With this piece from Margaret, a Liverpool-based STR host, we’re launching Minut Stories. From time to time, we’ll be sharing stories from Minut users. Let us know what you think about this one, and if you have one of your own to share.
“I manage several properties in Liverpool including 2 penthouse apartments in Mathew Street. For people who don’t know the area - it is the home of the Beatles and the famous Cavern club, where the band played nearly 300 times; together with a variety of bars and restaurants, more bars than restaurants. It is literally the heart of the city.
Before lockdown, my client base was mainly people visiting from outside the UK, who would come to Liverpool to see football games and experience the city. My life as a property manager was easy: self check-ins, keys left in a lockbox, apartments left tidy, checked in and out on time, everything ran smoothly…
However, since lockdown I’ve had to face a new kind of customer - local people looking to party. Don’t get me wrong, I realise my client base has now changed and I’m usually quite good at spotting who wants to use my apartments as a venue. Especially when requests come through for one-night bookings to hold pre-drinks for 15+ friends before they go out - always an instant “no”!
Airbnb clients coming through now all seem to be new to the platform with no reviews. I normally vet them by checking their social media accounts and where they live, etc. - but sometimes that’s not enough.
The first week of lockdown was over and bookings were coming through. I had a request from a local female wanting to meet up with some old friends from university. I did the usual checks, met her to hand her the keys. It was a Monday night, what could go wrong?
The moment my head hits the pillow, my phone starts flashing. It’s the person staying in the apartment next-door, saying there was a party kicking off. I head over to the apartment. Everything looks quiet, I knock on the door and enter. There are two people in the kitchen. I ask where the guest who rented the apartment is, they say they don’t know her.
This is when I know something’s definitely wrong, so I go upstairs and open the bathroom door. Inside, I find 20 young lads hiding - they had forgotten to lock the door. Turns out none of them know the girl who booked the apartment.
Thinking about it now, I had a lucky escape. I couldn’t believe somebody would rent an apartment and throw a party, let alone leaving the property while the event was underway, without any consideration of the damage that could be done.
The next day, the girl who booked messaged me to say she was sorry and that she had left her shoes in the apartment. Luckily for me, they were a pair of Balenciaga, so I was able to get her to pay £100 for extra cleaning and the call out - in exchange for the shoes.
Needless to say, this situation put me on edge every time I went back to the apartment. I had constant bookings and couldn’t go on like this, I needed to figure out how to feel more confident about renting my apartment out. That’s when I came across Minut. I bought one and installed it within seconds.
My next set of guests was amazing, and things were getting back to normal... Until a week later, when I received a message from somebody staying at one of my apartments requesting to stay an extra day. He said he would pay me the following day. I felt something was wrong, so I messaged to say I was on my way - no answer. I also phoned when I got there, but still nothing. Were they there or not?
I was able to use the Minut sensor to establish that there had been no motion for over an hour. The lock box was left unlocked and the keys were in it. When I entered, I saw feathers everywhere. It took me a while to find out why - turns out somebody had been smoking in the bed and burnt a hole in the quilt. They tried to hide it, but the feathers gave them away.
If it hadn't been for the motion detector, I would have assumed the guests were staying the extra night and the apartment would have been left unsecured for 24 hours. Minut has given me peace of mind and I actually feel safe entering my rentals now. I would not like to be managing any apartment that does not have a Minut fitted - especially now when all of us hosts are struggling with lockdowns and illegal parties.”
- Margaret, BOSS Places Liverpool