What should be in your Rental Agreement?

For the benefit of both you and your renters, you need to have a written Rental Agreement which contains all of your Terms and Conditions. Contracts such as this range from simple basic agreements to extremely detailed documents created by legal experts.

Whichever route you go, your contract should spell out exactly what is expected of yourself and your renter so there is no confusion or ambiguity about what the terms and conditions are, and should have language to protect you against potential problems. Verbal agreements alone can lead to misunderstandings, confusion, and monetary loss. You can send your Rental Agreement to us, and we will convert it into a PDF document for easy printing in the original format on your website.

Sample rental agreements can be purchased at most office supply stores, you can write your own, or you can have a lawyer draw one up. In any case, your contract should contain among other things:

  1. The basic rental facts - The names, addresses and other contact information for the people involved; the dates and times of check-in and check-out; and the rental address.
  2. Finances Your rental rates, the rental deposit requirements, any other charges, fees or taxes, and when these amounts are due and what happens if payment is not made in a timely manner.
  3. Your cancellation policy.
  4. Damage and Security deposits.
  5. Signatures - Your signature should go on a copy if it is to be mailed to the rentor, or if it is presented in person. If the Agreement is to be printed from the website and mailed to you, it should contain an area for the renter's signature and date and it should be requested that they print, sign and mail it to you within a certain amount of time.

For your convenience I can provide you with a sample Agreement which you can use as a basic guide to change and add to to suit your needs. Just ask me about it and I will send it to you.

How should the Rental Agreement handled?

1) You can send them two copies of the Rental Agreement signed by you after they pay their deposit with instructions to sign one and send it back to you. This has the advantage of getting them a signed copy for their benefit, and it keeps the rental agreement private until they have paid a deposit in case you do not want some of the information which is in the agreement publicly known.

2) We can have a link to your Rental Agreement on your site, and you can request that they print it, sign it, and mail it in to you.
It is a good idea to have some wording on the site to the effect that the Agreement must be signed and mailed to you within a certain amount of time for their Reservation to be fully Confirmed. If not, their reservation is subject to cancellation.

3) We can also put a checkbox on the Reservations Page, and/or on the Payments Page (if you have one) which they will be required to check indicating that they have read the Rental Agreement, agree to it, and that they understand it is a legally binding Agreement between them and you. Doing it in this manner has been supported in the courts as being as legally binding as if they had signed and mailed it in. Having the signed copy mailed to you is good insurance and should be done, but this will give you a little added legal protection for those who are lax in doing that.