Not all vacation rental guests are charming and sweet, and not all are as nasty as the guests in Airbnb horror stories; however, you never know what’s in store for you and who your guests really are. As having a word before is worth two after, it is a must for every property manager to set the ground rules and have a well-written set of vacation rental house rules to make their guests clear about their expectations and save their short term rental business form likely future headaches.
Your House, Your Rules
People have to follow your rules as long as they live under your roof. It is on you as a host to clearly state the terms and conditions of your house and explain them to the guests thoroughly in an as-explicit-as-possible, clear and easy to understand language that doesn’t leave any space for confusion, ambiguity or interpretation. The guests must completely understand what is expected of them, and what the possible penalties are in case they break your vacation rental house rules. As a landlord or property manager, you should also decide on the tone of the rules and where and when to hand them in to your guests so that they understand how serious and significant they are to you.
House rules can be pretty typical general requirements of every property or the rules that you set with regards to particular features and amenities of your rental based on your previous experience. However, there are a set of certain house rules that all vacation rentals or serviced apartments should address to avoid incidents, troublemakers and property damages. Not sure what to include in your house rules? Here are the most significant points every vacation rental house rules must have.
Check-in and Check-out Instructions
You most probably provide your guests with all sorts of information they need regarding check-in and check-out times, arrangements and key handover in your regular communications with them, yet it is always worth mentioning plainly once more in the house manual. Bear in mind to set some precise rules for early check-ins and late check-outs. For example, you can set a fee for late check-outs on a per hour basis.
Safety and Security
Your rental’s security is a non-negligible issue, and the security rules should be a top priority on the list of your house rules. Your guests must be fully informed about how to use the swimming pool or the barbecues or lighting a fire in the back yard safely. If your property is a non-smoking place, and smoking inside the house is not permitted, they must know where they are allowed to smoke. Make sure to remind your guests to keep the windows and doors locked at nighttime and when they go out, but be careful not to scare them.
Respecting the Neighbors
Maintaining a good relationship with neighbours is key to keeping your short term rental business stay ahead. Make sure your guests respect neighbourhood rules such as not making excessive noise during the specified quiet hours and avoiding parking in the neighbours’ driveways. Detail any rules about shared areas and amenities like yard, parking, gym or patio in your vacation rental house rules.
Be sure to list the ‘no partying rule’ almost on top of your house manual if you don’t want to find your rental in a mess, pay a few thousand pounds for your apartment’s repairs or feel completely violated by a bunch of partygoers. To have a complaint-free experience, ensure you clearly state rules regarding the occupancy limits and the prohibition of unregistered visitors. Require your guests to ask for a written permission to have overnight guests.
Damages and Breakages
Notify your guests that you will charge them should there be any damages to the property and its furnishings or loss of the keys, and that they are responsible to let you know about damaged or broken things during their stay right away. Your rule regarding the missing items should be clearly specified as well. Inform them that the property will be thoroughly inspected for damages by your staff after their departure and the security deposit will be used to compensate for the possible incurred damages.
In case you don’t want to pick up your property with the heating set to 27° C during a day in early October, you can set some utility usage imitations. Your guests are responsible for following your energy-saving instructions and can use the utilities up to a specific amount and will be billed for exceeding it.
Cleanliness as a Vacation Rental House Rule
Be specific about the cleanliness orders and your guests’ responsibilities during their stay. If you want your guests to take out the trash, give them instructions on where to dispose of litter, and the recycling and the trash collection procedures in your area. Ask your guests to keep your property in a good condition unless they want to pay the extra cleaning fees. To keep the cleaning fees low, you can ask your guests not to eat outside the kitchen and not to move the furniture.
Children and Pets
You can boost your property’s revenue and occupancy rate by letting little vacationers and their four-legged friends stay in; however, include your age limitations and the number of kids allowed at one stay and the restrictions regarding pets, their types and sizes in your vacation rental house rules.
Setting the right house rules is indisputable to keep your rental and your guests safe as they will help your guests understand what you expect from them and what will happen in case of the breach of the rules. Don’t let your gut feelings and your success over the years of rental deceive you; get down to the business of writing a set of firm yet friendly rules. Remember to keep your house manual short and sweet so that your guests won’t be put off. Take into consideration to revise your list from time to time and add new rules when necessary. Make sure that your guests receive your vacation rental house rules at the right time and that they read them carefully from A to Z.