We rented this vacation home for a summer week in 2006. Despite some inconveniences (we arrived to find the main floor bathroom door broken and ended up having to repair it at our own expense, even though the owner had promised upon greeting us on the day of our arrival to have someone come around to repair it; there was also an ancient vacuum that would not work and a lack of basic implements, like a bathroom plunger - which we ended up purchasing and leaving there for them, etc) we did enjoy our stay.
As is our custom, we performed daily upkeep while in the home (making beds, wiping counters, sweeping the kitchen floor etc) and cleaned the home thoroughly before we left - even resorting to sweeping all the carpets with a broom, when the vacuum wouldn't work.
However, two weeks after coming home we were perturbed at having to contact the owners to question why we hadn't yet received return of our security deposit, which we had mailed, as per the contract, in a separate check. A week later, we received only a *partial* return of our deposit, with a letter claiming that we had left the home in a state needing "extra, extra" cleaning. These charges included a claim that furniture in the living room had been moved and not placed back, the carpet left sandy/dirty, the kitchen floor, counters, and stove requiring "extra, extra" cleaning, and the refrigerator left dirty with food in it!
Accumulation of such "dirt" in the kitchen would be truly miraculous, since we cooked in it exactly twice during our stay - once to boil pasta and once to heat soup. We made coffee and toast in the mornings, but all cooked meals were taken at restaurants, as is our habit while on vacation. I personally cleaned the stove after both limited uses and wiped the counters daily. The refrigerator was completely emptied and scrubbed w/Clorox wipes before we left.There was no mop available to do the kitchen floor, but we swept it daily.
Further research with our banking institution revealed that the owner had cashed the security deposit check at the same time that the check for the remaining rent balance was cashed BEFORE WE'D EVEN COMPLETED OUR STAY. Why the need for separate checks, if both were to be cashed at once? Why even cash a security deposit, unless a walk-through AFTER a guest leaves reveals a need for reimbursement? I have rarely felt as insulted as I did after this experience. It was a very disappointing conclusion to what had been a lovely week on the Cape.
Owner's Response: It is amazing that four years after this party’s stay they decide to make their feelings known and are obviously still fixated on the loss of a small portion of the deposit. It is clearly stated in the cleaning portion of the rental agreement that if extra cleaning is required, we have the right to withhold returning all or part of the deposit. When a party vacates the property, it is our policy to walk through the property with our house cleaner and assess any damage or extra cleaning that needs to be done. After this party left, we were amazed at how much cleaning would be necessary to provide the next group of tenants with the same immaculately clean house that we had provided for these particular renters. In our twenty years of renting this was the only occasion that we had to keep a small portion of the cleaning deposit because of the condition that the property was left in by these renters. Since we take great pride in keeping an immaculately clean house, all cleaning supplies and equipment are provided including a vacuum (which at this time was a Kenmore Whispertone 5.4), a plunger and a mop. Also, someone did show up the next day to fix the doorknob on the door (it was missing one screw), we could not enter because no one was home. We contacted these renters by phone and they assured us that they could fix it themselves, and that it wouldn’t be a problem.
Since this party stayed at our cottage (again, four years ago) the downstairs has been completely renovated. At the time of their check-in, these renters expressed to us how much they loved the property and even said it was like a palace compared to other places that they have stayed, and then proceeded to complain about these places. After reading their review, I am lead to believe that this is what they like to do.
Contractually we have 30 days to return a deposit, and we require two checks for bookkeeping purposes. We feel that that our reputation of professionalism and integrity speaks for itself, and in our twenty years of renting we have never had to keep a portion of the cleaning deposit, with the exception of these renters. We also rent to families that return year after year, and many of our renters refer our property to others looking for a cape rental.
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