Let Go Housekeeper Won't Return Keys and Property

14 Replies

I arrived at my cabin in Pigeon Forge yesterday to find that my housekeeper had removed my high quality towels and sheets and replaced them with cheap alternatives and had never stocked my house with items (coffee, olive oil, hand soap...) I had sent her via amazon in May.  I have only had my cabin rented for about a month and a half and she took probably over $750 worth of items out of the house.  In addition to all of that, the cabin looked like it hadn't been dusted since I was last here in May and the bathtubs & toilets were disgusting.  I told her as soon as she came in that I was very unhappy and I would no longer need her services. She did not have my keys on her and told me she would return later in the evening with them and my property.  Of course, she never returned and is now not answering my texts or calls.  If I have to have the house re-keyed and replace the items, it will be well over $1000.  Should I call the police? Do I just let it go to a learning experience? So frustrating..... 

Updated 4 months ago

Housekeeper's daughter just showed up with all my stuff out of the blue... All good!

@Reagen Natho calling police is totally up to you. You wouldn’t be out of line doing so. Hop on amazon and get your screen shots ready for them. 

As for re-keying, you’re in the smokys yes? You shouldn’t have real keys anyway. Just change the code on your deadbolt. I just bought a Schlage encode and love it. You could lock the cleaner out with your phone should this happen again and you’re not in the area. If you do want to use real keys get the kwikset smartkey they can be re-keyed instantly very easily. 

I may have asked cleaner about where your items were before straight up firing her. Perhaps called the cops before she left the premises so they could make her return the items. In this exact situation I may chalk it up to a learning experience. Very similar situation happened with my first cleaner. Interested in @John Underwood and @Julie McCoy replies. 

@Reagen Natho man sorry to hear. How did you screen that house keeper? If you have all her information i'd definitely look into filing a police report. If you cannot recover your money just chalk it up to a learning experience, don't think it's worth bothering going to court.

@Lucas Carl Yes, I probably should have made sure I was going to get everything back before I fired her.  :( I was mad, had been driving for 6 hours and wasn't thinking clearly! LOL. She told me she had taken my stuff home to wash... I had triple sets of everything.  There was no need for her to not be replacing my items with my items.

@Bob Prisco I do utilize a smart lock, but I had given her a key to the master lock that opens my 4 exterior doors in case of emergency. My mistake. I’ll just give my next housekeeper the code to a lock box with an extra key.

@Reagen Natho

Don’t use locks with keys. If you run into this situation again you will have to gets locks rekeyed.

Use Schlage keyless deadbolts. You can have multiple codes programmed at one time including one to give to your cleaning person.

If that person is let go you delete that code and pick a new code for next cleaning person.

@Reagen Natho What a frustrating experience, I'm sorry to hear this happened!  I am glad that all of your items were returned in the end.  

I don't have much to add to the excellent input you've already received.  Best of luck finding an excellent replacement!

@Reagen Natho We own a cleaning company and deal with a number of Air BNBs with turn down service. Reading this, I assume this lady had referrals for house keeping and not a turn down service. Those are hard to come by being part of hospitality and many house keepers, so to speak, go through quite a transition period to accommodate the needs needed for a turn down. In the future, be sure you screen and old hire people who are licensed and insured and come with a list of referrals. I would bet that lady DID have the keys on her or she wouldn't have shown up. Sounds like you got scammed. I would consider how I might get the word out that she isnt to be trusted, but that usually isn't good for business. Writing off the losses seems to be the best you've got going at this point. Silver lining, get someone qualified in there Nd your reviews will jump. Use that to boost marketing. I would also adapt your contract to address the switch out of products more clearly. Best of luck to you moving forward.

I would bet that lady DID have the keys on her or she wouldn't have shown up.

I think so too. She probably thought oh no, I'm busted! LOL.

Then chickened out and sent someone else to return the stuff.

Originally posted by @Bryan Devitt :

@Reagen Natho next time leave the key in a lockbox on the property somewhere. Smart locks are great until wifi or power goes out and the renter is pissed that they can't get back into the unit

The Schlage Smart Connect unit I use don't need WiFi to operate or power via A/C line. It does use Z wave protocol for connection to the hub, in my case a Wink 2 for monitoring remotely and to update the codes from anywhere etc.

It uses 4 AA batteries to run it. I got a year out the last set of Duracell's. I just swapped them out. Z Wave is very low power.

If it loses connection to the hub, it still works with the codes it already has in it. So no one is locked out, but I can't add or change codes remotely.


@Bryan Devitt . Smart locks work when the WiFi is down. I’ve got like 12 of them. OR just get a not so smart lock with a digital combo that has no WiFi. 

@Michael Baum I just picked up the new Schlage Encode. No hub needed anymore! Only had it a couple days but so far so awesome. 

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