The sample rental agreement that used to be published here has been removed from the site and is no longer available to the public. If you search on Google for "short term vacation rental agreement" a whole page of options appears.
As for your question about what rental agreement? When a traveler requests to book and/or makes a payment, there's a check box they must check saying they agree to your rental agreement. If you don't have a rental agreement uploaded, then they are essentially agreeing to nothing.
Here's info on why you should have a rental agreement.
Here's info on what to include in a rental agreement.
Here's more info on how to upload a rental agreement once you complete/create one
Finally, there are a lot of very experienced owners here. Perhaps one of them would be willing to share their agreement with you.
HomeAway Community Manager
Rental agreements are state specific due to each state having their own set of laws. I would suggest you google short term rental agreements in your state or go to the website of a local property management company and look for their RA . Also an attorney can create a RA for you of you are willing to spend the money.
It's too late for forcing your arriving guest to sign and agree to a written rental agreement and rules, although you can always try if you are able to write one before then. You should be able to find many sample agreements if you do a google search on vacation rental agreement. As rules and regs vary by location, you will want to have a local expert or attorney review your agreement. In the meantime, here is the rental agreement that large property manager Vacasa includes as a link to their listings on HA/VRBO to give you some ideas (note I have not reviewed this to give you my opinion on it):
Summary of Rental Terms:
This Agreement is between: (1) Vacasa LLC (“Vacasa,” “we,” or “us”), acting for itself and for the owner of the Property (“Owner”), and (2) the person who is the responsible renter of the Property (collectively “Renter” or “you”).
-The property shall not be used by more than the number of adults and children listed in your reservation.
-All guests shall abide by Vacasa’s good neighbor policy and shall not engage in illegal activity. Quiet hours are from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
-Pets are not permitted unless specifically noted in your reservation.
-The responsible renter must be at least 21 years of age (or the specified minimum age required to rent the property, if higher). Guests under 21 years of age are welcome, but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
-No smoking is permitted anywhere on the premises.
-No commercial photography or filming is permitted on the property. Tents or other structures may not be erected.
-Renter is liable for any damage to the property and agrees to accept charges to the card on file should damage occur during occupancy.
-Cancellation Policy: Rental payments (less the booking fee) are fully refundable up until 30 days prior to the reservation.
-Trip Protection: Purchase Trip Protection to receive a full refund for any nights of your reservation canceled due to the documented death or serious illness of any guest or immediate family member, flight delays or cancellations, or access closures due to natural disasters or inclement weather. Trip Protection is not insurance and does not replace travel insurance.
Full Rental Agreement:
VACATION RENTAL AGREEMENT
This Vacation Rental Agreement (“Agreement”) is for rental of the vacation rental property specified in a confirmed reservation (the “Property”). This Agreement is between: (1) Vacasa LLC (or Vacasa Europe AG, if the Property is in the European Union), or the Vacasa LLC subsidiary specified in the Unit-Specific Terms (“Vacasa,” “we,” or “us”), acting for itself and for the owner of the Property (“Owner”), and (2) the person who is the responsible renter of the Property (collectively “Renter” or “you”).
By booking your rental of the Property with Vacasa, you acknowledge that you have read and understand, and agree to be bound by, all terms, conditions, and policies in this Agreement, including any Unit-Specific Terms (collectively, the “Terms”). Certain jurisdictions, resorts, and specific homes require renters to agree to additional terms and conditions (“Unit-Specific Terms”). We will inform you during the reservation process of any Unit-Specific Terms that apply to rental of the Property. If any provision of the Unit-Specific Terms differs from the Terms in this Agreement, the provision of the Unit-Specific Terms will control.
A. Minimum Age. You must be at least 21 years of age to rent the Property. The Unit-Specific Terms may require a higher minimum age. You hereby confirm that you are at least (1) 21 years of age or (2) the age specified in any Unit-Specific Terms, whichever is higher. You agree to provide us with proof of age upon request. A parent or legal guardian must accompany all guests under 21 years of age for the entire duration of the rental.
B. Responsible Renter. As the responsible renter, you agree to be an occupant of the Property for the entire duration of the rental. All other occupants will be family members, friends, other responsible adults over 21, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. You agree to be solely responsible for your actions and the actions of all family members, guests, and invitees (collectively, “Occupants”) present at the Property at any time during your stay, and to ensure that all Occupants understand and comply with the Terms.
C. Good Neighbor Policy. The Property is a privately owned home, and we enforce a good neighbor policy. Please treat the Property with the same care you would use with your own residence and leave it in the same condition it was in when you arrived. To prevent theft of or damage to furnishings or your personal property, you agree to close and lock doors and windows when you are not present at the Property and upon checkout. You and other Occupants agree to conduct yourselves throughout your stay in a manner that is respectful of and not disruptive to neighbors, traffic flow, or the community and that will not prompt complaints to Vacasa from police, neighbors, or neighborhood or homeowner associations. Noise audible outside the Property is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. You and other Occupants agree to abide by all applicable parking restrictions and limitations.
D. Maximum Occupancy. The number of people present at the Property may not exceed the maximum posted occupancy unless we have given you advance permission to hold an event at the Property.
E. No Smoking. No smoking is permitted at the Property (including porches, decks or outdoor areas) at any time.
F. Pets. No pets of any kind are permitted at the Property except (1) as specifically authorized in your reservation, or (2) bona fide service animals we are required by law to allow.
G. Events and Commercial Photography; Structures. Events and commercial photography or filming are prohibited at the Property without our express written permission. (If approved, additional conditions and fees may apply.) No tents or other structures may be erected on the property without our express written permission.
H. Criminal Activity Prohibited. Use of the Property for any criminal activity is prohibited and may result in fines or prosecution. This prohibition extends to use of the Property’s Internet service, if any, for criminal activity, including but not limited to unlawful downloads of copyrighted material, including movies, music, software, or other material. We will cooperate with any investigation of alleged criminal activity at the Property during your stay.
I. Consequences of Breach. Any failure by you or any other Occupants to comply with any of the terms above may result in a forfeiture of your rights to rent the Property, up to and including immediate eviction from the Property without refund. In addition you are responsible for, and you authorize us to bill your credit card on file for the full amount of, (1) any damage or loss that occurs at the Property during your stay; (2) a charge of up to $1,000 for violations of the pet policy, including for bringing more pets or different types of pets than specifically authorized; (3) an additional cleaning fee of up to $500 for violations of any of the guest policies above (other than the pet policy) or for excessive cleaning required by the acts or omissions of any Occupant during your stay; and (4) any fines issued by police, other government officials or agencies, utility providers, and/or homeowner associations for violation of any law, ordinance, or rule during your stay, and any damages (which may exceed the amount of fines) that result from the violation. If any unauthorized download of copyrighted material via the Property’s Internet service occurs during the period of your stay, you agree that we may share your contact information with the Internet service provider or any other party we reasonably believe has enforcement rights.
ADDITIONAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
J. Cancellation Policy; No Shows; Trip Protection. Rental payments are fully refundable (less the amount of the Vacasa’s booking fee, which is nonrefundable) for cancellations received 30 or more days before the first night of your reservation. No full or partial refunds will be granted for no-shows or if you cancel within 30 days of the first night of your reservation, arrive after the first night of your reservation, or depart before the last night of your reservation, unless you purchased Trip Protection at least 30 days before the first night of your reservation (or within 24 hours if reservation is made less than 30 days in advance of stay) and cancel for a covered reason. Except as expressly provided in this Agreement, no refunds or compensation will be given if the property is unavailable for any reason outside Vacasa’s control, including but not limited to adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, mechanical failures, acts of government agencies, or utility outages. Vacasa advises guests to obtain appropriate travel insurance.
K. Trip Protection. If you purchased Trip Protection, you will receive a full refund for any nights of your reservation canceled due to the documented death or serious illness of any guest or immediate family member, flight delays or cancellations, or access closures due to natural disasters or inclement weather. Trip Protection is not insurance and does not replace travel insurance.
L. Early Check-In/Late Checkout. Early check-in or late checkout may be available; additional charges may apply. If you do not vacate by checkout time (or late checkout time as agreed by Vacasa), you authorize us to bill your credit card on file for a late departure fee of up to one night’s rental and we may remove all Occupants and their personal property from the Property.
M. Maintenance or Housekeeping Issues; Property Conditions. The Property is provided as is, and we are not responsible for the inoperability or unavailability of any amenities. You agree to contact us as soon as you notice any maintenance or housekeeping problem, or any potentially hazardous condition, at the Property, or if any incident occurs at the Property that is related to such a problem or condition. We will take reasonable and appropriate steps to remedy any reported problem as soon as practicable. We may enter the Property at your invitation to remedy any problem you report, at reasonable times and with reasonable notice to inspect, maintain, or repair the Property, and to address any situation that we reasonably deem an emergency that threatens persons or property. You acknowledge that if the Property has access to amenities that are shared with other properties, such as a shared pool, hot tub, parking lot, or fitness center, that the availability and condition of those amenities is outside Vacasa’s control.
N. Choice of Law and Venue for Disputes. Unless otherwise specified in any Unit-Specific Terms, if the Property is outside of the continent of Europe, this Agreement shall be governed by the law of the State of Oregon, U.S.A, without regard to its conflict of laws provisions, and both parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts of Multnomah County, Oregon, U.S.A. If the Property is within the continent of Europe, this Agreement shall be governed by the law of Switzerland, without regard to its conflict of laws provisions, and both parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the courts in Zurich or Zug, Switzerland.
O. Limitation of Liability. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, IN NO CASE SHALL VACASA, NOR ITS AFFILIATES, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, OR OWNERS, BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES FOR DEATH, PERSONAL OR BODILY INJURY, EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR STAY AT THE PROPERTY. THIS LIMITATION APPLIES TO ALL CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES WHETHER BASED ON A THEORY OF WARRANTY, CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING ORDINARY NEGLIGENCE), STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF VACASA HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE AND EVEN IF THE LIMITED REMEDY SET FORTH HEREIN IS FOUND TO HAVE FAILED OF ITS ESSENTIAL PURPOSE.
P. Indemnity. You agree to hold harmless and indemnify Vacasa and Owner for all claims for property damage, personal injury, or monetary loss resulting from your actions or omissions, and the actions or omissions of other Occupants, during your stay.
Q. Substitution of Property. On rare occasions, due to ownership changes, properties being removed from rental use, or a need for extensive repairs or maintenance, the Property may not be available for rental on the dates of your reservation. In this unlikely event, Vacasa reserves the right to substitute a comparable property. If comparable accommodations are not available, you will have the option of (1) selecting from other available properties (in which case you are responsible for, or will receive the benefit of, any difference in cost) or (2) receiving a complete refund of your reservation payment. In the event of a substitution of rental properties, all Terms in this Agreement, plus any Unit-Specific Terms specific to the substituted property, shall apply to your stay in the substituted property.
A breach of any of the above terms may result in a forfeiture of your rights regarding this rental property, including eviction from the premises without refund.
Thank you so much for these replies and for the Vacasa example contract. I'm really surprised there is no 'recommended' generic contract by HA, especially when their only 'verification' of guests is an email address and Facebook. I really don't know how to ask strangers to send a complete stranger a photo of their driver's license or passport.
Lane, I recommend you might want to take a step back from accepting more bookings until you have your ducks in a row. If you do a search on the forum for any variety of terms (ex: rental agreement required) you will find much information and helpful tips from experienced owners. Here is one example you can read on language sent in response to an inquiry or booking request letting them know what they will need to provide in order to confirm their reservation. How do we force signing a rental agreement when the guest requests to book?
There are many experienced owners here who also confused by all the changes, system complexities, etc. Spend some time searching here on your topics of concern and reading through the posts for a great "education". You will learn a lot on how to organize your rental business, email language, documents, "vetting" your guests, etc. Good luck and hang in there.
Welcome to the community! You mention that you have been on another rental site. Which one(s). This community discusses more than just Honeaway / VRBO. Are you using AirBnB (ABB)?
I think you will find that a lot of the best practices you learn here can also be used on ABB and other sites. For example, even though ABB says you are using all their term you still should put in your house rules that you require a signed contract and that you will send it to them as soon as you get their contact info.
There are many rental agreements right before your eyes. Pretend that you are booking one of your competition's houses thru HA/VRBO. As I remember, you do not need to enter cc info until you see the rental agreement. So it is just info. And it is good to see what your competition uses for their RA. You can browse to your heart's content. Your might want to eventually consult an attorney. But if you are looking to see what is typically included in the RAs of neighboring properties, go for it.
I might add that we do not post our rental agreement on the platform. I send it via email and the guest has 24 hours after receipt of the paperwork to their personal email, to return the signed agreement and photo ID. You do not need to post the RA online and within the system. Just make sure you post your procedure within the listing and part of house rules.
I might also add that due to privacy reasons, I do not keep any reservation records on the platform. I move everything off the platform once the booking is finalized. And I do not use the hospitality app, for obvious privacy reasons. Been doing it this way for over 20 years - it works!
Thanks to everyone for all your responses today! I think I'm talked down off the ledge (for now. lol) I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that struggles while trying to figure it all out. I've implemented your suggestions and made real headway today so thanks! This is a fantastic community of great people!
I was curious what other homeowners include as provisions in their rental agreements. I am about to meet with my attorney and want to include provisions for the following:
1. pets (none and a consequence)
2. over occupancy
3. late check-out
4. security cameras in use on grounds
6. right to cancel
Any others you are using?
MAINTENANCE AND ACCOMMODATIONS: Every effort is made to keep the cabin and its equipment in good working order. The cabin is inspected by our cleaning and maintenance persons prior to every rental. Please notify us or our staff immediately of any difficulty you experience during your stay so that repairs can be made. There will be no refunds or rebates given for inoperable appliances or faulty equipment, unfavorable weather, interruption of utilities, or minor maintenance problems. No rebates will be given for malfunctions of cable equipment or reception that affects the TV or Internet access. Repairs will be made within 24 hours, when possible. Owner has no control over the response time of local utility services. Owner or owner’s agent has the right to enter the premises to inspect and make repairs, with reasonable notice to the Guest.
1. Pets and Service Animals:
Well-behaved and friendly pets are welcomed with prior approval by management and with a fee of $200. Guest with pets or service animals must agree to following rules:
- Pets left alone in the condo must be kenneled for their safety, safety of maintenance staff, and to avoid unintentional damage.
- As per ADA requirements, service animals should never be left alone in the condo.
- Pet or service animals are not allowed on the furniture.
- Pet or service animals must be treated for fleas and ticks and be up to date on all vaccinations. Be aware of local risks to your pet such as wildlife and pests.
- Pet or service animals must be supervised in common areas including the foyers, garage and shared balcony.
- You must clean up your animal’s waste. Leaving waste, even in bags, can attract bears. Always dispose of waste in the bear safe dumpster.
Evidence that pet/service animal rules were not followed or evidence of an unauthorized pet/animal in the building will result in fees and/or loss of deposit. Above conditions are the responsibility of the booking guest. Owner, manager and HOA accept no responsibility for injury, illness humans or pets might incur while on the premises.
Additional guests, above the number stated in your reservation, are not allowed.
Refundable Damage Deposit:
- Prior to your stay, your credit card will be authorized for refundable damage deposit of $500.00. Your deposit will be refunded in full provided that: guests do not violate unit rental rules or policies; the unit, lockers, HOA common areas and contents of these areas are left in undamaged/like condition; and all keys, parking permits, garage door openers, locker keys etc. are left in the unit in accordance with check out procedures.
- Violations, incidents requiring staff response, and/or damage will incur charges against the security deposit (and possibly additional charges to your credit card in excess of the $500 deposit) as necessary. You hereby agree to secure the unit against any and all damage by you or your guests during the time of your stay, and authorize manager to use your security deposit or credit card for that purpose.
3. Check In- Check Out:
Check-in is at 4:00 pm | Check-out is at 10:00 am.
- Any renter found to be occupying the condo after 10am without authorization will have their security deposit deducted at the rate of $200 per hour or portion of an hour after 10 am.
- Any guests found to enter the property prior to 4pm without authorization will have their security deposit deducted at the rate of of $200 per hour or portion of an hour.
4. For safety and security of guests, common areas (garage, balconies, foyers, stairwell, exterior) are monitored by real-time, cloud-hosted video surveillance.
5/6. Terms & Conditions:
50% of reservation total due at time of booking
Remaining balance due 30 days prior to check-in
Failure to pay balance due 25 or less days prior check-in will result in cancellation of reservation without refund.
A $50 fee will apply for returned checks. Reservation may be cancelled by management without refund.
- Full refund if guest cancels more than 30 days prior to check in.
- Full refund if guest cancels less than 30 days prior and management is able to re-rent property at the same rate. A fee of $150 will also apply.
- Full refund if property becomes unavailable prior to occupancy. Guest agrees to release any claims against manager in that case.
- Guest forfeits all payments if guest cancels less than 30 days prior to check and we are not able to re-rent the property.
I use an online document processor and on the last page I ask the guest to fill out, sign, and date the agreement. This includes the names of each guest, contact info including a mailing address, plus an emergency contact person and phone number. They also must initial and date each page. I have my cancellation and liability clauses located at the bottom of a page very close to the initials. After I receive the signed agreement and approve it, I sign and date it. A copy of a Photo ID is required and that's in the rental agreement too.
Some additional items to consider including:
- your house rules
- a description of the accomodations - including number and type of beds, utilities, WiFi, appliances, linens, housekeeping available or not, etc
- "We advertise in good faith within the limits set by the listing sites we use. Guest agrees that this agreement is binding in the case of a conflict with the advertised information."
- "We do not give credit for early departures, no shows, or late arrivals. No subletting is allowed."
- "Remember that this is our home so please treat it as if it were your own. We wish you an enjoyable and relaxing vacation!"
If you're in an area that is susceptible to storm cancellations, you may want to include a clause for that. Even though I haven't enforced this, I have it just in case:
STORMS: If there is a major storm or hurricane, no refunds will be given unless:
The Governor of South Carolina has ordered a mandatory evacuation for Myrtle Beach
Beginning on the day that the authorities order a mandatory evacuation, we will refund the following, less the $175 departure cleaning fee:
-Any unused portion of rent from a guest currently registered
-Any unused portion of rent from a guest that is scheduled to arrive, and wants to shorten the stay, to come in after the mandatory evacuation is lifted
-Any advance rents collected or deposited for a reservation that is scheduled to arrive during the mandatory evacuation period
There are no simple rental agreements that will protect you and your property.
A rental agreement is vital, so don't take short cuts to make it easy. Managing and owning a property is not supposed to be simple these days.
ITs the only the only protection you have should you need to go to court and even just enforce the contract with the guests.
No short cuts.