We’ve had some funny and not so funny stories about damage to our homes by au pairs who were clueless (at best), careless (most often) and intentionally destructive (nightmare). Everything from soaked ceilings under the au pair bathroom, to hair dye on the bathroom walls, to nail polish on the fancy sheets.
We have a decent handle on what to expect when an au pair damages a car…. usually we ask the au pair to pay half of all of the damage up to the $509 deductible, and we use insurance to cover the rest. (That’s the ‘official’ policy, anyway).
But damage to our homes is another story.
We don’t have a built-in mechanism like insurance with a deductible, and it doesn’t happen often enough that we have much experience. And, there are many shades of gray–
what’s reasonable ‘wear and tear’, and what’s outright damage?
This host mom writes with her question about damage to the au pair suite. Her au pair is still with them, so they still have time to address the situation. But, they are in rematch (early ending) since the relationship wasn’t going well. Thus, there are all the usual tensions related to frustration, anger, resentment, impending relief, and self-questioning, that have to be factored in before she knows how she wants to respond.
And, dear readers, she’d like advice from you.
I need some advice. We are new HPs who have ended our relationship with AP after 9 months. We’re one of those newbie HPs who ignored some major red flags in the beginning hoping our AP would turn around, but we just got emotionally drained dealing with AP as she continued to make the same serious mistakes in month 9 as she did in week 4 with our kids. So, we ended the match.
The AP had our in-law suite downstairs, and she really decided to make it her own space. It’s a pretty big room – in suite bathroom, bedroom and den. She covered nearly every square inch of wall space with posters of models, women working out, motivational sayings about weight lose, etc. Our AP is 21, but her room looks like that of a typical 14 year old (as you can see, lack of maturity was a big issue).
As her room became more cluttered, we were tempted to direct her to take down the things on the walls fearing what all of that tape would do to the walls. However, we knew she had some major self-esteem issues, and we had some performance issues that were more pressing that we were in the midst of addressing. Therefore, we decided to leave it alone, and let her carve out her own little space in our home.
As expected, upon taking down the posters in preparation for her departure, she damaged some of our wall space. Of course, the mature thing to do would be to come to us and let us know. But she has yet to say a word although we can clearly see the damage. This is not the first time our AP has damaged something in the house, and hoped that we wouldn’t notice.
What do other HPs do when an au pair has damaged the bedroom?
I’m sure there are APs who have damaged living space during their stay. The first time our AP damaged something she also tried to hide it, and when we found out, we dinged her pay for the repair cost. We will definitely point out the wall damage to her, but is this just the cost of having a non-considerate AP, or do HPs try to ding the cost of paint/repair from the weekly stipend?
At this point, we just want her out of the house, but curious as to how others would handle this situation … Thnx, 3/4HM
[3/4HM — be sure to read this post: Checkout Task List: Back by popular demand]
Something’s Missing: Not the GPS, but her sense of Responsibility
When fault is contested, who pays for damage to the car?
Can you guess what prompted this tip?
Your Au Pair’s Room: How much mess can you take?