How To Setup House Rules for Vacation Rentals ᐅ Guide
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As an owner of a vacation rental, you should establish clear house rules for your accommodation. This way you can avoid possible damage, you won’t have problems with the neighbors and your guests will know exactly what is allowed and what is not.

By doing this, you can clarify all questions in advance, ensure a pleasant guest experience and remain on good terms with your neighbors.

Do I need house rules in my vacation rental?

You don’t have to create house rules. However, we strongly recommend that you create rules for the use of the vacation rental. You may take this granted, but it is best to put this in writing for your guests.

Managing your expectations from guests

This is not only telling guests what is prohibited in your rental but also managing your expectations of your guests. Think about what you want your guests to do when it comes to trash separation, how you handle unannounced additional guests in the accommodation, and more…

You also want to avoid guests having wild parties or damaging your furniture. For this reason, it is worth giving clear instructions and making lists in writing of things that you do not allow.

House rules can also help your guests if they are unsure about some things – such as how to operate appliances.

Advantages of house rules for vacation rentals

In case of an emergency, it will go a long way if you have already defined clear house rules for your vacation home and your guests know them. Also, in case of a legal dispute, it is good if you can prove that you have informed your guests about rules beforehand.

How do I formulate my house rules?

Different languages

The house rules of your vacation home should be available in different languages depending on the target audience and the location of the accommodation.

Formulation

The house rules do not have to be formulated in a boring and dry way; they can be written in a funny way as well. It is most important that you express yourself clearly and understandably to avoid misunderstandings.

We would advise to write your house rules in the same way as you would explain them in a conversation. Use pictures and symbols. By doing so, international guests will understand right away that smoking is prohibited, for example.

Reasons for rules

Also explain the background of why you have certain rules. For example: Pets are not allowed because you are renting to people with allergies. You can also point out local laws on waste separation or cultural customs that some of your guests may not be aware of.

Consequences in case of rule breaking

It is wise to also explain the consequences if your guests break your rules. What are the consequences for gross negligence or multiple violations?

Should you put house rules online or print them out?

It is important that your house rules are accessible to your guests. On many booking platforms, you can add your house rules directly to your listing. Your guests must then accept the house rules before booking through Airbnb, Booking.com or Vrbo.

If you use Smoobu to manage your vacation rental, you can add your house rules to your digital guest guide. This will then be emailed to your guests before they arrive and you as a host won’t have to worry that whether they have received them or not.

In addition, you can also print out your house rules and display them in your accommodation. Make sure that they are always up to date and in good condition.

Your house rules should regulate:

  • Times for arrival and departure
  • Volume of music etc.
  • Quiet times
  • Where is smoking allowed, where is it prohibited?
  • Are pets allowed?
  • What happens if guests lose the key?
  • Do all visitors have to be registered in advance?
  • Are parties & celebrations allowed?
  • Use of parking spaces / underground parking: Do you provide a parking space? Is there a sign?
  • Waste separation: What belongs in the yellow garbage can, black garbage can, green garbage can etc.?
  • Security: Always leave windows closed when you are absent, lock the door, etc.
  • Fire protection: Keeping escape routes clear, how to handle candles, barbecues, cigarette butts, etc.
  • Winter maintenance: What rules should be followed when it snows?
  • Hygiene measures in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic
  • Use of pool, sauna, etc.
  • Instructions for the use of the terrace and garden
  • Instructions and advice on technical equipment (smart TV, air conditioning, etc.)
  • Cleaning (e.g., how to leave accommodation upon departure).
  • Consequences: Who is liable for the damage caused? What must be replaced? What behavior can lead to an early departure?

Tip: Take another look at the past ratings of your vacation home. Have there been repeated problems with certain appliances, etc.? For example, do your guests repeatedly have questions about the air conditioning or can’t find the reserved parking space? By reading you then could also include these points in your house rules.

Conclusion

House rules save you and your guests trouble. Through them, your visitors know what is allowed and what is forbidden in your accommodation. If it comes to disputes, you have an advantage with house rules. You can then prove that your guests knew about the rules in your vacation apartment.

Even if it does not come to an emergency, it is helpful if your guests understand the house rules. This way you create clear expectations, and your guests have a pleasant stay.

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