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Making a Vacation Lease
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 On Call attorney with landlord-tenant experience or send other legal questions related to your Vacation Rental Contract. We're always here to support you.
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.
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.
Last reviewed or updated 08/26/2021