46 Replies Latest reply: Oct 9, 2019 9:22 AM by koko RSS

    Rental Agreements

    amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

      Why you should have a Rental Agreement:

      We strongly encourage you to use a customized rental agreement for each reservation and be sure to include the names of all parties, check-in/checkout dates, rental amounts, payment schedules, and of course, your cancellation and refund policies. We also recommend including house rules and policies around cleaning fees, pets, and smoking. A customized rental agreement for every booking would need to be sent to the traveler separately.


      Read the directions below to upload a standard rental agreement.


      How to upload your rental agreement:

      • Log in to your account.
      • If you have more than one property, click on the appropriate listing. You can repeat this process for each listing you have.
      • Click on the Property icon in the left navigation menu.
      • Click Rules & policies.
      • Click House Rules, Rental Agreement and Cancellation Policy.
      • Scroll down to the Rental Agreement section and click Upload Rental Agreement.
      • Locate and select the rental agreement on your computer.
      • Click Save. Please note your rental agreement must be saved as a PDF file.
        • Re: Rental Agreements
          feibus Senior Contributor

          We strongly encourage you to use a rental agreement for each reservation and be sure to include the names of all parties, check in/checkout dates, rental amounts, payment schedules, and of course, your cancellation and refund policies. We also recommend including house rules and policies around cleaning fees, pets, and smoking.

          Followed by instructions for uploading a generic agreement??  Seems like Vrbo skipped a step here.

            • Re: Rental Agreements
              amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

              feibus,

               

              We aren't sure what step you're referring to, can you let us know what we might have missed?'

               

              Thank you,

              Amanda

              HomeAway Marketing Manager

                • Re: Rental Agreements
                  scottr Active Contributor

                  How do I get "names of all parties, check in/checkout dates, rental amounts, payment schedules..." into the Rental Agreement that I upload using the steps you provided? 

                  • Re: Rental Agreements
                    feibus Senior Contributor

                    Handling the detailed guest-specific rental agreement instead of just showing a generic one that guests have to check a box to "agree" to.  See scottr's response for how this can seem like there's something missing between specific and generic.

                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                      margaret CommunityAmbassador

                      I think feibus is suggesting that you add instructions to upload a generic copy of the RA for travelers to read on the site. Of course, a signed personalized RA is a must, clicking a box on an OTA doesn't constitute a legally binding contract.

                        • Re: Rental Agreements
                          scottr Active Contributor

                          I'm suggesting that amanda_ha provide instructions on how the Vrbo platform supports the suggestions that are "strongly encouraged".

                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                            hmmmm Senior Contributor

                            No it does not and I would add, that you want to make sure of the following to protect for frivious chargebacks:

                            1. Send a contract direct from you that matches the one on the HA site page

                            2. Match the reservation name, payment hame, signature to the contract. Initial areas that can be important that the vacationer might use to their advantage that you know might be an issue.

                            3.  I do not accept electronic signatures for my business.

                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                green_mango Active Contributor

                                Agree on #1 & #2

                                 

                                Disagree on #3 - the e-signatures make it really easy for the guest to complete in a timely manner and not tie up dates, with the benefit of e-signatures being legal - after all, I pay my taxes and file my tax return via e-signature, as well as home buying etc...  A great guest can complete all the requirements within minutes of booking & I don't have to worry about a guest printing & mailing back a hard copy.

                                • Re: Rental Agreements
                                  bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                  I bailed on the 'initialing of key clauses' recommendation (i've read here that many owners require key clauses to be initialed).

                                   

                                  Instead, I added a sentence under the signature line that says, 'by signing this agreement I acknowledge that I have read and understand all 18 paragraphs'

                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                ohst8er Premier Contributor

                                He's saying that the information you are providing is conflicting.  You gave instructions for uploading a GENERIC agreement, not a guest specific agreement.  I finally had to put at the top of my generic uploaded agreement that this agreement was for viewing purposes only, and that a rental agreement SPECIFIC to your stay will be sent to you. 

                            • Re: Rental Agreements
                              green_mango Active Contributor

                              Agree - an RA is a must. 

                               

                              I upload our generic agreement, which guess can "click to agree" without ever actually opening it or reading a word, and then I send each guest a personalized agreement which is due back within 24 hours via e-signature site. 

                               

                              Adding - I've found it helpful to make the agreement a requirement for confirming a booking - don't wait to get it back until a few days before the reservation begins. The return with 24 hours is listed in my House Rules section.

                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                linky17 Active Contributor

                                A couple of things ~  Thing One: I do as @green_mango does, and leverage 'that' necessity of the "24 hour" (or, 48-hour, whichever/whatever is the Owner's preference) timeframe by stating that "check-in instructions" will be divulged once the "fully executed" agreement (signed + initialed by/+ valid ID) is rec'd by me in timely fashion.

                                 

                                Thing Two: IMO, amanda_ha, there is a value to Vrbo to distinguish between "Rental Agreement" versus "Lease."  Folks at either end of the transaction need to understand that there IS a difference: one being for STRs, and the other generally applied to longer-term occupancies.

                                  • Re: Rental Agreements
                                    green_mango Active Contributor

                                    I send check-in info just a couple days prior to the reservation, so I don't wait until then for a signed agreement - could be months and months after making a reservation.  I will cancel a booking if I don't get a signed agreement back within a few days (and 99% of the time they rebook and sign ).

                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                        linky17 Active Contributor

                                        Yes ~ Me, too.  Thanks for making this important point.  (I DO follow-up to say either: "Thank you, all was rec'd + in good order" -- OR -- to request 're-submission' should anything still be required to substantiate same.)

                                         

                                        ONLY upon 'complete' receipt do I promise to be in touch 'nearer' (= within a week of) to their scheduled arrival with specifics.

                                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                                      1500main Contributor

                                      These instructions are for uploading a Generic Rental Agreement.

                                      No matter what your filename is, it is re-named to "RENTAL AGREEMENT".

                                      If you upload a new RA, it deletes the previous one and replaces it with the new one.

                                      I would think this would be an issue if you uploaded a RA with Names/Dates and then someone else booked while that was in place and different Guests were able to view other Guest's information.

                                       

                                      One would have to follow green_mango & linky17's instructions to follow up with a RA that has names/dates filled in.

                                       

                                      Did I miss read something?  I don't see how to upload a RA for each Reservation other than using the verbiage suggested by green_mango & linky17 and attaching it to a Reply via the message system or send it via email.

                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                        wildiris Active Contributor

                                        I have a sample rental agreement uploaded to my listing.  I have removed all personally identifiable information such as my name and the address of the vacation rental from my sample rental agreement.  Each page is watermarked "SAMPLE."  Also, pricing, etc. is left blank because that changes with each reservation.  When I receive a booking through Vrbo, I call the guest and obtain the information I need for the guest's rental agreement.  I enter all of the information and send a PDF version of the guest's actual rental agreement via my own email, not the Vrbo dashboard.

                                        • Re: Rental Agreements
                                          topsailpm New Member

                                          A rental agreement is required by law here in North Carolina.

                                           

                                          § 42A-10.  Written agreement required.

                                          (a)        A landlord or real estate broker and tenant shall execute a vacation rental agreement for all vacation rentals subject to the provisions of this Chapter. No vacation rental agreement shall be valid and enforceable unless the tenant has accepted the agreement as evidenced by one of the following:

                                          (1)        The tenant's signature on the agreement.

                                          (2)        The tenant's payment of any monies to the landlord or real estate broker after the tenant's receipt of the agreement.

                                          (3)        The tenant's taking possession of the property after the tenant's receipt of the agreement.

                                          (b)        Any real estate broker who executes a vacation rental agreement that does not conform to the provisions of this Chapter or fails to execute a vacation rental agreement shall be guilty of an unfair trade practice in violation of G.S. 75-1.1, and shall be prohibited from commencing an expedited eviction proceeding as provided in Article 4 of this Chapter. (1999-420, s. 1.)

                                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                                            amanda_ha HomeAway Employee

                                            Hi everyone,

                                             

                                            After reading your feedback and discussing with the appropriate party the post has been edited. Apologies for the confusion.

                                             

                                            The recommendation to "include the names of all parties, check in/checkout dates, rental amounts, payment schedules, and of course, your cancellation and refund policies" was intended to help remember items to list in the customized rental agreement that you would need to send separately for every booking you receive.

                                             

                                            Thank you for your patience,

                                            Amanda

                                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                feibus Senior Contributor

                                                That wasn't quite the point a few of us were making.

                                                 

                                                Your first section of what you should have in a rental agreement is fine and in fact probably should go further and recommend running it by a real estate attorney local to your home's location, requiring initials by the cancellation clause paragraph to help with chargeback challenges, and to use an e-signing service compliant with the E-Signing laws in their location (e.g., US electronic signature laws and history | DocuSign) to reduce the friction and delay of getting a guest to sign the agreement (without the need for print/scan/fax services, which lots of people don't have).

                                                 

                                                It's the second part where we're supposed to upload this agreement... it should explain that this upload spot is for a GENERIC rental agreement -- not customized with all those items in the first paragraph of your note -- so that travelers can see your general legal requirements before booking so that there's no confusion about what they'll be asked to sign and put in the House Rules that they'll be required to sign a custom version of the agreement, so that you are covered with Vrbo's ToS.

                                                • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                  bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                  I like to keep it simple so my RA is the same for every guest.

                                                   

                                                  BUT I add this to my terms:

                                                   

                                                  "GUEST agrees and acknowledges that ALL information and correspondence from the online booking platform made in conjunction with this agreement is hereby incorporated by reference  - including but not limited to number of guests, dates of check in/out, acceptance or denial of special requests/exceptions, etc. "

                                                    • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                      feibus Senior Contributor

                                                      I'm not sure this will hold up in court, because a good attorney on the other side will make you prove that the online booking platform's information hadn't been doctored by you before bringing it to court.  Part of a signed document is proving it wasn't altered between signing and the day it's shown in court... e-signing services provide that audit trail, faxed documents maybe might work if you can show you both have the same document, but relying on the booking platform to provide accurate and audited information, you might not win that challenge.

                                                        • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                          bonesxxx Active Contributor

                                                          Yea I figured there must be a trade off to this approach... but I think the risk is minimal compared to the additional effort involved in making a new RA for each reservation -- my place rents for 2-3 day increments so I get as many as 6-8 reservations/month.

                                                           

                                                          I figured you would provide a sober perspective.  How concerned should I be?

                                                           

                                                          At the end of the day, what are the risks?  My DD covers incidental damage and my STR insurance covers anything catastrophic (i.e. above $2,000).

                                                           

                                                          Love you hear more of your thoughts feibus

                                                            • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                              feibus Senior Contributor

                                                              Your risks:

                                                               

                                                              1. Chargebacks after staying.  That's one where the credit card companies look at your documentation and ensure all the paperwork is in order before they even consider reversing the chargeback.  Best to have all your ducks in a row.

                                                               

                                                              2. Liability if guest gets hurt or damages one of your neighbors.  If you get to court, be ready with good documentation.  Insurance might cover you, but there are limits and they might require you have a good agreement to qualify for coverage (something to ask them about, since this is for a business and their underwriters might have ideas about what they want from your agreement).

                                                               

                                                              3. Malicious damage... your insurance company might consider it pretty important for going after the guest on your behalf.  Or they might leave it to you and come up with reasons not to cover your damages.  Better to check with them ahead of time to see what they'll need from you to support them in the event you need to use your coverage.

                                                               

                                                              My agreements take about 15 minutes to customize (it's fill-in-the-blank of about 15 spots in the first 3 pages) and send to the e-signing service to manage the signing process.  Some services, like OwnerRez, have their own e-signing features.  Seems like 2 hours a month isn't that big of a deal... in January, that's a week or 10 days for us, the busiest booking month of the year for us.

                                                      • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                        scottr Active Contributor

                                                        So, back to the original question.  If Vrbo strongly encourages owners to have an individual Rental Agreement for each booking, why doesn't the Vrbo platform provide that capability?  You have templates that allow Names and Dates to be populated, why can't you have a Rental Agreement template that gets  presented?

                                                          • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                            feibus Senior Contributor

                                                            Rental agreements absolutely need to be specific to the local laws governing the property.  A generic rental agreement for a property in one county might have limitations in other nearby counties, they just aren't going to do that, there's no money in it for them.

                                                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                                scottr Active Contributor

                                                                I'm not proposing that Vrbo provide a generic rental agreement.  I'm proposing that Vrbo allow me to populate fields in my rental agreement, with fields from the site (like they do with template), then display this to the guest as a PDF.  We did this on a banking site in 2002 for year-end statements, I'm sure the smart guys at Vrbo could figure out how to do it in 2019.  

                                                            • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                              vrdoctor Senior Contributor

                                                              What owners really need is for HA to collect the names, ages and ID of the person renting and automatically create a dynamic document that is electronically signed and legally binding.

                                                              • Re: Rental Agreements
                                                                koko Active Contributor

                                                                If HA would give owners something for the $500 yearly fee it could be an adjunct e-sign service for the RA of their guests.

                                                                The owner would be responsible for the info contained in the RA but he plain service of an e signature would make this all taste much better for the owners.