Re: anyone using a web-based reservatoin system for guest rooms that accepts credit cards?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2014 07:06:18 -0700 (PDT)
On Jul 31, 2014, at 8:23 AM, Patricia Lautner <lautnerp [at]> 

> We charge everyone including friends and family.
> When the policy was originally under discussion (9 years ago) there was a
> lot of disagreement.  Some wanted friends and family to not be charged
> because after all, who charges their own brother a price per night when
> they come to visit?

We had not quite heated but many opposing views when a voluntary $25 fee was 

A big issue no one wanted to confront was that most households who used the 
guest rooms at all used it 4-7 days a year but one household used it 40 days. 
Some used it regularly on holidays but not other times. Some former residents 
and a couple of others would stay a month.

There were many proposals about how to distribute use. 

1. Give each household up to 4 days a year without paying. The days could be 
given to others. Compulsory pay for the rest.

2. Have a lottery for holidays.

3. Limit stays to 10 days.

4. Give points to each household which could be used as one point for non 
holidays and 2 points for holidays, or some such formula. 

5. Compulsory fees but spend 50% of them on cleaning and furnishing the guest 

Another issue was why pay for use of the guest rooms when people don't pay for 
use of the washing machines and dryers. (We were having regular repair bills 
because they were putting too much soap in the washer.) Or the workshop which 
few people used. Or the dining room when someone had weekly meetings or classes 
there for non-residents. 

We ended up with the path of least resistance: Reservations more than 4 months 
in advance have to be posted for objections, 10 day limit on stays, and 
voluntary contribution of $25 per night.

In some people's minds "voluntary" means "compulsory" but it isn't. I don't pay 
for family and close friends but do ask visitors themselves to pay when they 
aren't relatives but people who want to be in DC. My rationale is that I 
already pay for the guest rooms in my condo fees. And I only use them maybe 4 
days a year if that.

If the money went toward cleaning and furnishing, I would be elated and happy 
to pay. I often discourage people from staying, or don't invite them, because I 
don't want to clean up after them or even check the room to be sure they have 
cleaned. But I rarely use the guest rooms because I'm a terrible host. My 
daughter and friends prefer sleeping on my couch to sharing a bathroom with 

Until recently we only used hand-me down furnishings because we didn't spend 
much money on anything. The tide has turned and people are tired of other 
people not cleaning, so I think we will soon have a compulsory fee and spend it 
on a cleaner and furnishings. We currently have an annual budget for linens 
because they go missing. We recently found a set in the lost and found ready to 
go to the thrift shop. 

A cleaner would pay for themselves in many ways. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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