28 Dec 2019
Most of us hope to have good experiences with our guests, but sometimes the worst can happen. Guests can trash homes, steal items, and break the trust they share with the renter. If you don’t want that to be the case with your luxury home, make sure you follow the right steps to prevent it from happening. Below we compiled a quick guide on how to prevent your rental guests from stealing. From properly screening potential guests to building a strong relationship with them, there are plenty of ways to reduce the chances of stealing in your home.
Before you even open up your home to guests, and in-between guests, take inventory of your things. It may seem time-consuming but keeping track of your belongings provides you with some sort of data if a guest does steal. This goes beyond making note of all your pieces of furniture and gets down to the nitty-gritty of your property. This inventory should include things such as the number of blankets, any little trinkets in the home, dinnerware, electronics, and more. Better yet, take pictures of these items, as this is proof you were in possession of the item.
Properly Screen Guests
Once you take inventory and have people querying about your property, make sure you properly screen potential guests. We talked previously about how to screen your guests, and by doing so, you can lessen the chances of stealing occurring. Think about screening guests less as a task that you need to complete, and more so a way to get a head start on keeping your property safe. Watch out for typical red flags, such as hesitation to use your preferred payment method, different names on payment and registration, and more. You don’t want to seem paranoid, but make sure you’re thorough.
Insurance is a key aspect of renting out a property, so make sure you find a policy that will provide the best coverage. Because even when you take inventory, screen guests, and have them sign a rental agreement, there’s still a chance your guests will misbehave. You can’t prepare for everything; insurance covers you in the event something goes wrong.
Create a Rental Agreement Contract
Sometimes guests think that just because you put an item at their disposal, it’s theirs. They think that because you’re letting them in your home, they can treat it like it’s their home. With a contract, you’re putting rules in place which they have to follow. The clearer you make the rules, the less chance you have of anyone breaking them. A rental agreement contract will include the rules and the guest’s responsibilities when staying in your rental, along with the consequences of damages or taking an item from the property. You’ll be glad you had them sign for those worst-case scenarios.
Do Not Leave Personal/Sentimental/Valuable Items Behind
Another solid tip for how to prevent your rental guests from stealing items from your home is to not leave something behind that someone would want to steal. You may think it’s sweet to keep that picture your grandma painted on the wall, but then you run the risk of someone taking it. Think about it this way—anything that is irreplaceable, high-value, or sentimental should not be in the home when you rent it out. Even if you have 100% trust in your guests, it’s not worth the risk when it comes to breakage and the like.
Install a Solid Security System
In a previous blog post, we discussed the importance of protecting your vacation rental home. Those tips are just as important when it comes to preventing stealing. Most importantly, installing a solid home security system is one of the best ways to prevent stealing and have strong proof on the off-chance that it does occur. We’re not saying you need to have a camera in every room—in fact, you shouldn’t; guests crave privacy. Therefore, install an alarm system as well as front and back door cameras to protect both your entire property and all of the little intricacies in-between.
Add Your Logo
For items that are specific to the home and essential for a positive stay, think about adding your logo to them. For example, all those nice wine glasses you have could have a little something on the bottom or on the cup itself that delineates your glasses from others. Many people are less likely to take a towel or blanket with an engraved brand logo. If you offer comforting items such as bathrobes, thick comforters, umbrellas, rain jackets, and the like, make sure you mark it with your logo.
If you don’t have a logo for your vacation rental brand, you should think about creating one. It’s a fantastic marketing tool, and in the off chance that someone does steal, at least they’ll be marketing your brand.
Create a Strong Relationship with Guests
Finally, you have to realize that you can’t fully stop stealing. Things happen, guests can trick you, and you may end up without some items you enjoy. However, our last tip can even more so protect your home from theft. When you form a relationship with guests rather than acting just as the bridge between them and your home, the less chance you have of someone stealing. When they think of the items in the house as personal possessions, then they’ll likely feel guilty about stealing them. Building a good relationship and communicating with your guests before, during, and after their stay will build trust and prevent theft.
Again, it’s important to realize that sometimes people steal, and no matter how many preventative measures you take, it may still occur. If that’s the case, think about those items stolen as something you need to account for in your budget. Being prepared is just as important as being flexible, so don’t let a small stolen item throw a wrench in your business. When it comes to towels, blankets, sheets, and the like, always have a couple of spare items on hand for the off chance a guest steals them.
Hopefully following these measures will help you avoid guest theft. If you need help running your vacation rental business, marketing your Telluride home rentals, or keeping your property safe, turn to Exceptional Stays. As a property management company, we can make sure that you and your customers are getting the best.