There is much we can do to safeguard your interests, but of course renting out isn’t risk free.
This is an interesting subject, as everyone may have their own interpretation on this topic. Of course as an owner you would want to know that any damage is covered and paid for by the rental client.
We always take an adequate damage deposit from the rental client, but we can’t just simply charge the rental client whatever we wish, we have to see each case in its individuality and the renter may have valid arguments which need to be taken into account.
But firstly, what is the difference between damages and “wear and tear”?
This subject is indeed very important! As an example: If a sun umbrella is used by many people and the fabric of the umbrella tears, does the last guest have to pay for the repair? Obviously not, because anything which is used frequently will eventually wear out. This is a process that happens over time, any items in daily use will at some point need repair or replacement; even more in a rental property due to the high usage by different people throughout the year. This is “wear and tear”.
Damages on the other hand include breakage of items to, for example, a painting, that was knocked of the wall. This is an accidental damage and the guest is clearly liable for the reasonable value of its loss. Reasonable for this example is an approximate value of perhaps € 100, however it would not extend to the value of a genuine Rembrandt painting worth much more! Valuable items should be locked away or otherwise safeguarded.
What can we as a property management company do to help to reduce the risk?
Collect a damage deposit. We take the damage deposit in cash /per bank transfer, so we literally have the money on our bank account. This alone makes the guests very aware and careful. There is also a notice about this in our information booklet that is left at the property for the rental clients with the request to inform us of any breakages.
Our maids are trained to spot any damages and report back to us. In that instance we contact the rental guest whilst still at the property and come to an agreement there and then.
We check the property after the client has left for damages, this is done to the best of our possibilities, but usually we only have a few hours between guests leaving and new guests coming in, so some damages that are hidden may not be found.
If we find damages we contact the client first and inform them of the amount, deduct the respective amount from the client and transfer the remaining amount back to the client. We have one week time for this. Any damages found at a later point cannot be requested from the clients.
Our rep goes to visit all clients and if they have questions about operating any of the equipment is there to help throughout all of their stay, avoiding like this any damages to equipment that they might not know how to use.
Before the rental season we have an inventory done. Whilst it will not be possible to do a complete inventory check on every changeover day, it serves as a point of reference for what was actually in the property at a given time.
Is there an insurance that can be taken against accidental damage caused by rental clients?
Having researched this topic in depth, we have come to the conclusion that there is at least in Portugal no insurance company that will insure against accidental damages by rental clients. Whilst you can insure against accidental damages for your own family, this is not possible for rental guests.
Insurance companies take the same view as above, items are subject to minor damage as they are being used on a daily basis. At some point the accumulated degradation of the item from use will need repair or replacement.
Whether you rent your property or not, the interior will depreciate from use and naturally one cannot expect to rent out a property for the summer and then find everything exactly the same after! A certain “wear and tear” is to expected. Some items, such as sun bed cushions, sofas, dining chairs, bed covers etc. will be affected the most. Glasses and crockery will in all likelihood be less at the end of the season.
We will try our best to keep your villa in it is best possible condition, having implemented all of the above, and will always try for the owner to be reasonably reimbursed for damages, however, if for any reason reimbursement is not possible, the potential for loss or damage always remains at the owner's risk.
In our experience of over 18 years, the damages are usually insignificant and clients do understand that they need to pay for any accidental damages. Some cases need to be compromised.
Please don’t forget that simply owning a property carries an inherent risk, regardless as to whether it is rented or not.
We will do everything we can to make your life as an owner as easy as possible, that is our guarantee.