Minimizing Your Liabilities as a Vacation Rental Home Owner
If you own and operate a vacation rental home, Moxie Girl knows you already have plenty to think about – and that can lead to important details falling through the cracks. Heaven forbid something unfortunate happens on your property during a guest’s stay, but accidents do happen. Moxie Girl has a few tips – don’t we always? – to help protect yourself and your vacation rental home.
Proper Insurance is Essential!
Make an appointment with your insurance agent to discuss what the appropriate coverage is for your vacation rental property. Be sure to accurately disclose all details of your property and provide historical data if it is available regarding guest activity – such as the number of days rented per month, the average number of guests per stay, etc. – as all of this may affect coverage and rates.
Have an Air-tight Rental Agreement
All details regarding the terms of rental of your vacation home – check-in and check-out times, deposit requirements, late stay and extended-stay procedures, fees for damages and so forth – should all be stated clearly and concisely in your rental agreement.
Unless you are willing and prepared to deal with the aftermath, you should also make it clear that parties or events during guest stay(s), beyond reasonable and size-appropriate get-togethers with in- town friends or family, are prohibited, as well as any illegal activity.
By ensuring your guests understand what’s expected of them and what to expect of you, should there be an incident, you greatly increase the probability of your guests being more respectful of the rules and of your vacation rental home in general. If they aren’t, or just happen to have an accident, at least you’ll have some legal recourse or protection against liability.
What’s Your Sign?
We know you don’t want to overload guests with written instructions once they arrive – they are there on vacation after all, not for a reading assignment. But as we discussed in our fireside chat with Chad from Aquaman Pools, we strongly recommend posting a “pool rules” sign as close to the pool as possible. You can read our chat with Chad here
“No Diving, No Unattended Children or Pets, No Running on Pool Deck and NO GLASS in Pool Area” should always be included on your pool rules sign. Our blog, “Five Sizzling Tips for Vacation Rental Homes with Pools” has some suggestions for encouraging your guests to adhere to the No glass rule in particular! Posting pool rules may not only get you a break in premiums but may even be required by your insurance company or local statutes regarding vacation rental homes. At minimum, you will have peace of mind knowing you did your part to promote a safe experience for your guests.
While not required of course, posting simple, easy-to-follow instructions near any appliances that aren’t particularly user-friendly may be helpful to both you and your guests. A guest who can figure out how to start your fancy dishwasher, probably will – saving you time and effort in preparing for your next guests.
Many vacation rental homeowners keep a professional-looking binder prominently displayed in the home, which contains house rules, emergency numbers, Wi-Fi passwords and other pertinent info, and direct their guests in advance to check the binder for anything they may need to know. The binder is also a great place to keep any keys required for pool gates or laundry rooms. See our Moxie blog “That’s a Nice Touch!” for more ways to make your guests feel welcome and comfortable.
Technology: Good and Good for You!
From keyless entry systems to lockable thermostats, technology is at the ready to help protect your vacation rental home investment. Old-fashioned lockboxes can be tricky and if the code isn’t scrambled after opening or closing, the keys inside are vulnerable and may be used to gain an authorized entry by anyone. You also give your guests one less thing to keep track of by installing a keyless entry system on your property.
Many keyless systems can have multiple entry codes (for example one for your guests, and one for your cleaning crew or other service crews) and can be accessed, monitored and controlled from your smartphone.
As we pointed out in our blog “Tips for a Successful Summer as a Vacation Rental Homeowner” a lockable thermostat prevents your guests from excessive AC use, lowering your power bill and keeping your AC unit operating at its most efficient.
Maintenance and Repairs
Many of us work around “issues” in our personal residences for a variety of reasons. We know to step over that loose tile at the top of the stairs, or maybe we’ve just been too busy to take a hammer to that carpet tack that has made its way to the surface of the bedroom threshold. However, those little issues should not go unattended when it comes to your vacation rental home!
Conduct a thorough walk-through of your property on a regular basis and take care of any issues that may have come up. Those walk-throughs are also a great time to do monthly maintenance like changing AC or water filters in the home. By keeping your vacation rental home meticulously maintained, you lower the chances of any incidents or injuries on your property – and increase the probability of a great guest review!
Need help with your vacation rental home? From expert set-up to professional cleaning, Moxie Girl leads the way in quality, reliable care for your vacation rental property. Contact us for a free consultation and see what Moxie Girl can do for you!