Starting your own business means creating ways of protecting yourself, your property, and your clients from questionable behavior or damage. Just as much as you want to protect yourself you want your clients to know exactly what their expectation of you should be and what you expect out of them while renting your property. One way to do this is to create a short-term rental agreement. This post will breakdown what that agreement means, what it consists of, and how to make one personalized for your vacation home rental business.
What is a Short-Term Rental Agreement?
Rental agreements set the expectations for both you and your guests. It provides a sense of security for everyone involved and clearly defines the rules and policies you wish to set it place for your home prior to your guest’s stay. Rental agreements are for the protection of the property owners as well as renters.
When should a rental agreement be used?
A rental agreement should be used anytime you are renting your property out – no matter how long or short your guest’s stay will be.
How to use a rental agreement:
You want your rental agreement signed before you hand over the keys to your property. Usually, the easiest way to do this is to email the Short-Term Rental Agreement to your future renter and have them sign and send it back before the date of their stay (if you are using a host site like Airbnb and VRBO you can upload your agreement directly to your profile so it becomes part of the portal through which people rent your home).
If emailing the agreement is not an option you can always meet your renters at the property when they check-in for their stay. Most people will know they need to sign some sort of agreement before their stay, but some will not, so make sure you let your renters know they will have to sign a Short-Term Rental Agreement upon arrival so they are not caught off-guard.
What should be included in your rental agreement?
There are many things you can add to your rental agreement but here are some key elements:
🔸The start and end date of your guest’s stay
🔸Your rates and payment options
🔸 Maximum capacity
🔸 Cancellation policy
🔸Check in and out procedures, including the earliest time they can show up by and the time they are expected to leave by.
🔸House rules (be specific here, don’t leave any room for “interpretation”), this is where you will put things like where your guests can and cannot smoke and the fine you will charge if they are caught smoking in an area other than the designated spot. You can also include rules on pets, occupancy, and type of use (no wild and crazy parties).
🔸Owner Provisions – What items will be provided [# beds, basic toiletries, wifi, cable, hot tub, parking, etc.]
🔸A space for signatures and dates – both for you [the owner] and the renter.
We hope this gives you an idea of what to include in your rental agreement. Putting together rental agreements is definitely not the most glamorous task, but is essential to owning a vacation rental property and renting your home out.
For those of you who already have rental agreements for their property, what kind of things have your included?