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How do you politely tell family of booked guests that they are not welcome?


fatscoleymo

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Saturday we had our very 1st visitors arrive.Their booking was for 4 adults.They arrived at 10 15pm brought by the rest of family (2 adults and 3 kids) they are visitng. Shortly after they asked if it would be Ok if they (the rest) could stay just for the night so they could have a drink together.They offered more money. We said yes to staying and  not to worry about the money. They all went out Sunday lunchtime and just the 4 guests came back. Monday the 4 left at midday and were not back at 11.30pm went we went to bed. We think at least one of the kids had stayed over and since midday we've had 5 adults and 3 kids, now joined by dad after he's finished work. They are now all having a bbq, drinking and we think that a stayover looks on the cards.

We're being taken advantage of - any of you had to deal with a similar situation?

Thanks

 

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I would politely suggest that you are in the wrong business..

You should never have got into this situation.

Why did you let it develop?

And as for asking advice on an Internet forum where you know nobody, that suggests that you have no idea about what you are doing.

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Well Norman, I am sure that was a great help!

But maybe Norman has a point. Which does not mean you are in the wrong business - just that you need to be more careful in the future.

I am not sure what i would do/ Have they paid in advance?

Bonne chance, thinking of you. Tell us how you got on and how you resolved the situation?

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Go out there and tell them. There is no middle ground here, there are more people staying than the booking was for - tell them they either pay more (make it a signifiant sum if you dont want them to stay) or the extra people clear off. If the original family dont like it, tell them they are free to leave too if they want. Its YOUR house, its YOUR buisiness, dont be pushed around by strangers.

"its doing no harm" they will say. "the number of people doesnt make a difference" they will say...Make it clear that they paid for a certain group size and thats what they will do - tell them that over-stocking the gite is a breach of your liability insurance, tell them its a breach of your terms and conditions, tell them the fosse isnt designed for so many people, tell them whater you like, but be firm and be insistant. Give them a reasonable amount of time to clear out the extra people and thats it.

 

 

 

 

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Well Norman, thank you very much for your constructive reply.  I hope you are not representative of the rest of the people on this forum.

Anybody else got anything to say?

Post edited by the moderators. Please do not use explicit language or vulgarities (whether written in French, English or any other language).

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Thinking about this further....

You do have a contract dont you? Please tell me you have a proper rental agreement.

Where are the extra people sleeping? are there enough beds?

For the future, make it perfectly clear in the contract or information pack what your policy is for numbers of visitors and overnight stays - ie max 4 people, overnight by prior arrangement if suitable bedding available etc.

Are they French or English? You have the position of power to argue from....you may loose a weeks rental - they will have their holiday ruined and need to find alternative accomodation at short notice.

 

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Yep,

How did you get on with your pool?

You are in business, never, never turn down money. You didn't ask, they offered it. You feel upset now because you didn't take the extra, before it's too late go and negociate, even if you hate them you will feel better.

 

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Agree with the above - if they want to stay quote them an extortionate rate or tell them they can s*d off.  If there was a fire while they were at your place and some of their group were injured / killed, they would be perfectly happy enough to sue the a_ss off you.  Be firm.

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[quote user="teapot"]

Yep,

How did you get on with your pool?

You are in business, never, never turn down money. You didn't ask, they offered it. You feel upset now because you didn't take the extra, before it's too late go and negociate, even if you hate them you will feel better.

 

[/quote]

Pool 1st - still trying to sort it.

 The money for the 1st night ( and tonight if they stay) I will take from the 'security' deposit we have therofore I don't feel upset about money. Just wonder if anybody else has had to deal with this sort of thing.

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Hell no, go and tell them whats what now- get everything clear upfront. Taking money from the security deposit as they leave is a pretty underhand way to go about it, and will very probably leave them feeling hard done by.

Besides,what if the security deposit is needed for something else?

 

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Totally agree Dave, upfront at all times. They expected to pay more so you will be ski-ing down hill you just have to come to a sensible price. Just because you initially said no to the extra doesn't mean they can move extra guests in for the duration, you said one night now it's on going. Go and collect what is rightfully yours. I bet they will be perfectly amicable.

 

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Hello fatscoleymo.

We are in the hospitality bussiness like many others but here in the UK. I can't say we've been in the same or even similar situation to you. I'm sorry that you are being taken advantage of.

My advice is to echo what Dave has said. You have to nip this in the bud and learn from it for the future. I'm afraid that at times you have to be quite thick skinned in this kind of bussiness otherwise you will be walked over by some. I'm sure you were being hospitable on the first night, but it's dragging on and they are taking you for a softy. You are going to have to toughen up a bit. Me, I'm a real softy and if it was left totally to me we'd be out of bussiness in a year, but my husband is the tough one, but that doesn't mean you have to throw your weight around.

However, that wasn't the question you asked. This is how we perhaps might deal the situation. I would tot up who and for how long has stayed, obviously not including the first night because you agreed to that and you have to honour that. Sooner rather than later, don't leave until the day they are leaving, find an opportunity to have a word with one of the booked guests. Not when they have had a drink either (we know what that's like). I would choose the one who appears more understanding. Say to him/her that there is (not seems) a misunderstanding. Explain to them that you only consented to the first night and that they must pay for the subsequent stays. You may get a response along the lines of 'what difference does it make?'. Well a lot. Rooms and bathrooms need cleaning. Linen needs washing, drying and ironing or sent away, outside areas need maintaining, etc, but I probably don't need to tell you that. It's costing you money and you're in it to make money. Also, I agree with Dave, I don't think it's a good idea taking your dues out of the security money.

If you're not used to approaching people in this type of circumstance it's not going to be easy, you (possibly) don't know how they are going react. So stay strong, firm and keep your cool. Be polite and never loose your temper (I'm not saying that you wouldn't be polite or that you would loose your temper). Remain the one in control.

I hope that all goes well for you with these and all your future guests and that you have a good season. It's only a very small % (in my opinion) that push their luck. They most likely will feel a little embarrassed and be out with their wallets/purses/credit cards pretty smartish.

All the best.

 

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Thanks Ysatis - you've addressed the question I asked and offered advice which is what I was looking for.

I'm tough enough and they will find this out shortly. They did stay the night. The 1st night we let them stay as it was late arrival, a family birthday and suprise reunion - they seemed Ok.

It not a question of money - there are 6 adults and 3 kids (7 -11) in a six bed cottage and it's not on. They arrived yeasterday with pool toys and badgered us into using the pool which I had only just opened (and which was not included in the rental price at this time of year and they knew this) despite our reluctance because of unsure, possibley very high chemical levels affecting the kids and the fact it is only 15 degrees. Reasonable people would have accepted this. We also have a hot tub, roof terrace, large gardens and large pool terrace - so I think they have decided to decamp here from home only 15 miles away and bring the kids over for a cheap mid-term break. They told us that their house is small with little space around it - obviously not big enough to accomodate family, hence the reason for renting our cottage.. They have not even asked if it's ok for the'others' to use our facilities - just got on with it.

I'm going to talk to them shortly and tell them our contract was for accomodation and facilities for 4 adults - not 6 adults and 3 kids. I'll ask the additional lot to leave and tell the original 4 that they should visit their family at their place - not the other way round.

They have pushed their luck too far.

Fingers crossed.

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We have had pretty much the same thing in the past people holidaying near family or friends and they all seem to be invited round. We have in our terms & conditions that only people on the booking form are allowed to stay in the properties. We also have that only other people allowed on the property are with the owners say so.

We have had in the past people come for a bbq and weve let it go if they have not asked but if it happens another time they are told that they are supposed to ask if it ok. We had one family had friends round for drinks and bbq so we let it go the next day we had the whole lot of them round in the pool. That was the last straw, My wife went charging over to the pool and said anyone who was not on the booking form had to get out. they were not happy atall. But tough read the rules and regs and no problem. They never booked again but we were fairly happy about that. Some families take the p**s some are fine. But in general its the brits who take take it I'm sad to say. 

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And when you have your conversation with them, do not be apologetic. Don't be aggressive either! but don't start every sentence with "I'm sorry but..."

You're
not sorry... they should be. Try and have the conversation with the renting parents only, out of earshot of everyone else. You don't want a situation where you are defending yourself against the whole party in public (as it were) especially against the "visitors" who may get quite defensive themselves.

You really have to toughen up - a firm, straightforward NO to their request for the swimming pool might have gone some way to nipping your problem in the bud, as it is I'm pretty sure you're going to have a difficult conversation with them. I think your guests are in "We've paid for this, sod the owner" mode. Decide exactly what outcome you want and don't apologise, don't feel you have to justify yourself, stick to your guns.

Your approach could be: one night was a courtesy to them but (as someone said) they have invalidated your liability insurance and you will not allow this to continue.

You probably want (if you haven't already got) a line in your Ts and Cs stating that people not listed on the booking form may visit for meals but may not use the facilities and may not stay overnight. Failure to adhere to that condition may lead to the renters being required to leave the accommodation without refund and forfeit of their security deposit. Or something like that.

You've set yourself up to be walked over and your "guests" are doing it. Good luck with resolving it.

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Being a bit new to the Gite business myself (I shall be opening 3 next year) I have a couple of questions about this sort of situation.

I have spent a bit of time looking at gites on the Internet both through GDF and other commercial websites and it seems to me (and its how I will price my gites) that the price is for the gite and not the number of people staying in it. Basically its a very short term house rental. The only thing I can see is that there is a limit on the amount of people who can stay in the gite by the capacity given i.e. sleeps 6 as an example. Therefore I would have thought legally you only have the opportunity of redress if the capacity goes beyond this.

Based on the fact that the people didn't have to offer more money for the extra people staying because they are not paying per head it seems to me that these people feel a bit embarrassed and have therefore offered some money. If you had taken the money then technically you have said its OK for them to stay and then set a precedence for the rest of the original renters stay. By that I mean that providing they paid the same money they offered for each night you have accepted the others can stay.

The other side of the coin is that if you have rented the house to specific people and they are named on the contract (all 4 of them) and used a standard contract similar to GDF or Clevacances then it does say there can be no sub-letting and would this be deemed as a sub let especially if you took the money via the original lenders (the other give the original renters the money and they give it to you = sub let)?

As you never took any extra money you could say that you agreed the first night as a good will gesture but point out that the property is rented to the four people named on the original contract. Because the people have stayed another night without your permission they have broken the contract but you are quite willing to make a new contract with them to include the extra people and (if your prices are based on quantity of people staying) the contract will include charges for the extra people. This would also include charges for extra bedding etc if the price of bedding is extra which from what I understand is the norm.

Its difficult to say what is correct because I wouldn't know how you price and what your contract is.

On a personal note it seems they are taking the p1ss a bit and I would feel quite upset and hurt. I mean its one thing to help somebody out but they seem, if they have indeed let the extra people stay longer, to be taking advantage.

As pointed out they might just walk away if they become upset but then if they do they fall under the 30 day rule and you do not have to give any money back to them (well except the security/damage deposit of course providing the place is OK) they have to pay for the full stay as contracted to. Also as pointed out do not under any circumstances suggest or say you will take any money out of the security/damages deposit to cover the extra people. The security/damages deposit is exactly that and is recognised as such in French law. By doing so or offering to do so you are then breaking the contract and therefore they only have to pay for the nights they have stayed calculated on a pro rata basis.

These people really have a bit of a cheek but approach it positively and politely and see how you get on but do be firm. I will be interested to see what happens as (sadly) its an opportunity to learn from another's situation for the future although hopefully I won't find myself in such a situation.

Just as a matter of interest I was reading on the Clevacances forum about a case where a property was owned by a none French person and was renting it out to people only from their country of residence and not to French people. Holiday rentals in France come under French law and to put on a contract that the contract comes under say English Law is not acceptable. Its something to do with it technically being a short term let according to them although they make no reference to any Dicret (I think that's the right spelling but if not I mean French law which will always have a number). I like it when they do include the number because you can read it yourself and wave it under peoples nose if things become tricky.

Anyway good luck, I hope it goes well for you, let us know how you get on.

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Thanks Catalpa - your right on the nail and I'll be taking exactly that approach in 15 mins time.

As I said this is our very 1st let in our 1st season - quite a baptism of fire.  I guess we were trying to be friendly and accomodating - lessons learnt.

Thanks again for taking the time to post.

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The worst thing we ever did was (for the benefit of charity) auction our house out for a week's free holiday at a school fundraising evening.

We thought by offering a week, they would choose Easter or May bank holiday etc

The next morning we got a phone call from some parents in my son's class (who we knew fairly well) to say they had won the auction. I was immediately placed on the spot when they asked for an extra week, and could they go in August. Although we don't rent at present, I explained that we do get a lot of family traffic and would have to charge them for the extra week to cover all our costs. I told them that for the extra week they would have to pay £1000 (£333 per family). The guy seemed a bit taken aback, so after the phone call ended, I decided to call him back as I thought he may have thought I was asking £1000 per family! When I said it was only £1000 for all 3 families he replied "well I certainly hope so, because if it was £1000 each we could have gone to Dubai for the week"

Unfortunatley what started as a gesture to charity (all auction proceeds went to a childrens hospice) ended up being a pain in the wotsits. We gave them a car to use, we filled the fridge for their arrival, we heated the pool and the only real comments we got back from them was that it was a bit quiet for them, that they were not that keen on the local food, that the basin that holds the rolled up pool cover was dirty and a risk to health (they then took them to a small lake where they got ear infections), and the kids sat on all the sofas with dripping magnums. Oh and they used the phone for business and still havn't handed over the £24 in phone charges a year later.

Never again.

I think it is why we havn't got round to actually renting the property. You spend all you time and effort making the place you love look how you want it to look, and then people come along and criticize it and generally take the p...

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Quillan, the way I deal with the pricing is quite simple. For example, the big gite sleeps up to seven. It is a fixed price per week depending on season, so if 4 people stay there, they pay the same price as if seven people stayed there. However, if 4 people rent it, then invite others to stay, I classify this as sub-letting the gite (regardless of whether the new arrivals have paid anything or not to the original renters) and subletting is a "breach of terms" according to my contract, which means I would be within my rights to ask everyone to leave with no refund. My contract does not have every guests name, but it does have a breakdown of the numbers of adults and children. In reality, so far I have never had to take things that far and any problems have always been settled amicably with a quick word before things to too far. Its a pretty regular thing for people to invite friends for a meal, and I have no problems with this as long as things are kept sensible. The odd couple turning up for a meal, then leaving is no problem at all, and frankly, I wouldnt care if they asked permission or not, I wouldnt dream of refusing, and whenever larger numbers have been involved, the renters have always asked my permission first. Its noted that they should do this in the gites booklet, where it is also noted that the guests are resposible for the conduct of their invited friends, and any damages by the friends will be taken from the security deposit as normal.

 

Im interested to hear how the OP gets on. I fear they may have a hard time, as it would seem a "soft" precedent has been set with the initial night and the caving in over pool use, so the guests intend to take full advantage, whether by design or just assuming "everything else has been ok, why not this..."

 

 

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Well  - result!

At 10am I asked to speak with the 2 people who booked the cottage. Others wanted to be present but I insisted on just the 2 and asked them to come away from the rest.

 Told them we had a misunderstanding - they had booked the cottage and facilities for 4 adults and we now had 6 adults and 3 kids in a six bedroom let; my liability insurance was invalidated by the number staying; the pool was now 'closed' and I should not have let them badger me into opening it. Told them it was not on. They said Ok they wouldn't stop overnight but it was still ok to visit? I said no, only the original booked party could use the facilities - they would find that lots of gite's had this proviso.Told them the visiting 5 would have to leave as soon as they had got their stuff together. All very politely.

No agro back - not a wimper. By 11.10 they had gone.

 But my oh my had they come for a holiday!!! They carted loads and loads of stuff to their Citroen C5 estate - it was chocker. Bedding, a bed (big sort of soft dog bed thing), towels, suitcase, bags and bags, crates of beer, etc. etc. The large cool box wouldn't fit in the back and had to go on the knees of the kids. They all made a big fuss of saying goodbye where we couldn't help seeing  - lots of big hugs etc.  For our benefit we think. They only live 15 miles away!!!! 

I only hope now that the remaining 4 don't start to 'accidentally' spill drinks, damage paintwork etc. to get back at us. We'll carefully check and do an inventory before we had over the breakages deposit.

I am now going to revise terms and conditions and make it quite clear what we will accept. In future we will be strong from the outset with no grey area's. We have learnt a salutory lesson on our very 1st gite rental - others take note.

Thanks to all who responded (except Harold) - your advice  and experience was very welcome.

 

 

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