The guest prior to David’s stay graciously informed me on the last day of her stay that she may have inadvertently allowed a mouse into the house while hosting a cocktail party celebrating her son’s wedding. The screen doors, she explained, had been left open to facilitate guest flow. It was unfortunate, but completely understandable. Upon receiving word of this and prior to David’s arrival, I wrote to David and informed him of what the guest had told me so that, should his family feel uncomfortable with the possibility of a mouse, they could cancel their reservation. David chose to continue with the reservation. The house was inspected the day of David’s arrival, and the inspector found no evidence of mice anywhere and so noted in his homeowner’s report. I asked David for his help and vigilance in monitoring the situation as it is a problem for any homeowner, particularly one who hosts. The property was inspected again after a week and the inspector again found no evidence of mice (no droppings or activity at bait stations etc.). David cheerfully replied in writing in both texts and emails over the next several weeks that there had been no signs of a mouse anywhere.
On Day 36 of his stay, David informed me that they had seen a mouse. I immediately offered to refund his family for the remaining nights of their stay if they preferred to vacate to other accommodations and had an exterminator there that day. David refused my offer and seemed understanding. The exterminator again found no evidence of mice anywhere in the house and so noted in his report. Later that week, I received calls and texts from both David and his wife that they had seen the mouse again. They also became more vocal about their displeasure with the situation, and I again suggested they vacate and offered them the refund. The exterminator came for the second time that week at which time I politely declined the request of David’s wife for the exterminator to take apart the couch to search for the mouse. Three days later, I again received multiple calls and texts from David and his wife about a mouse sighting and requesting that the exterminator come and maintain a presence in the house until the mouse was caught. I was desperate to solve this problem but was completely at a loss for how to do so because, as most people recognize, an exterminator will not stay at a residence until the mouse is caught. I strongly urged them to vacate and, on day 44 of their 48-day stay they finally did. No mice were ever caught on a glue trap during their stay. I refunded them for the four nights minus expenses for items they took with them when they left (some towels and other household items) after my requests to have the items returned were unsuccessful. David was extremely upset that he was asked to cover the cost of the items that went with them and stated he couldn’t believe I was going back and forth with him over the requested items considering what they had experienced. I explained to David that, in acknowledgement of their patience with my predicament, I did not charge them for the substantial damage that the house incurred during their stay amounting to three times the amount that was deducted from his refund. I was aware of and completely understand his frustration with the situation, and I tried to alleviate their unhappiness as much as possible, but it doesn’t entitle him to do to or take from a property with no repercussions. Furthermore, my offer to David still stands that I will return the money withheld for the replacements as soon as he returns the items to me. It also is important to note that all communications with David were friendly and understanding up to my refusal to give in to his demand for money today, the last day of the review period, after which he posted his review. No host wants to receive a bad review, but sometimes it is preferable to receive one rather than being strong-armed by a guest.
Regarding David’s comments about the appliances and the AC, his wife assured me at our final meeting when she returned to pick up some left-behind things that everything in the house had worked beautifully and that they’d been very happy apart from the unwanted visitor. The AC would not have been an issue had David’s nanny on the top floor not kept her windows open because she preferred a warmer temperature than the rest of the house. David readily admitted that her behavior was affecting the AC’s efficiency after I spotted the open windows and asked him to close them.
Finally, David was the kind of guest that, without my knowledge or consent, copied the house keys with which he was entrusted and kept them. I had offered him a third set early in his stay, but he said it wasn’t needed. I only found out about his unauthorized copy when his wife let it slip during that return visit to pick up her things.