: “You have to like people to do this job - and the nice ones massively outweigh the unpleasant ones.”

DAVID Middleton experienced an exceptional case of trouble following a demolition spree that was denied by guests.

Mr Middleton, who has been living in France for the past ten years and currently rents out a villa in the Var said: “In most cases everyone has left the property as one would expect. This year however we had one family who were an exception.

“They broke the dishwasher, the satellite receiver, smashed glasses and the sunbed, and then denied all knowledge.”

He added: “It took eleven hours to clean the villa thoroughly after they left. They have been charged for the breakages under the signed agreement but it was not without fuss. This is a rare case but owners do have to be on their guard.”

ROSA de Javel has been renting holiday gites for 30 years. She said that if you are not prepared to do some cleaning then the simple solution is not to let out your property.

She added: “People don't go on holidays to do housework. That's why security deposits were invented. After they leave and you open the door, always expect the worse.”

She said: “If, when they arrive they start remarking how clean it is, that's because it's not like that 'chez them' and they're surprised. And they'll leave it in a state that they’re used to, that is, a mess.

“After 30 years of cleaning up after holiday makers, although it may not be very nice to say, I believe there is no such thing as a good holiday tenant - some are just better than others.”

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