29 Replies Latest reply: Apr 4, 2018 8:21 AM by hill5185 RSS

    Rental Agreements

    homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

      Hi All,


      We wanted to share a new Discovery Hub article with you and get your feedback: Rental agreements


      Is there anything you include in your rental agreement that's not on the list in the article?


      Thank you!



      HomeAway Community Manager

        • Re: Rental Agreements
          ohst8er Senior Contributor

          This part is confusing to me...

          • Payment Methods Accepted
          • Address to Mail Checks
          • Returned Check Fee
          • Instructions for Paying by CC

          Credit Card Authorization

          • Name on Card
          • Billing Address
          • Credit Card Number
          • Type of Card
          • Expiration Date


          If VRBO/HA REQUIRES us to use BIN, why would we have info on our rental agreement for any of the above and why would you encourage owners to list such things?

          • Re: Rental Agreements
            u0999 Premier Contributor

            Fireplace operation and responsibilities

            Gas grill or Charcoal grill operation and ashes disposal

            Hot tub Addendum (operation, risks  and responsibilities)  - must be signed separately

            HVAC operation (list of dos and don't s) and repercussions for improper use

            Septic operation (warning not to flush items and bleach- type products down the toilet)

            Disclosure about use of external security cameras

            Playhouse use

            • Re: Rental Agreements
              bobbie32 Premier Contributor

              Off hand...


              -Check-in procedures


              -How items left behind will be handled


              -Simplified legalese to include liability issues as well as info as to where any disputes will be adjudicated.


              -Explanation about refunds - i.e...Refunds will not be made due to circumstances that are not in control of the owners such as, but not limited to...


              -Owners right to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances


              -Notes about AC use, water use, fireplace use, and pool and spa use


              -What is not allowed - such as candles and incense


              -Not to be used as a gathering place - no day visitors


              -Access and required use of 4WD with M&S tires during certain times of the year


              -Advice about purchasing trip cancellation insurance, such as thru Travel Guard

              • Re: Rental Agreements
                ashevillelookout Senior Contributor

                Any wording or statements as required by the state that my VR is in; for example, North Carolina has a specific regulation for vacation rentals and has verbiage that is to be included in the contract.


                Has HA given any more consideration to providing a means by which we can obtain a signed contract from the guest?  If you want us to obtain the suggested information, and you want us to use HA and the dashboard, give us a means to send our guests a contract online that they can complete and sign online.

                • Re: Rental Agreements
                  feibus CommunityAmbassador

                  Credit Card Authorization

                  • Name on Card
                  • Billing Address
                  • Credit Card Number


                  No. No. No. No!


                  PCI requirements imposed by VISA demand that people/businesses who accept credit cards DO NOT get to record the card number of the card being charged.  Failure to follow PCI rules is a great way to get VISA to dump you AND to get you sued when your written-down records get stolen and the cards are all compromised.

                  • Re: Rental Agreements
                    green_mango Active Contributor

                    1. liability release

                    2. names of ALL adult guests & ages of children

                    3. info clarifying that owners do not charge the VRBO service fee and are not responsible for refunding the VRBO service fee

                    4. pet info (# of pets approved)

                    5. agreement to pay for damage not covered by property damage protection or over the security deposit

                    6. refund policy with reminder to purchase travel insurance

                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                      hmmmm Senior Contributor

                      So much more and they are crafted differently for each property.

                      Mine are a culmination of 27 years in the business.


                      They talk about the community, the neighbors, possible construction in the area....its very detailed


                      And it required to be sent to anyone on the list 18 years and older.

                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                        Active Contributor

                        17 pages of agreement that protects me drawn up by my lawyer who advised me NEVER to rent without getting one signed and returned. I have many individual clauses that are directly related to my specific property. 


                        Names of all guests

                        Fireplace rules and operation.

                        trash disposal

                        septic rules,  I have a special pump on one of my properties.

                        Specific HOA rules. each different for each property.


                        the list can go on.


                        I get where you are going with this and NO a one for all agreement WILL not work. I already called my attorney and he advised me against accepting this as protection. He also stated that if I do accept this he will have a very difficult time representing me if something should happen and I need him. He told me again that if I don't have a signed copy in my hand that is specific to either of my cabins there is very little he can do to protect me. I will ALWAYS follow what my lawyer says VS one from H/A or Expedia.

                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                            They cannot legal force you to accept a rental agreement from HA.

                            They are not the owners or the property management.  Just a booking platform.

                            So they bare no responsibility beyond the booking.

                            They are not the ones who will be sued, should anyone die, or be injured.

                            You will state that on HA's property page, that you will personally be sending a contract which has to be a signed and completed copy.


                            No worries on that one.

                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                Active Contributor

                                I already state that in my description and have for some time now.  Really from the start. Been doing this for some time now.  I have NO intention of relying on any agreement H/A comes up with. NONE.  It's not legal or binding and will not protect owners in any way. Already confirmed that with my lawyer. Just got off the phone a few minutes ago.   I know what they are getting at. Make one general rental agreement that H/A controls sending to guest and getting signed or saying they have a signed copy eliminating the need for us to contact the guest.  They are simply removing all guest and owner communication.

                            • Re: Rental Agreements
                              sage Senior Contributor

                              The name, mailing address, and phone number of the owner or agent may be required by local law. Hawaii law did require that contact information for a couple years, that section expired, but it may well be revived by a future legislature.

                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                mtnhomehideaway Senior Contributor

                                Why does HomeAway want to know?  So it can draft its own rental agreement and require every owner who lists on the website to use it?  Is that next?

                                  • Re: Rental Agreements
                                    thaxterlane Premier Contributor

                                    I thought I was the only cynical creature here when the exact thought occurred to me on reading the query, why the interest?


                                    I'm not sure what would be gained by homeaway/vrbo if all of us post the contents of our multi-page rental agreements - they are highly individualized, listing clauses reflecting state and local regulations, local ordinances, and then myriad other factors according to property type, operation, and features.


                                    I don't know who does the thinking in house, but creating a "standard" rental agreement would be of little real use to property owners.


                                    Just my thoughts, as always . . . . .

                                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                      If they require a specific contract, then they ARE a party to our transaction (in my own opinion....I know some of you are attorneys) and wouldn't they then be subject to the legal aspects.....chargebacks, damage, discrimination, etc. The list goes on and on.

                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                        HomeAway Employee

                                        Hi there mtnhomehideaway,


                                        My name is Andrea Bridges-Smith, and I work on the team that creates the articles & videos that you'll find on the Discovery Hub. To be completely transparent with you, I've asked Erinn to help us out with posting articles from the Discovery Hub in the Community, and this was one of them. I asked her to post this one in particular because we noticed that "rental agreement" is one of our most searched terms on the Discovery Hub. The reason I wanted to post this article here was for two reasons:


                                        1. For anyone who might be looking to update their rental agreement (or newbies creating one from scratch), I thought having this article plus the expertise of the Community would be helpful.
                                        2. I also intend to use your feedback to update the article and improve it. Overall, our team would like to have a conversation with you all instead of just pushing out content to you and not giving you a chance to react or share your feedback.

                                        I am not aware of any plans in the works to have a standardized rental agreement that you'll all have to use, so that's definitely not the motivation behind this post! To everyone who takes the time to read our articles & watch our videos & give your feedback, thank you. Please keep your feedback coming - it's really helpful.

                                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                            Thanks again, as you can see there is a lot of suspicion going on.

                                            Trust has been lost over the last few years.

                                            A standardized agreement would never work due to the individual nature of each booking, and each property.


                                            Thanks for your info getting out to us.

                                            • Re: Rental Agreements
                                              susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor


                                              You are doing your job and I appreciate your input. The various monumental changes, changes owners were told would never happen, leave little doubt in my mind that HA higher up than you employees are considering a couple of options of mandatory lease wording.


                                              If the mule kicks you once, it's the mules fault. If the mule kicks you again, it's your fault.


                                              The lyrics of THe Whos "Won't be Fooled Again" pretty much sum up how much trust owners and now many PMs have in the validity of what HA says will or will not happen.

                                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                ashevillelookout Senior Contributor



                                                I would venture to guess that the reason that you see searches for rental agreements is because people who are new to renting via the HA family want to know what their rental agreements should say, and they are not ready to seek or willing to pay for legal advice on how to draw up a contract.


                                                It is fine to have a generic template.  It can cover the basics.


                                                HA could do more for the homeowner (and traveler).  You have the assets. 


                                                Without moving into the realm of legal advice, HA could create State templates, or links for homeowners to research the rental laws of their state.  For example, the state of North Carolina, where my rental is located, has a very well defined Vacation Rental Act.  HomeAway could steer a new vacation rental owner to this resource.  When a prospective homeowner selects the NC link, HomeAway could have a sample NC rental agreement that includes the required verbiage along with the generic information that all rental agreements might include (with a legal disclaimer to protect HA from appearing to offer advice).


                                                That would be useful.

                                                • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                  palmer New Member

                                                  well I am one of the "newbies" and am trying to develop from scratch so I greatly appreciate the dialog!

                                                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                      homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                                                      Hi palmer,


                                                      Welcome to the community! Please note that the article I referenced in my original post has been updated to reflect changes made to the platform since it was originally posted. Thanks!



                                                      HomeAway Community Manager

                                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                        hill5185 CommunityAmbassador

                                                        Welcome to the community.


                                                        Starting from scratch can be a daunting task. When I landed in VR land I immersed myself in the "best practice" FAQ's provided on this platform as well as information available through forums specifically for Short Term Vacation Rental. A few of my favorites:


                                                        1 Chic Retreat

                                                        Guest Hook (copy writing)

                                                        VRMB - Matt Landau

                                                        Cottage Blogger (Heather Bayer pod cast)


                                                        Thankfully, HA and the product teams have amped up the content in the discovery hub and provided additional resources for getting up to speed quickly. Every area/market is different and you'll find what works best for you over time. Never be hesitant to adjust and change direction. Rental Agreements can be tricky to enforce and my advice is to invest in and build a relationship with an attorney to assist writing and reviewing your agreement periodically. The agreement should protect both parties (traveler and owner).


                                                        Best of luck and hope you will share your experience with the community.




                                                        PS - on my favorite list - not all specific to "rental agreements" - however within the wealth of content there are actionable tidbits of information. 1 Chic Retreat however has nothing to do with RA's it's just pure eye candy and inspiration.

                                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                        vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                                                        I always imagined that the team who did the marketing promo videos were secretly made up of super-intelligent cats hiding in the HA headquarters.  Otherwise why would you guys be so infatuated with making videos about baskets?

                                                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                      cheriejordan New Member

                                                      If we are having problems with VRBO/HomeAway supporting us when a guest does a chargeback - although our Rental Agreement (attached to our VRBO page) clearly states our requirements - there is no way in the world that we would trust VRBO/HomeAway to 'suggest or require' us to use their Rental Agreement. 


                                                      Our rental agreement, also put together by an attorney, with revisions based on experiences (Like who knew we'd have to say someone couldn't light a hibachi in the middle of the living room floor?), is based on Alaska State Law  which can be different from another area of the country or someone's specific property.

                                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                        vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                                                        Our Rental Agreement is a very dense 3-page document.  The first two pages are boilerplate that I put together from about 30 different templates and rental agreements that I found online.  The last page has a section for each guest's name and age.  We spell out all of our rules for occupancy, pets, smoking, damage, liability waiver and the like.  Over the years we have added a lot of what we considered to be common sense when we started renting into our rules.


                                                        We have the following sections:

                                                        • Service Fee Notice
                                                        • Agreement
                                                        • Reservations and Payments
                                                        • Arrival and Departure
                                                        • Cancellation Policy
                                                        • What to Bring
                                                        • No Smoking
                                                        • No Animals
                                                        • Renter Responsibilities
                                                        • Security and Damage Deposit
                                                        • Parking
                                                        • Security Systems (includes notice of our cameras)
                                                        • Maintenance
                                                        • Owner or Agent Entry
                                                        • No assignment or Subletting
                                                        • Posession
                                                        • Prohibited Items
                                                        • Mediation
                                                        • Indemnification
                                                        • Waiver
                                                        • Invalid Provisions (severability)
                                                        • Entire Agreement
                                                        • Guest Registration Form
                                                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                                            They keep evolving.  I want to always require a separate and binding agreement with vacationers, due to the fact that I am the one legally, morally and ultimately financially on the line.


                                                            I think if HA wants to have a separate one binding the vacationer to the payments etc. great have at it., but since they do not own our properties, I am not sure I wan them deciding the terms of renting my home.  There are so many variables to consider, including the individual city laws, state and even Federal laws.


                                                            I would be curious as to why that would benefit HA at all?


                                                            Ultimately you are the one who will be liable or sued, not HA.


                                                            Any thoughts.

                                                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                                                            I do want to add that, my agreement may change a bit depending on the group.  I may add more info for them to consider as well.

                                                            I also have different agreements for each rental as some are very different and require that as well.


                                                            Cookie cutter agreement are not a great idea for vacation rentals, hotels yes, but not VR's.

                                                            That's the reason, people book VR's, they are nothing like hotels.