BBB Offers Tips to Homeowners Looking to Offer their Home as a Short-Term Rental 10/3/12
Better Business Bureau
October 3, 2012
PERMIAN BASIN, Texas — Short-term home rentals are soaring in popularity amongst homeowners and out-of-towners. As the Austin City Limits festival approaches, Formula 1 revs up and with the holidays right around the corner, many homeowners may choose to offer their home as a short-term rental. Better Business Bureau reminds homeowners to be properly prepared and protected if they choose to rent to strangers.
BBB advises homeowners interested in renting out their property to follow these tips:
1. Decide who will manage the property. If you decide to manage the property yourself, make sure you live close enough and are capable of handling any emergency issues that arise. If you don’t live close, make sure you know someone who can help take care of your property and address any issues a guest may have.
If you decide to use a management company, research the organization first at bbb.org. Get all fees involved with listing your property and booking your rental in writing. Request detailed descriptions, in writing, of all the additional services to be provided and how and when you can expect to receive payment. Also, consider whether or not the company has its own insurance policy to cover any damages caused by the tenant.
2. Write up a contract. BBB advises having an attorney go over the details of the contract. The contract should include:
a. Check in and checkout times
b. Whether smoking or pets are permitted
c. Details of any security or damage deposits, whether they are refundable and under what circumstances
d. A cancellation and rate change policy
e. The maximum occupancy and any fees associated with exceeding the limit
f. Parking restrictions
g. The renter’s contact information
3. Check state and city law. Various cities and states have their own rental and property laws. Check your city’s law on short-term rentals to make sure you’re not in violation.
4. Research renters. Get the appropriate contact information for renters and check them out. Consider a Google search or use an online screening service.
5. Check your insurance coverage. Ensure you have enough property or casualty insurance should anything go wrong. Also consider the costs of lost, stolen or damaged items and ensure your security deposit covers all the “what-ifs.”
6. Consult your rental agreement. If you rent your home or apartment, your contract could prohibit subletting. Be sure to check with your landlord or HOA about short-term visitors.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.