The vacation rental agreement is a lease for a short term tenant seeking to occupy a residence for the a period of usually a few days. The document outlines the rules and regulations for the property and the rent broken down night-by-night. The contract, like any landlord-tenant agreement, must follow all applicable State laws and if the housing structure was built before 1978 it must be furnished along with the Lead Based Paint Disclosure Form.
What is a Vacation Rental Agreement?
A vacation rental agreement is simply a contract between the property owner and the renter. It is similar to a lease agreement for an apartment, except a vacation rental agreement only covers the short period of time your guests are renting your property.
A vacation rental agreement spells out the responsibilities of the owner and those of the guests. For example, the owner agrees to make sure the renters have a key to enter the premises. The renters agree not to do anything illegal on the property.
Once the responsibilities are listed, a good vacation rental agreement also lists the penalties for breaking any of the rules. It may give you the right to cancel a booking, or require the renter to pay your costs for repairing any damages that resulted from their violation of the terms of the agreement.
When to Use a Vacation Rental Agreement
Having a vacation rental agreement doesn’t do you any good unless you use it. Any time you are going to be renting out your property to someone else, both sides should sign an agreement. Even if the website you use to attract bookings has its own terms of service, you should still have guests sign your rental agreement.
You should use a vacation rental agreement regardless of how short the booking is. Even a one night stay can result in a lot of headaches and damages. You want to make sure you are protected. A vacation rental agreement should also be used even when renting your property to your friends. While this may seem awkward, it gives you the maximum legal protection, and can help protect your friendship by spelling out what is not acceptable on your property.
The only time a vacation rental agreement is not appropriate is if you are renting to someone with the intention of them living there long-term. In that case you will want a formal lease agreement.
How to Use a Vacation Rental Agreement
You want to have your renters sign the vacation rental agreement before they enter the property. The easiest thing to do is to email the agreement to the guest and have them sign it beforehand. Sites like Airbnb allow you to upload your own vacation rental agreement through their portal as part of the renting process.
You can also always meet your guests at the property and have them sign the agreement before handing over the keys. It is important that you do not surprise your guests with a vacation rental agreement. Let them know in advance that they will be required to sign the agreement. Most people will expect to have to sign something. You should also make sure both you and the renter have a signed copy of the agreement.
Creating a vacation rental agreement may not be glamorous, but is an essential part of protecting your interests when renting out your property.