What Is a Vacation Rental Agreement?

A vacation rental agreement is a written contract made between two parties, namely the owner or operator and the tenant or lessee. It is an agreement that establishs the terms and ground rules for renting out a space for vacation.  

According to a 2021 online article published by CNBC, the most searched travel bucket list experience was visiting the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. With over 10,000 monthly global searches, it claims the top spot while sailing around the Statue of Liberty in New York came in close second.  

Vacation Rental Ideas

The options travelers and vacationers have today are definitely more varied and diverse. It is becoming more and more common for big groups and entire families to rent out a whole house exclusively. These ideas will help you with your own vacation ideas!  

Villa: If you want to go for luxury, renting an entire villa to yourself is a good choice. Villas can come with as little as one or two rooms, to several rooms fit for big tourist groups. They come with all the convenient amenities that a hotel offers. And depending on the agreement, food, meals, transportation and laundry can even be arranged. Many private villas also have their own pool. It is the perfect vacation rental option if you value privacy and exclusivity. Families with young children will definitely find an exclusive villa a worthy investment. Beach House: A popular choice for families and groups is the beach house. It is sometimes referred to as a rest house. It is popular because many people associate vacations with the idea of beach, sun, and sand. These types of accommodations typically come with a beach front. The property consists of all the facilities a hotel or resort may have: rooms, common areas for people to congregate, and a pool or beach area. And a beach house is ideal for al fresco dining. A barbeque by the sea is a great setting for social gatherings. Apartment: Not all vacation spots are situated in remote areas or at the outskirts of town. Many cities around the world offer a lot of different things to do and places to explore. Popular nowadays are solo traveling or backpacking adventures. This is especially attractive to younger generations. City life can be a melting pot of cultures and a lot of people find that appealing. If you are vacationing but wish to stay within reach of a city’s conveniences, consider booking an entire apartment or condo. Renting an apartment space for the short-term is easier to do these days with booking platforms like Airbnb. Location is key when choosing the right accommodation. And there are benefits as well as disadvantages when staying within a CBD or Central Business District. Its strategic location can conveniently connect you to transportation hubs, restaurants, malls, etc. Plus, it is more convenient to get around as opposed to a remote area. The downside, however, may be more distractions and lesser privacy. Because cities are busy areas and are normally congested, it can be difficult to attain peace and quiet. Cabin or Lodge: Other people’s idea of vacation does not involve the sea and sun. Some prefer going away to the mountains to regroup and relax. Renting an entire mountain cabin or lodge is ideal for those who love spectacular views and cooler climates. The area may be small or huge, so you obviously have to do your research first before booking. Many cabins also come with your typical amenities, and cooking can also be pre-arranged. So whether you are a couple or a family, spending some time in a cabin all to yourself is a great way to get away from the noise and hustle of urban life.

Common Provisions in a Vacation Rental Agreement

A vacation rental agreement is needed to lay down the foundations so as to prevent any miscommunication or unnecessary conflict between tenant and landlord. Terms and conditions may vary and they depend on the type of accommodation. However, there are some basic provisions that are considered universal. The following examples are just some standard terms and conditions found in a vacation rental agreement:

Description of Property: A vacation rental agreement should always clearly establish what kind of accommodation is being leased. Is it an apartment or a house? If yes, how many rooms are available? Is it a bungalow, townhouse, or a penthouse? It is not enough to give just a generic title of the property. If you are the lessor, it is helpful for your potential guests to be aware so they can manage their expectations. Be specific and indicate the important details that the guest ought to know. List down the available amenities and nearby conveniences like grocery stores, hospitals, train stations, etc. You can also include emergency contact numbers and addresses. Providing a description of the property is crucial because some rented houses only allow guests to use a certain part of the house while the rest is off-limits. Period of Stay and Number of Guests: A basic condition in any vacation rental agreement is the duration of stay and the number of guests. Since it is a short-term lease, the arrival and departure dates are always indicated. Similar to a hotel booking, check-in and check-out times still apply. Guests staying over should all be duly accounted for as well; this includes the number of children and infants. The head count is not only for security purposes but it is to give the landlord or lessor an idea of what arrangements are to be prepared beforehand. Most vacation rental homes have a maximum capacity occupancy; but other owners of accommodations like big beach houses can afford more flexibility and may allow a non-fixed number of guests. Payment Guidelines: A vacation rental agreement should always specify the amount to be paid. Include the rental amount or the daily rate for the rented space. In addition to the total amount, break down the price per night. You also need to enumerate the guidelines for payment. What is the price per night? Is a prior deposit required? Is it non-refundable? What payment methods are accepted? If it is primarily through bank deposit, do not forget to indicate the bank and the complete account name and number. Other Fees: Apart from the base rental amount, there are usually miscellaneous fees that come with it. For the lessor, it is important to include a clear breakdown of fees. These may include but are not limited to taxes, security deposit, cleaning fees, extra person fees, cooking fees and the like. House Rules: House rules make up a bulk of the vacation rental contract. These are mainly general rules that the guest is enjoined to follow and uphold. Similar to a hotel setting, respect of property is still the highest expectation. Guests and visitors are there to enjoy and use the facility for their own leisure, but not at the expense of the property. Common house rules include: no smoking policy, rules on pets, accountability for misplaced belongings or damaged property, policy regarding outside food or beverages, etc. The list of house rules can be detailed or generic, depending on the preferences of the tenant or homeowner. Cancellation Policy: Like any official contract, a cancellation clause can also be included. With this, it is important to specify the grounds that will warrant a termination of agreement. It might be helpful to also include the cancellation policy in relation to prior deposit or a down payment. You have to make it clear to the guest if the security deposit is non-refundable in case of unforeseen reservation cancellation.

How to Create a Vacation Rental Agreement

A vacation rental agreement can be pretty straightforward. The homeowner or landlord is responsible for drafting the agreement. If you are in need of a quick but comprehensive vacation rental agreement, there are available online templates ready to be customized and printed. Once you’ve found the right template, follow the easy guide below to start editing:  

Step 1: Introduction of Parties 

Always start by filling in the complete names of the parties in agreement, with each clearly identified as lessor and lessee. Do not forget to include the date the contract was made effective. State the purpose of the agreement in the introductory paragraph as well.    

Step 2: Basic Descriptions

After the brief introductory paragraph of parties, list down all the basic information about the rental home- its complete address or location, a brief description of the home, etc. Some examples of descriptions could include the number of bedrooms and washrooms in the house, facilities and amenities for the guests to use, check-in and check-out dates, and the place’s approximate location in relation to key areas such as police stations and hospitals. It would be wise to also include the name and contact information of the designated point person, in case of emergencies. 

Step 3: House Rules

After covering the basic descriptions in your agreement, you can start enumerating the different terms and conditions. The house rules could be considered the meat of the contract. Make sure to specify each provision clearly and concisely. You can get a few ideas for provisions from the examples stated above. It is important to always lay down some house rules so that guests are made fully aware of what their responsibilities are as lessees.   

Step 4: Confirmation

Once you’ve clearly set all terms and conditions, you can wrap up your contract with a formal declaration of agreement. This is done to further validate the pact. Always leave enough space at the bottom page for both parties to affix their names, date, and signature.  


How do I write a vacation rental agreement?

To write a vacation rental agreement, start by introducing the parties. This means providing the complete names of both the lessor and lessee. Afterwards, list down all the basic details regarding the rental of the property. Outline the terms and conditions or house rules, as it is commonly referred to. Conclude your vacation rental agreement by inserting a formal confirmation where the signatories declare their full acceptance and comprehension of the aforementioned terms and conditions. If you want to craft your own vacation rental agreement but do not want to start from scratch, using a ready-made and downloadable template from above will make your task easier.

Is a vacation rental a lease?

A vacation rental arrangement is considered a short-term lease. Since a vacation rental agreement is made between a guest and a property owner, the latter effectively leases out the space to the former.

What is better: Airbnb or Vrbo?

Both Airbnb and Vrbo are popular booking platforms. Both have similarities and differences that the guest would need to weigh for himself or herself. The question of which is better would greatly depend on the individual needs and preferences of the guest. According to nerdwallet.com, when it comes to broadest selection and options, Airbnb comes out on top with close to 5.6 million active listings as of 2020. The popular platform also outperforms Vrbo as far as flexibility and booking processes are concerned.

Vacations rentals are a popular alternative to the usual hotel bookings. With vacation rentals, travelers and tourists can get to experience a whole other level of leisure and activity. But before you book that dream vacation home, just make sure you can get behind the conditions contained in the vacation rental agreement. Create your own vacation rental agreement today by downloading any sample template above!