How to Create a Vacation Rental Contract Here are the top 10 things to include in your vacation rental agreement form: 1. Contact information. Although it seems obvious, your vacation rental agreement should include all of your relevant contact information, including the address of the vacation rental property. 2. Pet & Smoking Policies. It is your responsibility to let renters know about restrictions regarding pets or smoking. 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 contract in case he changes his mind. Also, it cannot be assumed that people will be courteous enough to not smoke in your home. Your vacation rental agreement form should define the penalties if it is determined that a renter has smoked in your home. 3. Age and Maximum Occupancy. When screening your renters, you should be able to determine a rough estimate for their age and how many people will be staying in your property. However, your vacation rental contract should remind renters of your rules regarding required parental supervision for designated age groups, along with the maximum occupancy of your home in case they are considering bringing any extra guests. 4. Check-in/Checkout Times. Clear communication of the check-in and checkout dates and times is important, especially for coordinating the cleaning/housekeeping duties. If your guests arrive early, the house might not be clean and could result in complaints. If your guests stay too long, your housekeeper might not have time to sufficiently clean your home before the next group of renters. Your renters should be made aware of these important times, and your vacation rental lease agreement should state the penalties if these times are not followed. 5. Total bill. You can not rely on your renters to write down prices from your property's website or during a phone conversation. The total rental rate, including all applicable fees and taxes, should be included in your vacation rental lease. 6. Payment schedule. Just because the renters know the cost of your property does not mean they know when to pay! Your vacation rental lease agreement should provide a timeline for payments, including deposits. 7. Cancellation policy. In the event that a renter needs to cancel his or her reservation, your vacation rental contract should spell out the penalties according to the time frame. As the date of the reservation gets closer, it will be increasingly more difficult to fill those days with other renters. Therefore, the penalties should be higher as the date nears. 8. Checkout Policy. Before your renters even arrive at your home you should tell them what is expected of them at the time of checkout. Let them know in your vacation rental agreement form whether they need to take out trash, wash sheets, etc., so there is no confusion on the day of checkout when it really matters! 9. Provisions of damage deposit refund. When renters pay the damage deposit for your vacation home, they should be aware of what is covered and what is expected of them in order to receive a full refund. Your vacation rental contract should also explain the penalties for violating these provisions. 10. Storm policies. Vacation homeowners should use their vacation rental lease as a form of protection in the event of inclement weather. Spell out your storm and hurricane policy up front to avoid disagreements about refunds down the road. This list is just a starting point for your vacation rental contract. Be as specific as possible and include detailed information to protect yourself and your renters. Leah Carroll is the Assistant Editor of the HomeAway.com Owner Community, a great resource for vacation rental home owners featuring educational articles, vacation rental news, owner polls, monthly newsletters, and a weekly internet radio show by bestselling author Christine Karpinski. Or if you're looking for a vacation home to rent, browse Vacation Rentals on HomeAway.com.
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