A vacation rental lease agreement is a contract between two parties, for instance, between a landlord and a tenant, covering a short duration in which the tenant is renting the property.
Often, vacation rental agreements are written contracts that indicate the period for which a property has been leased out, the terms of occupancy, and other important details about the property being leased.
The alternative names for a vacation rental agreement are:
- Summer rental agreement
- A short-term lease agreement
- Guest rental agreement
When to Use Vacation Rental Agreements
Vacation rental agreements are used when leasing property for a duration of less than half a year, weeks, or days, depending on how much time the renter wishes to spend at the place being leased.
Essentially, a lease agreement is meant to create a legally binding contract between the tenant and the landlord, which ensures legal protection of the two parties in case a dispute arises.
Vacation vs. Periodic Lease
Vacation and period leases are similar in that both are used for temporary occupancy. Often, the two are used to lease furnished residential units, and they usually involve higher rental rates when compared to the standard/ long-term leases. However, the two differ in various aspects as follows:
- Lease Term: Vacation leases have specified occupancy start dates and fixed end dates, which could be after some days, a week, a month, or other agreed period between the parties involved. On the contrary, periodic leases have no defined end dates. The occupants continue to renew their contracts on a month-month basis until either party decides to terminate the tenancy.
- Rent Prices: The rental rates for periodic leases are usually high and can only be terminated with considerate notices. On the other hand, the vacation rental rates are relatively lower than those of periodic leases. However, both types of leases have remarkably higher rates than ordinary leases.
- Property Types: Vacation leases are specifically meant for a short habitation in a given property, usually an apartment. On the contrary, periodic leases are meant for residents who may require living in a given area for a long duration, usually months or even years.
Vacation Lease Procedure
It involves the following:
Checking the local requirements
The lease agreement should cover all the local requirements, both legal and non-legal, so that the occupant is aware of how they are expected to behave and also to protect the lessor in case any issues arise.
The tenant should evaluate all the risk factors that may make the property being leased become a liability. Such factors include damage and property degradation, and they should be given immediate attention but with careful consideration.
Understanding tax implications
Property lease may trigger issues relating to tax payments. The owner of the leased premises should, therefore, fully understand the adverse implications of tax liability.
Preparing the property
To ensure maximum comfort of the tenants, the landlord should ensure that premises have both essential and luxurious services and amenities. This may include the following:
- Internet connection (WiFi)
- Electrical appliances such as water heater, coffee maker, iron box, TV, radio, Microwave, etc.
- Clean bedding
- Access to clean water
Taking HD photographs
High-quality photos may mean a lot, and to a certain degree, they may be a critical factor that prospective clients may use to determine where to seek accommodation when they have two or more choices. The owner of the premises should consider hiring a professional photographer who will accurately capture appealing views, features, and other aspects that will entice a prospective occupant.
Marketing the property
The landlord may opt to hire a real estate agent to assist in the marketing of the property. The agent may need to use the captured photos whenever they come across a potential tenant. Also, the owner of the premises may decide to take the marketing role.
Verifying the tenants
The landlord should screen the potential client to determine whether he/she has a bad history with other landlords. Tenant verification can be done via search engines such as Google or platforms such as Airbnb, where the landlord will be able to access the tenant’s reviews.
Finalizing the reservation
In this phase, the landlord should collect the rent for the period in which the tenant will occupy the premises. Rent can be collected as cash or wired through online money transfer services such as Skrill and PayPal.
On top of the rental payment, a security deposit may be required if the landlord has valuable items in the residential unit. This will cater to any damages or loss of valuable items.
Checking the tenant out of the property
Vacation lease agreements often outline the penalties and repercussions attracted by late check-outs. To avoid unnecessary issues, the landlord must ensure that the tenant checks out on the agreed dates.
Writing a Short Term Rental Agreement
The following steps should be followed when writing a short-term/ vacation rental agreement:
Add starting and end dates
Vacation rental agreements are characterized by fixed starting and end dates. For this reason, these dates should be clearly outlined to indicate the duration which the tenant should stay in the premises being leased.
Describe the property and amenities
A clear description of the property and its amenities should be done. This should include precise details about the location of the premises and the facilities that the guests will be privileged to access during their temporary stay.
It is also important to list some of the available amenities. Such may include:
- Internet connection
- Room heater
- Swimming pool
- Bedding and towels
- Cooking supplies
Enlist owner and guest information
The landlord’s basic details such as full name, address, and contact information are necessary when writing a vacation rental agreement. The agreement should also cover the occupant’s information. Collection of the guest’s information is very critical, especially when any need for a follow-up arises after the tenancy expires. Also, the information helps the landlord to know the number of occupants who will be checking in and be in a position to charge them accordingly.
Different rental premises have different policies. The landlord should clearly outline all the policies that should be observed and highlight possible penalties if the policies are not adhered to. The policies may be about:
- Maximum number of occupants
- Pet keeping within the premises
- Trash disposal
- Use of the parking area
- Key losses
- Damages to property
- Smoking within the premises
- Termination of the rental agreement
Explain the procedures
The vacation rental agreement should clearly explain the check-in and check-out procedures. The arrival dates and times should be very clear. The same document should offer a clear description of how the guests can access the premises.
Upon the expiry of the tenancy, the occupant is required to check out of the premises. The check-out dates and times must be clearly outlined, and various orders such as key dropping points and cleaning of the premises should be specified.
Include payment details
A vacation rental agreement should state the rental cost and other applicable charges such as local taxes. To ensure convenience when making the payments, the landlord should outline the acceptable payment methods and the payment deadline.
Add governing laws
Such laws usually relate to how the tenants are required to conduct themselves. The vacation rental agreement should outline all the laws and the repercussions for breaking any of the laws.
The laws may also relate to tenancy terminations. The landlord should come up with a termination policy to protect him in the event of a last-minute tenancy cancellation. To facilitate this, the tenant may be required to pay a refundable security deposit.
Sign the agreement
The vacation tenant should first read and agree to the terms and policies of the rental agreement. Subsequently, both parties should sign and date the rental agreement and also retain a signed copy of the vacation rental agreement together with proof of payment for both rent and the security deposit.
NOTE: If more than one guest is occupying the premises, all the guests should sign the rental agreement.
Here are free downloadable templates that can be customized as per requirements:
Tips for Being a Good Host
Following are a few tips for being a good and caring host:
- Keep the rental clean: The landlord should ensure a maximum level of cleanliness to attract more potential tenants/ guests.
- Be polite: Maintaining a high degree of politeness ensures a good relationship between the hos and the guest.
- Anticipate needs: This will provide opportunities for the growth of the business because it leads to a client’s loyalty.
- Provide necessities: This will offer utmost comfort and guest satisfaction during their stay.
Frequently Asked Questions
The maximum term of a short-term lease is typically less than six months. However, this may differ depending on the legislation in different states.
Vacation leases have the shortest lease periods compared to other property leases, such as car leases which may even last for over 36 months.