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I recently wrote about Electronic or Digital Signatures for Vacation Rental Contracts.
As a career engineer, I'm very passionate about leveraging technology to save myself time and effort. The approach (and third-party tool) I discuss in my blog post is an example of how to do that within the context of gathering of contractual agreements between myself and my guests.
I am about to put the technique I describe in my blog into practice for my own vacation rental, and I am wondering what you all think about the notion of electronic signatures vs. the classic alternative(s).
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As a follow-up to my above post...
I did move forward with RightSignature (the eSignature platform I described in my blog).
Yesterday, I sent out my first lease agreement through this tool. Time elapsed from when I pressed "send" to transmit the rental agreement to when I had a signed legal agreement was about two hours. Nice, clean, quick, secure.
I followed up with the guest to get their feedback on the electronic document procedure, and my guest (Amy C) said:
The online agreement was great. No problems and would recommmend to others.
I do too :-)
CEO & Founder
I am new to the vacation rental arena -- our lake home listing is "pending" right now.
As I set up the infrastructure for transactions, the notion of electronic signatures is one my hubby and I discussed. I'm going to explore the source you shared, Curt.
The concept is very appealing to me. While fraud is a concern, I don't think a handwritten signature is any more legitimate (unless it is notarized). Of course, crooks will forge a notary, too.
I'm curious about others' experience.
You indicated you had some concern about fraud where electronic signatures are concerned. Yes, it always pays to be vigilant, but if it helps your decision making process surrounding this technology, I thought I'd share something with you from someone who lives in the legal world.
Here is a quote (from an email) following one of my recent transactions with a guest. She is referring to how I delivered my vacation rental home rental agreement to her:
I have been a lawyer for 25 years, including a big firm in Boston, and I've never seen anything as slick as that Right Signature document - very nice app.
She is so enthusiastic about this approach, she even left a comment on my blog giving more thoughts.
CEO & Founder
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I tried Right Signature and would definitely NOT recommend it. I found it impossible to get working, despite a conversation with their tech support (they took several hours to call back, but were knowledgeable and useful). However in the 14 days between signing up and cancelling they charged me $4 and then $14 (2 days after cancellation). When I called the company that made the charge, they had no record and claimed they had never heard of Right Signature.
When I called Right Signature, they claimed they had never heard of me, but did manage to locate one of the 4 e-mails they had sent me. A short while ago, after a 4 day wait, they have just found my account and confirmed they did make the charges.
I prepare my basic rental agreement in Word. For each renter I change the dates, amount, name etc and print to pdf -(www.dopdf.com) has a free pdf converter. Since I still get payment by check, mail works for me.
We email our contract as a MS Word document with an image of my husband's signature made from a scan. It gets to the prospective renter immediately.
We do exactly what Linda does: MS Word doc with an image of my signature. We ask the client to sign on the contract signature page, and ask for that back along with damage and rental deposit. Invariably, they use a traditional pen and ink signature.
In RI, electronic sigs are valid, but in some states, I'm told, they are not yet legally binding. The terms of our rental contract are governed by local law, so we're fine, but if you're going to get into e-signatures, check to make sure that the locality that governs your contract (generally where your rental property is located) allows e-signatures, else you have an invalid and unenforceable contract...
I know from a recent article about notaries in Florida that a rental agreement will always hold up in court if it has a notary.
I use Right Signature and absolutely love it. It is very easy to use. My only suggestion is to notify the potential renters that the contract is on its way and that they should be looking for an e-mail from Right Signature. I have noticed that the emails went into their spam files and they never saw it coming so again, you must tell them to be looking for it.
Best of luck