43 Replies Latest reply: Dec 3, 2019 6:08 PM by utahdream RSS

    "Unverified" traveler???

    ncmountaintime Contributor

      Should I be concerned about a new traveler booking that is "unverified"?  I had one earlier this year and I asked them to go through the HomeAway/VRBO verification process and they did.  Now I have another.  Just curious as to what more experienced owners think about this.  Thanks for your input.

        • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          I require a signed rental agreement and a copy of a gov issued photo ID to be sent directly to me. I wouldn't depend on any website to verify guests for me.

          • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
            green_mango Active Contributor

            "Verified" just means they have a functional email address - great way for VRBO to give owners a false sense of security (scammers can verify their email addresses - it's just clicking on a link).  The newer "badge" is 3rd party ID verification, but that's not offered to every guest. 

             

            Either way, as said above, I require a signed RA and photo of ID sent to me, whether they #bookdirect, VRBO, Airbnb etc... 

              • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                utahdream Contributor

                This is not the first time people mention signed rental agreement on this board. I am curious as to how do you think it would protect you, from what and and in what scenario? I am not being sarcastic I am really curious. I require my guests to chose between buying insurance or providing a security deposit. 100% chose the insurance. I also have my property insured separately and have a liability umbrella. What would this agreement theoretically give me? An opportunity to sue them in a small claims court 5000 miles away? From the practical standpoint I just don't see any enforcement options. I am a vacation renter also and only once a host asked me to sign a rental agreement and provide an ID. I was annoyed (but complied as didn't want to deal with re-booking). Having to print it, sign it, scan it, send it... eh. Am I missing something here?

                  • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                    feibus Senior Contributor

                    Ooo Ooo!!  I can answer that!

                     

                    I'm more than willing to file a claim in court or at least threaten it.  The court in this case would be where the VR is located, so most guests won't fight it at that point and most wouldn't want my attorney's collections person on their back.  But I'm not suing until it's enough where I might file an insurance claim, anything less isn't worth my time.  Once I get into an insurance claim, I might get the insurance company to do the suing for me, since it's their money on the hook now.

                     

                    As for damage insurance vs security deposit: security deposit always.  "Accidental damage" insurance is crap and only insures the guest, not the owner.  So if the guest denies that they did anything wrong, the insurance won't pay.  Better to collect hard money to cover the low-end of the damage issues.

                     

                    As for process, my managers collect the ID of the person checking in and makes sure it matches the name on the agreement. I get the agreement e-signed for the person whose name appears on the credit card for the reservation, since that's the person I want financially committed.  No printing/scanning with e-signing and it only costs about $100/year on the low end without discounts.  And an e-signed agreement will hold up in court if the service is a valid e-signing service.

                    • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                      apples and oranges, to a degree. Damage insurance via VRBO only covers guests, and not you and ONLY if a) guest admits damage and b) damage was not intentional. 2nd, damage deposit is great, but your recourse is limited to that amount. so if you have $300 deposit and renter does $1000 in damage, you are out of luck. 3rd., nether insurance nor damage deposit, in itself, spell out your house rules and repercussions for violating them (monetary or otherwise)  - that all should be in a rental agreement. so, in the rental agreement you should have everything that is allowed or not allowed, and spelled out repercussions for violation. Such as, if they add bath oils to hot tub ( a no no), you spell out that you will deduct $200 from deposit. Your rental; agreement should also spell out that is there is damage above and beyond the deposit amount, they will be taken to court (usually in the jurisdiction of  the location of the property) or whatever other recourse you or your attorney deem appropriate. neither CSA insurance nor Damage deposit do that.

                        • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                          utahdream Contributor

                          So, basically, what I am hearing is that the rental agreement gives an opportunity to sue should things go wrong. It doesn't override HA/VRBO/Airbnb policies, it does not allow hosts to automatically "charge" anything since we don't have their CCs, HA/VRBO/Airbnb will not enforce the terms of private rental agreements. That's what I thought.

                            • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                              feibus Senior Contributor

                              Your marketing/sales channel isn't responsible for the upkeep of your home, whether the toilets work, whether the front door locks... or enforcing your terms.  They are responsible for helping you market your home.  Period.  Full stop.  They try to encroach in other areas, but those attempts mostly suck, so might as well ignore all that.  You are responsible for enforcing the terms you want for renting your home... and having a signed agreement is the first step.

                                • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                  utahdream Contributor

                                  Of course. The question is, do you want to be in the enforcement business? And more importantly, do you even have the ability to enforce anything? For me the answers are no, and no. Personally I rent out a ski condo which is over 2000 miles away from where I reside. I don't use on the ground manager, they self check in. So nobody is going to be there to count people checking in to ensure they do not exceed occupancy, I am not going to be there to prevent them from smoking or putting my handwash stainless steel coockware into the dishwasher, or dragging their skis through the living room if they choose to do so. They can violate every rule in the house rules book, and there's absolutely nothing I would be able to do about it, realistically speaking. They can sign a rental agreement, violate everything in it, and there's nothing I can do about it either.  And, most certainly, I am soooo not going to travel across state lines to sue these folks in a small claim court, let alone real court. A comprehensive business insurance is the best way to go, in my opinion (the one that covers damage, business liability, lost revenue, etc.). This will protect from large losses, and with the small ones - oh well, I will treat it like a business expense. These rental contracts are for all intents and purposes unenforceable, because the costs and administrative hurdles of enforcing them would far exceed any potential award. They are just giving hosts the false sense of security and are not worth the paper they are drafted on. Just my opinion.

                                    • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                                      Read below. You may not NEED to enforce anything - a process of signing of rental agreement and providing ID is a major deterrent to majority of people who would be intent on violating your rules. Idea of you having their ID cools down many bad intentions. Besides, you do not TELL them that you are 2000 mi away and will not travel 2000 mi to go to court - they don't know that!(unless of course you tell them). For all they know you be living in a unit next door and keeping an eye on your rental. yes they CAN sign and violate, but most' won't, at lest not on a large scale. The purpose of a renal contract is not to allow you to sue people for a ruined sheet, it is to deter people who may be intent to rent your place with intentions of overpopulation, parties, bringing pets  etc in the first place. They will just move on to an easier target.  Business insurance is a must, but again, it is like saying in a car "an engine is a must". But so is transmission! It is not either-or. It is ALL OF THE ABOVE.

                                  • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                    u0999 Premier Contributor

                                    well partially true. I have a synopsis of my rental agreement posted as "house rules" in airbnb, and the bullet point #1 is that " Guest must electronically sign rental agreement and provide copy of ID upon booking acceptance". In case of HA the blank "sample" copy of the same rental agreement is attached for their perusal. For both platforms, actual rental agreement is e-signed after booking.

                                    Also, while rental agreements are not a panacea and nothing is 100%, it is a good deterrent to people who have intention of violating  your rules. They cannot claim that they "did not know" that bringing 15 people into a rental that sleeps 4 is not OK and that their stay will be terminated without any refund if caught doing so if they had to explicitly initial a paragraph number so-and-so in a rental agreement that outlines that rule. Owners have reported cases where potential renters withdrew requests after reading the rental agreements and repercussions for violations that they were intent on violating. And good riddance. If nothing else, think of it as additional screening tool that weeds out unsuitable groups.

                                     

                                    I am currently in a charge back rebuttal process in case of a guy booking my property (direct) by putting deposit but never paying the balance on a due date (or ever). per rental agreement I am entitled to keep the deposit if they are canceled due to nonpayment of balance ( I tried to accommodate him in every which way, gave several more days to pay etc or future stay  but that is i beside the point). So I have submitted all the correspondence, and signed rental agreement chargeback rebuttal. The amount is not large but I want to go through this to 1) learn the ropes and if my rental agreement needs any adjustment and 2) frankly, he peed me off by charging back after I offered every accommodation on the planet. 

                                      • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                        utahdream Contributor

                                         

                                        "Owners have reported cases where potential renters withdrew requests after reading the rental agreements and repercussions for violations that they were intent on violating. And good riddance"

                                         

                                        I could see myself, as a renter, bailing on a reservation that would require me to sign an agreement. If the area has tons of options and the listing in not particularly unique, and they are asking me to jump through hoops and potentially wave the liability (hell, no) - I would bail. Not because I intent to violate the rules, I have nothing but 5* reviews from hosts. But because I simply don't want to deal. May be its a generational thing. I think younger people just prefer to do everything with their smartphone. You ask me to print it out, read a few pages of legalese and find a real pen to sign when all i wanted was a hassle free long weekend on a lake? Uhm, next. Perhaps this is for the better and guests/hosts will sort themselves into appropriately matched groups

                                          • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                            utahdream Contributor

                                            I can read just fine, ty. The ONLY time I have been asked to sign a RA, they wanted me to print it out and FAX it back to them (that was in October of this year). We don't even have fax machines in our office anymore. The last time I saw a fax machine was like 10 years ago. I settled on an emailed scan and the only reason I did that was because it was slim pickings in that area (Sonoma) and I had spent 2 hours looking for a suitable listing for my group. Don't really want to argue with the rest  - everybody has their own risk/reward tolerance.

                                             

                                            But let me ask you this: given your experience, volume of rentals and such - have you ever had to enforce a RA IRL and how did that go?

                                              • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                feibus Senior Contributor
                                                I am currently in a charge back rebuttal process in case of a guy booking my property

                                                I'd say you missed reading this part utahdream.  First thing the bank wants for a chargeback refutation is your signed rental agreement and an ID from the person who checked in.  Without that, the chargeback wins because the bank isn't going to put more effort into the process than the merchant (the owner in this case) puts into it.  And often the bank puts in far less effort.  But that signed agreement and photo ID gets their attention and helps you win.

                                              • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                linky17 Active Contributor

                                                Conversely ~  As a Traveler, I steer clear of listings/Owners who -- seemingly -- can't be bothered by the simple act of issuing a Rental Agreement.  (What other corners are they cutting?)  It's just good business.  A 'professional' courtesy that -- as an Owner -- I both gladly provide + require so that there are no grey areas.  First impressions really DO matter.

                                                 

                                                In another thread/that you posted ("Ski condo owners ..."), you mention that your first Guest -- "an Olympic medalist," no less! -- checks-in today @ your "unit" in a "complex."  Absent an RA + valid ID:  How, exactly, have you: utahdream, verified his/her identity?  And -- fingers-crossed, for your sake -- how might the occupants/Owners of surrounding "units" feel and/or react if their occupancy causes any disturbance?  You should know that 'loosey-goosey' Owners are partly responsible for too! many! municipalities pushing back against STRs.  And your Park City condo ain't immune.

                                                 

                                                You asked -- waaay North -- "Why a Rental Agreement?"  Lots and lots of well-intended, clearly experienced folks (and I don't always agree with all of them) have expended their valuable time sharing the benefits of same + experiential anecdotes.  Consider that the time that you've similarly logged in push-backs?  May have been better spent in crafting a solid RA.

                                                 

                                                You seem fond of invoking "YMMV."  I say: DYP/BP (= Do Your Part/Be Professional).

                                                 

                                                Best wishes with your first Guest.

                                                  • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                    utahdream Contributor

                                                    The majority of the units in my complex are rented out as vacation rentals. There’s only a handful of people living there full time. This is a ski resort. Theres this whole eco system that revolves around vacation rentals, handyman, housekeepers making a killing in season.

                                                     

                                                    the person who checked in today had a verified Airbnb profile with 10+ host reviews. I trust it that ABB has seen their DL and they are who they say they are. I had to google the name to figure out their background, they were on IB. The person is a social  media influencer for god’s sake. I feel pretty good about it. May be they post about me    I just looked through my bookings, and feel pretty comfortable with most. I am able to find their social media profiles. I‘ve got a few athletes, a known movie producer (we have an indie movie festival going on there), a few families, some professional couples... nothing too crazy.

                                              • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                feibus and u0999 pretty much nailed it but missed the most likely scenarios such as

                                                 

                                                1:  Guest reserving for a certain number of people and showing up with Uncle Eddie in his RV and extended family.  What would your recourse be without a signed rental agreement?  Can you kick them out without refund? Evict them? Charge them additional guest fees?  If you don't know, then that's what a RA is for.

                                                 

                                                2:  Guest reserving for people and showing up with 2 German Shepherds.  Try calling Vrbo CS when that happens and expecting resolution before you house is full of dog-doo, urine, and hair.

                                                 

                                                I could go on all day with real examples... you get the idea.  You need a legally binding agreement between you and your guest. <-- period  Nothing that happens via the booking process on Vrbo or ABB is binding and, as others have mentioned, both the guest purchased damage waiver insurance and Vrbo's $1 million insurance are as worthless as teats on a boar hog.

                                                  • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                    utahdream Contributor

                                                    You can always evict the guests who are in violation - just call the sheriff, that's trespass. The notion that you'll be able to keep the money is a fallacy. Your private agreement will NOT override Airbnb/HA terms as far as I understand, and the platforms WILL refund them for the unused stay. Further, like I said, you have NO ability to charge them anything (beyond may be a security deposit) because you don't have their credit card (and even if you did, they could charge it back). Unless, you take that rental agreement, hire a lawyer, go to court, file, sue, win, then go hire a collector and chase them around the country (or the globe) to collect, and actually collect. Good luck with that route.

                                                      • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                        bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                        You are 100% wrong on everything you just typed.

                                                         

                                                        1. You cannot evict guests for trespassing when they have a paid reservation.  You can only evict them for violations of your terms which, you guessed it, are only in your signed RA.   Plenty of user stories and case law on this but, yea, go with your gut.

                                                         

                                                        2. Your private agreement 100% supersedes any agreement on the OTR website (and you can even stipulate that it does in the RA itself). I know, my RA was drafted by a fellow Vrbo owner who is also a real estate attorney.

                                                         

                                                        3. The OTR may refund at the guest's request. But, as u0999 told you above, a signed RA and proof of the violation of terms are the ONLY things that would allow you to reverse a chargeback.

                                                         

                                                        4. OK, you have no recourse today.  You will have none tomorrow.  I hope you never need it.  Sleep well 2,000 miles away.

                                                          • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                            utahdream Contributor

                                                            "You cannot evict guests for trespassing when they have a paid reservation.  You can only evict them for violations of your terms which, you guessed it, are only in your signed RA.   Plenty of user stories and case law on this but, yea, go with your gut"

                                                            These laws are super location specific, to a point where it almost makes no sense to argue about them in general. The way the law is written in Utah, only the person who paid is a "tenant", everybody else is a "long term guest", who must leave upon the owner's request, written or verbal. Should they fail, the police can arrest them for criminal trespass. And, certainly, if they don't have a RA, they also have no rights to be there in the first place.

                                                             

                                                            Your private agreement 100% supersedes any agreement on the OTR website (and you can even stipulate that it does in the RA itself). I know, my RA was drafted by a fellow Vrbo owner who is also a real estate attorney.

                                                             

                                                            Definitely not factually correct. Perhaps we mean different things by "supersedes". The platforms will not abide by your agreement. They will do as they please, in this case refund the guest for example. You can only "supersede" this by going to court, winning, etc.

                                                             

                                                            I will give you the charge-back point though. That might be the only thing where RA could actually be useful.

                                                              • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                                                https://www.utcourts.gov/howto/landlord/criminal_trespass.html

                                                                 

                                                                utahdream,   It seems to me that the state of Utah has given some wiggle room and a slippery slope when it pertains to what a "long term guest" is. 

                                                                 

                                                                 

                                                                Criminal Trespass by a Long-term Guest

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                                                                Criminal trespass by a long-term guest

                                                                Utah law allows an owner (or primary occupant, or someone with "apparent authority" to act for the primary occupant) of a residence to remove a guest who has overstayed their welcome without going through a court process if certain requirements are met.

                                                                 

                                                                >>>A primary occupant can be a tenant or an owner of the residence.<<< Utah Code Section 76-6-206.4.(emphasis mine)

                                                                 

                                                                 


                                                                Difference between a tenant and a long-term guest

                                                                A long-term guest has been given permission (express or implied) by the owner (or primary occupant) to stay at the residence for 48 hours or longer, and has not provided anything of value in exchange for living there. <<<emphasis mine

                                                                 

                                                                A tenanthas a rental agreement or lease (written or oral), has given the owner (or primary occupant) something of value in exchange for living there, or both.

                                                                 

                                                                 

                                                                Something of value can include money, an exchange of labor, or contributing toward household expenses such as utilities or groceries.

                                                                 

                                                                 


                                                                Process

                                                                The owner's (or primary occupant's) first step is to give the long-term guest notice by "personal communication" that they want them to leave. This personal communication can be in writing or oral.

                                                                 

                                                                If the long-term guest does not leave after receiving the notice, the owner or primary occupant can call the police and ask them to remove the guest.

                                                                 

                                                                 

                                                                The police will determine whether the person is a tenant or a long-term guest.

                                                                 

                                                                • If the police determine that the person is a long-term guest, they will remove the person from the residence. They could also arrest the long-term guest for criminal trespass. The police must give the guest a reasonable time to gather their belongings.
                                                                • If the police determine that the person is a tenant, the owner could start an eviction case in court. See the Eviction web page for more information about that process, and forms.
                                                                • Utah Legal Services has information that may help a tenant if a landlord is trying to have them removed under this process.

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                                                                Criminal trespass

                                                                Violation of Utah Code Section 76-6-206.4 is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

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                                                                So, in reading this, if Jim rents your place in Utah, and pays you $1000.00 for a week's rental, he is now a tenant.  If Jim's 3 buddies each give him $250.00 (Jim the tenant), then they cannot be evicted based on Utah's "long term guest" rule, as they are no longer considered a long term guest, because they have given "something of value" for living there.    Even if all Jim's friends do is buy pizza and chips they are no longer considered that "long term guest" that has not provided anything of value for living there, because they have contributed groceries.  Now, I'm not an attorney, but it seems to me like you will have very little recourse to have the police pop in and remove people from your property based on the assumption they are just "long term guests." 



                                                                  • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                    utahdream Contributor

                                                                    Yeah, everything can be read into absurdity but the key here is the police will make the ultimate determination who's a guest and who's a tenant, using their judgement. Buying a bag of chips will likely not fly, they are not dumb. UT passed this law, it appears, specifically to let the police address minor domestic situations without having the courts involved. Either way, I hope to never find out how this would work in practice.

                                                                     

                                                                    https://www.utahlegalservices.org/node/69/criminal-trespass-long-term-guest

                                                                    What can I do if the police try to arrest me as a long-term guest?

                                                                    Show the police a written rental agreement even if you have not paid the rent. Try to prove that an oral agreement exists. Or prove that the primary occupant accepted money or labor in exchange for your tenancy. (Helping out once with household expenses, like groceries, may not be enough but a pattern or practice of contributing that occurs over a longer period of time may convince an officer that a legal relationship exists.)

                                                                      • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                        ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                                                        utahdream, my point is, if the police show up and you try to say that Jim's buddies all have to leave because they are guests, and the police use the determination based on whether any of the guests contributed to the stay, OF COURSE Jim is not going to throw his buddies under the bus, they ALL paid money to stay.  How did you all pay? Well, Jim paid the owner of the condo/house with his credit card, and we all paid Jim.  How did you pay him?  We all gave him cash.  Jim, did your buddies all give you cash.  Why, yes they did.  We all split the cost right down the middle.

                                                                         

                                                                        I promise you they are not going to throw Jim's buddies to the curb.  (mind you, we AREN'T talking about a domestic dispute.)   If I were a betting person, I'd bet money that I would have ZERO luck using Utah's eviction process to remove a perceived "unwanted guest" from my place.  Eviction almost NEVER sides with the owner at first blush. Trust me on this one.

                                                                          • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                            utahdream Contributor

                                                                            You might be right. But really, you have to look at the situation holistically. Ordinarily, if they book for 2 and bring 1-2 more I really couldn't care less if they do. It's not like I am going to be spying on them with cameras to count how many checked in and then have police come for no other reason at all, right? What would be the point of that and who has the time. Do other hosts really care?

                                                                             

                                                                            I mean, they would have to be doing something else problematic which would trigger my intervention. May be a loud party reported by neighbors or something like that. In which case the cops would definitely come and break it up, and then I could ask the "guests" to leave, and this is a resort town with the ratio of vacation rentals to permanent residences of probably like 1000 to one - I am gonna go out on the limb here that the cops there have seen it all and don't take any BS. Also, in my county max occupancy on this square footage is 5 people, which is how many beds I have. So the cops would have grounds to remove "excess" occupants on those grounds too. And if it's less than 5 and they are behaving I personally just don't care.

                                                                              • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                                ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                                                                utahdream, I don't mean to be piling on here, but you assume way too much.  It may come back to bite you in the backside. 

                                                                                 

                                                                                https://www.utahlegalservices.org/node/69/criminal-trespass-long-term-guest

                                                                                 

                                                                                Can the owner of a rented apartment or the manager of a mobile home park evict a tenant’s (or mobile home owner’s) guest using this law?

                                                                                No. The law only allows the person who has the right to possess the premises to have a long-term guest arrested for criminal trespass. The owner who has rented out the apartment or mobile home space cannot interfere in the legal tenant’s power to decide who lives in the premises. HOWEVER, the owner still has the right to enforce the rental agreement (and the number of residents) using Utah’s landlord/tenant laws against the legal tenant. A legal tenant can be evicted if she fails to follow the rental agreement after sufficient notice (e.g., a three-day written notice to get rid of a long-term guest or quit the premises). If the legal tenant is evicted, all others who are living in the place will also be evicted.

                                                                    • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                      margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                      You are understanding it incorrectly, there is case law to show the RA will override ABB/HA/Vrbo terms:Your own contract supersedes the OTA contract

                                                                        • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                          utahdream Contributor

                                                                          Thanks for the read, it was interesting. But it is exactly like I said - Airbnb acted as they pleased and the owner had to go to court to prove his point. Now, having read that thread, the owner had (1) his airbnb account suspended and future bookings canceled (2) had to incur legal fees and lost a lot of time (3) all he got in reward was the original booking fee plus cleaning cost plus $500. Huh? How is that a victory? Now, I don't know what the guest was doing there exactly to precipitate this development. But I know for me personally, unless they were making a camp fire in the middle of my rug, I would let it slide to avoid the this horrible hassle. I am in it to make a few bucks and cover the cost of my own skiing, not being dragged into epic court battles. I dunno. Just doesn't seem too practical.

                                                                           

                                                                          P.S. also, not to get too legal, but a lower court's decision does not create a binding precedent and certainly not in other states. The decision has to be by a higher up court in the same appeals path in order to be a binding precedent.

                                                                            • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                              bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                                              You've been given sound (free) advice by seasoned owners and are fighting every comment with some variation of "it just isn't practical for me,"

                                                                               

                                                                              And you express the naive (IMO) expectation that you can manage your condo rental without an onsite manager (huge mistake we haven't even started to cover) from 2,000 miles away and no rental agreement... what could possibly go wrong? LoL

                                                                               

                                                                              Who are your your eyes and ears between guests?  Who accounts for your belongings and damage?  Cleaning staff? 

                                                                               

                                                                              What do you intend to do when your cleaning staff walks in after a rental and finds bloody sheets (ruined)?  Corn chips and peanut butter ground into the carpet?  What do you do when they say, "No Way Jose, I ain't cleaning all this mess for a lousy $75". And who goes out to buy the new sheets?  Who handles the guest complaint at 5:00 MST that the hot water heater isn't working?

                                                                               

                                                                              I think you are biting off more than you think and are under the false impression that this is easy and that guests are all perfect.  No and hell no.

                                                                               

                                                                              Good luck (and I mean that).  You'll need it. 

                                                                                • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                                  utahdream Contributor

                                                                                  bonesxxx: closet full of replacement sheets, towels and floor mats. Amazon delivers most of anything to the front door overnight.  Condo maintenance staff on premises handles issues (including inside apartment for extra fees which I Zelle him). Would pay housekeeper extra if need be. It really isn't that complicated. Some maintenance issues might be outside of my control, in which case oh well tough break. Write me a bad review. I have done this (running a vacation rental) before, just not this particular unit. Most ski condos are run in absentia, and a good housekeeper and a responsive handyman is all you need. This particular unit was run in the same exact manner by the previous owner for years. He had a "management company" which was just another woman sitting on the East Coast and doing all the same stuff, there was never anyone dedicated on the ground. This thread has definitely been informative and useful. Yes you'd need a contract if you wanted to litigate. The thing is though, I do not see myself litigating. My dayjobs pays over 20x of what this condo brings in in a year and my time would be way too valuable, I rather take a few thousand in losses than get into a legal battle. And I have commercial insurance to cover anything big. It would be one thing if the platforms were more host-friendly, allowing to easily fine guests for infractions, etc. But they are not. And I am not prepared to go to courts so this leaves me where I started.

                                                                        • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                          utahdream The rental agreement is your best defence if you ever had a need to go to court. More often, as in the situation u0999 used as an example it protects you in a chargeback situation. MasterCard and Visa recommend a signed RA and ID as "best practice." I once had a chargeback, without my signed RA and ID I would have been out a full weeks rent during my high season. Last year there was a situation with an ABB booking, the owner had to go to court to get the people out of her home and get paid (ABB refunded them while they were still in the home) the court would only consider the RA and was not interested in ABB terms or policy. The owner won the case based on her RA.

                                                                  • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                    redrenee44 New Member

                                                                    I just got my first "unverified guest" inquiry in over 8 years of hosting with the message... Your home still available for the chosen date ? $4500 for 9 days in Feb. 2020 sounds tempting but it looked fishy. This is why I never enable instant book...just opens a can of worms, in my opinion.

                                                                    • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                      feibus Senior Contributor

                                                                      A booking or just an inquiry?  Sounds like an inquiry, because the process of the guest paying with a credit card tends to make everything "verified".

                                                                       

                                                                      Either way, why would you leave it to your sales and marketing channel to make sure your home is secure?  I really don't understand why anyone would care whether Vrbo "verified" a guest at this point, since they put zero effort into doing it.

                                                                      • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                        u0999 Premier Contributor

                                                                        Owner has to verify traveler. Vrbo does not verify anything but existence of email address.

                                                                        • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                          green_mango Active Contributor

                                                                          utahdream It sounds like lots of good advice above, but I wanted to chime in since you specifically asked me why I have an RA - I think a better question is why wouldn't an owner have an RA?  Lack of experience or education is my guess.  I was inexperienced when I started, but my very 1st guest signed an RA because I educated myself on best practices for short term rentals (Oh, and what's this print and sign stuff you're mentioning?  Is that what kids these days do?  I use an e-sign service so guests can do from their smartphones - it's really quite easy). 

                                                                           

                                                                          Off the top of my head, here are some great reasons to have an RA:

                                                                          I had a chargeback for extra guest fees & I used my RA to defend it and won.

                                                                          I have an RA with guest names so that if aa group is over occupancy it's clear who stays and who goes.

                                                                          I have an RA to limit (not eliminate) liability and clarify what we are and aren't responsible for + cancellation policy etc...

                                                                          I have an RA because I plan for the worst and hope for the best.

                                                                           

                                                                          No one needs an RA until they really need one - and then it's too late if they don't have one.

                                                                           

                                                                          utahdream your link above concerning a long term tenant isn't really applicable outside of your area - our police won't involve themselves with a *short term* rental guest unless there is property damage.  Having an RA is key in my area because I can show who has permission to be there & it states the guests are not tenants and cites law explaining why - again, haven't had to go there, but it deters bad behavior and lays everything out so that guests and owner all have a mutual understanding.

                                                                            • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                              utahdream Contributor

                                                                              Thank you. Yes a lot of it is area specific. There ARE reasons though not to have an agreement. On Airbnb specifically, unless the full agreement was presented to guests prior to booking (which is technically impossible), it gives them grounds to cancel irrespective of your cancellation policy, if they are presented with this agreement after booking. Makes sense. Also it eliminates instant book (i have all mine on instant book for qualified people). Instant books get more bookings. I guess I just view the risk as acceptable (I only take ~10-12 reservation per ski season and have LT summer tenants) to not jump through hoops. If I  were running multiple properties year round I might have had a different outlook.

                                                                               

                                                                              Overall, this thread has been very helpful in my understanding of what others are doing and what else I could do to protect myself. I thank everyone for the discussion, really. Thank you guys.

                                                                                • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                   

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Thank you. Yes a lot of it is area specific. There ARE reasons though not to have an agreement. On Airbnb specifically, unless the full agreement was presented to guests prior to booking (which is technically impossible), it gives them grounds to cancel irrespective of your cancellation policy, if they are presented with this agreement after booking. Makes sense. Also it eliminates instant book (i have all mine on instant book for qualified people). Instant books get more bookings. I guess I just view the risk as acceptable (I only take ~10-12 reservation per ski season and have LT summer tenants) to not jump through hoops. If I  were running multiple properties year round I might have had a different outlook.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  Overall, this thread has been very helpful in my understanding of what others are doing and what else I could do to protect myself. I thank everyone for the discussion, really. Thank you guys.

                                                                                  utahdream  I have my entire RA in my House rules on ABB, it is not impossible, I copied and pasted it. I have IB, my guest agree to the RA and ID requirement during the booking process.

                                                                                    • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                                      utahdream Contributor

                                                                                      I guess I have sort of same thing then. I have my house rules pasted there (which I have exactly 4 of those) and I require ABB verified ID, reviews, email/phone/address for IB. My commercial insurance carrier tells me this is ALL i need, they consider this to be a *contract* and don't require a separate on top of the listing contract.... I have $250k in property damage, $25k lost revenue and $2m liability coverage for ~$1000 a year.

                                                                                        • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                                          bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                                                          OK now I have to ask... what kind of insurance do you have?

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I use a special homeowners' rental policy with a rider for short-term rental.  Sounds like you have general business insurance?  And it covers the building and contents?

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I'm not saying it's not true but, if it is, please share more b/c most of us are paying 2x that for STR coverage.

                                                                                          • Re: "Unverified" traveler???
                                                                                            margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                                                                            ABB verification mean nothing to me. ABB will not share that information with owners or even the police without a court order. I do not depend on any OTA to verify my guests, I handle that on my own. My STR insurance recommends a signed RA but will use an average of prior years to cover loss of income if necessary. With signed RAS I am compensated in full for loss of income. BTW you got a very good price for that insurance!