Sweeping the pavement outside my short lets in Orchard Rd, I wondered how this old-fashioned habit had died. (Editor note: This is NOT a picture of Charlotte cleaning her door step!)
Cleaning the front step used to be a matter of pride for many households. This small threshold literally welcomed people to your home and displayed to the street that you were a person that did things properly and took pride in yourself, your work and home.
Housework was considered an occupation in itself, women's work instead of 'other women's work'. In the world of holiday lets we try to maintain a good old fashioned standard of cleanliness. It is a Sisyphean task. During lockdown I took a few extended stays, people moving house or moving for work. This demonstrated amply why I operate in short lets. After a stay of 2-3 months the longer stay guests started to behave as tenants. Mould was allowed to grow in bathrooms, taps were left covered in scale, ovens went dirty and mice appeared from nowhere. Every nook and cranny was neglected.
I delivered fresh linen weekly (it is important to maintain an element of service in a holiday let, should the longer stayer decide that they are a tenant). In some instances this was left untouched for 2-3 weeks and, when the old was returned, it was a bit unpleasant to say the least, not to mention by the attempt to 'help out by washing the towels'. Expensive bright white hotel-quality was reduced to grey rags before you could say ''60 degree wash cycle''. The flat was used as storage for all their worldly goods while they moved.
Heating was, of course, left on at 25 degrees 24/7. This resulted in gas bills of over £140 per month in a 2-bed property. It was beginning to look like a bad deal for me, so I will share my figure:
2 month stay in a 2-bed flat, rentable value unfurnished £800 pcm. Serviced accommodation average net income £1500pcm, I let them have it for £1200/month (as it was lockdown).
Clean up operation 15 hours@ £15/hr 225.00
The guests left with a cheery wave and a bunch of flowers 'because they still had some life in them'. 15 hours, yes, 15 hours of cleaning to get it back to standard. I take my hat off to the student landlords among you who tackle this, and far worse, every July.
Since we opened on 17th April my house has been snowed under with spring cleaning tasks from all the apartments. Job lots of barbecues, oven shelves, and neglected saucepans have arrived at home. The carpet/upholstery machine has been in full use to sort out the sofas and beds. My terrific team have been through each apartment with a fine-toothed comb removing fluff, hairs and sweeping away the debris of winter and lockdown. It looks like a busy summer season ahead; this early May Bank Holiday has shown promise. With fingers very much crossed we are still in business.
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