Tips For Preparing A Vacation Home Rental Agreement

I have encountered many vacation home owners who rent without a written contract. They do so at their own risk. Although the majority of vacation renters are very good, and go out of there way to keep your property in order, it just takes one bad renter incident or one misunderstanding that can really spell trouble.

For example, I had an experience where 12 people showed up to rent an island rental home that only specified an occupancy limit of 6 in the advertising and contract. A dozen people in a smaller place can put a lot of wear and tear on the property, not to mention utility use. If there had not been an occupancy limit in the contract, it would have been more difficult to enforce, and ask the additional people to find another place. Another reason to have an occupancy limit is to restrict large parties in the vacation home. You many not want renters to hold parties of fifty people in your 4-6 capacity person home for weddings, reunions, etc.

Rely on personal experiences to help customize your contract. I did encounter a short-term renter who re-arranged the furniture around and put all the knickknacks in the closet. It was a hassle to move everything back to its original order. Now I include the phrase in our contracts, "re-arranging the furniture or decor is not allowed".

All rental agreements may differ a little, but there are some items that should be essential to your vacation rental contract:

Payment Terms

Security Deposit & Refund Policy

Cancellation Policy (to include no-shows, late arrivals & early departures)

Check-in and Check-out times

Occupancy Limit

Care of Property, Furniture, Appliances (don 't move furniture around)

Cleaning Policy, Trash Removal

Policy of Keeping Home Secure (locked when away)

Other considerations might be a pet policy or a smoking policy.

I recommend that you always consult with an attorney first to review your rental contract to make sure it is in compliance with local and state government regulations or any association regulations, and to make sure it covers all necessary issues to protect yourself as a property owner.

By: Tamara Camden