If you’re a vacation rental owner or looking to become one, there are several steps to consider. While renting out all or a part of your home is a great way to earn some extra cash, first and foremost, you’ll want to protect yourself from any liability, potential theft or damage to your property.
We have all heard horror stories about renting to nightmare tenants but rest assured, the negative stories you hear tend to be rarer. Being a rental owner means trusting a total stranger with something you value. We’re here to provide you with a few tips that can help you protect your property and enjoy the additional money coming in with peace of mind.
Post specific rules and guidelines
Anticipating the behaviour of potential renters is not easy, so it’s a good idea to take your time preparing your rental agreement, for example:
- Create a rental agreement with very clear and specific rules.
- Collect a security deposit or property damage protection waiver.
As the property owner, you’re allowed to ask potential renters for more information via profiles, email or even through a phone call. The few minutes you would spend on the phone talking with a potential guest will help you get a better sense of what they may be like in your property.
If you plan to list your rental property on different sites, there may be rules in place that restrict phone calls until after your home is booked. Listing sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo require renters to set up a profile and they offer renters additional services as well.
Take your time to learn about your options and what makes you the most comfortable in terms of security. After all, it is your property and how you feel is most important.
Install home security such as surveillance or external video cameras
Home security is very common these days, and it’s a useful way to keep track of who comes and goes in your rental property, in addition to a few other benefits:
- It can help you manage the property long-distance.
- It may help relieve you of any liability for dangerous behaviour that takes place.
- Many security systems can be connected to your phone or computer.
- If an alarm is triggered, you will receive a notification to check your cameras.
- If you plan to feature the property on listing sites such as Airbnb, its policies will come into play. Some sites prohibit the use of security cameras or recording device unless you disclose it ahead of time to guests.
Keep your property clean and tidy
Guests do not want to rent a property that is messy, dirty or cluttered. It’s important to showcase your property in the most appealing way, highlighting all the features available - having a clean home is part of that.
If you photograph your home one way, guests will expect that. Investing in good housekeeping is one of the best things you can do for your vacation rental business.
Here are some tips:
- Hire a reputable cleaning company to maintain the cleanliness of your property.
- Include the service as part of your rental fee.
- If your guests stay long term, refer them to your preferred cleaning service.
The Pro-Con list
Advantages of owning a vacation rental property:
- You can earn extra income.
- Since owning a vacation property is considered a business for tax purposes, you can write off some of your expenses.
- You may use your vacation rental property as a retirement home someday.
Disadvantages of owning a vacation rental property:
- You have to manage the property - upkeep, maintenance and frequent cleaning is not only expected, but required.
- You need to dedicate time to marketing your property.
- Finding reputable tenants may also require a time investment.
Make sure you are well insured
Insurance is an important part of renting out your property, so take care to find a policy that will provide the best property and liability coverage. Accidents happen and even if someone doesn’t damage your home, they could injure themselves, and you could be found liable. At BrokerLink, our insurance experts will take the time to learn about you, your property and inform you of your options. Contact us today to learn more!
Vacation property FAQs
Will insurance cover vandalism to my vacation rental property?
Theft, vandalism and burglary are all scary risks that come into play when renting out your vacation rental property. At BrokerLink, our experts will discuss the risks you take on as a property owner and provide guidance about what you need for your policy so they can customize it to your unique situation.
Where should I set up security cameras in and around my vacation property?
Many home owners put security cameras at the front, back and any side doors. This allows you to monitor who is coming and going. It will also alert you in the event of a potential robbery. You may also put cameras in common areas or stairways. It’s important to note that if you market your property through various sites, there may be policies in place regarding use of security cameras. If someone is renting from you, you should disclose that you have security cameras on the property.
What kind of insurance do I need for a vacation rental property?
Depending on your unique needs, there are many ways BrokerLink insurance experts will help to insure your property. Whether it’s through Vacation Property Insurance, homeowners or the landlord insurance policy, your insurance advisor will take the time to learn more about your needs and provide recommendations that make sense for your circumstances.