It's been officially a year since we started renting a house to guests, and we've learned a lot. The most important thing we've learned is to not assume that people know how to take care of a house. So through the past year we've built a guide for our guests. We keep it online and include a link to it when someone signs a contract with us, and we keep a stapled copy of it on the counter in the house when they check in.
We also print specific pages like the Beds and Bathrooms, the Kitchen, the Garbage, and the Fireplace pages as signs and put them in frames to hang in hallways or other appropriate places.
Many, if not most of the "rules" we've come up with came from reading posts here on the HomeAway forum. Others came through tough lessons we learned along the way. This copy is from our newly purchased "Lodge" house (370988). It's pretty much the same as for our "Orchard" house (370912), except the Orchard house version includes a few extra rules about Hot Tub towels (like NEVER mixing towels since the bromine in the tub damages the colored bath towels if mixed with hot tub towels).
Hopefully you will get some ideas for policies you want to add or ways to present the policies you already have: http://www.poconoswisshouse.com/documents/Using_Swiss-House_Lodge.pdf
A couple thoughts if anyone plans to do something similar:
We originally used a smaller font and tried to fit it on just a few pages. 2 reasons we no longer do that:
A. It's just daunting to the guest to see so much in a small print - so they just ignore it.
B. By breaking things up into individual pages with large type, we can hang specific pages throughout the house.
Print it on plain paper and simply staple it together. It might seem more professional to put it in a loose leaf binder, but the weight of the binder and occasional difficulty of turning pages in a binder get in the way of people actually reading the contents.
Have extra copies ready at all times for your housekeeper to replace them. They disappear, get dirty, etc. I always look at this as a plus. If it's not where I left it, that means they probably actually took some time to read it (I find them often by the couch when I come back for cleaning).
Create a PDF version and upload it to a file storage site so you can link to it when you send email responses to renters. We don't send the link with inquiries - we only send the link to people who actually agree to rent the house and are ready to put down their deposit. A couple tools you can use to create and upload your document are: Cute PDF (http://www.cutepdf.com/) and Dropbox public folders (https://www.dropbox.com/features)