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gite de France and cleaning, advice from owners PLEASE


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I'd really like some advice from gite owners on this one, especially those who go through Gite de France.

We rented a small studio with gite de France in ille et villaine.  It was ok, nothing amazing, but fine for what we paid.  We'd never rented before in France (though several times in the UK), only stayed in hotels, so we weren't quite sure what to expect, and had read all the stuff that came through.  We'd expected to be asked for a deposit, but weren't.  We didn't find the person who was there when we arrived overly welcoming, he seemed in a bit of a hurry, didn't explain how the oven worked, for example, which meant that the following day we had to ring to ask, didn't tell us where the bins were, etc. We knew we had to clean it, so we spent about an hour the final night hoovering, cleaning the bathroom, washing the floor, cleaning the kitchen.  It was 30 odd M2, so with the two of us, it was clean.  The next day, we put away all the dishes, gave the bathroom and kitchen a final wipe down, and gave back the keys in time (10 o'clock).  The owner asked if we had cleaned it, which we had.  I told her we had not taken the sheets off the bed, and asked if that was ok (like in so many of these places there were covers on the mattress and I never know whether I am doing more harm than good taking them off).  She said it was, and did not, despite the fact that she was next door, come to check.

Now we have had a letter from her, saying there is a cleaning bill of 33 euros!  She has said that she has written to Gites de France, I suppose the implication is to get us banned, how ridiculous.  The letter was written in poor French, (she was French) and I can't understand why she would do this.  It is only short, and the only example given is that apparently the toothbrush glass was not clean!  33 euros suggests three hours cleaning!  We left the place clean.  I think she is trying to pull a fast one, but she is not actually asking for money, and given that she didn't check the flat, she doesn't have a leg to stand on, but I am really annoyed, because the place was clean.  Would there be any reason she would claim this, when it is not the case.

I am going to write to Gite de France myself, but should I write to the one in ille et vilaine or is there a more national one?  I read the blurb again, it just says you should leave it clean, which it was.  We tried to put things back in the right place, table cloths and so on.  I suppose I feel angry because we acted in good faith and I feel it is totally unjustified to write to us afterwards when she did not check the place.  My husband is French, so it is not as if we misunderstood something.  If I had arrived in that gite with that level of cleanliness, I would have thought it was fine, all that was required was to change the towels, the bed, and the placemats.  I am feeling very upset about this, and I feel my memories of my holiday have been ruined because of it.  What would you advise?

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" I think she is trying to pull a fast one, but she is not actually asking for money, and given that she didn't check the flat, she doesn't have a leg to stand on, but I am really annoyed, because the place was clean.  Would there be any reason she would claim this, when it is not the case."

I too think she is pulling a fast one..........don't pay, she is only looking for extra payment.Write to her stating that you left it in good order and say that you will not pay. Reporting you to G de F I feel is an idle threat.
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We don't use GdeF nor do we have our clients met. However we do have a welcome pack and a housebook with information from where everything is, including spare bulbs, shops, doctors etc to how everything in the house works including the cooker, TV and pool alarm and numbers of whom to contact should something unforseen happen.

We don't expect the house to be left in suitable condition for new clients to arrive into but we do expect bins and fridges to be emptied, dishes to be at least washed if not the dishwasher emptied, BBQ cleaned out and, as of this summer, all furniture to be in the same rooms, not necessarily the same place, as when clients arrived.

I don't expect beds to be stripped, although that's a bonus, nor any dusting done, nor windows cleaned, nor floors washed, nor bathrooms cleaned etc. During their stay, most clients seem to clean at least once or twice so nowhere is grease encrusted or smothered in toothpaste!

Our cleaner has determined the number of hours required for a normal changeover and fits us into her schedule of other properties to be done on any given day. If an exceptional clean is required, this throws not just her but other properties she services into disarray and we have to pay extra. If we have to pay more, the clients must aswell, all of which is explained in our housebook.

I think your charge for the tooth mug a little high. It might be worth contacting GdeF, who will most probably pass your comments to the owner. Any claims for extras to be charged to our clients for damage, cleaning etc are passed to us first for clearance. Hope this helps.

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Thanks for the answers.  We are very normal people (!) we'd kept the place clean and gave it a good going over.  I wondered whether Gite de France themselves had any rules about this, surely it is not on to write afterwards and claim the place was not clean having not even looked it over?

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Tourangelle, you are the type of guest we welcome with open arms and love to see come back. You did all you should have done: anymore and the owners should have been paying you!.  I don't expect anything more than a basic sweep, wipe and clear from our gite guests. The beds are my job, not theirs. I have a feeling that the owner was not looking for what you HAD done, but rather for what you HADN'T done. Overly pedantic in other words, and I know a couple exactly like this. They run a gite near to us and are always whinging about their guests, I wonder why they bother having them at all as they seem to view them as intruders more than anything else. I have never recommended anyone to book with them and they must be wondering why by now as we get many people looking for gite rentals.

I have a feeling you experienced owners like the people I know. They like the money and they can see how well you have left the place but they still want to 'catch you out' on something. Like I said, overly pedantic. By all means complain to Gite de France (we don't use them; too dictatorial to owners in our opinion) as you booked through them and I feel you have reason to feel affronted. Personally, we take a 'before' photo when we rent an apartment/gite and an 'after' prior to leaving. Both are given to the owners/key handlers. Silly I agree, but necessary these days I reckon in order to cover yourself. [;-)]

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