It’s important to create a rental agreement for your vacation rental business so that you can get everything in writing from your guests. You should clearly outline the expectation for you and for your renters so there are no disputes down the road.
Below are 10 must-haves for your vacation rental contract:
1. Maximum Occupancy and Age Requirements. When going through the screening process for your vacation rental guests, you should be able to determine a rough estimate for their age and how many people will be staying in your vacation property. However, your vacation rental agreement should remind renters of your rules for required parental supervision of designated age groups, along with the maximum occupancy of your home in case they are considering bringing any extra guests.
2. Check-in and Checkout Dates & Times. To coordinate your cleaning and housekeeping duties, you’ll need to clearly communicate the check-in and checkout dates and times. In the event of early arrival, the house might not be clean and could result in complaints. If your guests stay too late, your housekeeper might not have time to sufficiently clean your vacation home before the next group arrives. Your renters should be made aware of these important times, and your vacation rental lease should state the penalties if these times are not observed.
3. Cancellation policy. Your vacation rental contract should spell out the penalties according to the time frame in the event that a renter needs to cancel his or her reservation. As the date of the reservation nears, it will be increasingly more difficult to fill those dates with other renters. Therefore, the penalties should be higher as the date approaches.
4. Total payment due. You can not rely on your renters to write down prices from your vacation rental listing or during a phone conversation. The total rental rate, including all fees and taxes, should be included in your vacation rental contract.
5. Payment schedule. Just because the renters know the cost of your property does not mean they know your deadlines. Your vacation rental contract should provide a timeline for payment due dates, including deposits.
6. Pet Policy & Smoking Policy. It is up to you to let renters know about restrictions regarding pets or smoking at your vacation property. Just because a renter says that he doesn’t plan to bring a pet, you should still spell out your rules in your vacation rental agreement in case he changes his mind. Also, it cannot be assumed that people will be simply know to not smoke in your home. Your vacation rental lease should define the penalties if it is determined that a renter has smoked inside your vacation rental.
7. Checkout Policy. As soon as your renters arrive at your vacation home you should tell them what is expected at the time of checkout. Let them know in your vacation rental contract whether they need to wash sheets, take out trash, etc., so there is no confusion on the day of checkout.
8. Weather policies. Vacation rental owners should use their vacation rental agreement as a form of protection in the event of inclement weather or Acts of God. Spell out your storm and hurricane policy up front to avoid disagreements about refunds later on.
9. Requirements for security deposit refund. When renters pay the security deposit for your vacation rental, they should be aware of what is covered and what is expected of them in order to receive a full refund. Your vacation rental agreement should also explain the penalties for violating these rules.
10. Your contact information. Although it seems obvious, your vacation rental contract should include all of your contact information and emergency contact information, including the address of the vacation rental home.
Your vacation rental agreement should be as specific as possible and include detailed information to protect yourself and your renters.