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Holiday Let Damage Deposit Guide: How To Protect Your Holiday Rental

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Why you should take a holiday home security deposit

Every holiday let landlord hopes that their property will be left in the same condition it was in on check-in day. However, while there are effective ways to mitigate damage from occurring in the first place (such as guest screening and noise monitoring devices), guest damage to your holiday let, accidental or otherwise, is inevitable.

Whether someone breaks an appliance, stains a carpet or one of your guests throws a wild party, it’s recommended that hosts take a security deposit (also referred to as a damage deposit), to protect themselves from the financial implications of damage.

This guide will outline some best practice tips for collecting holiday let damage deposits, what to do in the event of damage, and how they can be used to build trust between hosts and guests.

How do holiday let damage deposits work?

A damage deposit is a set amount of money that guests pay to cover any damage to the property and other incurred costs (e.g. additional cleaning) during their stay.

If there is damage then a partial refund or no refund is given, dependent on the extent of the damage. If there isn’t any damage, then the deposit is refunded to the guest.

How much security deposit should you charge?

It’s essential to get the balance right between charging your guests enough to discourage risky behaviour, but not setting it so high that it deters bookings.

There are generally two types of holiday rental damage deposits: fixed-rate and percentage.

Charging a fixed security deposit
This is a fixed amount, typically £100 per week. If you manage a luxury rental or a larger property, then you may want to charge more. If you are unsure about how much to charge, check what similar properties in your area are charging.

Charging a percentage
A percentage-based security deposit is calculated based on the total price of the booking – typically 10%.

Which should you choose? It depends on what works best for you. Fixed-rate security deposits can be easier to manage and automate as the amount rarely changes. They also tend to be higher than charging a percentage when your holiday home takes 2/3-night reservations.

Ways to collect a holiday rental security deposit

Bank transfer – Some guests will want to pay by bank transfer. As your details will already be stored in their account from the deposit/full payment, it will be simple for them to pay the damage deposit by bank transfer.

Via a payment provider – You charge the damage deposit amount to your guest’s card and then refund it once you’ve checked there’s no damage. It’s easy to automate using a payment provider like Stripe or your property management software (PMS) provider. However, there are likely to be processing fees for collecting and refunding the security deposit.

Credit card pre-authorisation – This is where you place a temporary hold on your guest’s card for the security deposit amount.

Via the OTA that you use – Each booking platform (e.g. Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com) has different processes for handling security deposits and some offer a form of host protection. However, these may not cover everything you need them to cover and are not an alternative to insurance. They also only protect you on bookings made via these channels.

Pros of taking a holiday let damage deposit

There are several benefits to taking a damage deposit for your holiday let.

  • It’s one way to ensure that as an owner, you aren’t financially responsible for minor damage caused by guests.
  • If there is a risk that a guest could lose their deposit, it gives them a greater sense of responsibility and respect for the property, making them think twice about their behaviour.
  • Security deposits also tend to deter guests who might have a hidden agenda for renting your property – e.g. to throw a party. 

Cons of taking a holiday let damage deposit

There are some disadvantages to taking a damage deposit. Some hosts opt not to ask for one, believing them to be more hassle than it’s worth.

  • Having to hand over extra money can create booking friction and deter some guests from booking your property.
  • The worry of surprise charges and that they won’t get their deposit back can also deter some guests from booking.
  • It’s often your word against the guest’s and this can lead to disputes, bitter guests and negative reviews.
  • Guests can always dispute the charge with their credit card company and request a chargeback.
  • They create a fair amount of extra administrative work for the host.
  • If you rely on a booking platform’s damage scheme, payouts can take weeks, especially if there is a dispute and you are reliant on a third party to decide who pays for the damage.

How to deal with damage to your holiday let

Here are some best practice tips to follow when taking security deposits and dealing with damage.

Inform guests of your house rules
Damage control starts with detailed rules which tell your guests how they’re expected to behave whilst staying at your property, what is prohibited and how to leave your property at the end of their stay. Your booking terms and conditions should include all your specific house rules and any breaches which would result in full or partial loss of the damage deposit.

Have a plan to identify damage
To avoid disputes, it’s essential that you have a system in place to identify when damage occurred so you can prove who is responsible. If damage only comes to light when it’s too late to identify who was responsible, then the whole point of taking a damage deposit is futile.

The simplest way is to inspect your holiday home and take photos/videos before and after every changeover. This way you have evidence of what condition your holiday home was in when the guest arrived and its condition when they left. Cleaning and turnover apps have features that enable this.

Encourage guests to contact you if anything gets broken or damaged
This will enable you to ensure that any visitor damage or accidental breakages are dealt with promptly before they impact the next set of guests.

Don’t sweat the small stuff
If the damage is minor, clearly accidental (e.g. scuff marks on the walls or make-up on towels) or the guest tries to clean the spillage or offers to pay – use your judgment and weigh the pros and cons of withholding the security deposit. Normal wear and tear and mishaps come with the territory when holiday letting and should be factored into your rates.

Deducting from the security deposit for minor damage can leave guests with a bad feeling after having a great holiday. This can impact their desire to return or they could leave a negative review if they feel slighted.

Stand by your decision
There will be incidents when damage is due to negligence or deliberate e.g. no effort made to clean up vomit, smoking, an attempt to hide a stain or holes in the wall. Don’t be afraid to deduct from the security deposit when the guest has been negligent, that’s the whole point of taking one.

Don’t’ deduct from the damage deposit unless you are certain
Unless you are 100% certain who is responsible for the damage, don’t deduct from the damage deposit. Disputes are difficult to resolve without proof and will only consume your time, morale, and lead to a negative review. If you suspect the guest is guilty but can’t prove it, simply put them on your never-rent-to-again list.

Return the security deposit promptly
Inspect your property for damage as soon as your guests leave so you can return the deposit either partially or in full as quickly as possible. Guests should not have to contact you after check-out to get their security deposit back.

Tips when withholding or deducting from the security deposit

If guests have damaged your holiday home and you intend to retain a portion or all of their deposit, you should inform them immediately. Include any evidence to support your reason – photos/video and a copy of your house rule that has been breached. Although it’s annoying that your property hasn’t been treated with respect, be professional and keep your emotions out of it.

Only deduct from the security deposit a reasonable amount to cover your loss and allow for depreciation where necessary. You can’t expect a guest to pay to replace a stained rug ‘new for old’ if it’s 10 years old and worn.

Also, send guests an itemised list of the replacement or repair costs as proof.

Here’s a sample email that you could send:

Hi, [guest name]. I hope you enjoyed your holiday in [property name]. Unfortunately, after your stay, our cleaner reported some damage during the walkthrough inspection [give details of the loss or damage]. I’ve attached photos of the property before and after your stay to clarify this happened during your stay.

I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but as per our booking terms and conditions, we’ll be retaining [amount] from your security deposit to cover the cost incurred and refunding [amount if relevant] being the remainder of the deposit.

I’ve also attached receipts detailing the cost to repair the damage [or replace items].

Regards

[your  name]

Most guests will apologise for the damage and pay. However, there will be those who will insist the damage was there when they arrived and contest paying for the damage.

Politely but firmly tell them that they agreed to be charged for damage in their rental agreement, and that you have evidence that proves that the damage occurred during their stay. Typically, this puts an end to disputes so you can move on.

Review blackmail

Some guests may threaten to criticise you on social media and leave a bad review if you don’t return their deposit in full. Don’t worry, you can report their threats to the listing or review site in question. They will generally remove unfounded reviews. If the bad review goes live, reply, explaining your side of events. Your supporting evidence should work in your favour and prove that the guest was in the wrong.

What if the cost of the damage exceeds the damage deposit amount?

Although few and far between, there will be occasions when the loss or damage will cost more to repair than the damage deposit taken. You can attempt to recuperate the extra costs from the guest. If the guest has been honest and reported the damage themselves then this should be straightforward.

If the guest refuses to pay, then you can absorb the costs as ‘being the nature of the business’ or claim on your holiday letting insurance.

Otherwise, usually as a last resort, you can potentially take legal action to recover expenses via the small claims court. However, this can sometimes end up costing more in the long run and be stressful.

Get insured

Whether you take a security deposit or not, comprehensive holiday leting insurance that covers loss or damage to your holiday rental is essential.

Check the terms of the insurance so you understand what is and isn’t covered before purchasing. Some insurers limit the amount they will cover for specific items. Also, some policies don’t cover damage by dogs or malicious damage (note our policy does).

To summarise

Damage deposits are one of the most effective ways to safeguard against out-of-pocket expenses due to damage by careless guests. While they can be off-putting for some, they won’t be an issue for responsible renters who will leave the property as they found it and get their deposit back.

To avoid nasty disputes over damage to your property, ensure you have a system in place to identify when the damage occurred and prove who is responsible.

Remember, accidents happen, and sometimes it’s better to keep the goodwill with your guests if it’s a genuine accident or a small incident. Rather than withholding their security deposit, tell them it’s no big deal. You are more likely to get a positive review and a guest who returns for another stay. In the unfortunate event that the damage is substantial, it’s essential that you have adequate insurance to protect you.

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53 Comments

  • Mrs Arran Middleton |

    I’ve just been speaking to a holiday cottage letting agent who informs me that taking a damage deposit is now illegal unless the agent opens a bank account for each customer who pays a damage deposit, so it doesn’t get spent ! Is this a way of getting out of offering to take damage deposits? Or the truth!?

    • Philip |

      This is new to me, which letting agency was it? Have you spoke to any other agents about this? I will ask around to see what other agencies say.

    • Sue |

      Since 2007 a tenancy deposit scheme was set up to protect tenants from unscrupulous landlords but this was for Assured Shorthold Tenancies, deposits are lodged with an independent body, there are currently 3 approved providers. This does not apply to holiday lets in these instances a small deposit of £100 may be taken to cover minor damage and insurance taken out to deal with larger claims. Check the direct gov website

  • RICK BOND |

    Some of our owners operate using a security deposit. These range from £100 to £600. Proving a claim is always a tricky one. We have a rule with owners that any claim must be reported by the housekeeping team within 24 hours of departure and always before the arrival of the next set of guests – whichever is the sooner. This reduces the ‘it was working when we left it’ response quite considerably.

    We also advise owners to ensure they have contents insurance in which any valuable items are separately listed.

    • Philip |

      Great advice Rick. Damage disputes are the No1 complaint I see from both owners & guests. Owners/agents/housekeepers need a policy like yours to identify the culprit of damage immediately. Unless you are 100% certain who did the damage then don’t deduct from the security deposit. It simply isn’t worth ruining your reputation with bad reviews. Also, have guidelines for when to deduct – simple breakages (crockery) or minimal accidental damage shouldn’t be charged for. Although annoying for owners, it comes with the territory when letting.

      However, if guests have been negligent and caused damage, then owners have every right to deduct from a security deposit or pursue via the courts if necessary.

      Owners should also ensure they have accidental damage insurance when holiday letting should the loss/damage be greater than the damage deposit or if one isn’t taken.

  • Chris C |

    We take a £150 security deposit and clearly state within the rental agreement that if there are any damages these will be deducted from the security deposit. It’s also important to have a clause in your rental agreement to stipulate that any damages above the initial security deposit will be covered by the guest. When a guest puts down a deposit I think there is more awareness to ensure the property is looked after.

    Ensure that all guests sign the rental agreement so if anything does go wrong you have a contract. Insurance is still required regardless.

    • Philip |

      Thanks for your comment Chris.

      Re:

      It’s also important to have a clause in your rental agreement to stipulate that any damages above the initial security deposit will be covered by the guest.

      I wonder if anyone has been in a situation where they have successfully pursued a guest for such damages (through the courts?) if they refuse to pay any amount above the security deposit? Would it be worth the cost and effort involved? Ensuring your insurance covers accidental and malicious damage is an essential safeguard.

  • Ruth |

    I’ve just come back from visiting England, and stayed at an Apartment, in Slough. I paid a 200 pound security deposit, which I’ve done countless times, for other things over the years, and all those times, they always showed up as ‘pending,’ in my bank account, but in this occasion, the amount was actually withdrawn from my account. To say that I am furious about what he did, is an understatement. The owner of the apartment has therefore, used my money as an interest earner for himself, which infuriates me, even more. He never at any stage, said that he was going to actually take the money from my account, because as I’ve said, I’ve ever only had these types of payments show up as pending in my bank account. He had no right doing what he did, and I certainly did not give him permission to help himself to my money.

    I’d really appreciate your opinion on this, because I’m fairly sure that you would agree with me, that he should never have taken the security amount out of my account, but should have held it there as a pending only amount.

    Please respond as soon as you can, as I still have an ongoing issue with this person, as it has been nine days now, and I still have not received my money back, even though it was promised to me within 5-7 days, and he even informed me that it was processed, days ago.

    • Philip |

      Hi, It’s common practice for holiday rental owners to bank the security deposit due to the fact that if the payment hadn’t cleared there wouldn’t be anything to deduct from if a guest caused damage. E.g. The guest could simply cancel the cheque.

  • Valerie Young |

    I let my holiday home for the first time this year. The first guests left the house in a bad state. The carpets needed to be professionally cleaned before the second guests. The second guests, who arrived a few days later, left a review. The review was very good apart from the smell of cigarette smoke in the bedrooms. I have a strictly no smoking policy and was devastated to know that guests smoked and as a consequence undermined the holiday home.

    How can I prevent that happening again? I did not ask for a damage deposit as I thought this would have been prohibitive.

    • Philip |

      Although the majority of guests will respect your home, there will always be a handful of guests who cause extra cleaning. It comes with the territory I’m afraid. What does your guest information and terms and conditions say about smoking? Have a read of our Holiday Home Booking Terms & House Rules Template post where we suggest including this statement “Smoking anywhere on the premises will result in immediate termination of occupancy and forfeiture of all payments. This must be strictly adhered to and any damage or extra cleaning caused smoking will be at the expense of you”. The smell of smoke should have been noticed and dealt with at changeover, so the next guests don’t complain. Here are some tips to get rid of the smell of smoke. I would reply to the review and clarify why the property smelt of smoke. I hope this helps.

  • Sarah |

    I have been asked for a damage deposit of £200 (week’s rental £580) for a holiday rental to be paid 8 weeks before taking the apartment. Clearly this is being used as a cash flow management system as they want the money paid directly into their account. This seems excessive to me – I would not mind paying something when I arrive, to be given back when I leave. Is this reasonable?

    To be honest, if I had read these conditions properly at the time of booking, I would never have made the booking.

    • Philip |

      Hi Sarah, this is standard for those owners/managers who take a security deposit. Regarding your comment “I would not mind paying something when I arrive, to be given back when I leave. Is this reasonable?”, some owners might not be happy with this as damage could be discovered shortly after the guest has left with their returned deposit. It would be difficult for the owner/manager to identify damage with a quick check of the property. It’s usually identified during the changeover cleaning. If you are concerned then check over the property on arrival and report/photograph any existing damage to avoid a dispute after you leave. From experience, owners deducting from security deposits is rare (unless the damage is deliberate and significant). Enjoy your holiday.

  • Thomas Benedict |

    Hi Guys,
    I am considering to rent out my motorhome to someone for 2 weeks. What do you think would be a reasonable deposit to be asked for?
    Thanks for your answer,

    • Philip |

      £100 would be reasonable. What do companies charge e.g. Campanda

  • Sarah |

    Hi, I wonder if you could advise? We recently stayed in a cottage and 3 weeks after our return we received an email to say we had caused some damage and needed to pay just over one hundred pounds. We strongly disputed the damage claims but despite writing with our concerns they are still chasing us. The strange thing is that they took our card details for a damage deposit which they said they would hold for 15 days. They did not take it or contact us about damage charges until 3 days after the 15 days had expired. Can they still make a claim against us even though they lost their chance to take our deposit?

    • Philip |

      What type of damage was it? 3 weeks is a long time to contact you about damage. Ideally it should be reported the same day as check-out or within a week. If you dispute it then the property manager would have to prove you did the damage. If payment is deducted you could dispute it with your card provider.

  • Adam |

    We have just started letting our chalet this summer. Following some advice from some experienced property managers our security bond arrangement seems to be working well. The bond is £150 which guests can either pay via BACS with the cost of the rental or, pay in cash on arrival when they receive the keys to the property. Check out is at 10am on the final day allowing four hours to clean thoroughly and check the inventory before the next guests arrive after 2pm. If all is well, the deposit is transferred back to the clients account on the same day of their departure. We haven’t had any complaints about asking for a bond and as we have spec’d the property fairly highly, it seems fair to ask for the deposit and so far, the guests have been in agreement. It seems obvious that the more your tenants feel looked after and respected, the more respectful they are although I’m sure there will always be an exception. Hopefully we never meet.

    • Philip |

      Hi Adam, looks like your procedure works for you. Hopefully you wont have to use the security bond!

  • Heather |

    Hi, We stayed in a really special apartment last week and were asked to provide 500 Euro damage deposit, which we did. We left the apartment with no damages or breakages and as we had an early flight had to drop the keys in a letter box. Later that morning we had an email saying we had damaged a floor tile by dropping something on it and they would be taking the money from our deposit to pay for it. I requested photos as I knew we had not dropped anything. They have sent us photos of a tile that is chipped and cracked but it was under a thick rug which they had rolled back for the photo making me even more suspicious that it had been done prior to our arrival. They maintain it was not there on the inspection after the previous tenants. I know we have not dropped anything heavy enough to cause such damage and especially not through a thick rug. I have reiterated this fact to them and also added that the apartment door was in fact open when we arrived with our keys to get in, and a workman was doing some work in there, so equally he could have done some damage. I’m not sure what our rights are as its a matter of their word against ours? Any advice gratefully received

    • Philip |

      It’s their word against yours and without evidence proving that the tile wasn’t damaged before your visit it would be a harsh decision to charge you. Rightly so, dispute it. ow did you pay the damage deposit?

  • Mary Ette |

    I have owned and managed a London apartment rental agency since the 1980s.
    Taking security deposits has always been the norm . It is very rare to deduct anything
    but they act as a deterrent. The most common reason to deduct is not damage but loss of keys which in London can be expensive to replace.
    We now ask deposits by secure on line payment a week before arrival and refund a week after departure, rather than hold the guests’ money longer than necessary.
    If a security deposit is not banked it is not worth taking it .
    To avoid any disputes about damage we suggest guests are asked to report anything damaged on arrival and also to let owner know if they damage anything during their stay so it can be replaced or repaired before next guests arrive. Also if owner or their representative checks guests out that is a final check.
    Mary Ette

  • Nikki |

    I am renting a large house for 18 people for a weekend at a cost of £3330. The terms state a damage deposit of £1000 (which I feel is rather excessive). The balance of the cost is to be paid 3 months prior to our stay and they have also asked for the deposit at this time. I don’t think I should have to pay this large amount so far in advance. As there is no way we could cause damage before we get the keys, it seems unreasonable to hold my money for so long beforehand. I would have no problem paying this say 1 week before. Is there anything in law about this? Any advice would be gratefully received.

    • Philip |

      Hi, many owners take a security deposit, which vary depending on the booking type. As the group includes 18 people, the risk of damage is higher than say a group of 4, hence the large deposit. I’m sure details of the payment/damage deposit are in the booking terms and conditions.

  • michael |

    Guests left the property very dirty and untidy can I take some money from the deposit?

    • Philip |

      What do your terms and conditions say? If there’s a valid reason to deduct for extra cleaning, make sure you have evidence – photos, cleaners invoice etc.

  • Lesley |

    We have just returned from a great week’s holiday and was all set to give a good review on Trip Advisor. We paid a £300 deposit against breakages, damages, etc, and was expecting a full refund. So we were dismayed to have £52.33 deducted to pay for a new salad crisper drawer, including a charge for time spent sourcing this drawer. We were accused of damaging the drawer and unsuccessfully trying to repair with glue This accusation is totally untrue. We did not damage the drawer and certainly did not attempt to mend with glue. I emailed the owner stating this. I asked for a photo of the damaged drawer, also a note of how much he was charging for time sourcing. Neither of these points has he addressed. He claims we attempted to hide the repair by putting a sheet of kitchen roll in the drawer over the repair. This is so untrue – my practice is always to line salad drawers and fridge doors with kitchen paper to mop up any mess caused by ripe fruit, milk drips etc. I have explained this but the owner refuses to believe me and is adamant he is right to make a charge. He says that the drawer was cleaned before and after our arrival, that it was not damaged before but was damaged when we left, concluding we caused the damage. I can only conclude that previous guests had made a near invisible repair with superglue say, and that, after a week’s constant use by us, the glueing failed. The sum involved is not huge, but we are in effect being called liars. Even if we inadvertently caused the drawer to crack, this does not explain how it came to be glued back together! The owner has the upper hand as he has our money. We are not guilty and don’t want to incur expensive legal fees trying to prove the fact.

  • Peter Townsend |

    I’m a guest relations manager at a high end holiday cottage complex in the Cotswolds. About a 3rd of my owners (after bitter experience) now take a damage deposit, this is done by BACS transfer. The amounts vary from £250 to £500 p/w, rentals are between £800 and £3k per week. This is often an unpleasant side of my business as it can leave a sour taste, particularly when damage is disputed, but my overall impression is that it definitely reduces willful/ careless damage. Sadly, very poor reviews are a consequence. My question is this;
    Is there a scheme whereby guests can pay a deposit into an independent holding account, and the holding company arbitrate small claims on behalf of both the guest / owner in equal measure? I am finding that guests are becoming increasingly nervous about BACs transferring into the owner private account. Obviously this would need funding so the guests could opt for either the secure scheme for a fixed fee, say £20, and the owner could pay an annual subscription, say £100 per year….. just a thought

    • Philip |

      I’m aware that some agencies offer guests the option to take out an insurance policy (£20 ish) to cover damage, instead of taking a damage deposit. I’ll update if I find the details of such policies.

  • Cheryl |

    Myself and my family rented a large country house for a mid-week stay, we vacated the property on a Friday at 10am and the next occupants were due at 4pm the same day (I know this as we requested another night but were unable due to it already being booked) we paid a security deposit of £500 which we have now been told will be retired 14days after departure? This seems like an awfully long time to wait considering the checks would of been done the same day? Seems like a way to make interest on a rather large deposit? Is this normal practice?

    • Philip |

      It’s not unusual. I expect the deposit will be refunded within 14 days.

  • Elaine Pafomow |

    Hi My family and I rented a cottage at the end of May this year and paid £100 damaged deposit. I have not had the deposit returned yet. We left the cottage clean tidy and no damage. I have contacted the owners and at last recieved an email 3 weeks ago to say the check was in the post. I am still waiting for the check. I have again contacted the owners to let them know that I have not recieved it. I have not had a reply. Is there anything else I can do?

    • Philip |

      I would request the refund payment via a bank transfer.

  • Daisy Bell |

    We have successfully pursued a guest through the Small Claims court. This guest was very drunk, vomited all over the carpet which had to be replaced because the vomit had penetrated through the underlay into the floorboards. All bedding had to be replaced as well, plus the cost of loss of rental while it was all put right. The whole place had to be deep cleaned.
    The stench was incredible, and took several days to disappear.
    The guest’s view was that we should claim on our insurance; ours was that the person who did the damage should pay. The court agreed, and we were paid over £2,000 in compensation.

    • Philip |

      How unfortunate, but what a great outcome for you and well done for seeing it through.

  • Lisa |

    We’ve booked a holiday let of £900 pw and booking terms stated security deposit £100 plus £25 for a dog, no other rules stated on booking.

    Email from owner a day before we go and stay that the security deposit is £600 and they reserve the right to refuse same sex groups. Hmm dicing with the law there regarding gender, how about the late change of security deposit amount? Now strict rules about the dog, only allowed 1 room of house. Surely terms need to be stated up front prior to paying so guests can make a informed choice?

  • Shellie Nolan |

    We have been involved in a dispute over a £250 withheld deposit for 2 months. The owner failed to inform us about his decision to keep the money for 4 weeks. Since then he has told us £75 of this amount is for a pool cleaning charge because we used sun tan lotion during our stay. He also charged us £150 for a days overstay. Because he states we stayed over the check out time by 3 and a half hours. We were never given any information about a check out time. The owner never provided us with any terms and conditions and never informed us about check out times and pool cleaning charges along with the rule about using sun tan lotion. I have provided video evidence of me using the advertising website which shows no information about either issue but the owner refuses to accept this. He has now told us he will no longer answer any further correspondence. What can we do?

  • Andy |

    We paid a £500 security/deposit on a £1480 holiday in a villa. There only damage that occurred was to a champagne flute. We are now being told that the deposit won’t be refunded as the owner alleges that 8 people stayed at the villa when we only said 7 would, he is also states that we were aware that the property was not suitable of an 86 year old gentleman. We signed a disclaimer as requested by the owner absolving responsibility for any issues experienced by having said gentleman with us.

  • Rob Andrew |

    Hi

    We have recently returned from renting a lodge in North Yorkshire which we left on Sunday 3rd November. We have received an email today from the owner stating that we have caused damage to a mirror inside of a wardrobe door within one of the
    bedrooms of the lodge and they require us to pay £389 to replace this. As far as both myself and my wife are aware no such damage has been caused by ourselves. Due to this I have sent the following email to the lodge owner and wanted to seek advice on anything else that I could add to this as I feel the lodge owner is trying to take advantage of us. Also looking at the terms and conditions a security deposit should have been taken by them on our arrival but was never requested.

    Below is a copy of the email sent

    Good morning

    Thank you for taking the time to speak to me this morning on the telephone. I am sorry that the contact we have had from you is in relation to such matters as we had an amazing time at your lodge and have been openly recommending you to friends and family as a place to stay.

    As you can understand we are more then a little upset and confused upon receiving contact from yourself and Hoseasons in relation to damage at your property.

    In order for us to look into this more closely we would like to ask for the below to be provided to us so that we can look at resolving this matter in the correct manner.

    We would like to request Photographs be provided to us of the door/mirror unbroken at the time of the cleaner or who conducts the checks of the lodge for damage prior to us going in with the dates and times on the photos that they were taken on.

    Our reason for asking for these photos is that without these how do we know the previous person staying in the lodge hasn’t caused the damage. This raises concern for us as it may mean the damage has been missed by whoever checks the lodge. Can you also confirm for us if there had been previous tenants in the lodge just before our stay? The reason we say this is that upon us entering the lodge we noticed that sick on the carpeted area in the living room had been missed by the cleaner as it only came to our attention due to the smell it caused within the lodge.

    We would also ask that we are provided with photos of the damage as during our stay we did not see any damage to the cupboards in the twin bedroom although that being said we did not check them specifically for this so again it could have been there and we could have missed it.

    In relation to the lodge itself and us leaving early when we informed the gentleman who greeted us on our arrival we intended to leave on the Sunday instead of the monday we were told to by him to message him saying we had left and to leave the lodge unlocked when we left on Sunday with the key in the door.

    After our conversation today in which you told me the cleaner did not attend the lodge until the monday morning this raises some futher issues with us that due to the time length between the lodge being secured on the monday anyone could have entered the lodge between the sunday afternoon of us leaving and the monday on the cleaner attending the lodge. Could you confirm for us that this has not taken place and that a third party has not entered the lodge and caused the damage after our departure?

    Also In our conversation today you mentioned that the mirror could be damaged as easily as just knocking it for it to break this again raises concerns as how can you be certain the cleaner or another member of staff hasn’t caused damage to the mirror without realising while cleaning within the room if it breaks so easily and on seeing the damage has assumed it has been caused by us.

    Thank you again for taking the time to make contact with us and for reading this email. I look forward to receiving the requested things from you so that we can resolve this matter.

    Kind Regards

    • Philip |

      Thanks for commenting. I’m sure this will help other guests in the same situation. Let us know how you get on.

  • Eve Neighbour |

    Hi there,
    Over new years eve myself and a group of friends stayed in a large barn rental in the middle of nowhere. We left the place immaculately. There was a hot tub- we used it as with everything else there.
    Owners since said we were not given ok to use the hot tub l, and they are charging us £250 for cleaning it. Obviously we complained, by phone – apart from being rude, he suggested we broke or stole a lamp. We said we hadn’t, and thought we could use all facilities on property.
    After holding on to £500 since before Christmas for the deposit he said he would decide how much he was giving by this monday.
    This aggravated us even more and we sent an official complaint letter, detailing all the things we weren’t happy with in our stay.
    He has now come back saying he’s decided to keep all £500 give some to the Neighbours to smooth things over, (as we were too loud) and the rest he will donate to charity! (Oh and he found the lamp that we had apparently stolen)
    What should we do- other than going for him on social, we feel powerless to get our money back. We are a group of 40plus’s with kids, and we have been treated like we destroyed the place… which we did not.

  • Charlotte Kyle |

    Hi, I’d be grateful for some advice on this issue I have please.
    I am renting a house for 2 nights and the security deposit is £1,000. We booked via a third party but we were told the owner is paid the security deposit. I contacted the owner at the weekend (as we go in just over a week) and they firstly confirmed the deposit is £2,000 now not £1,000 and that it is to be paid in cash on arrival.
    I disputed the increase and confirmed that our contract states £1,000 and it has been booked for a year. The owner has since decided that he will accept £1,000 but it must be in cash on arrival.
    I am not comfortable handing over that amount of money in cash if I’m honest. The owner confirmed that it will be paid back into my bank (assuming no damage is done) within 5 days of leaving or I can collect it in cash 24 hours after check out. This is not an option as it is a 5 hour round trip and I will be at work the next day and week for that matter.
    I requested that I pay thr deposit bvia bank transfer but he has stated that is has to be in cash.
    Where do I stand with this as it doesn’t state cash in the T&C’s (although also doesn’t state bank transfer). I will be thr only person meeting thr owner as the others are arriving after work so I have no witnesses to me handing over a large amount of cash.
    I’ve been very stressed out by this and have no idea what to do.
    Im happy to pay, just don’t want to pay cash.

    • Philip |

      I don’t understand why they don’t accept a bank transfer? – it’s common practice. If you are handing over cash I would have a witness or even record it on your phone. I would also inspect the rental for any existing damage on arrival – photo/video it and report it to the owner immediately so you don’t get the blame. I would also raise your concerns with the 3rd party booking agent – has this happened before? Has there been any previous guest complaints?

  • Nyree OBrien |

    We have just returned from a holiday let with a company. Firstly I queried that we started to receive different details from another letting agent and was told they are they letting agent. The company we booked through are advertising. It.

    They took£150 deposit and now the owner claims all
    Sorts of damages – one in particular is the bath panel
    Which I actually reported when we arrived. I stated I wasn’t worried or cross but wanted them to know as they had £150 of mine. Both rental companies are washing their hands of it and saying it’s my dispute with the owner. I’m so upset

  • sara ward |

    I started to ask for a security deposit in Feb 20, can I now ask guests who booked in Jan 20 and are staying next month to pay the security deposit retrospectively?

    • Philip |

      You could ask, but unless it is specified in your booking contract I expect it would be difficult to enforce if they refuse.

  • Heike West |

    I’m just setting up a security deposit system for the holiday let i am managing. I’m interested to hear how owners take the deposit? Bank transfer? As one agent said people get nervous about this. One comment mention secure bonds. How does that work? I guess PayPal isn’t an option as people can just take their money back saying they haven’t received the service?
    Thank you!

  • Louise |

    Hi, just need some advice regarding housekeeping bonds
    I booked a holiday 2 years ago, should have gone last year but due to Covid had to rearrange for following year. When I initially booked, there was no housekeeping bond. 7 months after booking, the cottage was taken over by a new owner and a £100 housekeeping bond was added. I spoke to the booking agent who said they have nothing to do with this as it is down to the owner. I was a bit annoyed but let it go. However, 5 weeks after paying full balance a a week before the actual holiday, I received an email with details of holiday, eg key entry etc. I noticed further down email it now days housekeeping bond is £250. Can they legally make this change after I have paid full amount and not notified beforehand in any way? I cannot see any point contacting the booking agent again as they say it’s nothing to do with them. Any advice appreciated.

    • Philip |

      You would have to seek legal advice to see which booking terms and conditions apply – the original owners or new.

  • Elizabeth KNox |

    Hi, I wondered if I could ask advice please ? I have withheld £75 of a £100 damage deposit from some guests who stayed in my cottage & stained a set of bedding & towels with spray tan.
    After a weekend of shopping for stain removers, soaking & re-washing multiple times I have still been left with slight stains on some items which I feel I cannot use in my cottage as my standards are high.
    The guest is complaining that is too much to retain ( I am £80 out of pocket not including all the extra washing cycles & time spent soaking) & is asking that I send him the stained items as he says he has effectively ‘bought them’.
    I’m not sure how to address this. I have ordered replacement items. The stained items will be used for my personal use & not in my cottage so I feel that even stained, they are still my property.
    I have waived some cost for wear & tear even though the items had been barely used as we have only been open since April. Can you offer advice on how to approach him. Thanks.

  • Nuala |

    Hi, we stayed in an apartment from 17th July to 23rd, having sent a cheque for £100 deposit, in the event of any damage to the person renting out the property. I have today, 11 days after we left the property received a phone call from the owner saying shes banked the cheque due to the terrible state in which we’d left the apartment. I completely dispute this, the apartment was clean and tidy when we left it. She claims we left the bins full (we did not), fridge left with half eaten food (we did not), and broken plates (which will be in the next but one apartment as friends were also there and we ate together once, so returnable but equally I would be ok with a deduction for these but not at £100). I have put my rebuttals to her in writing, but fundamentally between us leaving the property and her contacting me there has been another group of people within that let. Also we left a day early and the key is stored in a fake rock at the front door so hardly secure, and anybody could have come in. I cannot see how she is justified in taking our £100.

  • Stephen |

    We recently stayed at a holiday property in Cornwall which charged a £550 “cautionary deposit”. I have now received the email below saying that £295 has been deducted from the deposit for “cup rings on coffee tables” . I am absolutely adamant that they were not caused by my party (me, my wife, and my 2 adult sons) as we all religiously use coasters and did not sit adjacent to the tables with the cup marks.

    The agent has sent photos of rings but there is absolutely no evidence that they were not there prior to our visit, unfortunately we did not carry out a survey / inventory of the property on arrival after our seven hour drive.

    I have asked for evidence that the damage was caused by us but have received none, just a “quote” from a “decking company” (not a furniture restorer?) to resurface the tables, it was not, as stated in the agent’s email below, an invoice.

    Our holiday was booked at very short notice and I negotiated a significant discount which it seems that the owners are now attempting to recoup from my security deposit. I am told that the balance of my deposit has now been repaid though I have seen no evidence of it yet.

    I am unable to prove that the rings were not made by us but the fact that the owner tried to claim for a replacement table at £499, slightly under the exorbitant “cautionary deposit”, suggests that they are trying it on in the knowledge that it would cost me more than that to contest their claim.

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