Soak up the sun, take long walks, get your feet wet, and have another drink… These are beach house rules your guests will love, but as a vacation rental owner, you also need a different set of rules for when the sandy feet crowd moves in and out.
Beach house rental rules are designed to give you the confidence that your home will be respected by guests and although they don’t guarantee that your guests will behave, it improves the chances of them meeting your expectations. The clearer the communication, the better.
Of course, when it comes to beach houses, the usual house rules also apply, but houses by the sea come with their own challenges, not least of which are wet bottoms and towels on furniture and sandy deposits throughout the house.
Beach house rules are a set of formal rules for your guests contained in a document that you send them, usually before or upon arrival: It spells out what you want them to do, what they shouldn’t do and what happens if they don’t abide by these rules.
Having a documented set of rules shows guests that you run a professional business, which should help to deter them from trashing the place or being careless.
This avoids misunderstandings and gives you as the host more control, particularly if you are managing the property from afar and you aren’t able to do regular in-person inspections.
Why do you need beach house rules for guests?
In an ideal world, house rules should not be necessary, and you may think this is just another unnecessary task to add to your already arm-long to-do list, but in the long run, it is definitely worth the effort. Also, don’t be tempted to download a generic template for vacation rental rules from the internet. You want the rules to be as specific to your rental and as detailed as possible to cover every possible eventuality.
Of course, there is a balance to be struck as you don’t want to come across as a killjoy who doesn’t want them to enjoy their vacation. This is why including your rules as part of a warm, friendly welcome letter is recommended.
This way you make it clear you want them to enjoy themselves, but you also add a gentle reminder that they should respect your property in the same way they would respect their own. That’s only fair, isn’t it?
Protecting your property
Handing over the keys to your property to strangers who may have completely different values from you is always a bit nerve-wracking. Documented beach house rules give you peace of mind that your guests know beforehand what’s expected and that there will be consequences if they don’t follow your rules.
Saving yourself time
Each set of guests is likely to have a million and one questions about your rental, from how to operate the jacuzzi to where to put out the rubbish or how the air conditioner works. The beach house rules document is also a good place to answer all these questions in one place. Want to know how to operate the hot tub? Please refer to my instructions in the house rules.
No need to waste your breath explaining the same thing over and over.
What to include in your beach house rules?
If you’re sitting down to write your house rules but you don’t get past a blank sheet, don’t worry. We’ll give you some concrete guidelines of the types of rules to include, as well as a free template of beach house rules to download. All you have to do is download the template, and adapt it to make it your own.
House rules related to outdoor furnishings
Beach holidays are all about relaxing and outdoor living, so guests will love using your balcony or terrace for al fresco meals and romantic sundowners, however, it is wise to include a few lines about how you want these areas and amenities to be treated.
F0r example: Our deck and outdoor furniture are available for you to enjoy with your family and friends. To keep this space in the best condition for future guests, please follow the guidelines listed below:
When you eat outside on the deck, please use the plastic cups, crockery and cutlery provided for these purposes, instead of glass.
In case of bad weather (rain, storms, etc.), please ensure you close the deck umbrellas and store them securely to avoid breakage.
Please don’t move any of the indoor furniture, furnishings or bedlinen outside. (Yes, really!) You’ll find outdoor blankets to use on chilly evenings in the cupboard in the utility room.
House rules related to cleaning
Your guests are on holiday and deserve a break from their daily routine. They don’t want to be burdened with the exact same tasks they are trying to get away from, but when it comes to basic cleaning, you may want to remind them of a few non-negotiable chores related to your beach house.
Please ensure you follow the recycling instructions on the sign next to the fridge and take out the garbage regularly to the collection point on the corner of the street, as well as before rubbish collection at 8 am every Monday.
Please ensure every guest rinses off the sand from their feet at the outside shower and shakes out their clothes and towels before entering the home to limit sand deposits in the home.
Please don’t leave food rests on the kitchen counters or outside table overnight to keep the property free from ants and other pests.
House rules related to off-limit areas
If it is your personal vacation home you are renting out for the season, you may have locked away some of your personal decorations or belongings in a room or cupboard for personal use. Use this document to point out which areas are off-limits to guests and their families.
House rules related to breakage and damages
Accidents happen to the best of us and you don’t want to put your guests off with draconian rules, but at the same time, you want to discourage reckless behavior.
Here you could remind guests to report any damage to you, and that if the damage exceeds their security deposit or if additional cleaning such as carpet or curtain deep cleaning is needed after their visit, they will be billed for this expense.
House rules related to noise and neighbors
Vacation rentals sometimes get bad press because of noisy guests who don’t respect the neighbors. Your guests may not care because for them this is a once-off visit, but you definitely don’t want bad vibes with your neighbors to make life difficult. So, reminding your guests that they should be respectful of their neighbors is always a good idea.
Please don’t use the swimming pool after 10 pm or before 8 am to respect our neighbors.
Please minimize noise between 11p.m and 8a.m – particularly when using the outside deck.
If the neighbors confront you, please notify the vacation rental host immediately.
In the case of a complaint about excessive noise, we reserve the right to end your rental agreement with immediate effect and you’ll be asked to vacate the property, without any refund of the rental amount paid.
House rules related to additional guests
Although you may not mind the odd day visitor, allowing guests carte blanche to invite unlimited guests is asking for trouble. Impromptu parties and an overflowing house adds to the amenity bills, could lead to noise complaints and add to wear and tear of the home.
Be sure to set a limited number of guests, or leave it open to guests to pay an additional charge per guest per day.
When it comes to parties, you want to think carefully. We’ve all been to drunken gatherings which ended with red wine stains or cigarette burns on sofas or carpets, or worse, drunken brawls and police interventions. You’ve got to ask yourself, is it worth the risk? Whatever you decide, you may want to include some specific rules for parties in your document.
Please be advised that no overnight visitors are allowed at the property unless this was agreed to by the host in advance.
Please ensure your guests read and respect the beach house rules, to ensure they comply, as you will be held liable for any damage or disturbance caused by them.
Only small gatherings of up to 8 people are allowed and every guest must comply with the house rules as set out in this document.
House rules related to security and safety
As they unwind, your guests may be tempted to throw caution to the wind and take risks, they wouldn’t normally take. This is particularly true if your home has a swimming pool or hot tub. In your house rules, remind guests of potential dangers in your rental, even though this may seem obvious.
Please ensure you lock all doors and windows every time you leave the house.
Please watch small children near the swimming pool at all times and ensure the pool cover is used when you’re not using the pool. You are responsible for the safety of your children at all times.
House rules related to pets
Increasingly, pets are seen as part of the family and many people would rather not go on holiday than leaving Fido at home.
This is a personal one. Of course, there are pets and pets. A calm little lap dog is not the same as a badly trained, aggressive dog that could cause damage to your property and even be a danger to neighbors.
Don’t forget that some future guests may suffer from allergies and that barking could be a disturbance.
Whatever you decide, be sure to include stipulations related to pets in your beach house rules.
Please be advised that you will be responsible for your pet and you will be billed for any damage caused by your pet, or if additional cleaning is needed as a result of your pet.
What happens if your guests break the rules?
Even if you have no intention of punishing your guests, it is advisable to spell out consequences to act as a deterrent from breaking the rules.
Non-compliance with any of the house rules will be regarded as a breach of the terms and conditions of our rental agreement.
Be advised that we reserve the right to ask guests to leave the property with immediate effect if they do not abide by the rules.
Use your discretion
At the end of the day, you will be the best judge of whether it is worth punishing a guest for not adhering to a specific rule. Did they deliberately cause damage to the property or was it an oversight or accident?
Whilst you may not want to charge them for every broken glass, your house rules protect you against substantial damage.
As we said at the start, renting out your property always comes with some degree of risk, but provided you have the right set of rules in place, you should be able to find the middle ground between encouraging guests to have a great time while at the same time protecting your property and yourself.
With this peace of mind, go ahead and hang up that alternative beach house rules sign in a prominent place that encourages them to soak up the sun and enjoy the sunset.
Download our free beach house rules template and adapt it to fit your own needs.
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