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Sample Checkout Policy & Departure Checklist

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Created on: Aug 26, 2009 4:59 PM by community-editor - Last Modified:  Feb 26, 2014 2:55 PM by community-editor

checkout policy for vacation rentalsThe Owner Community team travels quite a bit for seminars, allowing us to stay in about 10 different vacation rentals every year. We love the experience time and time again (of course!), but we can’t tell you how many times we are ready to check out and then ask each other, “What do we need to do before we leave?”

You may be concerned about asking your guests to do “chores” before they depart from your home, but most guests will appreciate the guidance prior to checkout. While we don’t advocate placing notes all over your home regarding checkout rules, you should make it easy for your guests to determine what needs to be done before they leave.

Place a copy of your checkout policy in:

  • Your directions
  • Your rental agreement
  • Your welcome book, or somewhere noticeable in your home, like on the refrigerator
Not sure what instructions to provide to your guests? Although you don’t want to overwhelm your guests with cleaning – after all, you do have a housekeeper – it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them to tidy up specific areas before they leave.

Here are some typical tasks you might ask of your renters before checkout.

  • Take out all trash to the dumpster and place cans and paper products in the recycling bin.
  • Place all used sheets and towels on the bathroom floor. (Another option is to ask your guests to start a load of laundry. If you go this route, be sure to provide enough The specified article was not found..)
  • Load and run the dishwasher.
  • Remove any opened food items from the refrigerator.
  • Turn off lights, ceiling fans or other electronics.
  • In winter, turn heat to 58º F. In summer, turn air conditioning to 85º F.
  • Lock the doors, close the windows, and leave the keys inside the lockbox. (If you have an alarm, remind your guests of the proper code.)
  • Please sign our guestbook.
  • Please depart by 10am so we can prepare the house for our next set of guests.
  • Have a safe journey home!
One question we often receive is whether to penalize guests who don’t fully abide by the checkout rules. In situations like this, it’s important to consider your guests’ entire stay. If they were great renters but forgot to turn off the heat when they left, it may not be worth withholding money and lessening your chances of renting to them again in the future.

However, if you find that your checkout policy was completely ignored, that might be grounds for withholding a portion of the security deposit. But remember – you can only withhold the amount it costs to repair or replace a damaged item or address a specific problem. So, if your renters left the house messy and caused your housekeeper to have to clean longer than usual, you may want to bill your renters for the excess cleaning time.

Instituting a checkout procedure will alleviate confusion for your guests, and it could help save your housekeeper valuable time. While you don’t want to overwhelm your renters with chores, it’s reasonable to make certain requests to help you prepare for your next set of guests.

© Copyright Christine Karpinski 2006



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