A big Kiwi tradition (if you've lived in New Zealand for any extended period of time you'll know about it) is to migrate to the coastline over Christmas and New Years and enjoy a few relaxing weeks of sunshine, sand and surf.
Of course, if you're not staying at a family bach and you don't want to rough it in a campsite, you'll most likely be renting a bach from online sites like Airbnb, BookaBach and Bachcare for the summer. A brilliant, and if you do your due diligence when booking, often cost-efficient option for beachfront accommodation.
If you've ever booked a bach from one of these sites, you'll probably have noticed the 'cleaning fee' that's applied, or perhaps even a 'bond' that's taken in each booking. This is to cover the costs of keeping your rental clean and tidy for the next group that rents it, and ensure the owners of the bach that you'll be respectful and look after their property. Makes sense right?
The risk here is if you don't clean to the owner or property manager's standards upon departure, you might be charged an additional hourly cleaning fee or have your bond withheld from you.
Not ideal at all.
So how do you make sure you get your bond back in your account ASAP and aren't subjected to extortionate cleaning fees? We took a deep dive into what NZ bach rental middle-men use to judge a 'sufficiently cleaned bach', and put together a list.
Happy summer, and happy cleaning!
1. Avoiding the 'Linen Fee'
Depending on the company you go with to book your bach (see our quick linen policy break down below), you'll usually have the option to decide whether or not you'd like to bring your own linen for free, or use the linen provided at a small cost. Our first piece of advice would be, if you can afford it, try and pick the latter option - there's a lot more to linen than bringing your own sheets!
According to BachCare, their linen package includes:
- bottom and top sheets (per room)
- pillow cases
- tea towels
That's a lot of extra packing to add onto your trip if you opt to BYO, and if you do arrive and realise you've forgotten your tea-towel, using anything that's already at the bach is going to cost you a hefty fine of $35 per hour* for the time it takes your property manager to clean the linen you've used. Ouch.
How to prepare or clean to avoid a fee
To avoid any linen fees, we'd suggest bringing your own with you (along with some washing powder for good measure) and doing a thorough wash of everything you've used during your trip before you leave. The good news is, most accommodation options provide washing powder and laundry facilities, so you wont have to go too far out of your way.
The same rules go for if you have opted into a linen package. If you have time, give the sheets, towels and hand towels a run through the washing machine before you head off. You'll be in the property managers good books for your extra effort, reduce the risk of any stains lingering that you could be charged for, and guarantee yourself a good review.
*Based on Bach Care 2019 T&Cs.
2. Removing Rubbish and Recyclables
If there's one thing Kiwis love to do over the Christmas and New Year period, it's eat a lot of food and have a few drinks with family and friends. In turn, there's often a lot of bottles, cans, recycling and rubbish left behind - not to mention a mountain of wrapping paper.
One of the main stipulations you'll find across all property rental websites, is that they must be left clean and tidy, and that includes rubbish. Usually, it's a requirement to remove all rubbish and recycling from the property when you leave. If your property manager finds leftover rubbish and recycling and has to remove it for you, you'll be charged a fee straight to your credit card, or your bond will be held from you and used to cover the cost.
So remember, before you leave, get rid of your rubbish at the nearest landfill and recycle your bottles and packaging appropriately to save a few coins!
3. Leaving the House 'as you found it'
This is the big one when it comes to getting your bach bond back: leaving the house you've rented 'in the condition you found it in'. But what does that actually mean?
The good news is, usually there will be a visitor's guide left in the house for you to use that will include visitor attractions, dining options, the wifi code and, of course, an expected cleaning checklist. However, if you walk in and find that there's no booklet waiting for you, here's a checklist to tick off that will make sure that your property manager is satisfied and your bond comes back with no issues.
Basic Bach Cleaning Checklist
- Vacuum: carpets, couches, hard floors and mats - anything that accumulates hair, crumbs and dust, make sure to run the vacuum over.
- Make the beds: hopefully you've taken our linen advice above and done the washing, but either way, putting in 5-minutes to make sure all of the beds are made will go a long way in the eyes of the property manager.
- Do the dishes: leaving anything in the sink is a sure-fire way to incur a cleaning fine.
- Wipe the Surfaces: getting rid of fingerprints, food smears, marks and grease is key to a happy cleaning report. Make sure to wipe everything from tables, counter-tops and windowsills, to the shelves in your refrigerator.
- BBQ Wipe-down: a lot of kiwi holiday homes come equipped with a BBQ. Make sure - if you've used it - you give this a good clean and put the cover back on for the next guest to use.
- Clean the shower: it's a tough job, we know, but if you've been to the beach most days there will most likely be a tonne of sand you need to get rid of.
- Clean the toilet: it's only fair that you leave the entire bathroom clean and ready for the next guests.
4. The 'No Odour' Policy
Just because the bach looks how it was when you arrived, doesn't necessarily mean that the smell of fish from all those boat trips hasn't lingered in the home.
There's actually an odour policy that's separate from cleaning ($45 for abnormal or unreasonable cleaning and odour removal*) which means that you'll need to make sure not only does everything look good, it smells good too.
Fortunately, we've put together a blog on how to get rid of those pesky, fishy smells, that will help you out.
*Based on Bach Care 2019 T&Cs.
5. What to do when Accidents Happen
You're at the bach, all is going well, then all of a sudden the kids decide to use the paint set they got for Christmas on the carpet - unbeknown to you - and Aunty Karen has dropped a glass of red wine in the middle of the lounge floor.
Don't panic - accidents happen.
The key is to have a plan of action when the unexpected occurs. Download out FREE stain guide below, which outlines the best ways to deal with each type of stain. That way, by the time the property manager checks you out, there will be no stain in sight and your bond will be returned to you straight away.