Note: This is an edited transcript of Christine Karpinski's How To Rent Vacation Properties by Owner podcast .
Host, Christine Karpinski: Today's question comes from Annie, in Dillon Beach, CA.
Q: She asks "We only have one vacation rental and we don't accept credit cards because of the cost. As it is, we charge a $300.00 security deposit, 150 of which goes towards the cleaning and the balance gets refunded if there's no damages. Can I request a credit card number from the renters in case of major damage to the home?"
A: Annie, there's actually a couple of things that I want to point out to you. First off your security deposit that you are charging you say you charge a $300.00 security deposit, 150 of which goes towards cleaning you have to be careful with your wording here.
What you're doing is you're actually charging a $150.00 security deposit and a $150.00 cleaning fee. Because a fee is something that does not get refunded and a security deposit typically gets refunded if there's no damages.
So, by wording it this way you can be setting yourself up for some pretty angry renters, when they check out of your home. So that's the first point I would like to address.
And to your real question:
"Can you accept a credit card number from your renters?" If you don't accept credit cards I think the problem with this is: What would you do with that credit card number? If you can't accept credit cards, how are you going to process that number?
This goes back to I say time and time again I think it's most important that you're screening your guests, making sure that you're comfortable with those guests staying in your home. Those are going to be most often the renters that aren't going to damage and aren't going to steal. So I think it's really important to not jump over that step of having the human contact with your renters.
So I think, in lieu of that you may want to charge your $150.00 cleaning fee and you may want to charge a $300.00 security deposit. Maybe up it a little bit more so that you're more comfortable with it. But again just be careful with your wording.
I hope you've enjoyed this episode of "Ask Christine." If you have a question we'd love to hear from you. Please leave a message at 512 493 4340, again that's 512 493 4340.
Don't forget to enjoy your vacation home yourself. Happy renting by owner!
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