As an Airbnb host, you can protect your vacation rental company by drafting a short-term rental agreement that minimizes your risks. The contract should spell out the host’s and guests’ rights and duties. In addition, it should provide the lease’s terms and conditions.
We’ll go through the 15 most essential items to include in a short-term rental agreement in this post, as well as why you should use one.
When Should a Short-Term Rental Agreement Be Used?
A short-term vacation rental agreement is an excellent idea to use every time you rent your home to new visitors. It helps outline hosts’ and guests’ rights and duties for a specific lease duration. When you employ the agreement, the time of your stay should not be a factor. Even if the visitors are coming for one night, or if you’re renting to pals, use it.
You utilize a short-term lease agreement when renting to have a visitor stay more than 30 days. You should draught a proper month-to-month or fixed-term leasing agreement in this scenario.
If you reveal the conditions before booking, you may ask a visitor to sign a short-term rental agreement. According to Airbnb, you may do this by stating the deal in your property description.
In a messaging thread with your visitor, you should also reiterate the conditions of the vacation rental contract.
What is the definition of a short-term rental agreement?
A short-term rental agreement, often known as a vacation rental agreement, is a legal contract between the property owner or management and the guest. It is generally intended for a short-term rental (between 1 and 30 days).
The contract must comply with all applicable state laws and Airbnb’s specific regulations. For buildings constructed before 1978, you must also supply a copy of the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Form in addition to the short-term rental agreement.
Airbnb owners may use a short-term rental agreement to guarantee that their visitors know the consequences of breaking the regulations. Most situations are covered under Airbnb’s basic policy. On the other hand, a short-term rental agreement may assist hosts in filling in the gaps and reduce hazards even more.
The regulations for visitors should be spelled out in a vacation rental agreement. It should also spell out the consequences of breaching them.
It allows you the right as a host to demand that the visitor pays for damages caused by breaches of the agreement during their stay. If the property laws and guidelines are breached, you will have the right to cancel a booking immediately.
Essential Terms to Include in a Short-Term Rental Contract
Because each property is unique, the parameters you should include in your agreement will be determined by the case’s specifics. There are, nevertheless, a few crucial elements that should be included in any short-term rental agreement.
Here are 15 essential components to include in your vacation rental contract:
- Rental Term
One of the most crucial areas of your short-term rental agreement is this one. The arrival and departure dates should be included in the contract. If these dates change before your visitors arrive, they should sign a new short-term rental agreement.
- Specifications of the rental property
Make a detailed description of your home. This section should go through all of the features included with your rental. Make sure the wording is simple.
- Payment Information
Cover anything about payments in this area. Include the rental fee and due payment dates that you agree upon. Also, provide information about the other services you offer. If you provide guided tours, transportation, or breakfast, for example, give the information here.
- The Rental Parties’ Information
List all of the people staying at your home throughout the rental period. Ensure each guest’s full name, current home address, and phone number are included. You could also wish to have the effective date, which is the day on which your short-term leasing agreement goes into force.
- Maximum Capacity
The maximum occupancy is the number of people allowed to stay at your property. Make sure that each guest’s sleeping arrangements are defined. Include any fire code requirements that support your maximum occupancy limit.
This agreement provision safeguards you if your guests bring uninvited visitors to your home. It also makes the guests liable if the illegal visitors are injured or cause damage.
- Access and Keys
This section should specify how visitors will get access to your premises. If you have a lockbox or keyless entry policy that visitors must adhere to, be sure to include that information in your short-term rental agreement.
- Rental Restrictions and Rules
This provision is required in every vacation rental agreement since it clarifies your home regulations. No-smoking and no-pet regulations are two examples of home rules and limits that you may want to consider. If there are any punishments for breaching the regulations, be sure to include them here as well.
- Make a security deposit.
If a visitor damages your property, a security deposit protects you. If there are no mishaps, the host will refund the deposit to the visitor upon their departure. Ensure that the amount you ask for a security deposit is comparable to what other hosts in your region charge.
This section should describe how a visitor may terminate the contract. Guests are usually required to provide a written cancellation notice.
This is where you should spell out precisely what the cleaning cost covers. You should also provide directions so that your visitors know precisely how to exit your home once they have checked out.
- Furnishings and Amenities
Make a list of all the available facilities in your residence in this part of your short-term rental agreement. Everything from the furniture to the linens, TV and air conditioner should be discussed in depth. Make a note of any outside spaces that your visitors will have access to.
Many hosts levy additional charges. Ensure that any extra fees you charge outside the rent and security deposit have an exact amount, purpose, and payment deadline.
- Limitation of Liability
Accidents and injuries may occur regardless of how carefully your property is maintained. If such situations arise, the limitation of liability provision serves to restrict your culpability. If the visitor suffers a loss while a short-term rental agreement is in force, the condition restricts the amount the host is liable to pay.
This provision must be fair and well crafted, so having a lawyer evaluate your terms is a smart idea. The following items should be included in this section:
- It should specify the legislative limitations on the guest’s ability to sue you, the host.
- It should specify the losses that each party is willing to accept as compensation, both with and without limits.
- It should specify the losses that each party will not bear (specific losses that each party will not be liable for).
In any case, be sure you’re covered by insurance to prevent having to pay out of cash if anything goes wrong.
- Infringement on a Contract
If either side breaks the agreement, this section should describe what will happen. If visitors violate the terms and conditions, you have the right to terminate their stay.
- Additional Clauses
In your short-term vacation rental agreement form, you may enter additional terms. These will further restrict what visitors can and cannot do while staying at your home.
If you don’t want your visitors to access particular areas of the property, add a condition to the contract. You may, for example, restrict their access to the pool or a certain room in the home.
What Happens If You Don’t Use a Short-Term Rental Agreement?
Both the host’s and the visitors’ rights and obligations are defined in short-term rental agreements. Its purpose is to assist the host in avoiding disputes that may emerge during and after a visitor’s stay.
Here are some of the most typical issues that a short-term rental agreement may help you avoid:
- Guests Who Refuse to Leave
A frequent vacation rental horror tale involves guests who refuse to leave. If you need to legally evict your visitor via the courts, having a short-term rental agreement in place will offer you greater power.
- Property Damage
Airbnb and other holiday rental sites have insurance in place to cover guest-caused damage to your home. A short-term equipment rental agreement, on the other hand, might be useful if you wish to file a claim with your insurance carrier.
- Exorbitant legal fees
You’re more likely to lose a claim against a visitor if you don’t have enough proof to back up your claim. If you do not have a short-term rental agreement in place, it will take an attorney longer to figure out who is responsible for the claim and fight on your side.
- Airbnb does not cover this.
If you have an incident and file a claim with Airbnb, Airbnb’s resolution team does not have to resolve your claim. You may utilize your vacation rental agreement to defend your case in court if Airbnb’s basic rules do not cover your specific occurrence.
Your Airbnb rental agreement should be reviewed and updated regularly to verify that you are following any new local or state legislation. If you want your agreement to stand up in court, this is a must.
Keep in mind that if you include any specific terms in your short-term rental agreement, Airbnb will not be able to enforce them. Any contract violation will very certainly have to be resolved in a court of law. As a result, you must consult with an attorney if any concerns emerge.