The do’s and don’ts of vacation rentals

Read these tips before you click. Credit: Colourbox
Read these tips before you click.
Credit: Colourbox

Most of us have heard the pros of staying in a rental home on vacation instead of booking a hotel: You get a lot more space for a better price, you feel like a local, it’s more personal, etc. But what exactly are the rules? Can you bring your dog? Help yourself to anything in the fridge? Who washes the sheets?

We got the lowdown on everything you need to know from Jon Gray, the SVP of North American operations at HomeAway, plus tips on putting your own apartment out there for vacationers.

Tips for vacationers

Do go with a website you’ve heard of. “Search using a reputable site you’ve heard of that has a lot of listings,” Gray recommends. “If you have a lot to choose from, you’ll have a much easier time of making the right choice.” He also advises reading the reviews before you book. That way, you know for sure you’re getting what’s advertised.

Don’t be scared to dig through the fridge. One of the perks of vacation rentals is being able to cook your own meals. “Food rules are usually talked about ahead of time between the guest and home owner, but typically what you’ll find in the fridge are staples to cook with, like vegetable oil and spices, not fresh groceries,” Gray says.

Do ask if you can bring your pet. Most vacation rental sites have special sections of pet-friendly listings. “Being able to bring your pet is one of the main reasons people use vacation rentals — many of them do let you bring pets, and few hotels do,” Gray tells us. “You just can’t naturally assume if you can bring a pet though. You have to run it by the homeowner.”

Don’t worry about the washing the sheets. Unless the home owner specifies otherwise, dirty laundry is not your problem. “Some home owners may ask you to strip the beds and put the bedding in the bathtub so it’s easier for the cleaner to collect, but this is something that should be addressed in a written agreement beforehand,” says Gray.

Do be courteous. It’s not required, but Gary says it’s a good idea to put all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and make sure the place looks as clean as when you found it. Remember, it’s someone’s home, not a hotel.

Do leave a review. If you had a good experience, leave a positive review on the vacation rental site so it will help them get additional visitors. It’s more valuable than a thank you note.

 

Tips for renters

Do your homework. “Look and see what other properties in your neighborhood are renting for and see what amenities are important,” Gray says. You can do this simply by browsing rental sites like HomeAway and Airbnb before you put your listing up.

Don’t keep it a secret from your landlord. Check your lease to make sure you’re allowed to rent out your home and you have the right insurance. CBiz is one company that specializes in vacation rental insurance. They can also give advice about how to include it on your taxes.

Do make sure you’re on the same page. “Get everything in writing and have a good rental agreement,” Gray says. This is your chance to address all the house rules, from pets to who’s responsible if something breaks. “Some renters take a security deposit, which they give back to the guest afterwards,” Gray offers.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Subway riders call for fair fares on G…

Subway riders, activists and elected officials called on the MTA Wednesday to continue to offer riders a free transfer between the Broadway G train and…

Breaking: National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Career

Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.