Even the pickiest hosts on the planet in accepting guests’ bookings have not been able to keep their vacation rentals away from trouble-making guests and the breakages and damages they cause. Trouble is the inseparable part of a vacation rental manager’s life as they rent their homes to strangers and don’t have the slightest clue who their guests really are.
As a result, the only move left for you as a smart property manager to save your short-term rental business from likely future headaches is laying a set of short-term rental rules that make your guests clear about your expectations. Explicitly listing your vacation house rules or any types of short-term rentals you manage can also have the following benefits for you:
A Smart Way to Evade Saying No
Most property managers have to give in even to their guests’ bizarre demands because they find it difficult to say no. These hosts desire to please their visitors and are afraid of how they might react to their refusal. Laying clear vacation house rules is an alternative to politely saying no to some guests’ requests.
For instance, breaking free from a guest asking to invite some friends over or throw a little party at your property is super-hard. However, when you have clearly stated the prohibition of staying-over guests and parties, you don’t need to explain why you are saying no, what your reasons are, or offer an apology for not refusing their request.
A Precaution to Avoid Conflicts
When you clearly state what your guests can and can’t do and what penalties they must expect if they break the rules, you close the doors on later disputes and don’t leave any space for confusion, ambiguity, interpretation, or simply saying ‘oh, sorry! We didn’t know.’ Besides, many online booking platforms like Airbnb will not support your claims without you having in place straightforward, meticulously-written rules.
A Measure to Save You Some Hassle
Informing your guests of your rentals’ do’s, and don’ts will save you from doing beyond-duty work and paying money more than necessary. As a vacation rental manager – of multiple properties, maybe – you have more than enough tasks to do and don’t need any burden imposed on you by rule-breaking guests.
Besides, a rental’s revenue can barely cover the normal wear and tear of your property, let alone the unexpected costs caused by damages and breakages.
Do Strict Vacation House Rules Scare Off My Guests?
People have to follow your rules as long as they stay at your property. Being a guest always carries some responsibilities. True, they are paying guests, but they must still meet the guest etiquette and treat your place with care and respect.
Every vacation rental host has to clearly state the terms and conditions of their house in an explicit, transparent, and easy to understand language with the most proper tone that doesn’t sound unwelcoming or offend the guests.
People staying at your rental will get your message differently based on the tone they receive it. Don’t write the instructions in a ‘hostile’ or ‘nagging’ manner and spice them up with a sense of humour, infographics, or smileys.
You should also decide where and when to hand in the rules to your guests to highlight their significance to you and make sure that your guests receive the rules at the right time and that they read them from cover to cover.
If you feel like there are many vacation house rules and it is difficult for your guests to remember them all, split them up. Mention some of the rules under your listing on OTAs or your direct booking website, present some during the check-in tour, or leave a few house rules in the form of little notes.
Here are 9 must-have vacation house rules every manager must have to save their properties from troubles, accidents, and property damages. We call them vacation house rules, but it doesn’t mean this set of rules doesn’t apply to serviced apartments, B&Bs, and other rental types!
1. Damages and Breakages Rules
Notify your guests that you will charge them for any damages to your property and its belongings. Clearly specify that the guests are responsible for missing items in the house and loss of the keys. Ask your guests to keep you informed of any damages or breakages during their stay as soon as they happen.
Patiently explain the possible damages that can lead to charges against their security deposit to compensate for the expenses.
Provide your guests with some instructions that will prevent likely accidents from happening. For example, remind them to rinse the dishes before loading the dishwasher so that it doesn’t get blocked up or don’t let their pets use your blankets.
2. Check-in and Check-out Instructions
One of the top priority rules your vacation rental house must have is all the information regarding the check-in and check-out times, arrangements, and the key handover, and all in a plain and polite language.
However, it is worth reminding your guests of your check-in and check-out instructions once more in your regular communications with them. Don’t forget to think of some rules for early check-ins and late check-outs for the guests who arrive earlier than expected or the ones who need to stay a few more hours.
3. Safety and Security Measures
The safety and security of your house and its guests should be one of your top concerns. As a result, include as many security measures as you need on the list of your vacation house rules to make sure it will be kept away from possible dangers.
An important vacation rental house rule is to provide your guests with safety instructions and danger signs to make them cautious about the swimming pool, bathtub, barbecues, or fireplace. Remind your guests to keep the windows and doors locked at night and when they are out. Ask them to take care of their personal belongings because you don’t accept any responsibility for theft or loss of their personal items.
4. Neighbourhood Prohibitions
Your short-term rental business can continue generating income only if you get along well with your neighbours. Set strict neighbourhood rules such as the prohibition of loud noises during the quiet hours, parking in the neighbours’ driveways, disposing of litter in odd places, and smoking in shared areas like yard, parking, gym, or patio.
5. Cleanliness Guidelines
Be specific about the cleanliness and housekeeping instructions of your house. Frankly explain your guests’ responsibilities during their stay, like recycling and taking out the trash. Tell them about the housekeeping routines and the extra cleaning fee conditions. Give them exact instructions for working with your cleaning appliances like the dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer.
6. Children and Pets Restrictions
Do you accept guests with kids and pets to increase your occupancy rate and maximise revenue? Don’t forget to specify some rules to these naughty visitors to keep your vacation rental from breakages and damages and your housekeeping staff from extra work.
Include age limitations and the number of kids allowed at one stay. Have some restrictions for pet types and sizes as well.
7. Number of Guests Staying
Explain the occupancy limits and prohibitions. Your guests most probably know that you do not welcome unregistered visitors; however, it never hurts to remind them of the number of allowed people at one stay.
8. Utility Usage Limitations
The guests might not care about the usage of water, electricity, and other resources while staying at a vacation rental as they do in their own homes, so it is worth reminding them of the value and expenses of utilities as the 8th vacation rental house rule. Set some utility usage limitations as well as several energy-saving instructions.
The guests must know that they can use the utilities up to a specific amount and have to pay the bill for the exceeding amount.
9. No Parties
Vacation rental house rules, number 9: Never underestimate the destructive power of parties! You don’t know much about your potential guests and can’t tell from their faces whether or not they are the most dangerous type of guests: the party type!
Write the ‘no partying rule’ almost on top of your house manual with a large bold font if you don’t want to find yourself in a really messed-up house with bottles, glasses, and food plates left here and there, stained and torn sofa and beddings and displaced broken furniture. This particular house rule can save you a huge sum of money literally thrown away for repair and cleaning.
There are specific short-term rental rules that all vacation rentals or serviced apartments should have to stay out of difficulty. You can’t expect your guests to treat your rental the way you fancy without clearly explaining what you exactly expect from them.
Even if you have years of experience managing a vacation rental and are happy with your approach, write a set of firm yet friendly rules and revise it from time to time as you never know what is in store for your business in the future.