Short-term Rental Leases are suitable for those wanting to rent vacation properties or residential properties for a few days or weeks at a time. A Vacation Lease offers protection for the property owners and clearly outlines contract expectations to the renters. These documents can be used alongside online hosting services. Whether you rent numerous properties or just a part of your own home to vacation or temporary renters, a Vacation Lease can help protect your property and limit your liability. Agreements can also be used to detail owner and renter responsibilities such as check-in/check-out times, cleaning requirements, pet and smoking policies, and deposits. When drafted properly, this essential contract can limit the likelihood of disagreements that might arise. When ready, you can tap or click on "Make document" to take a closer look at our sample short-term rental contract.
When to use a Vacation Lease:
You own residential property that you want to rent out short-term.
You want to rent all or part of your own home to temporary renters.
You want to rent property from someone who does not offer a written rental agreement.
What we’ll cover
Sample Vacation Lease
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This Lease Agreement (this "Lease") is dated , by and between ("Landlord"), and ("Tenant"). The parties agree as follows:
PREMISES. Landlord, in consideration of the lease payments provided in this Lease, leases to Tenant (the "Premises") located at , , .
TERM. The Tenant will have full control and use of the Premises beginning on and will terminate at 11:59p.m. on .
LEASE PAYMENTS. The total rental payment owed for this Lease is payable in advance. A nonrefundable deposit of shall be paid on or before in order to reserve the Tenants reservation. Said deposit will be applied to the total rental payment. The balance of is due and must be delivered to the Landlord on . Lease payments shall be made to Landlord at , , , which may be changed from time to time by Landlord.
Landlord will retain only that portion of Tenant's security deposit necessary to pay accrued rent or compensate Landlord for damages suffered by reason of Tenant's failure to maintain the dwelling unit.
Upon the vacating of the premises for termination of the lease, Landlord shall have 15 days to return the security deposit, or in which to give Tenant written notice by certified mail to Tenant's last known mailing address of his or her intention to impose a claim on the deposit and the reason for imposing the claim. The notice shall contain a statement in substantially the following form:
This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of _____ upon your security deposit, due to _____. It is sent to you as required by Section 83.49(3), Florida Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord's address).
If Landlord fails to give the required notice within the 15-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.
Unless Tenant objects to the imposition of Landlord's claim or the amount thereof within 15 days after receipt of Landlord's notice of intention to impose a claim, Landlord may then deduct the amount of his or her claim and shall remit the balance of the deposit to Tenant within 30 days after the date of the notice of intention to impose a claim for damages.
If either party institutes an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to adjudicate the party's right to the security deposit, the prevailing party is entitled to receive his or her court costs plus a reasonable fee for his or her attorney. The court shall advance the cause on the calendar.
Compliance with this section by an individual or business entity authorized to conduct business in this state, including Florida-licensed real estate brokers and salespersons, shall constitute compliance with all other relevant Florida Statutes pertaining to security deposits held pursuant to a rental agreement or other landlord-tenant relationship. Enforcement personnel shall look solely to this section to determine compliance. This section prevails over any conflicting provisions in Chapter 475 and in other sections of the Florida Statutes, and shall operate to permit licensed real estate brokers to disburse security deposits and deposit money without having to comply with the notice and settlement procedures contained in Section 475.25(1)(d).
To the Tenant: You must notify your Landlord in writing within 4 days after you move of a forwarding address where you can be reached and where you will receive mail; otherwise your Landlord shall be relieved of sending you an itemized list of damages and the penalties adherent to that failure.
Landlord may withhold only that portion of the security deposit necessary to (1) remedy any default in the payment of rent, (2) repair damage to the premises, except ordinary wear and tear, caused by Tenant, and (3) clean the premises if necessary.
POSSESSION. Tenant shall be entitled to possession on the first day of the term of this Lease, and shall yield possession to Landlord on the last day of the term of this Lease, unless otherwise agreed by both parties in writing. At the expiration of the term, Tenant shall remove its goods and effects and peaceably yield up the Premises to Landlord in as good a condition as when delivered to Tenant, ordinary wear and tear excepted.
MINIMUM STAY. This property requires a night minimum stay. Longer minimum stays may be required during holiday periods.
USE OF PREMISES/ABSENCES. Tenant shall occupy and use the Premises as a dwelling unit. Tenant shall notify Landlord of any anticipated extended absence from the Premises not later than the first day of the extended absence. Tenant will maintain the premises in good order and appearance including keeping the premises free of trash and garbage. Reasonable wear and tear are the only exceptions to damage to the premises.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenant agrees to adhere to all guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 and any local and state regulations. Local and state regulations can be found on the local public health department website.
The following furnishings will be provided by Landlord: No pets shall be allowed on the Premises. Pets shall not be allowed without the prior written consent of the Landlord. Tenant is permitted to have: No additional pets shall be allowed without the prior written consent of Landlord. At the time of signing this Lease, Tenant shall pay to Landlord, in trust, a deposit of , to be held and disbursed for pet damages to the Premises (if any) as provided by law. This deposit is in addition to any other security deposit stated in this Lease. except that Tenant will be responsible for: .
UTILITIES AND SERVICES. Landlord shall be responsible for all utilities and services incurred in connection with the Premises.
UTILITIES AND SERVICES. Tenant shall be responsible for all utilities and services incurred in connection with the Premises.
UTILITIES AND SERVICES.
Landlord shall be responsible for the following utilities and services in connection with the Premises:
- water and sewer
- garbage and trash disposal
- janitorial services
- telephone services
Tenant shall be responsible for the following utilities and services in connection with the Premises:
- water and sewer
- garbage and trash disposal
- janitorial services
- telephone service
Tenant acknowledges that Landlord has fully explained to Tenant the utility rates, charges and services for which Tenant will be required to pay (if any), other than those to be paid directly to the utility company furnishing the service.
PROPERTY INSURANCE. Landlord and Tenant shall each be responsible to maintain appropriate insurance for their respective interests in the Premises and property located on the Premises. Tenant shall also maintain any other insurance which Landlord may reasonably require for the protection of Landlord's interest in the Premises. Tenant is responsible for maintaining casualty insurance on its own property. It is recommended that travel or vacation insurance is obtained by the Tenant.
LATE PAYMENTS. For any payment that is not paid within days after its due date, Tenant shall pay a late fee of .LATE PAYMENTS. For each payment that is not paid within days after its due date, Tenant shall pay a late fee of per day, beginning with the day after the due date.LATE PAYMENTS. For each payment that is not paid within days after its due date, Tenant shall pay a late fee equal to % of the required payment.
NON-DISTURBANCE CLAUSE. Tenant and their guests shall not disturb, annoy, endanger (fireworks) or inconvenience neighbors nor use the premises for any unlawful purposes.
CANCELLATIONS. (a) If the Property becomes unavailable to the Tenant prior to occupancy, for any reason, Landlord agrees to refund the full amount paid to the date of cancellation, and Tenant agrees to release any claims against Landlord. (b) If, for any reason, the Tenant cancels this Agreement more than days from the Arrival Date, Tenant will receive a refund of amounts paid, less a cancellation fee. For Tenant cancellations made days or less, all monies are forfeited unless Landlord is able to re-rent the Property under the same (or better) terms and conditions of this Agreement, for the full Term reserved. If the Property is re-rented under the same (or better) terms and conditions than this Agreement, Landlord will refund amounts paid, less a Cancellation Fee of . (c) There are no cancellations permitted within days of Tenant Arrival Date. All amounts paid (Reservation Deposit and Final Payment) will be forfeited. Failure to pay the Final Payment in a timely manner will be considered a cancellation under this subparagraph and will result in forfeiture of the Reservation deposit.
Cancellations related to the COVID-19 pandemic are dependent on a number of factors including: local restrictions, origin of the guest, when the booking was made, and when local officials or the CDC declare an outbreak in an area. If the cancellation is related to COVID-19, contact the Landlord.
SMOKING. Smoking is strictly forbidden inside the Property. Smoking is only allowed "outside". Evidence of smoking inside the Property will result in immediate eviction and forfeiture of all amounts paid and will result in additional Cleaning Fee charges to Tenant as Excess Damage Cost and will be charged against the credit card on file or Tenant's security deposit at Landlord's election.
COOKING. Tenant may cook only in the specific areas set aside by Landlord for cooking. No open fires are allowed other than in the grill, outdoor fireplace, or in the stone hearth. The grill must remain in open area, away from trees, house, etc. All fires must be thoroughly extinguished before leaving unattended.
CLEANING. The property will be inspected and cleaned after departure. Due to the pandemic, the property will augment current cleaning protocol to account for the changes in cleaning in adherence to COVID-19 cleaning protocols. The rental fee includes laundry service for the towels and linens. Tenant is required to leave the property in the same general condition that it was received in by making sure that the dishes are washed and put away, and the house is generally picked up and ready to be vacuumed, dusted, disinfected and laundered.
DEFAULTS. Tenant shall be in default of this Lease if Tenant fails to fulfill any lease obligation or term by which Tenant is bound. Subject to any governing provisions of law to the contrary, if Tenant fails to cure any financial obligation within days (or any other obligation within days) after written notice of such default is provided by Landlord to Tenant, Landlord may elect to cure such default and the cost of such action shall be added to Tenant's financial obligations under this Lease. All sums of money or charges required to be paid by Tenant under this Lease shall be additional rent, whether or not such sums or charges are designated as "additional rent". The rights provided by this paragraph are cumulative in nature and are in addition to any other rights afforded by law.
AUTOMATIC FORFEITURE. Tenant shall be in default of this Lease if Tenant fails to fulfill any Lease obligation by which Tenant is bound. Subject to any governing provisions of law to the contrary, if Tenant fails to cure any financial obligation within days (or any other obligation within days) after written notice from Landlord, Tenant shall be deemed to have forfeited the Lease, and Landlord shall have the right to re-take possession of the property without further notice and without prejudicing Landlord's rights to damages. Acceptance by Landlord of previously due rent payments does not constitute waiver of Landlord's rights under this provision. This provision will not apply in circumstances where North Carolina General Statutes section 42A-23 allows for expedited eviction proceedings.
CUMULATIVE RIGHTS. The rights of the parties under this Lease are cumulative, and shall not be construed as exclusive unless otherwise required by law.
CASUALTY OR DESTRUCTION. (a) Should the Property be destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by an Act of God (including, but not limited to, hurricanes, storms, floods or fires), or by environmental disaster, or loss of utilities prior to occupancy by Tenant, this Agreement shall become null and void, and all payments made hereunder shall be refunded to Tenant. (b) Should the Property be destroyed or rendered uninhabitable as above during occupancy, reimbursement on a pro-rated basis will be negotiated between Tenant and Landlord based on the following: No refund is due (or will be made) for inclement weather.
NOTICE. Notices under this Lease shall not be deemed valid unless given or served in writing and forwarded by mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the party at the appropriate address set forth below. Such addresses may be changed from time to time by either party by providing notice as set forth below. Notices mailed in accordance with these provisions shall be deemed received on the third day after posting.
Such addresses may be changed from time to time by either party by providing notice as set forth above.
GOVERNING LAW. This Lease shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of .
ENTIRE AGREEMENT/AMENDMENT. This Lease contains the entire agreement of the parties and there are no other promises, conditions, understandings or other agreements, whether oral or written, relating to the subject matter of this Lease. This Lease may be modified or amended in writing, if the writing is signed by the party obligated under the amendment.
SEVERABILITY. If any portion of this Lease shall be held to be invalid or unenforceable for any reason, the remaining provisions shall continue to be valid and enforceable. If a court finds that any provision of this Lease is invalid or unenforceable, but that by limiting such provision it would become valid and enforceable, then such provision shall be deemed to be written, construed, and enforced as so limited.
WAIVER. The failure of either party to enforce any provisions of this Lease shall not be construed as a waiver or limitation of that party's right to subsequently enforce and compel strict compliance with every provision of this Lease.
BINDING EFFECT. The provisions of this Lease shall be binding upon and inure to the benefit of both parties and their respective legal representatives, successors and assigns.
The parties will attempt to resolve any dispute arising out of or relating to this Agreement through friendly negotiations amongst the parties. If the matter is not resolved by negotiation, the parties will resolve the dispute using the below Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure. The parties will attempt to resolve any dispute arising out of or relating to this Agreement through friendly negotiations amongst the parties. If the matter is not resolved by negotiation, the parties will resolve the dispute using the below Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure, unless the dispute or controversy meets the requirements to be brought before California's small claims court or is an unlawful detainer proceeding. Any controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement will be submitted to mediation in accordance with any statutory rules of mediation. If mediation is not successful in resolving the entire dispute or is unavailable, any outstanding issues will be submitted to final and binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrator's award will be final, and judgment may be entered upon it by any court having proper jurisdiction. Any controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement, other than those excepted above, will be submitted to mediation in accordance with any statutory rules of mediation. If mediation is not successful in resolving the entire dispute or is unavailable, any outstanding issues will be submitted to final and binding arbitration in accordance with the laws of the State of California. The arbitrator's award will be final, and any judgment may be entered upon it by any court having jurisdiction within the State of California. Any controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement will be resolved by binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association, and any judgment may be entered upon it by any court having proper jurisdiction. Any controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement, other than those excepted above, will be resolved by binding arbitration in accordance with the laws of the State of California. The arbitrator's award will be final, and judgment may be entered upon it by any court having jurisdiction within the State of California. Any controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement will be submitted to mediation in accordance with any statutory rules of mediation. If mediation does not successfully resolve the dispute, then the parties may proceed to seek an alternative form of resolution in accordance with any other rights and remedies afforded to them by law.Any controversies or disputes arising out of or relating to this Agreement, other than those excepted above, will be submitted to mediation in accordance with any statutory rules of mediation for the State of California. If mediation does not successfully resolve the dispute, then the parties may proceed to seek an alternative form of resolution in accordance with any other rights and remedies afforded to them by law.
ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS. If Landlord employs the services of an attorney to enforce any conditions of this Agreement, to collect any amounts due, the eviction of the Tenant, or because Tenant takes any action to recover deposits not due, Tenant shall be liable to Landlord for reasonable attorney's fees and costs incurred by Landlord.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT. The Parties hereby understand and accept the terms and conditions on all pages of this Agreement.
You should complete this checklist, noting the condition of the rental property, and return it to the Landlord within seven days after obtaining possession of the rental unit. You are also entitled to request and receive a copy of the last termination inventory checklist which shows what claims were chargeable to the last prior tenants.
(i) __X__ Known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards are present in the housing (explain):
(ii) _____ Landlord has no knowledge of lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing.
(i) _____ Known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards are present in the housing (explain): ______________________________________________
(ii) __X__ Landlord has no knowledge of lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing.
(i) __X__ Landlord has provided the tenant with all available records and reports pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing (list documents):
(ii)_____ Landlord has no reports or records pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing.
(i) _____ Landlord has provided the Tenant with all available records and reports pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing (list documents): ______________________________________________
(ii)__X__ Landlord has no reports or records pertaining to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards in the housing.
The Landlord and Tenant (and any Agent) must sign the Disclosure of Lead-Based Paint (for pre-1978 Properties). The Landlord is required by federal law to keep the signed copy of the Disclosure of Lead-Based Paint for a minimum of three years as proof of compliance with the rules.
The Inspection Checklist should be signed by the Landlord and Tenant after conducting the inspection.
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Vacation Lease FAQs
What is considered a short-term rental?
If renters only stay for a few days or a week, in most states it would be considered a short-term rental. However, some potential tenants may be looking for longer terms such as a month or two. In some areas, longer rentals may fall under laws designed to protect long-term renters, which means you may need to follow local lease and eviction laws. For longer-term rental agreements, you may benefit from creating a Lease Agreement . If you rent your property for more than 14 days per year, you may have to report that income to the IRS. You'll want to verify with an accountant or tax attorney to see if this applies to your situation.
Do I need a signed short-term lease agreement if I use an online service?
With Rocket Lawyer, your Vacation Lease Agreement may be signed electronically. Many online rental services also allow you to upload a copy of your rental agreement that must be agreed to before you rent your property. Most hosting services provide a way for you to require guests to check a box to validate their agreement to your terms before they pay. Or some use wordage that says basically that if they pay, they agree to your terms.
Even if you aren't using an online listing service, your Vacation Lease is a document that should never be missed. You may opt to sign a Vacation Lease because it can yield these benefits:
Neither party is surprised by how long the lease will last
All parties understand the scope of their responsibilities
Payment-related information is clearly defined
Any vacation property owner deciding against using this document ought to prepare for certain issues, such as confusion about due dates and the miscommunication of start and end dates for the rental.
Will my Vacation Rental Contract be legally binding?
As with any other legal contract, a Vacation Rental Contract is not legally binding until it is signed by all parties. This customizable document from Rocket Lawyer can offer much more protection than a blank short-term rental agreement template that you might come across elsewhere. When you build this temporary lease agreement on Rocket Lawyer, you may opt to access Document Defense® for your contract, which enables an attorney to help you get paid or otherwise enforce your rights.
What is included in a Vacation Rental Agreement?
Short-term rental agreements often include many of the same items as a standard lease agreement. Specifics that you might want to add to your document are:
The location and description of the property
The legal name of each guest
How much you will charge for the rental fee and deposit
What the duration of the rental will be
Further custom modifications are permitted, if needed. As you may expect from a document like this, any Guest Rental Agreement that you build using Rocket Lawyer may also include additional provisions, such as:
Check-in / check-out procedures - Often, vacation rental check-ins vary from simply showing up at a front desk and checking in. You may need to arrange to meet your renters at the property. Or, you may have installed keyless entry devices, but you still want to review the property when they check out. You should also provide your preferred ways of being contacted, such as through a hosting app or directly by phone.
Amenities - Information about whether guests can use facilities such as hot tubs, pools, communal areas, recreational equipment, and parking. You can include limitations on when the facilities can be used, who can use them, and hygiene requirements. This section might also include passcode or key access instructions, as well.
Inclusions - This is simply what is provided on the property for the guest's use, such as kitchenware, linens, electronics, cleaning supplies, appliances, and furniture. You may also provide Wi-Fi passwords and instructions.
Cleaning policies - Short-term rentals are not usually regular hotel rooms. Most do not provide daily laundry services or room cleaning during stays. Here you can outline what is expected of guests such as whether they should strip the beds, take out the garbage, or clean out refrigerators and freezers at the end of their stay. To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning protocols that follow local, state, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance are essential for renters' peace of mind. In addition to standard cleaning procedures, premises must be cleaned and disinfected. If your rental cleaning protocols are certified by a third-party organization, you can name the organization in the Lease.
Cancellations - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local and state laws regarding travel, mandatory quarantines, and other restrictions are constantly changing. Our Vacation Lease Agreement is built with a clause for cancellations related to COVID-19.
Noise - Most vacation property owners enforce quiet times and how many guests can be on the property. Some will even state the obvious such as "no parties" and require that all guests be listed on the Vacation Lease beforehand.
Host access - There may be times you need to enter your own property while renters are there. You can list the kind of reasons you may need to enter the property for and how you will inform guests about your access.
Pets - Many property owners do not allow pets. If they do, and it is included in the lease, they may also define cleanliness rules and whether the animal can be left alone on the property.
Exclusions - It is helpful to guests if you also include a bit about what is not included or not available such as toiletries, landline phones, cell coverage, Wi-Fi, AC or heat, charcoal for the grill, firewood, or televisions.
Where can I get a Vacation Rental Contract online for free?
The good news is you won't need to reinvent the wheel to get your contract in writing. With the document tools on Rocket Lawyer, you should feel empowered to produce a free Vacation Lease with relative ease. Your contract will be assembled section by section, so you can feel confident that it contains all of the relevant information that you'll need. Normally, given the level of personalization, you could end up paying a traditional lawyer a few hundred dollars, if not more, in fees.
Are there any additional actions that I will need to take after creating my Vacation Lease?
Your Vacation Lease has its own set of directions that you'll need to finalize your document. With a Rocket Lawyer membership, you can make edits, sign it online with RocketSign®, print it out, save it as a Word document or PDF file, and make copies of it when needed. Most importantly, be sure to provide a final copy of the fully signed agreement to the tenant. You may also wish to take a look at our collection of contracts and other documents .
How do local property rental laws affect my short-term rental agreement?
Laws continually evolve over time. If you are having any doubts or concerns related to property rental laws, you can always ask an attorney . Depending on whom you contact, some attorneys will not even accept requests to review your rental contract if they did not write it. A better approach worth consideration is to request help from the On Call network. By becoming a Premium member, you can ask for guidance from an Rocket Lawyer network attorney with landlord-tenant experience or send other legal questions related to your Vacation Rental Contract. We're always here to support you.
Can anyone lease vacation property to others?
Potentially, yes. However, some states or local governments may require you to obtain the proper permits or licenses to legally rent to others. Some local areas may have bans on short-term rentals. There may also be stipulations on the definitions of personal and commercial use. You can ask a lawyer to discover if your local area has restrictions that you'll need to adhere to. Once you start renting, you may also be required to pay local taxes. Additionally, in most cases, tenants are not usually allowed to rent their occupied property (sublease) to another without permission from the property owner unless it is specifically stated as allowed within their lease agreement.
What kind of insurance protects short-term rental properties?
You many find that your homeowners insurance does not cover short-term rentals. In most cases, you will need to purchase commercial insurance coverage. If you are renting a vacation property, it is considered a business activity, which requires commercial insurance. If your property is part of a group such as a condo association or community, you'll want to find out what the group policy covers. Sometimes commercial insurance may be called business liability or landlord policies. Most policies cover things such as liability, contents and structure, and loss of income. Some online hosting sites offer low-priced insurance options tailored for short-term rentals.
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