Items Missing From Our Rental Home

If you’ve read this blog before you probably know that my husband and I own a rental property in a resort town in North Carolina. Every year, before the rental season begins, I purchase a number of items to make the guest’s experience more enjoyable. Included in this list are books, DVDs, board games, pool toys, etc. The items are all relatively inexpensive, but I hope that the niceties will bring our guests back year after year, and in the three years that we’ve owned and rented our home quite a few guests have returned.

At the end of every rental season my husband and I return to our beach home for a short vacation. As soon as we enter the house we take stock of broken and missing items. This year the following items are missing: a number of DVDs including War of the Worlds and the Matrix Reloaded. Two board games including Trivial Pursuit and Boggle. (Last year Scrabble went missing). A number of random odds and ends like two flat head screwdrivers, one Phillips screwdriver and two pairs of brand new kitchen scissors.

We didn’t have any significant damage this year and all in all it was a fantastic rental season. (Last year, a guest jumped on the hot tub cover, and we were forced to spend over $500 to replace it.) But I often wonder about the items that are missing. What happened to them? Do renters bring DVDs of their own and then take ours home accidentally? Do they take items to the beach and then forget to bring them back to our beach home? Do they accidentally break the items and throw them away? Or do they purposefully take the items home with them?

Of course I would like to assume that everyone has the greatest intentions and that no one is purposely taking our belongings home with them, but some things are hard to imagine. For example, every year I purchase brand new board games for the house and every year a few of them go missing. Why do these particular items consistently disappear from our home and why is it always the board games I purchase just before the rental season begins? The old games are never missing.

It’s odd. I’m not upset that I have to replace these items. I am more upset that the renters that came later in the summer don’t have the opportunity to use them.

10 thoughts on “Items Missing From Our Rental Home”

  1. If it’s only the new games that go missing perhaps you could buy old ones at thrift shops and garage sales to stop them walking?

  2. Thanks shopping sherpa! That’s an excellent idea. I will definitely try to find used games before the next rental season.

  3. BTW, if the used games you buy have pieces missing (invariably, they do), try writing to the company and getting replacement parts. For a long time, Milton Bradley sold Monopoly game replacement pieces.

    Have you tried labeling everything?

    I know I used to do work study in college and my stapler and scissors would always sprout legs and walk away. (Usually to the copy room) Finally I put on stickers with a frowny face and the message “I live at the front desk” and stuff remained there. The grad students meant well, but it drove me nuts to have to pull new supplies out at the start of every shift.

  4. Map Girl — We do have labels on books, games and DVDs. In the case of DVDs we label both the box and the disk.

    You bring up a great point though. In the case of board games we can just write Property of Owner across the box with a thick Sharpie marker. Maybe the current labels aren’t prominent enough to deter the guests from taking them.

    Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Maybe your labels are like souvenirs, just pleasant reminders of the wonderful times they had at your rental home?

    I DJed at a community radio station for 6 years and we had to completely deface everything to keep it from walking away – labels were too easily removed. I recommend using our CD trick for your DVDs – write your info with a sharpie on the cover insert (take the paper part out and write on it – there’s no removing that!), and also write your info on the DVD itself.

    My family inadvertently took some kitchen utensils home from an Outer Banks rental house…we felt so bad that we mailed them back. Maybe your renters will do the same once they settle into their fall routines šŸ™‚

  6. I’m a fairly new reader, so I was excited to hear about your rental home! It is one of our goals once we get our other debts paid off. I’ll have to email you sometime to get more details on it.

    We broke a coffee mug at one home we stayed at. It wasn’t a matching set, so we rushed out and bought a nicer one to replace the one we had broken! Apparently not all people are like us frugal types. šŸ™‚

  7. Maybe you could just kick around the game boxes a few times so they look worn and cut up some stuff to make the scissors a little sticky, and such. It sounds like people really want the shiny stuff, so make sure it’s in good condition but not necessarily too shiny.

  8. Thanks for all of your suggestions. I have already started labeling books, movies, and games with a thick, black sharpie and finding ways to make the boxes little a little less shiny.

    Green 3 — I think you raise a great point. For every guest that misbehaves their is at least one guest that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Since we started renting we’ve had a few guests purchase brand new items like spatulas, grills scrapers, scissors, etc. They always leave a note to let us know that they are replacing a broken item or adding something to the house that was lacking when they arrived.

  9. What happened to asking for a security deposit prior to handing over the rental keys? After inspection, you can deduct the cost of the board games and DVD’s from the security deposit before refunding the remaining amount back to the renters. Just my advice. šŸ™‚

    -Raymond (MONEY BLUE BOOK)


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