If you have a vacation rental property, you need vacation rental rules. It is that simple. Many would-be investors enter the market with daydreams about huge profits, fully booked rentals and the chance to enjoy a vacation now and then. Rules may seem like over-kill, but without them, you may find that you are putting your investment at risk. Whether it is important safety rules, equally essential regulations that pertain to an apartment complex, or even small but still worth noting guidelines on noise or damages, you will need to provide your guests with some basic rules.
If you are attempting to go it alone without any type of management, rules are something you cannot afford to overlook. Even if you have invested in vacation rental management however, rules are still essential. In this mini guide, we take a look at some of the most important vacation rental rules, to see why you need them for your investment.
Why You Need Vacation Rental Rules
Think about this scenario for a second: you have booked out your villa for a few days, to a large family travelling on their annual break. There are a few kids, but none of them are small children. There are enough adults to keep things under control. What could possibly go wrong? On the first day, one of the kids accidentally breaks a window, playing soccer in the garden. When you arrive to sort out repairs, you find that your guests have invited additional guests, who are crashing in the living room. Someone has been smoking inside, the couch looks like it has a cigarette burn on the armrest and your next door neighbours are getting ready to complain about the noise your guests have been making.
This is obviously a worst case scenario. It also illustrates exactly why vacation rental rules are needed. Simply put, your guests need clear guidelines on what they can and cannot do during their stay. These rules protect you against damage, theft, loss and other issues (including legal issues that may arise in the case of complex regulations that are not adhered to). Some of the most commonly used rules include the following:
- Smoking. Not smoking indoors is a global rule that guests should have no trouble following, as it applies to almost every accommodation all over the world. To enforce this rule, simply state clearly that smoking is not permitted, and include any penalties that may incur should guests not follow this rule. It may be harder to enforce a no smoking outdoors rule.
- Maximum occupancy. This can be a tricky one to enforce, but again, stating clearly the maximum number of guests for each property, before stating the penalty for going above this number is your best bet. If you clearly define the maximum, you will be covered. If this is not made clear, your guests will be able to fill your villa to bursting point without the risk of penalty.
- Pets and kids. Be very clear on your policies regarding pets and children. If your property is not child-friendly, make this clear in your listing, too. If you do not state your policies, you may find that guests will assume it is fine to bring the family dog.
- Guests of guests. Be very clear on your policies regarding guests of guests. Are your guests allowed to invite other people to the property? To visit during the day is one thing, but if those guests plan to stay overnight, it quickly gets complicated.
- Damages. You will need to outline very clear policies on breakages and property damage. Make sure that they include everything from homeware (dishes, cups, furniture, appliances etc) to the property itself (paint, windows, doors, locks, garden, swimming pool, hot tub etc).
- Complex rules. If your property is an apartment, you will need to follow the complex regulations. Noise may not be permitted after a certain point, communal pools may only be used at certain times and various other rules may apply to parking, visitors, smoking and any number of other situations.
- General rules. Over and beyond these rules, you will also need to include some of the more obvious rules. These include policies on drugs, alcohol, theft and any other illegal activities.
The simplest way to navigate the sometimes stressful waters of vacation rental rules is to work with a dedicated vacation rental manager who will provide (and enforce) rules to all guests on your behalf. Property managers have ample experience in managing different types of rental properties. As such, you will be able to enjoy full peace of mind knowing that rules for your property are set from the very start. This will prevent the risk of problem guests, while leaving you free to enjoy your investment without the stress of policing it day in and day out.