Saying no to neighbors

I own a vacation rental property. Neighbors relatives wanted to rent last summer. I charged half price because the week was open anyway, and I could not go. I worried that they thought this was too much because they delayed paying, and then paid a little less than I asked for. This year they asked again. Again, the week was not filled. I offered a couple of days that I could to go for free. I could not make an excuse because they know the house is empty. The truth is I do not want to do this. I have no security if anything breaks, and I really like to keep my tenant relationships business and get my full price. I did this out of fear of causing hard feelings if I charged too much or said no.

I am also worried that my family will be mad if they find out because they don,t even use it for free.

Also, I do not like the condition in which they kept the house. How can I say no now, after setting this precedent already?

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Vacation Properties
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Vacation Home Owner,

Yours is not an uncommon problem. There are always those who will take advantage if you let them. And I agree that you must stop renting to them. The liability issue alone would worry me. I realize it is unpleasant to confront this head on, but there is no other way if you want a clean break. Tell them that the last time was a one time favor to your neighbor and that you are unable to rent to them again unless they go through the regular procedure you use for this purpose. If they ask, quote them your full price and let them know that family is treated as business as well. The price will probably keep them away. If not, just rent to them as you would to anyone else, security deposit, reservation deposit, etc. You will be glad you did!

Good luck,
Ms Practical Etiquette

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