7 Vacation Rental Mistakes to Avoid

7 Vacation Rental Mistakes to Avoid

Imagine yourself as a vacation rental host. Now tell us how you would feel if you received guests such as the following.

  • In 2020, Florida Panhandle conducted a survey on 3,000 guests on vacation rental etiquettes. Over 1,000 guests stated they don’t believe that they need to clean the rental before leaving.
  • In 2019, a shooting killed five people in an Airbnb rental in California. The guest booked the property under the pretext of a family reunion. However, she threw a Halloween party with over 100 people.
  • In 2017, an Airbnb guest turned the property they rented into a mini-brothel.

In the next five minutes, learn about the seven vacation rental mistakes to avoid. We know these might seem like the worst possible scenarios, but there is more to vacation rental etiquette than not destroying the rental property.

7 Vacation Rental Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not Reading the Instructions

This is one of the biggest vacation rental mistakes yet almost everyone makes it. Who wants to read a five-page PDF the host sent through email?

However, that is where your host tells you when and how you can check out from your vacation rental. On the instructions, hosts specify how many guests are allowed to stay at night. Furthermore, if the primary renter must be of a certain age, hosts mention the same on the instructions.

Here, hosts will share how to operate heating systems and light switches, if the vacation rental has quiet hours, and any other important information. If you don’t know, quiet hours are when you cannot make loud or rowdy noises at your vacation rental.

Hosts often share local restaurant and nightlife recommendations in the instructions as well. Furthermore, famous vacation rentals sites such as Airbnb list the instructions on the site as well. Thus, if you are wondering, “What is the best way to rent a vacation home?”, it’s through famous sites.

Spend five to ten minutes reading the instructions. If you cannot understand a particular point, be sure to ask the host for clarification.

2. Not Checking for Preexisting Damages

Picture this scenario: When you arrived at the rental, you see the sofa cushions are torn. The previous guest shattered the glass door of the bathroom. However, the host believes you damaged their property. They want to deduct $250 from your security deposit as a fine.

Now you’re probably asking, “How do I protect myself when renting a vacation home so I don’t end up like this?”

When you reach your vacation rental, scan the property. Check for defective, damaged, or stained items. If you find any such items, take a photo with timestamps.

Afterward, if the rental host blames you for the damage, the photos will serve as proof. The photos will prevent the host from deducting the damage fee from the security deposit.      

3. Not Washing Dishes Before Using Them

In an ideal scenario, you will pull clean dishes off the shelf and use them. However, the reality is far from ideal.

Vacation rentals can have a rule stating that guests must load the dishes into the dishwasher and start the dishwasher before leaving. However, some guests choose to ignore this rule. Some may be in a hurry packing, and others simply do not bother.   

Furthermore, if the vacation rental host has not provided enough dishwashing soap or detergent, it becomes impossible for the guest to wash the dishes.

Make sure you wash the dishes before you use them. Carry dishwashing detergent or soap and a sponge. Has the vacation rental host provided dishwashing soap and a sponge? Disinfect the sponge before you use it.

Check if the dishes, pots and pans, and flatware are clean. If not, give them a quick wash. Wipe down the sink, stovetop, and counters as well. It is better to assume all of these items need to be cleaned before using them than it is to get sick from taking a chance.

4. Throwing a Party

One of the mistakes to avoid at vacation rentals is throwing a party. In 2019, Airbnb banned parties in vacation rentals. Other rental companies, like VRBO, puts the power in the host’s hands.

Hosts can prohibit any house parties in vacation rentals. The reason is simple: No one wants to pick up empty alcohol bottles and a cigarette butts from their lawn. Furthermore, hosts will have to clean the entire property and remove any smells of alcohol, smoking, and vaping before they rent out the place again.

Never pose such a nuisance. You can end up paying a fine, or forfeiting your entire security deposit.

If the host does not live on the site, do not think you won’t be caught. Hosts install noise-monitor systems such as Minut or Alertify in their rentals. The systems won’t eavesdrop on your private conversations; however, they will monitor and report the noise level in the house.

If you blast the speakers, the system sends a notification to the host, and you can expect to hear the host, or even the police knocking at the door.

Hosts install security cameras on the outside walls of the houses as well. If you smoke on the lawn or fling empty alcohol bottles on the grass, know your hosts are watching you. The security footage with the time stamp means you cannot deny the act.         

5. Losing the Keys

One of the much-feared, though common vacation rental mistakes to avoid. You know the panicky feeling that you get when you search for your keys, but they are nowhere to be found?

Imagine how you might feel if you lost the keys to the vacation rental.

Always keep the keys in your jacket pockets, or in a place where you can easily find them. If the host offers two or three keys, keep each one with a separate member of your group.

If you lose a key, you might have to wait an hour before the host arrives with a replacement. If you lost the keys at midnight and the host lives farther away, locksmiths won’t change the locks or open doors for you if you cannot prove you are a resident of the place. Thus, you will have to stay at a nearby hotel until the host arrives the next day. 

Vacation rental hosts charge a fine for losing the keys. Expect to pay $100 or more.

6. Not Lowering the Volume

If you’re wondering, “How to make my vacation rental stay peaceful,” you must remember to keep the noise down. A stranger blasting the speakers in the house next door is not a pleasant experience. Remember the same when you are at a vacation rental.

Vacation rentals are often located in residential neighborhoods. A complaint from the neighbors can translate into you being thrown out of your rental home.

Remember the noise monitoring devices that we mentioned earlier? The next time you blast the speakers, the system will send a notification to the host. The host might arrive at the location and can choose to throw you out. 

7. Smoking Inside

Short-term rentals like Airbnb and VBRO have banned smoking inside the property listings. The ban applies to vaping as well. Smoking and vaping inside the room can cause a fire. Hosts don’t want the house to stink of nicotine, and cleaners charge a hefty sum to clean the nicotine and tar off of the drapes and furniture.

Smoke in a rental and you will have to pay a fine of up to $250. 

Vacation Rental Mistakes to Avoid – A Bonus Tip

Vacation rentals are someone’s home as well. If you wouldn’t do something in your own home, don’t do it in the vacation rental. Now that you know the seven vacation rental mistakes to avoid, there’s only one thing left to do.

Buy insurance for your vacation rental. You never know what might happen, no matter how careful you are. With travel insurance on your side, you can be protected from non-refundable booking fees if you’re forced to cancel your trip due to a covered reason, as well medical expenses should you become sick or injured and require treatment.

By avoiding these mistakes and having proper insurance in place, you can enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable stay at your vacation rental.

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