I am hoping for some sound advice here. We have a short term vacation rental that we rented out to a family that recently moved to Hawaii. They paid in advance to stay for 1.5 months. We check in with them every few days to see how they were settling and they reported everything being great. 1 week later the woman says she thinks a mouse got into the house. I told them we live in rural Hawaii (which I mentioned to her prior to move in that it is wild and rustic here) and things need to be kept clean and decluttered and no food should be left out and spills cleaned. We keep the house immaculate for that reason. I did not question her and gave her a mouse trap. She said it didn;t work and she didn't catch him, but it was no big deal. I gave her a different kind of trap and had no report for several days. They told me days later that the trap was broken and they needed a piece of wire to fix it. I gave them the wire and asked where they thought we were getting in and offered to come and told them we would come the following day to investigate potential openings and seal them.
The following day I get a panicked text message saying they have a rodent infestation and it's horrible and they trapped a mouse and ran one over in their car and they hear them on the roof. We arrive prepared to take apart the roof and do the repairs and investigate their situation. The woman (who I believe was putting on an act) freaked out and said we can't do it because rat poop will fall from the ceiling and they could all die from inhaling it and they were moving out that second and they wanted a refund for the days they are not staying. My husband agreed that after we had a chance to investigate we would refund them. They left and then sent an email demanding the money.
My husband took the roof peak apart and sealed everything off finding no signs of infestation. We open the door for the first time and find our organic eco-cottage covered in poison rat baits, roach baits and open mothballs everywhere. The place wreaks of noxious gases from the mothballs and the smell remains even after cleaning. According to my research they were used in a way that is not safe or legal and should always be placed in closed containers where fumes cannot escape. Upon further investigation, their son's bedroom smelled strongly of urine. We moved the bed to continue cleaning and found PILES of wet filthy diapers and garbage (x-large size as the son is 8 years old) covered in roaches. I have not contacted them about this yet. We cannot rent it because of the smell of the moth balls still remains.
I believe that they did potentially have a mouse or 2 in the home but no infestation. They accused us of putting them out on the streets when they left on their own volition. Immediately after repairing the roof my husband said there was no infestation and they are welcome to move back in, but we need to withhod funds for 30 days because we already paid the mortgage bill. This was before we saw the condition of our home.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this? I am a very nice and fair person and I feel that they are trying to dominate and take advantage of the situation. They probably found something cheaper or decided to live in their camper van to save money as she was complaining about money even before moving in. Should I just let it go and refund their money to avoid further complications or what?
Feeling a little frazzled and walked on at the moment.
Thanks for any sage wisdom offered in advance!