Is it worth tak­ing a dam­age de­posit for my hol­i­day lets?

French Property News - - Expert Advice -

Sue O’grady, Reser­va­tions Di­rec­tor at Pres­tige Prop­erty Ser­vices (pres­tige­prop­er­tynet­ replies: The sim­ple an­swer is yes! In or­der to give own­ers some peace of mind it is al­ways ad­vis­able to ask guests to pay a dam­age/ se­cu­rity de­posit’ be­fore they ar­rive at your house. This can be col­lected along with the fi­nal pay­ment of rent from a guest. The de­posit should be banked by you or your let­ting agent.

In the case of com­pa­nies who re­quest and take pay­ment for book­ings, for ex­am­ple, Own­ers Di­rect or Trip Ad­vi­sor, there is an op­tion when set­ting up your ad­vert to re­quest hold­ing of a dam­age de­posit. You would typ­i­cally agree to re­fund this de­posit (less any amounts to be re­tained) within a week of the hol­i­day end­ing. This al­lows your­selves or your prop­erty man­agers suf­fi­cient time to re­port any­thing un­to­ward in the prop­erty. Should dam­age be dis­cov­ered, pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence should be taken as proof.

Many own­ers will ‘write off’ small break­ages like a cou­ple of glasses or plates as nor­mal wear and tear. How­ever, far more sub­jec­tive is the clean­li­ness of the prop­erty fol­low­ing guest de­par­ture. It should be made clear both in your ad­verts and house­keep­ing brochure if you ex­pect the prop­erty to be left in ‘a clean and tidy con­di­tion’. In this case you should also re­mind guests pre-ar­rival, prefer­ably in their signed con­tract, that fail­ure to com­ply with this may re­sult in some or all of their dam­age de­posit be­ing with­held by you.

Such de­posits can also be used to cover other in­stances such as: • Soiled car­pets/linen. • Guests not ad­her­ing to re­cy­cling in­struc­tions. These should be promi­nently dis­played in the prop­erty and also de­scribed in the house­keep­ing brochure. Fail­ure to do this may re­sult in the prop­erty man­agers tak­ing away large amounts of rub­bish, re­cy­cling and bot­tles, all of which add to their time clean­ing the prop­erty and your costs for their ser­vice!

The ap­pro­pri­ate amount to ask for as a dam­age de­posit will be de­pen­dent on the size of the prop­erty and its con­tents. For ex­am­ple, for a small two-bed­room cot­tage an amount of be­tween £150-£200 may be ac­cept­able. For larger prop­er­ties with ad­di­tional fa­cil­i­ties/features such as a hot tub or swim­ming pool, you should think in terms of £300-£500.

Own­ers are ad­vised to re­move any valu­able or pre­cious items prior to let­ting their prop­erty. With some con­tracts, rec­om­pense for dam­age is not lim­ited to the amount of the dam­age de­posit but claim­ing ad­di­tional rec­om­pense from a de­parted guest is not some­thing that any owner would choose to get in­volved with.

Re­mem­ber, some French guests may still ex­pect to be able to hand over a chèque de cau­tion on ar­rival at their gîte! This is not rec­om­mended be­cause the owner has to con­front the guests to re­ceive the cheque and may not be ex­pected to cash the cheque un­less it is needed!

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