A cautionary word

To try and supplement our summer income, like a lot of you we try to get longer term let’s over the quieter period. Last year we accepted a booking from a retired single teacher and his dog. He committed to a fixed period until the end of April. During this time, we have done whatever we could to help him settle in, sort out Doctor etc.
A few days ago he refused to pay his rent as he said he wouldn’t be here for another month, and as we kept a deposit of his last months rent, i.e. April.

So, to cut a long story short, he departed yesterday after we had had the most unpleasant 24 hours in the 13 years we have been running our gites. We are out of pocket, but worth it to see him gone. Needless to say, he did no cleaning, refused to pay for many breakages and losses.

The gite was left in the most disgusting state, including unwashed cutlery put back in the drawer and what unfortunately appears to be dog poo on the sofa. There is also evidence of wilful damage to a brand new mattress.

As far as we know, he is travelling to the pyrenees to look for another long term rental. Please, if you own a gite, and you hear from or see this person (I can’t name him here I’m afraid), be very careful in your dealings with him.

Mark, I am sorry that you had this unpleasant experience. I feel sure that you could at least say if it was an Englishman or a Frenchman, which might be more helpful and what breed of dog!

He is Scottish and has a brown labrador

oh dear,Not a pleasant experience I have never been tempted to accept clients in winter>
There is something totally different about a few days or even two weeks in summer.
You know that you can inspect rooms and make sure all is ok before it gets to drama
Usiually…contract. Damage deposit.

We kept all of the damage deposit, but it’s not nearly enough. We were glad to see him gone, but I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to go through this, hence the warning.
It’s probably more of a caution about taking on long-term tenants over the winter, we try to get one every year, some are good, some are downright unpleasant. Sometimes we get to meet them before we agree to have them, more often, we don’t so have no idea what they are like. I don’t know why ( I guess we should have learnt by now) but I’m always surprised by how little pride, honour and lack of respect people have.

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We find that price plays a huge role in the profile of guests. We reduced our rate for the winter and started getting “difficult” guests - we put the price back up again, and our usual fantastic clientele returned.

Draw you own conclusions :wink:

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We tried that once Richard, didn’t get anything!

Ahh perhaps gites & B&B are ‘different worlds’, Did you use booking.com, airbnb etc?

Never air bnb or booking.com, they want to take too much commission, and you have little control over your bookings. Gites de france etc for holiday rentals and specialised websites for long term (out of season) rentals.

Hi Mark. You are correct, in that, you cannot name him on this forum. However, if anyone from that area were to privately email you, you would be perfectly enititled to “give a reference”

May I suggest that anyone who runs gites etc in that area try to find out, by asking for a reference, about this, apparent con artist.

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I have no problem with that, in fact I have already been asked. BTW, I wouldn’t call him a con man, just someone with no honesty, honour , respect for property or pride (in the way he lives).

ahh well there you go then, horses for courses - for our B&B Gites de F was fantastic at the project report phase, but never brought us more than one or two bookings a year, (so they worked out very expensive for us). Booking take 15% so our prices are higher than on our home site, but at least we are renting rooms throughout the year. And, actually, if you have a solid reason for refusing a booking, they will accept a cancellation from the owner - but it does have to be solid and infrequent. Air bnb we love because they take comission from the client, not the owner, take the full payment from the client, and pay the owner quickly.

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Not everyone who has money is like that though.

But this was a supposed long term rental, nothing to do with booking.com or airbag. I guess they work for holiday lets or even better for bnb


Sorry to hear about your problems.

If you do a long let again, you could consider doing it on multiple back-to-back contracts, say two/three weeks at a time, with payment for each rental period up-front. This would allow you to review the situation periodically and if you saw damage you could ask for payment, or you could choose not to renew.

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It’s an idea, but I think the way forward would be to take a bigger deposit (2 months rent?) and a bigger damage deposit, along with more thorough and frequent inspections to help stop things getting out of hand.

We have only ever had glasses broken, except one really fat English lady and we had a problem with the loo coming away from the wall.
I think I would be worried about the cost and time it would take getting the gite ready for our excellent forthcoming clients.

Well the bedrooms are just about done, just got to make the beds. Just wondering if it will be easier to chuck the cooker away and get a new one, pity as it’s only a year old.All the pots, pans, casseroles etc covered in grease…etc etc. Got a few more days yet I think!

We had a similar problem with a couple with tiny dog, had a rolling monthly let ,
They had been ‘away’ so rent was late , she knocked door to say goodbye ! No warning !
She said it’s all clean and deposit should settle rent.
Shell shocked I went to see Gite with her quickly.
After she had left I went back in and it stank of wet dog, my bedding etc was under bed etc against outside wall. I pulled it out and everything wet and mouldy.
I would not get into shower !
Anyway turned out we had to completely
redecorate and replace most soft furnishings as dog had been on everything
To top it all. The electric bill was 800e for 2 months !

That is horrifying. So far we have not had to let the gite out out of season. I had an unpleasant experience last Christmas when we opened up especially for the family of French friends. I wrote about it here on SFN. We did a good deed over Christmas.


This family slept on the sofa when we had offered them a bed in our house and then left without saying goodbye.
Fortunately they spent the vast proportion of their time with their family and did not cook.
You have to believe in karma!