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Renters

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by photoatdv, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Quick Q (will add details later).

    What does it take to prove that an outside renter damaged equiptment and are responsible for the repairs?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2009
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Ever rented a car? Walked around the car with the agent noting existing damage?

    The same could/should be done immediately prior to any group taking possession of a facility. Also, it is the responsibility of the Facility Manager/TD/SM/Key Jockey to prevent damage to the venue before it happens. In the case of an accident, an "Incident Report" should be filed as soon as practically possible. Cellphone photos are excellent documentation to reinforce the written report.

    The Rental Agreement contract should specify how these things are to be settled.
     
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  3. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    Hopefully the renter in question furnished insurance (for my facility, we require a $1 million dollar rider). The key here is to file a claim quickly.
     
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  4. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Okay, that makes sense, maybe I should suggest it. I'm 99% sure we don't do that because I've worked on these outside group shows and its pretty much just show up and anyone from the school who's there runs around going no, no, no.

    Also this was a piece of equiptment(a followspot) that was not (to the best of our knowledge) going to be used. In fact I'm not sure if the used it or just broke it while moving/ looking for other stuff.

    We noticed this after they were gone, but before any other show took place. If there was any type of pre event inspection, this would not have been included because it wasn't supposed to be used. From who I've talked to, the staff at the show were not in the storage area to have seen them with the light or break it. However about 2 weeks before said outside group came in, this light was repaired and the pieces that are now missing were in place. There is at least myself and the guy who fixed it as witnesses (there may also be a teacher that saw it, I haven't talked to him yet). None of the shows that took place between when the light was fixed and when the renters came in used this light or messed with it.

    Does this sound like something that could be proved? If so, what do I need to document/ present to the school officials? I already have an email from the guy that fixed it confirming that the pieces were there. Before I realized that there were pieces missing I worked with the light a little, but I haven't done anything with it since I realized that they had damaged it.

    Didn't see your post until I had posted this-- So I should get on it now? Not wait until I can talk to more people to find out what happened.
     
  5. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Occupation:
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    We require our organization to be listed as "an additional insured" on the renters insurance policy for the entire time they are renting / using the facility (for the weekend, or the week, etc.). We only accept policies that alow us to be the secondary as far as liability is concerned. In our case this means that we can make a claim on their policy since we are listed on it. The renter's policy kicks in BEFORE ours does, so we are at less of a risk of having to file a claim with our insurer. Just like theatretechguy, our contract requires $1,000,000 coverage. A well written contract, proper supervision, traning, and good procedures help prevent anything from happening in the first place, but no system is full proof.

    I do not think you have much of a chance of getting them to pay based on the info you provided since there were no real witnesses. It could have just as easily been done by a someone trespassing / vandalizing at another time, since there was such a gap in time that goes unaccounted for (at least that is what they would argue).

    ~Dave
     
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  6. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    Opps............ I'm now feeling like an idiot!

    The guy who fixed it had originally told me that the main thing that we were going to go after them over was working then remembered it wasn't. Unfortunately though there were other things that they did do to it (assuming he's right about the other stuff), but none of it could be proved. (The thing we were going to go after them over was missing pieces.) The teacher who has control over this piece of equiptment said that though he would LOVE to get them for something finally (they've kinda been trashing our theatre and equiptment for years, but pay a bunch in rent that never goes to the theatre and we haven't been able to get them to pay for damage yet)

    So thanks guys, but nothing is happening now since it was half misunderstanding/ half unprovable.
     
  7. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Trying to prove that the renter did the damage will be very difficult because it sounds like you didn’t do a “walk-through” of the facility with the renter. (That two week gap creates a lot of uncertainty.) It also sounds like the renter had the run of the facility and access to much of your equipment regardless of what their initial plans were. It also sounds like there was not enough over-seeing by your personnel.

    On top of this, it sounds like the renter changed their plans and may not have been supervising their personnel very well.

    (This, of course, is water over the dam. But it gives you an opportunity to revise your own procedures.)

    If it’s not too late, try talking to the renter as civilly as possible. Their first response will be that they didn’t do any damage, but if you keep the conversation professional and business-like, then you should be able to get the renter to check with their personnel. Maybe (and it could take several days), a guilty party will confess. If they did the damage, maybe it was done unknowingly by someone who couldn’t recognize the damage for what it was.

    Other considerations are: how often you do business with this renter; how often you want to continue doing business with this renter; is this renter “connected” with other members of your organization; could the damage have been done by someone else.

    Your next recourse would be to not rent to them again, or charge them higher rates, or require them to pay for more of your personnel to be on-site when they rent. In addition, maybe you need to modify your procedures and/or rental agreements to include over-seeing by your own staff.


    Joe
     
  8. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    To echo what Joe has said, it sounds like your own organization needs to make some better choices when it comes to outside renters. In my situation, the theatre gets no direct money from renters, it goes to the school district, who pays for things like.. the electricity, gas, my annual budget, things like that. I think it's a perfectly acceptable situation. When the A/C unit goes out and needs replacement to the tune of $750,000.00, I think they are in their right place to do what they do.

    If they have a long history of trashing the building, those need to be reported to the powers-that-be each and every time. If somebdoy leaves my theatre trashed, they get billed for extra overtime custodial (not cheap!). If these policies are not in place, or more importantly, enforced, your facility will continue to get trashed and your equipment wrecked. Passive agressively setting your renters up for failure is unprofessional (leaving rooms unlocked, unsupervised). I've seen so many facilities run this way and they frankly bring these kinds of things upon themselves.
     
  9. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Depending on your school or district, you may be able to change that. When I was hired we received nothing from rentals, and we now get a small cut (5% or 10%, I forget which) to help pay for lamps, gels, and eventual replacement of equipment from general wear and tear. This seems to be a very common issue in schools where bean counters don't realize what actually goes into the operation of a theater.
     
  10. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    In my case any damage/repair time would be added to the users bill. the renter would not be able to schedule another performance till the bill was paid. if their was any dispute as to damage responsability that would be turned over to the facility adminstrators to discuss with the renter. (a good admin is worth his weight in gold)
    we strictly enforce the insurance requirements, (the school district business department cuts no slack on that)
    rental income goes directly into the district general operating fund. I have a modest operations budget for lamps, color, tools, supplies and equipment.
     
  11. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    I know of a number of theaters that don't let you rent the facility without also including at least some of their staff being present. In fact you might want to check if your insurance requires any supervision or oversight during use of the facilities. And I would definitely look into the ideas such as verifying their liability coverage and having the school or school district named as insured. Think about what happens if a user or even an audience member is injured during, or as a direct result of, their use, would the school still be liable?
     
  12. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    There were two staff people present, however only 1 had ANY technical training (and he knows little beyond what's required for a ceremony or band concert). All of the technical stuff is therefore left to the 'professionals' the outside group brings in. Any outside group must hire the two people from the school, but they have the option to either hire student techs or bring in professionals. They are not under any circumstances allowed to use their own volunteers however -- try enforcing that one when half the industry is freelance and there is not sort of certification that would apply!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
  13. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    That's a bit scary that there is no resident tech staff present at these functions who is familiar with the building the equipment. Who "takes care" of the building? (Please don't say custodians!)
     
  14. photoatdv

    photoatdv Active Member

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    "Ah, a theatre needs to be taken care of..." School's attitude.
     
  15. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    unfortunatly that attitude usualy will not change until somthing bad happens.
     
  16. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    My school district requires $1,000,000 insurance and an event manager hired for each event. However, if any technical equipment is used, a student tech must be hired as well. (As many as needed).
    You can't even submit a PAC use Application without proof of insurance from the company. (Makes sense as we are a school.
    On another note, our student techs maintain most of the PAC and equipment. Because I want to keep it properly maintained, I always make a point of telling my crew we are the facility crew, not drama club.
     
  17. renegadeblack

    renegadeblack Active Member

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    Our school requires the typical $1,000,000 and requires the hiring of student techs for the shows, depending on who it is and how much cash they'll be raking in effects (affects?) how much we charge or if we charge. In the past we have had issues with things being broken and in the past, the IT department was in charge of turning on sound equipment and promptly leaving (if it's on a Friday, all of the sound equipment will be on all weekend!). Now that I think about it, I don't believe that our school has any sort of official signed document for the renters that details what they can and can't do.

    As for the issue at hand, I would think that the renter should be responsible for whatever is reported to be broken, they should ask to do a once over with someone, but that's just me.

    As for using equipment that wasn't requested... we had a dreaded school of dance who crawled into a cove (the doors on ground level were locked) and took down a spotlight and brought it into the booth to be used. Fortunately, nothing of that stuff was broken, but some sound equipment was. The sound rack is now locked and everyone who could possibly need a key has one (including some of us students, mainly because we bought the locks). Back when this occurred, we didn't have a TD so we couldn't do anything. Now, we students are notified of when there's an event and we work it, which the IT department likes because they don't have to do anything!
     

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