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AIBU to charge a colleague for cleaning my bargain holiday home

(98 Posts)
Lex64 Wed 20-Feb-19 22:33:41

To be honest, I thought I wasn't being unreasonable, but now I'm wondering... First time poster, so here goes. Sorry it's a bit long but any views would be great.

I have (with a sibling) an (inherited) house in the Caribbean which is being rented out on a major booking platform (not sure if I can use company names) but it''s probably the most well-known. We used all of the money left to us to refurbish the house (a substantial amount to us anyway) so it would stay in the family and could be left to our children as our parents wished. But neither of us can afford to maintain a property abroad from the UK with our own responsibilities here.

Last year, before it had been refurbished, a work colleague who I've been out for drinks with a couple of times after work, said she'd like to book it 'sight unseen'.

As the very first person to book and having no real idea of peak holiday season, holiday rental prices etc. I said she could have it for £250 a week, so £500 for two weeks. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, it's in one of the best possible locations and since July it's been constantly rented with only 5 star reviews.

The colleague is at the house now with 6 other people - her friends and family. When they leave, four people are booked for two weeks and are paying £750. We charge £15 per night extra after 2 guests and a £35 cleaning fee - we've had 5 stars from every guest for value for money because of the house and location.

Despite being self-catering they've had their laundry done because they thought 'it was included', and when the person looking after the house told me, I thought it wasn't unreasonable to send her a message asking for £70 for two weeks cleaning and laundry.

We don't normally do laundry, so I just doubled the cleaning fee figuring that £70 between 7 people £10 for laundry/cleaning would be ok as they're basically staying there for £5 a night each.

In response my colleague has asked exactly what the £70 is for - even though I said it was for the laundry and the cleaning fee which has to be paid for out of the £500 now making it even less than £5 a day.

She has also said that the lack of a BBQ is a major 'mistake' and now says they can't recommend it because of the 'dodgy plumbing' - which no one else has complained about and hasn't been mentioned until now.

I apologise for not asking earlier when I sent her the message about the fee which I if I had asked for before she left would have been £35, but I don't think £35 for washing sheets and towels (all white!) for 7 people is unreasonable is it?

Aprilshowersarecomingsoon Wed 20-Feb-19 22:37:20

Lesson learned.
No mates rates in future.
Let her off with the charge if you fear a bad rating.
But make a mental note she is a 1 star friend and allow the friendship to cool.

CluedoAddict Wed 20-Feb-19 22:37:45

If you didn't let her know before booking then you can't now ask for it.

TinselAndKnickers Wed 20-Feb-19 22:39:02

I think it should have been agreed beforehand but that's definitely a good price for it. She knows she's got a great deal and to not recommend it when you've done her a favour is a bit of an arsehole move isn't it?

TinselAndKnickers Wed 20-Feb-19 22:39:32

Agree with April, take it on the chin and move on with this in mind in future!

WarpedGalaxy Wed 20-Feb-19 22:40:37

Expensive rookie mistake, you can’t ask for it after the fact. Sorry, OP, she’s a cf and you got cf-ed. Don’t rent it to people you know is the golden rule, let the management company do it’s job and maintain your distance.

justilou1 Wed 20-Feb-19 22:41:28

Definitely... and then tell her off for blackmailing you like that. What a bitch. She knows she couldn’t have stayed anywhere else for that kind of money, and she left it like a shit tip.

Butteredghost Wed 20-Feb-19 22:59:31

Hang on, OP didn't say it was left a shit tip, just that they had their cleaner come and do their normal cleaning job which you expect between guests.

Sorry OP but I think it's a bit crap to spring a cleaning fee on them, you should have told them in advance. Just because guests that stayed later enjoyed the place, you can't try to claw back money that you could have earned charging more.

The laundry situation is unclear - is there a machine that they used, or did they give their clothes to the cleaner? Washing towels and sheets would be included in nightly rate and isn't an extra.

Merchantgirl Wed 20-Feb-19 23:03:47

Yeah, mates-don’t do them favours in the future-I’ve got a property abroad that is in the middle of a renovation- my friend was pleading poverty but wanted to go on holiday so I said she could go and pay a tiny amount to cover the costs of water etc- took me weeks and weeks to get the money off her afterwards. Never again!

HollowTalk Wed 20-Feb-19 23:10:30

You've done her a MASSIVE favour and it's backfired. Don't do mates' rates in future. It sounds as though you have a lovely place and can get renters, so don't rent to friends.

GabsAlot Wed 20-Feb-19 23:12:32

id appreciate the mates rate but you cant go round askin g for extra money after if it wasnt stated up front

Serin Wed 20-Feb-19 23:15:36

Oh OP, even £750 for 2 weeks in the Caribbean sounds ridiculously cheap.
You live and learn eh?
Never do mates rates again.

Stefoscope Wed 20-Feb-19 23:19:58

She sounds like a dick. I wouldn't be too worried that someone like that 'can't recommend' your property. I would stick to the cleaning charge as she opted for self catering not maid service (she's still getting great value for money). If she leaves a bad review, respond in detail about how much she was paying etc. If anything it will act as a deterrent to future freeloaders booking your place. A well considered reply to a bad review can actually help generate future custom.

budgiegirl Wed 20-Feb-19 23:21:57

You can’t ask her for money after she’s stayed. You offered her the place for £250 per week, and she accepted this. I’m sure you both now know that’s cheap, but you can’t increase it after the event. And in all holidays rentals I’ve stayed in, laundry of sheets and towels, plus an end of let clean are included in the price (unless otherwise mentioned in advance). So I don’t think it’s unreasonable that she assumed laundry was included.

Lesson learned I guess, just don’t do mates rates in future - it often backfires

Villanellesproudmum Wed 20-Feb-19 23:30:05

£71 per person for two weeks holiday in the Caribbean. Or is that £500 per person, it can’t be £71 surely shock

Villanellesproudmum Wed 20-Feb-19 23:31:15

Not taking into account any cleaning or laundry

MyDcAreMarvel Wed 20-Feb-19 23:34:38

I thought you meant their clothes but now I think you mean bedding and towels? You can’t charge extra for that and cleaning.

BackforGood Wed 20-Feb-19 23:38:02

You really need to look at charging a far more realistic amount in the first place.
that said, whatever was agreed, and however ridiculously low it was, you can't start adding other charges on afterwards, if it wasn't clear up front.

So YA both B a bit U really.

She knows she's had a ridiculously underpriced bargain and should just hand over the extra, but with any agreement - once it is agreed, you can't then add extra bits afterwards.

GiantKitten Wed 20-Feb-19 23:38:22

Villanelle, I read it as £500 for the property for 2 weeks so yes, £71 pp. shock

The ones coming in next would be paying £1380 for 2 weeks if there were 7 of them.

I think OP should message the CF pointing out how much it would have cost them if she hadn't jumped in so quickly! angry

Punta Wed 20-Feb-19 23:44:11

Tricky one...if you didn’t tell her of the charge beforehand, then I don’t think you can ask now.

I have my own holiday home that I rent out. I only ever have issues when my sister is there. My husband doesn’t want her to stay again. She just stayed for free (and used my car) and then quibbled about the nominal sum I asked for bills - I had informed her of this beforehand - which does not cover our weekly costs. I have less hassle (and make more money) from the letting website.

Villanellesproudmum Wed 20-Feb-19 23:46:12

Wow, OP you’re not being unreasonable, I’d be too embarrassed to question it and pay the extra and be grateful for the discount.

Lex64 Wed 20-Feb-19 23:46:32

Thank you for the responses. There's a washing machine there and we normally hand over the keys and they just get on with it. When every set of guests leave, the cleaner comes in and we pay just give the £35 to them.

@ Villanellesproudmum It's £500 for the house for two weeks - so they are basically paying - now it looks like I'll just have to suck up the £70 from what people ar saying - less than £5 a day each. So, yes, less than £70 each for 2 weeks - although, I think that two people might have only arrived in the second week.

I guess I just thought that if the people paying the full rate think it's good value - we're really mainly concerned with covering our expenses than making loads of money - that £10 each would be ok.

StoppinBy Wed 20-Feb-19 23:55:28

If you mean you are charging them for the washing of towels and sheets then yes YABU, unless a property states that you need to bring your own towels and linen then the washing of bedding and towelling is covered in the cost of the accommodation.

If you mean they had their clothes washed then YANBU - that is private washing and unless it is a very expensive hotel then it is never included in the cost of accommodation.

BackforGood Wed 20-Feb-19 23:57:11

I get that you aren't planning to be using this as an income stream, but you have to start to build up a bit of a reserve, as there will be times when you get someone (like this) taking the mick, or someone who leaves it in a right state. You will get times when there are breakages just through pure accident, and you will get to a time when you have to replace things through wear and tear. Then there will, over years (you say it is to be there for your own children), need to be replacement of expensive things like a roof . You need to charge a more realistic rate now, to build up a reserve to cover things - including things that you haven't thought about, until they happen - like this scenario.

Villanellesproudmum Wed 20-Feb-19 23:59:58

Agree with @backforgood you’re certainly very generous op.

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