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Old 06-11-2013, 10:58 AM   #1
codeman671
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Default Tips for homeowner doing rentals?

We are renting our place out for a few select weeks this summer. This is our first time doing it so we are a bit new to the ins and outs of it.

We are going through VRBO, and have a lease agreement that another island friend uses.

Does anyone have tips from past experiences?
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:18 AM   #2
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leave a please dos and do nots list on the coffee table (trash, garbage desposal, flowers, what not to put down drains)
leave a comments book it was always fun to read them.
do 40% down due within one week of booking and the remainder due 2 weeks prior to check in
make sure you ask questions about who is renting your property
and go from there, there is more but the ones that come to my mind the fastest

I also recommend providing toiet paper and paper towels but have the renters provide their own sheets and possibly pillows and towels
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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Default as a renter myself

We've rented from the same owners for the past 5 summers. Like AC2717 suggested, the owners leave a "please do and don't list". It is super helpful for us. The last thing we want to do is screw something up with their cabin, septic etc...we love the place and want to be able to go back year after year.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:54 AM   #4
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Make sure you have hard-wired interconnected smoke/CO combo units throughout the dwelling and emergency exiting from every bedroom. A renter will not be as familiar with your layout as you and your family are, so some extra caution and warning is important.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:17 PM   #5
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Default Phone / cable

Make sure your phone is either shut off or setup for local calls only. Also make sure your cable box is locked so movies can't be ordered on your account!

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Old 06-11-2013, 12:59 PM   #6
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Strongly suggest that your renters bring a cooler and TAKE HOME ALL of their left-overs. No one is interested in the last renter's left-overs.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:13 PM   #7
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Default Damage deposit

A key to this I think is a damage deposit large enough to deter issues AND trying to know who you are renting to. I guess you could offer to take their credit card for damage deposit like hotels do for "incidentals".

Otherwise you could be in for some heartache.

Don't forget to collect NH Room and Meals taxes.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:34 PM   #8
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All good advice above.

Post a Fire Exit Plan.
A good fire extinguisher in a prominent place. Not that the renters are supposed to act as firefighters. Just have one in clear view.

If you do have a fireplace. State clearly the proper use of such. Make sure what if anything should be done with ashes.

If you provide a gas grill then make sure it is away from any wood deck or too close to building.

If you have a septic system use clear language as to what is allowed down the toilet. One Q-Tip can screw up the whole plumbing/septic system.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:08 PM   #9
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All good tips. My immediate family is going through the tooth pulling and suspenseful process of buying the lake house from the extended family. It would then be rented to help pay for itself.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:26 PM   #10
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Default Renting Tips

Been doing it for 8 years. All good tips. Generally I collect a security deposit equal to 50% of the rent which is refunded within a few days after they depart. I also collect a cleaning fee. I use to return it if the renters left the place as clean as they found it. However it was inconsistent so now I just pay a cleaning lady to check and clean before the next guests arrive. Also I learned that if someone cancels a prime week too close to their arrival date it is much harder to find a renter once July comes around, so I now require payment of the deposit and fees within 15 days after the contract is sent with the remainder due 6 weeks before the arrival date. I find this brings in good quality renters who appriciate my place when I am not there.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:41 AM   #11
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All good tips and I have really nothing to add to the does and don'ts perspective.

But on a related note has anyone had success with renting during non-peak times, such as say May / June, and Sept / Oct time frames... We hate to see our camp not used, and with busier lives these days, and of course the general costs of having the camp, it would be nice to recoup some money...
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:17 AM   #12
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Our lakefront lot is home to our cottage and a smaller cottage that we rent using HomeAway.com. We are entering our third summer of doing this and we are booked from June 29th straight through Labor Day. This is the first summer that we have no open weeks; and the first summer that we have rented the week leading up to Labor Day.

We have renters this week and some folks who are staying for a long weekend in June. This is the first summer we have had folks come prior to "high season."

I have had much better success with HomeAway than VRBO. In three years, I may have had one person who booked through VRBO; all others have come from HomeAway. This year 4 of our "prime" weeks are returnees.

We also have a book of "tips," including places to eat, places to shop and tourist attractions. The restaurants are listed geographically, with "$$" as well as what is accessible by boat. Grocery stores are listed in order of distance from the cottage; with notations like "thefurther one goes from the cottage, the better the prices" and "you can't beat JoJo's for the deli offerings."

We take a deposit that is only refunded after the people leave. It is not part of the rental fee that is due in full two weeks before arrival.

We also charge a $75 cleaning fee. Most renters leave the place in good shape, but I like the peace of mind that comes from knowing the turnover will be seamless. We use Great Northern Cleaning and they are extremely reliable. I offer sheets and towels for an additional $50 which is to cover my own labor to launder them. (I'm actually worth more than that, but it's a "what the market will bear" thing...lol)

The web listing is completely honest in that we tell folks they will be sharing the beach with us on weekends, but will have the place to themselves during the week. And the property is set up in such a way that they have their own space to hangout on the waterfront without any of us tripping over each other.

We also offer the use of a small sailboat, a canoe, a paddleboard and kayaks. We usually take the folks for a boat ride in our 27-foot Baja or our friend's Cobalt and that has been truly well-received. I have lots of potted plants and flowers and our place is very welcoming. My husband and I try to think of ourselves as innkeepers/hosts and sincerely want people to enjoy their time at the lake.


Please feel free to PM me with any questions. I'd be happy to share what I've learned.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:33 PM   #13
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Wakeboard Mom. I think most of the rental companies tell you not to let renters use boats (kayaks, sailboats canoes etc.). I also believe most people don't supply sheets in the private cottages so you are smart in charging.
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Old 06-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #14
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I started doing my own rentals this year via airbnb. So far it is working out and is much more profitable than rental agency and I have more control over the rentals.

One tip is to consider whether to allow weekend or short rentals. If you have enough interest to book full weeks it may not matter but we have found there is a lot of demand for shorter stays in Lakes Region. So far all of our rentals this year have been for weekends which is fine by us since it leaves property open for use during week. This year we rented our our place for the two weekends of bike week for more than it rented for the entire period last year... plus we didn't have people using electricity for 5 of those days!
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Old 06-14-2013, 06:37 AM   #15
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If you are going to leave any of your own gear at the house, lock it up. I know a couple who decided to make a room in the cellar specifically for their stuff. For many people a storage bin may be enough.

If a couple small things get broken like a plate or cup, don't fret it but if they bust furniture, empty or steal fire-extinguisher, or other abuse, be hard with the security deposit. Count the time it takes you to go buy replacements or estimate fees for anything that requires professional attention. Although the law says you have to return a deposit within so many days the courts respect good faith delays in this. Just be sure to (or have your agent) communicate to the tenant why there is a delay.

Some tenants will treat the place like it was there own. You may come by for your check and find they've cleaned up a brush pile. Others... Might leave huge piles of trash where it is an eye-sore. Feell free to send a "Thank you for visiting card." to the nice folks and tell your agent not to rent to the icky ones again.

In addition to the "Do/Don't" lists, make up a folder with brochures of local attractions and services. Take out and delivery menus will be appreciated.
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:11 AM   #16
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Default As a renter

I have rented a few years in a row now, and this will be our third different place this year. So from a renters perspective these are my .02.

The last place we rented from, which sadly we had to switch due to getting a dog and they didn't allow pets, was the best experience I have ever had. She provided all linens, toilet paper, paper towels, spices, cleaning products and just about any other little thing you can think of (straws, coffee filters). TV in every room with cable, DVD players and WIFI (which due to poor cell phone reception was a blessing to stay in contact with home as needed), washer, dryer and dishwahser. They had a paddleboat and two kayaks to use as well.

She had a 3 ring notebook with all the do's and don'ts and all info you may need. Also some menus from local places that some of us renters would add to as we ventured out to different eateries. And another notebook for renters to add comments. Also a little box with a bunch of brochures for things to do like Clarks Trading Post, Storyland, etc.

I have used both HomeAway and VRBO to find the places I've rented from. I can't say which I've used to pick the places we rent, I just try and find what I want and where I want. I would say lots of pictures of the place on the site helps, inside and out.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:57 AM   #17
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Smile Two Decades of Experience—Rental Tips...

With brand-new tenants, I'd get an oversized deposit, and take photographs of the place when they move in—preferably with the presumed inference that you mean business with your possessions. I've been so delighted with some tenants, I've dropped the deposit requirement, and lowered the rent for the following season!



Here, it seems to be a lake-wide standard not to provide linens. I ask that tenants bring their own pillows—having "lost" some. After exactly 20-years of tenants, I've only "lost" one other item.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdude View Post
Strongly suggest that your renters bring a cooler and TAKE HOME ALL of their left-overs. No one is interested in the last renter's left-overs.
I've thoroughly enjoyed those B&Bs that provide lots of extraneous stuff—tapes, CDs, books, etc.—and plan to install a huge, permanent, new spice-rack for my yet-to-be last-half-of-July renters.

It's food-related, but surely that would be OK?



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"...I think most of the rental companies tell you not to let renters use boats (kayaks, sailboats canoes etc.)..."
Lawyers will tell you that's a huge liability.

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Old 06-15-2013, 08:30 AM   #18
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My brother in law has been very successful renting out their home on a bay in Annapolis, MD, during the Naval Academy commissioning week (graduation) using VRBO. He gets an extremely high damage/security deposit AND 100% pre-pay; maybe a month before.
The guests can bring and launch their own boat, but NOT use owner's boat.

They do have a home office where they store their valuables and deadbolt secure locks. Renters should never be permitted to use owner's boats and other waterfront gear.

Deposit and screening the tenants is key.
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:43 AM   #19
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Default What about liability?

No one has mentioned this, but I also carry a separate liability policy for $1MM. Protection against someone getting injured and suing. Thankfully this has never been a problem. I also do not let renters use our boat, however they do have use if they want of a nice row boat and life jackets are provided.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:24 PM   #20
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Make certain you have the appropriate type and coverage amount of liability insurance.
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Old 06-16-2013, 07:46 PM   #21
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Our first renters left tonight. Very nice people. The house was left in good shape.

One problem did come up, the hot tub. We have an 8 person tub and it was trashed. I had just filled it recently, installed new filters and checked the chemicals in front of the renter to show it was up to par. I have a hose set up to wash feet and explained thoroughly about its use.

It was down 8 inches of water, the filters were so clogged it threw an error code (shuts the heater down), the bottom was full of sand and the color/smell are almost indescribable. I pulled the drain plug as there is no rescuing it, tossed both filters and will have to completely blow the lines out, sanitize and refill it with new filters installed. It will take 500 gallons of water, $100+ in filters and at least a half day to deal with it.

Has anyone had this happen before? Should I just lock the tub going forward and make it off limits or put a hefty fee in if it needs to be serviced like this? One concern is that if I ever run into a situation where I have back to back renters (check out in the morning and another party coming in that evening) I would never have enough time to deal with a mess like this properly.
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Old 06-17-2013, 05:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codeman671 View Post
One problem did come up, the hot tub. We have an 8 person tub and it was trashed.
I don't rent my property, but I would have assumed this is exactly the kind of scenario the security deposit is supposed to cover?

To me, it seems that allowing others to use a hot tub without understanding how to maintain it is a recipe for a headache. But, if you did want to let them use it, verifying that it is clean/etc. would be part of the things you check before returning a security deposit.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:46 AM   #23
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Quote:
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... $100+ in filters ...
Don't believe the propaganda. Filters can be cleaned and re-used. Hose the gunk off the outside and sanitize in a chlorine or bromine bath. Remember, chlorine and bromine don't play well together so rinse and re-rinse if you use chlorine to sanitize the filters but use bromine in the tub.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:20 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codeman671 View Post
Our first renters left tonight. Very nice people. The house was left in good shape.

One problem did come up, the hot tub. We have an 8 person tub and it was trashed. I had just filled it recently, installed new filters and checked the chemicals in front of the renter to show it was up to par. I have a hose set up to wash feet and explained thoroughly about its use.

It was down 8 inches of water, the filters were so clogged it threw an error code (shuts the heater down), the bottom was full of sand and the color/smell are almost indescribable. I pulled the drain plug as there is no rescuing it, tossed both filters and will have to completely blow the lines out, sanitize and refill it with new filters installed. It will take 500 gallons of water, $100+ in filters and at least a half day to deal with it.

Has anyone had this happen before? Should I just lock the tub going forward and make it off limits or put a hefty fee in if it needs to be serviced like this? One concern is that if I ever run into a situation where I have back to back renters (check out in the morning and another party coming in that evening) I would never have enough time to deal with a mess like this properly.
This is definitely what your security/damage deposit should be used for!!!

Tenant who signed agreement obviously allowed under age and uninformed people to jump in. It is not a washing unit. I used to have a 500 gal tub.
I also had two sets of filters, alternating the soaking/cleaning process; if you must empty, use a syphoning method to drain quickly. I had a two inch shop vac hose I used for real speedy syphoning!

A hot tub not maintained properly can be a real health problem; the tenant obviously did not listen to your orientation!
The contract deposit! Charge for a "professional maintenance" person (not telling it's you the owner). If you have prematurely returned deposit, consider lesson learned; now threaten legal action. Best if you also hold their credit card information. If you have a smart phone, download Square app or PayPal. Of course, you can send a PayPal invoice without smart phone. Some of us previously posted DEPOSITS!
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:33 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamper View Post
Don't believe the propaganda. Filters can be cleaned and re-used. Hose the gunk off the outside and sanitize in a chlorine or bromine bath. Remember, chlorine and bromine don't play well together so rinse and re-rinse if you use chlorine to sanitize the filters but use bromine in the tub.
I have owned hot tubs for the last 20 years, I am well aware of the process. Trust me, these filters are gross...
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:12 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no-engine View Post
This is definitely what your security/damage deposit should be used for!!!

Tenant who signed agreement obviously allowed under age and uninformed people to jump in. It is not a washing unit. I used to have a 500 gal tub.
I also had two sets of filters, alternating the soaking/cleaning process; if you must empty, use a syphoning method to drain quickly. I had a two inch shop vac hose I used for real speedy syphoning!

A hot tub not maintained properly can be a real health problem; the tenant obviously did not listen to your orientation!
The contract deposit! Charge for a "professional maintenance" person (not telling it's you the owner). If you have prematurely returned deposit, consider lesson learned; now threaten legal action. Best if you also hold their credit card information. If you have a smart phone, download Square app or PayPal. Of course, you can send a PayPal invoice without smart phone. Some of us previously posted DEPOSITS!
I do have a sufficient security deposit in place, but did not really have a plan for this particular situation. I am charging for the filters and eating the time on this one, but have made my policy a strict no refund situation ($500 deposit) should this arise again.

I drained it and left, so when I go back up it will be ready for cleaning. The Sundance spas have a drain that will take it down in an hour or two. If I had a situation where I had to turn it over fast I would certainly use a drain pump as well.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:54 PM   #27
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Default Winnisquam & Breckenridge

All of the above are excellent advise.

I used both HomeAway and VRBO to list the Breckenridge property. The Winnisquam property is rented out to the same group of people every year for Bike Week, and NASCAR weekends.

I close up the hot tub at the Breck property, too many headache. I buy cheap linen and towels at Sam's as many times renters will take them. You may know who rents the property, but I have ended up with college kids when the renter was one of the parents. I do keep a black list.

Last year, a Texas high roller actually rented for the whole ski season but only use it for 3 weekends and one week. He made reservation for next ski season.

I ocassoinally will swap 'timeshare' with another owner. Once I went into agreement with Resorts International. They said they will take care of everything including the cleaning. They did not live up to their agreement so done with that.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:00 PM   #28
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I would never let strangers use our hot tub. It carries it's own liabilities, like drowning, overheating, diseases etc. I wouldn't want anything coming back at us because someone was too stupid, or drunk, to play safe.
We use to rent, and had a couple of regulars who treated our home like a palace, but we never let anyone use our boat!
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:44 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codeman671 View Post
Our first renters left tonight. Very nice people. The house was left in good shape.

One problem did come up, the hot tub. We have an 8 person tub and it was trashed. I had just filled it recently, installed new filters and checked the chemicals in front of the renter to show it was up to par. I have a hose set up to wash feet and explained thoroughly about its use.

It was down 8 inches of water, the filters were so clogged it threw an error code (shuts the heater down), the bottom was full of sand and the color/smell are almost indescribable. I pulled the drain plug as there is no rescuing it, tossed both filters and will have to completely blow the lines out, sanitize and refill it with new filters installed. It will take 500 gallons of water, $100+ in filters and at least a half day to deal with it.

Has anyone had this happen before? Should I just lock the tub going forward and make it off limits or put a hefty fee in if it needs to be serviced like this? One concern is that if I ever run into a situation where I have back to back renters (check out in the morning and another party coming in that evening) I would never have enough time to deal with a mess like this properly.
Maybe you could have a separate deposit if they want to use the hot tub? Mine cost an extra 30 dollars in the summer alone to run.I would have a separate fees if they want the hot tub included in the rental.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:16 AM   #30
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In the end the renters ended up more than making good on the problem. They were good people and I would have no problems renting to them again.
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