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Here is a link to HomeAway's Sample Rental Agreement.
You can download a printable version, plus a Sample Booking Confirmation Letter, Rental Agreement Checklist, and Sample Pet Addendum - all of which you can save and edit yourself.
I hope this is helpful.
HomeAway Community Manager
I just downloaded a basic agreement from VRBO and modified it to my needs. I would be happy to send you a copy of mine if there is a way for me to get your contact info. Rick Anderson #233591
Would you please email a copy of your edited rental agreement to email@example.com ?
I am new to renting and can sure use some help.
I will happily share my rental agreement with any of you that want it. I am an inactive attorney so I can't offer you legal advise; however, as a homeowner I can share some points of caution.
1. Be as clear and concise as you can on your policy issues that effect services offered, refunds, fees, etc. Don't be wishy-washy. You can always deviate from your written policy in a way that will favor the renter but you don't want to establish that in your contract. If what you wrote could be interpreted in 2 ways, one favorable to the renter and one favorable to you, courts will favor the interpretation that favors the renter because you are the master of your contract.
7) ON CANCELING 30 DAYS or LESS before check-in, Renters will forfeit the total rental. The total rental is includes all charges on the paid-in-full invoice. Renter may mitigate this loss by purchasing optional Travel Insurance or Cancel for Any Reason insurance offered by Owner or from a third party provider.
8) ON CANCELING 31 DAYS or MORE before check-in, Renters will receive a REFUND of the amounts paid less any travel insurance fee and minus a credit card processing fee of 3.5%
9) There are NO REFUNDS for EARLY DEPARTURE.
10) There are NO REFUNDS for hurricanes, tropical storms or weather conditions, even if a mandatory evacuation is ordered (optional travel insurance is offered for Renters protection).
Later, if you want to deviate from this for your own reasons, you can but without such a firm and unambiguous contract, you leave yourself open to a charge back by the credit card company when they file a complaint.
2. It is a PITA but try and cover all of the issues that are likely to arise. I know it makes the contract longer than you would like (me too) but later it could save you big money.
3. Be specific on penalties but don't call them that. For example if your policy is not to exceed 10 guests and they have 12 and you find out, what happens. What if it is in the middle of the rental? Do you charge them and extra amount per person to cover additional wear and tear? $50, $100, $200, etc. Do you cancel the contract and have them evicted? Be specific on the consequences. Make sure you let them know you have the right to verify the number of guests or cars, etc.
Hopefully, this gives you the idea. Just one last note. There is no perfect contract and enforcement relies on good faith so don't worry if it isn't perfect. Even lawyers create bad contracts and there are many things that these boiler plate contracts are lacking but get left out because soon you would have a document no one would sign. For example, none of these contracts specify venue or the laws under which they are to be enforced. The assumption is that venue will be local because that is where the property is located and that the laws of the state where the property is located will apply. However, the normal venue for contracts is the state where the contract was entered. With the renter renting over the Internet, that could be any state or even a foreign country. They will claim that venue is where they entered the contract, i.e. their home state and that their states laws should apply. They would have a good chance of winning because you created the contract and left it unsaid.
Spoonbill, I would appreciate a copy of your rental agreement if you don't mind. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, Judith Saum
Spoonbill, I would love a copy of the boiler plate. Please email to email@example.com
thank you so much.
You will need to modify to fit your specific needs.
(877) 762-3138 (FAX)
SKYPE NAME johnbgriffith
If clicking on the "BOOK ONLINE NOW" blue button
below does not take you to the on line booking site,
copy the link shown below into your web browser:
Is there an attachment? I might be a bit computer challenged, but I don’t see a rental agreement in the body of the email or as an attachment.
You need to send me your personal email. Otherwise, the forum apparently strips off attachments.
(877) 762-3138 (FAX)
SKYPE NAME johnbgriffith
Hello, I too would love to get a copy of your rental agreement.
Getting ready for my first rental in a few weeks.
Hello spoonbill, Can you please send me a copy of your rental agreement? I am new to VRBO and do not have any idea what a rental agreement should look like. Thanks, Laura
Could I please have a copy of your rental agreement? I am a rookie and would greatly appreciate the help.
Sorry, I never got one.
Sent from my Samsung Epic™ 4G Touch
See my latest post to down load it.
I am new to VRBO. It would be greatly appreciated if you could e-mail your rental agreement to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rene, If you scroll down, spoonbill has provided a link to download a copy. It says link to file and is an http link.
I would also like a copy, if you are still online. My email address is email@example.com.
Rick, will you send me a copy of your rental agreement? Thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like a copy of your rental agreement, please.
hello how are you can you please send me a copy of a rental agreement. i can not upload with my computer thankyou trinity ,,,email@example.com
I tried to send you a copy but your email comes back as invalid.
You have provided some insight on the subject and your information will prove to be helpful. I would appreciate if you could forward your rental agreement to me as well.
I have had several requests for a copy of my agreement. I sent out earlier copies and have since updated with a newer more comprehensive agreement that I am willing to share. For some reason, some of you get my email with the file removed (probably your service provider strips it out) and some have not been able to open the file becasue they don't have the latest version of MS Word.
To make this easier for everyone, I have placed the latest version in a public dropbox where you can download the file. I put it in the older version of MS Word to make it more compatible.
This agreement is very specific to my property, policies and needs but should be fairly easy to modify to fit anyone's requirements. Some parts are legal boiler plate required to make contracts enforceable or to deny a breacher of legal means to escape the consequences of a breach. Paragraphs 27 through 33 are these types of boiler plate. They will need to be modified in some cases to reflect your state and state's court system.
Some paragraphs may not apply to your situation. For example, if you don't have security cameras you don't need the paragraph about them. You may be on a lake rather than the ocean and need to change that aspect. Your ameneties may be very different and your policies may be different.
A few comments on the legal boiler plate paragraphs:
1. Paragraph 27 is to address the event of a holdover guest. I have never had to deal with one and hope I never do but you still need to protect yourself.
2. Paragraph 28 is to establish that you have not enetered into a landlord tenant agreement (this only works for short term rentals). The laws in most states give tenants rights that are different than those accorded an inkeeper/proprieter. You have substantially more rights when it comes to a breach or eviction.
3. Paragraph 29 spells out your remedies, i.e. actions you can take to protect yourself.
4. Paragraph 30 establishes the right to attorney fees. You might also consider replacing this with a binding arbitration clause.
5. Paragraph 31 indmifies you from specific liability issues related to injury or loss of personal property. You can't indemnify yoourself from your duty of care or negligence on your part. (That is why you get liability insurance)
6. Paragraph 32 prevents the renter from making claims that are not in the contract. It is called an integration clause and it also prevents the entire contract from being stricken if any paragraph is found to be void or unenforceable.
7. Paragraph 33 establishes where suits can be files, what law applies and what courts can be used.
Nothing in this post should be construed as legal advise or the practice of law. The intent is to provide information for use by other members of the forum. For legal questions or advise please consult your attorney.
when I download the file from your dropbox link and attempt to open it, I get a message saying the file is corrupted and cannot be repaired. is it just me, or is that file no good?
It should be OK, but I will reload the file to it to be sure. I just checked and the file is OK. I however, updated it to a later version. Both versions are now available.
Here is the link to the older version:
They are both MS Word Docs so you shuoldn't have any problems opening them. If you get an error try and download it again.
(877) 762-3138 (FAX)
SKYPE NAME johnbgriffith
If clicking on the "BOOK ONLINE NOW" blue button
below does not take you to the on line booking site,
copy the link shown below into your web browser:
I keep receiving a lot of requests for my rental template. The link to download it is here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11410751/VACATION%20RENTAL%20CONTRACT%20TEMPLATE.doc
You will need to make it match your terms and conditions which will probably be different than mine. I hope this helps you.
A few words about rental contracts in general and mine in particular. NO RENTAL CONTRACT can FULLY PROTECT YOU. Contracts are only as good as the people you contract with. Sure you can sue but it will cost you money and time and in all but the most egregious cases you can win and still lose. Where they can really help is if you have a credit card dispute as the credit card company will expect a contract and if you need to evict someone, the police will probably want to see that you have an innkeeper relation with the tenanat and not a regular lease contract. It is critical that the terms for eviction are clearly spelled out.
Finally, in every case you have to weigh the cost vs benefit. For example, you have a no pets clause and someone shows up with pets. You can remind them of the policy, you can make suggestions about boarding their pets, you can charge them an extra cleaning fee, etc. However, the risk is a bad review that costs you thousands in business. I have fortunately only had a few violations and I just flag them in my records to not rent to them again. I weigh a few hundred dollar loss against the thousands a bad review would cost me. Unless and until VRBO/Homeaway changes their review policy it isn't worth the cost just to be right and feel good for a few minutes.
Anyway, those are my thoughts and I hope you find my contract useful. By the way, I am probably unusual in that I charge the full amount at booking rather than a deposit. It sounds like one would lose business doing that but I stay pretty booked and usually sell out during the peak season. I do it for a few reasons:
1. It eliminates those guests that are really not sure and think they might change their mind, hence they don't want to risk any nore than they have to and will seek a minimum deposit.
2. It subtly leads to a better quality clientel becasue I am far from the cheapest rental. I aim for a higher end client and offer a higher end experience with more ameneties than most of my competitors.
3. People are more likely to follow the rules when they have more at stake. I get numerous compliments and surprise remarks from guests when they check in on how nice a home it is.
4. I don't have to waste my time keeping track of when payments are due. There are still over a dozen things I have to do before a guest checks in so any I can eliminate makes my job easier.
Enjoy and good luck!
I'm new to the HomeAway Community. I'm in the process of setting up some of the basic documents. When I asked a question of the community regarding rental agreements I look through the information provided. I don't know if you are still providing the rental agreement boiler plate, but if you are do you have a current URL for your latest document? I looked through the document you posted originally via the URL and it looked good. Hope you can help.
The link/contract is by spoonbill and he posted the current copy on April 5, 2012. It is just 2 posts up. You can click on it and download it.
Would it be possible to get a copy as well of your contract. It would help greatly. Thanks. Nancy
Look further up on the thread and you will see a link where you can down load it. BTW, I'm an attorney but currently inactive and not practicing. It's a little long because tere are certain protections you need to have just in case you get that bad apple. Hopefully, you wil never need to use some of those paragraphs.
I have been using spoonbill's template (although modified) since starting a year ago. I have not had one complaint of its length or intensity. I also use Rightsignature to round off the experience totally online. BTW, I have checked with several lawyers and they said that it is very solid and would be a pain for travelers to come to my state (Florida) and fight it if it came to trial.
Best of luck
THANK YOU!!!! We are new to this world, and I have been running in circles for three days, trying to put together a rental agreement. I downloaded your sample agreement, quickly read thru and changed what applied to our home, and I feel so good about it! It covered exactly what we needed covered (I think) and I feel our renters will enter their stays with us knowing what is expected of them. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Spoonbill, I cant thank you enough! I'm going nutty finding out so much info on this site! been reading for days now, my eyes are bugged out, soo helpfull ! but what about the esign location, how does this work?
I'm happy to hear that you like my rental contract. I provide this contract for your use and modification gratis. I am an attorney licensed in California. In California, and I suspect many other states, ensuring that your rentals are short term-transient type rentlas is key to not entering into a landlord-tenant agreement and that you maintain the right of entry. This type of language keeps you in the hospitality business and not the landlord business. It is a very critical legal distinction because eviction under landlord-tenant can be long and costly. I frequently get requests for longer than 30 day rentals, it is important to be careful that you haven't entered into a landlord tenant relationship. If I want to discount under such conditions, I make it clear that the rental is a weekly rental for a certain number of weeks and then discount the weekly rate to make it work. To make sure someone doesn't take advantage of you and check out early only having paid the discounted rate, you could instead apply the discount at the end in the form of free days or week as the case may be. Some states may require the guest to check out and reregister (without actually vacating the premise) to maintain your legal rights.
I have recently changed my rental agreement to move all of the fill in portions to an attachment becasue the on line booking site I use doesn't allow for PDF forms. They digitally sign teh agreement and only have to return the completed attachment. Here is where you can download for your own use: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/11410751/NEW%20SAMPLE%203-26-13%20VACATION%20RENTAL%20AGREEMENT%203-18-13.doc
PLEASE NOTE: You use these and make modifications at your own risk. These are not warranted to be suitable for you or your legal jusrisdiction and are provided as a courtesy and template only.
my contract is also iron clad and as long or longer than johns.i've taken at least 15 contracts from all over and added bits and pieces over the yrs. The only thing i would change with this contract is the cancellation policy. For me its too stringent as there doesn't appear to be any refunds even if you cancel 5months out. Mine is 90 days one can cancel. My contract used to be 60 days. on the travel insurance part i would list a few companies in the field like travel guard or csa as few renters would know were to get this insurance.actually since its not really a legal requirement to tell a renter about the insurance i might put this info in my final letter after all payment is received werei list all things like my codes and directions . also john were do you buy insurance that pays then 75% back if they cancel for any reason? overall a great contract.i also require a license as thats the ultimate peace of mind its a legitimate renter
"since its not really a legal requirement to tell a renter about the insurance"
Evan, it IS a requirement in North Carolina IF we don't want to have to refund days lost due to a mandatory evacuation. We learned that the hard way to the tune of $600. We don't have to give them a list of insurance companies, just need to advise them that it's available and recommended.
Thank you again, I already tweeked the original one but I suppose I need to update already, haha, BTW spoonbill, the near end where it ask for requested 4 digit code, typo? see>>>" FOUR DIGIT ENTRY CODE FOR FRONT DOOR DEIRED" you mean desired?
I should say that I don't believe my contract is "iron clad" very few are, but it covers most of the bases. Evan, Travel Gaurd offers this policy for an 11% of total premium. For a while I was selling Travel Gaurd insurance because many of the rental agencies price it into their contracts and I wanted to avoid any issues. However, once VRBO started selling it Travel Gaurd advised me that they weren't making enough money from me so they dropped me as an agent. I suspect that VRBO may have put pressure on them to drop the small agents so they could get the business.
While I have in my contract that there are no refunds and in three years I have never had an issue, as a practical matter if they cancel at least 90 days out I refund their money less an administrative charge of $300 to cover my costs. I used to have it in my contract but took it out to keep the agreement simple and to avoid confusion. If people believe that it can't be cancelled they don't try unless it is a serious situation like a family emergency. If they think they can, you invite shoppers looking for a better deal rather than serious vacationers. At least that is my thinking. You all are free to modify as you see fit.
I require the driver's license so verify the age and the credit card holder. Helps keep the fraudsters away.
Those that have problems with VRBO/Homeaway review policies should look at Vacationhomerentals.com. They allow you to prevent the review from posting and I find they generate as many bookings as VRBO/Homeaway.
I'm in fla and i have a clause in contract to refund all unused premium if we have mandatory evacuation. John i think in your contract it said travel guard will refund your money for any reason? I've talked with travel guard and they acted like it has to be sickness or emergency. also you said travel guard charges 11% of the premium, when i talked to them they uoted me prices that were based on the age of the renter, a 35 yr old was 1/2 the priceof a 75 yr old
Travel Gaurd offered two policies and both included Hurricane protection.
Here is the link to the Cancel for any reason policy flyer:https://dl.dropbox.com/u/11410751/ASTP%20with%20CFAR%20Flyer.pdf
And here is a link to the flyer on Hurrican protection: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/11410751/All%20Seasons%20Travel%20Plan%20Flyer.pdf
I hope this helps you.
Spoonbill, or anybody that can help me, I am a new owner, I would appreciate a copy of rental agreement if you don't mind. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. thanks
I have sent you one as well
I am interested in getting a copy of a California Vacation Rental Agreement. We are just starting this process and any help we could get with a boilerplate contract would be great. thank you. emai: email@example.com
Can you send me a copy of the California Vacation Rental Agreement please? My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Spoonbill, while you're at it... can you help send me a copy of the "California Vacation Rental Agreement" too?
my email: email@example.com
Thank you so much!! You are a gem!! Thank you so much for all your help!!
Thanks John! I already see the reply in my Yahoo but I didn't get the agrement copy in my email...?
(sorry if i'm just being anxious.... ) Thank you for all your help and sharing your knowledge!
I just want to say thanks again for sharing your contract with me.
You have shared it over and over again with many people - and I wanted to let you know I appreciate your thoughfulness and generosity!
I don't have a California contract. I am in Florida.
Send me an email address and I will send you a modified one from spoonbill. I am in Florida.
Since I am Fl, If you are willing, please shoot me your agreement. Have you research the "short term/inn keeper" verses long term rentals in the Fl law? for immediate or long evictions. Thank you.
I have uploaded the latest copy of my Agreement and the Attachment "A" forms to my public DropBox folder. I am finding that I get a lot of both public and private requests and these are taking a bit of my time to respond to each so I am providing thelinks here so you can down load them yourself. From time to time I will update these and provide new updated links. Please note that I have no way of knowing how relevant they are in your state. I am comfortable that they are fairly comprehensive for California and Texas, the two states where I have properties that I provide as vacation rentals.
In most states, there is a legal distinction between operating short term rentals as an "Inns Keeper" and landlord tenant law as in long term lease agreements. There are also significant differences for IRS purposes and how you can treat income and losses. If you cross the line you can lose many of the legal protections you have for short term rentals and be stuck under landlord tenant law. The renter acquires legal property rights under landlord tenant law that the renter does not have under short term rentals. You don't want to have to go through a lengthy eviction process if a guests decides to over stay his or her welcome and you have new guests that have paid to be in your home. Sometimes it can be real tempting to take that rental request for 3 or 4 months or even 1.5 to 2 months. Check your laws before you do.
Here are the links:
Feel free to modify to fit your policies and circumstances.
I have recently made some significant changes to my contract. I believe the new contract will fit more owners and the way they would like to operate than the previous one. I have provided better balance between owner and renter. While not aboslutely necessary, I think it will ultimately work better. However, it really is up to each owner to determine what works best for them. When I have more time, I will post a more detailed explanation.
Here are the links:
I am going to start a Vacation Rental business, managing homes for my clients. Will the agreement that you created work for my business as well? I have printed it and will review to make the necessary changes.
Thank you very much for making it available.
Thank you so much. It's greatly appreciated that you're generously sharing your rental agreements, including the updated revisions.
how do I find them
Thank you as well, John aka Spoonbill
So, are these the documents you use with "Book it Now" on homeaway and/or vrbo? Just curious, thanks so much!!
I don't use VRBO/Homeaway's Book Now feature. It is too limited and it further locks you into them as providers. Given that both have customer unfriendly policies regarding reviews, I want the freedom to move my business should they treat me as I have seen some others treated here. I use vacationrentaldesk.com as it provides vast flexibility and allows me to create a very custom web site. They are not an advertising site, but rather an on line booking site with a lot of features and reporting capabilities.
Thank you for sharing! Just curious .... could you give some examples of the differences for IRS purposes and how you can treat income and losses differently for Short term VR vs Long Term rentals? I have both and I'm not aware of any differences.
Also, are you aware of any states where security deposits for ST VR's would be considered to be under the landlord tenant laws instead of laws that apply to security deposits made for Event and Hall and property rental for Events, weddings, and other affairs in the Hospitality Industry?
The law is somewhat complex on the treatment of short term rentals for IRS puposes. You must provide services that are beyond merely a place to stay. Housekeeping services, check-in/check-out services, linens and towels, cooking utensils and dinnerware, yard maintenance, TV & Internet service, etc. are the kinds of items that separate a short term rental from a longer term rental. There is also a requirement having to do with the number of rentals averaging above 30 days (if I recall correctly). You are also very restricted in your personal use and cannot exceed the 14 day limitation. If you meet all of the requirements you can treat it as ordinary income/loss for IRS purposes. Otherwise it is a passive gain or loss. I wish, I could tell you to just go read the IRS publication but it is a nightmare to decipher and does not provide clear examples. If you use TurboTax for business and complete schedule E (you may have to manually check some of the boxes required), it will then treat it properly. At the top of the form you need to be able to check the following boxes: Box C (active participation); Box G (Other passive exceptions); Box D (Material Participation) and Days of Personal use must be less than15.
On your second question, I am not aware of any but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
Spoonbill, will you send me a copy of your rental agreement? Thank you
Thanks ... I recall reading about IRS change at the top of the page requiring the number of days rented and also a possibly new rule that if the average is less than 7 days, then it possibly becomes a business instead of rental income. It gets fuzzy depending on the services we provide (we don't provide linense, or check-in/out but do provide internet and dinnerware for the STR but never for the LTR.) So I'm wondering if the new 7 day rule has resulted in other STR owners from switching from using Schedule E rental to Schedule C business income requiring paying FiCA on any profits? Or is it providing specific services like daily housekeeping & linens etc. that would require a change in whether we are inn-keepers or just owners of ST rental property? We have been forturnate with many 2 week rentals so our average remains over 7 nights but I see a trend towards shorter rentals.
I am new to vacation home rental and would appreciate a copy of the rental agreement contract you have developed. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
thank you so much!
We found your comments very helpful as we are new to renting out our vacation home.Would it be possible to get a copy of your current rental agreement?Do you have it in a PDF form?Thanks so much,
If you will look further up the thread, I have posted the dropbox link to my current boiler plate rental agreement. I did that because i don't have the time to individually email the contract to people. Please use and modify to meet your own needs.
Hi spoonbill. I wanted to provide high kudos for your openness to us newbies. You are very gracious with your help and expertise. In looking at your agreement, you mention that you have a check-in and check-out agreement. Would you be so kind to share that as well? Warm Regards
I would very much appreciate the boiler plate contract that you have developed. We are new to this, so all pointers are appreciated. Our email address is Cheryl@TahoeSkiChalet.com. Thank you so much for your valuable advise.
Great article. Could you send me a copy of your rental agreemnet please? Thanks.... email@example.com
I'll save Spoonbill the trouble and let you know that you have to scroll up the message tree to find his link to the document.