Half the year has gone and we have heard from several private caravan owners that their guests have left caravans in a dirty or damaged condition at the end of rentals. Over recent years this has become an increasing and ongoing problem.
Other issues involve people arriving with more guests than were booked. For example one owner reported, on visiting the holiday home, that their 8 berth caravan had 14 people in it rather than the 6 that had been booked in. Clearly this is wholly unacceptable. Not only were these people breaking the Terms and Conditions of the letting but also breaching the holiday park rules. In addition had anything untoward occurred, the insurance would have been negated.
So what can private caravan owners do to ensure their holiday homes don’t get trashed?
Spell out the consequences
Whilst appreciating accidents can and do happen, there are several things that can be done to make sure guests know the consequences of leaving your caravan in a mess.
Terms & Conditions
Ensure that you insert the correct clauses into your terms and conditions. Private caravan owners advertising on Rent My Caravan have their own web pages. There is ample space to include your Terms and Conditions and to highlight those important clauses relating to leaving the holiday home in an unacceptable condition and damages. Make sure potential renters know that they will LOSE THEIR DEPOSIT if they breach the rules. Highlight that ADDITIONAL CHARGES will apply if the cost of repairing damages and/or cleaning the caravan exceeds the deposit.
Ensure that a copy of your Terms & Conditions is in the welcome folder at your caravan.
When guest sign your booking form there should be reference to the caravan rental Terms & Conditions. They confirm that they accept these when signing. If you don’t get them to sign your booking form you have no contract with guests and that means they can effectively do what they like without consequences.
Unless you have the home address of renters NEVER rent out your caravan to them. You should also take their telephone number and ask for an emergency telephone number of a friend or family member. It’s a perfectly reasonable request to ask for the emergency number since there could be a number of occurrences where you will need one e.g.; what if the renters have some form of accident on the journey to the holiday park and don’t turn up? What if you can’t raise them on their telephone number? What if they have an accident whilst on holiday?
Confirm that the home address they have given you is correct by posting the booking form to them. If you don’t get it back and they say they have not received it, send another one by registered post. If you still don’t get it back ask for proof of residence such as a copy of a utility bill.
Prevention of Accidents
Accidents are not in your control so you can’t prevent all of them but you can take measures to ensure there is nothing in the caravan that can cause injury or can be easily damaged. Provide unbreakable crockery for use outside, never put a glass topped table in a caravan and avoid glass mirrors (polished metal ones are best).
Cleaning utensils and products
If your guests are not provided with brooms, mops, buckets and cleaning products the chances are they won’t clean your caravan. Naturally none of these things guarantee they will but at least by providing them it may influence them to try!
Check out the Rent My Caravan blog next month for more tips on how private caravan owners can avoid bad renters.