We’ve all heard the horror stories: You rent out your vacation home through a reputable site, and come home to find there was a ‘drug-induced orgy’ on the premises the night before. (Ok, that was just one horror story – but it’s pretty bad).
While those instances are clearly few and far-between, it can be disappointing to come home after renting your place and find things aren’t how you left them – beyond dishes being put away in the wrong place or furniture being moved. On the other side of the coin, it can be frustrating as a renter to get to your vacation rental for your dream holiday and find it’s missing things you need/were promised – including cleanliness, proper utensils/appliances, a bed (ok that would be VERY frustrating).
So here are some basic (and not so basic) etiquette rules for the renters and rentees of vacation rentals – try and keep them in mind, and try to keep the orgies within your own home – for everyone’s sake.
1. Do unto others
This is less a vacation rental specific rule, and more a general life rule. As a vacation rental owner, provide what you think you would want in a rental home. Keep some extra towels handy. Make sure sheets are clean, and instructions are clear for things that may need some extra explaining (circuit breaker, alarm system, how to turn off the damn smoke alarm, etc). If you can walk into your home with the eyes of someone who’s never been there before, and feel like you have everything you need, you’re on the right track.
The same goes for a renter – when you’re leaving, does the place look like you would want your home to look? (And if you’re naturally a slob, does it look way, way better than your home normally looks?). If something’s broken, replace it – or at least leave money for it to be replaced. As a general rule, try to leave your vacation rental in the same or better shape than you found it. It’s good karma, and it makes you a decent human being.
2. Go above and beyond
When it comes to the whole karma points and being a good person thing, taking the extra step to ensure everyone has a good experience, whether you’re the renter or rentee, is always a good idea. This means doing more than what’s contractually obligated. As a vacation rental owner, it’s leaving a city guide with your favourite local spots included, or a basket of local treats (aka wine & candy) to sample. As a renter, it’s as simple as a thank-you card, or making sure the sheets are clean when you leave (especially if you’re ignored our ‘no orgy’ rule….).
3. Honesty is the best policy
No one wants to be disappointed because they’ve been led to believe they’re getting something that they’re not – whether it’s an outdated Tinder profile pic or a very generous use of the words “roomy” or “close”. When describing your vacation rental, be as up-front as possible about the pros and cons to your place. Is it small? Say so! Is it far from transit? Let them know! People will be grateful you were up-front, and many people will be happy to pay a little less than premium to rent your place (as opposed to having people pay more, be disappointed, and write bad reviews).
On the other hand, if you’re planning on having 4 people share a place – don’t tell the property owner there are only 2 of you. Don’t try and sneak a pet in on the low. It’s a dick move, it could get you lots of extra fees (or could get you kicked out), and it will likely not be a very comfortable stay for anyone.
These rules are starting to sound like ‘Cosmo’s guide to a great relationship’ without the crazy sex positions (although I guess we brushed on that as well)…I digress.
The key to making sure everyone comes away from the rental agreement with a good taste in their mouth is communication. It starts with asking lots of questions before confirming the booking (are pets allowed? Is bedding included? Will you be there to let us in? Will you be having any parties/guests over? Are you a heavy-metal band looking for a practice space?) and continues with communicating expectations of both the property owner and the renter at the time of the stay – quiet hours, check out times, parking regulations, etc. If everything is clear up-front, no one is surprised down the road (sort of like that Tinder date).
5. Spread the love (not like that, sick-o)
Have a great experience in a vacation rental? The best thing you can do to thank the property owner (other than booze, obviously), is by letting other people know. Write a great review, tell your friends, post on social media. You’ll get karma points, and maaaaybe a discount on your next stay in that city! (But only if you ask really nicely).
Have anything to add? Have a vacation rental horror story? Let us know in the comments or at @findarental