I'm updating my rental agreement. Does anyone include a clause about where legal issues will be resolved in their agreements? Or perhaps a mediation/arbitration clause? Could you share the details and/or verbiage with me?
Homeaway has boilerplate agreements in their site, you could start with that. The different contracts I have seen have three different sections:
Legal Agreement with detailed clauses of responsibilities.
House Rules: Specific issues that you want the guest to know (cleaning, damages, what is expected, etc)
Rent, fees, form of payment.
Some contracts include all sections in the same agreement, but I have found that separating them helps the guest understand their responsibilities.
Your contract should include at least:
Property description and what is included
Use of the property (vacation, not business), limit number of occupants, overday guests,
Terms: Dates & times, late checkouts, etc
Responsibilities of owner: Provide everything in working order
Responsibility of guest: Not to set fires, smoking, pets, etc.
Rate: How much and what does it include, how much additional day.
Security Deposit: How much and what it covers
Cancellation Policy: What is refunded if canceled ahead of time
Liability: Transfer most of the liability to the guest.
Validity and Arbitration: Which jurisdiction or resign from lawsuits and force arbitration.
Acceptance: Guest accepts all terms and conditions.
Many owners have made adjustments to their contract based on different issues particular to them, for instance I have a pool at the beach house so I added a fee for not washing off the sand prior to entering the pool as it damages my filter. But this goes in the house rules.
You will have to balance the length of the contract versus the possibility that the guest will read it, if it is too long or too complicated, they won't read them and you will have issues. If it is too short, you are not covering yourself for many issues and you will run into discussions with the guest when a damage arises.