We had to add a Ring camera because of trespassers

We have an STR in a beach community. It’s listed on Air BnB and VRBO and is managed by a local real estate management company. The rental management company is great and super responsive to both us and the guests.

We did have a problem earlier this year where we discovered that some unknown persons had used our property to host a party. We know this because we came down between guests after the property had been turned and cleaned and we found “Congratulations” balloons floating against the living room ceiling, the sofa cushions askew and the kitchen floor with spill stains on it. We blamed the cleaning crew for being lax, but the rental agency had photos from the post-cleaning inspection and the balloons were not in the photos - so someone came in after the guests had left and the property was cleaned. Our conclusion is that someone who has the door code helped themselves to the use of our place for a party when it was unoccupied.

We’ve now installed a Ring with a camera outside the door to monitor the comings and goings of people into our place. We suspect that someone from the outside cleaning service provided our door code to someone local (We think it is unlikely that it was someone from the real estate service. Their staff are year-round salaried with great benefits, so I doubt someone from their office would risk getting fired .). The rental unit is a condo and most of the condos around it are rentals as well and not always occupied in the winter.

The rental agency changed the codes immediately and are installing a system where the cleaning, rental agency staff and guests will all get unique codes and the codes are registered each time they are used. We also asked the rental company to let their staff and the cleaning staff know that if it ever happens again, we can identify who it is and will take police action. Hopefully the presence of a camera will deter this type of behavior in the future. I suspect this happens quite a lot in beach communities with large numbers of rentals.

I have no idea how common it is, but I’ve read about it twice before. In one case, the cleaners were using the property for themselves and their friends and in another case the property manager was renting out vacant days off-the-books and pocketing the money. In the second case, the property owners also lived in a different country from the property.

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Someone associated with managing company or cleaners was running a side hustle out of your property.

They’d probably be more careful to clean up in future – but you’ve stymied them with the camera!

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I’m sure you feel violated. They weren’t very clever because now you know. If they had left the place clean, they could’ve enjoyed your home on/off for months to come. You are smart to change codes & get a ring doorbell.

Regulars like my cleaner, HOA maintenance & Handiman, have their own access codes.

I genuinely trust my handiman but he’s a talker. I never know who he might accidentally say something to about my rental being unoccupied. I’ve told him that if it isn’t rented I’m either there or my friend Michelle will probably be there while she looks for a place to buy. You just never know…

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It makes you wonder how many have used it but knew enough to clean up well.

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I had a brief power outage and a longer internet outage last night right in the timeframe when I was expecting guests. So that knocked my cameras out. I don’t know how people do Airbnb without cameras.

Easily.

JF

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LOL.

I live here and have windows so I don’t need those. But when I’ve already gone to bed and I’m trying to see if my guests have arrived or not, it’s great to do it from the comfort of my bed. I also try to keep all the dogs in my bedroom, nice and quiet in the evenings. Getting up and going out of my bedroom to take a peek isn’t ideal.

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You can’t hear their car drive up? How do you keep the dogs from barking when someone drives up? No one got within 50 meters of my place without my dog alerting me. I’m impressed that you can keep them quiet.

It depends. If I’m in my bedroom, living room or in the back yard/patio then no. If I’m in the room next to the Airbnb room, with the front facing window, in the kitchen with the front door open, or in the garage next to the driveway, I usually can hear them.

This is an interesting question. I hate barking. So I don’t “allow” it. It’s not encouraged or rewarded in any way. Occasionally it’s deterred by aiming a spray bottle at them and squirting if necessary. Sometimes it’s deterred by standing in front of them (say between them and the open front door and tell them not to bark. I remain calm and praise them for not barking. If they continue barking the front door gets closed and they all get herded to the back so they can’t see or hear what’s going on. The dogs take their cues from one another. If one starts up and gets away with it, others join in. If one starts and is reprimanded they learn. They also learn that there’s nothing to bark at.

One of the worst is my dog Coco. She’ll be in the back yard and here a car or the UPS truck drive up and she will bark. She’ll stand on one side of the fence and bark at the other dogs who come for a meet and greet or on their first stay. She also barks when playing. It’s really her worst feature. Some dogs will bark if they see someone approaching the front through that front window.

Most people are amazed at the lack of barking. One of my favorite experiences is when guests are leaving in the morning and I open the front to say hi and thank them for booking with me. And sometimes there will be 8 dogs standing there and none of them are barking. And usually I’ve been successful keeping them quiet all night.

It drives me nuts when people encourage their dogs to jump and or bark. Most dogs can be trained not to do it. But because of my Coco I understand there are exceptions.

Cool. If I ever get another dog (not ready yet- too busy to train one and still pained over the loss of my 13 year old dog in Oct, Minga), I will definitely work on the bark/no bark on command thing.

I definitely had a problem with that with Minga. She was one of those dogs with a very strong territorial instinct. She barked at everyone and every vehicle that came down my little dirt road. Not neurotic endless barking, but she would carry on for about a full minute, which isn’t a lot, but highly annoying when the dog has a huge loud bark like she did.

The problem was that when she came to me as a puppy, I was the only person living in my area- it was largely undeveloped- I literally had no neighbors within ear or eyeshot. So I was out here all alone for several years until the area started to get built up. So I was quite happy to have a dog that reliably warned me and was so protective.

When I started to get neighbors, I knew they would be annoyed by it, so I tried a lot of things to get her to stop that behavior, but by that time it was quite ingrained. I suppose a good dog trrainer could have done it, as she was a highly intelligent dog, but she was also quite stubborn- a Jindo cross, I believe. (I’ve had dogs all my life and she was the only one who didn’t react guiltily and submissively when I was mad at her- she would put on this “Oh, c’mon, you’re not really mad at me, you love me” face and give me her paw.) She was quite easy to train for the things she didn’t mind doing, but willful about the things that went against her nature.

Her barking was her only objectionable behavior- other than that she was a dream dog who all my guests fell in love with. Walked calmly on a leash, never chewed anything up, never hurt another animal or human, never got on the furniture, never rolled in stinky things, and was very private about her bathroom business- she trotted off to the back of an empty field behind me, and wouldn’t even pee in my yard. Nothing I ever trained her to do, it was natural.

I did teach her when she was young never to jump up on people, though.

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She sounds like she was a lovely dog. My Coco was an adult when she was found and so also had the barking ingrained. And it’s perfectly understandable that some people want their dogs to bark as a warning.

My little rescue is a Maltese / Yorkshire cross.
He knows he owns many houses, however he only guard barks at home.
At the listings he greets everyone happily, with a wagging tail which is wonderful because of his early life.
The perfect hospitality dog!

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Minga Dog. RIP.

Her most endearing idiosyncrisy was that when she was excited to see someone, she would always pick up a dry leaf off the ground and have it sticking half out of her mouth when greeting you. She wouldn’t let you take it- it wasn’t a gift. It was more like something to contain her excitement or say “Look what a good hunter I am- I caught this while you were out”. Charmed the hell out of everyone.

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Coco will often have a ball in her mouth. I wonder if there’s a correlation between barking and wanting to have something in their mouth when they greet visitors? Coco will bark with the ball in her mouth at times.

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Now that’s interesting idea that never occurred to me. Like if they aren’t using their mouth to bark at someone who comes to the gate, they have to use their mouth for something.

I’d be inclined to check on exactly what the management company is doing. I say that because I find it best to change the code for every guest (and not the last four digits of their phone number).

I also change the base code every week. This is the one that I use and that I will give to contractors if necessary. If contractors have used it, then it gets changed at once.

I’m a little surprised that a professional management company doesn’t do the same thing. Because they are lax in the code department then Ms. Cynical here would wonder if they had other non-professional practices.

Just a thought… :slight_smile:

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