Policies & Legal

Advance payment

A portion of the total rental amount which the guest pays in advance of their stay.

Amenity fee

An extra amount guests pay an owner or property complex in order to access certain amenities, such as tennis courts, golf, beach chairs, etc.

Booking policy

Defines the terms and conditions of payment schedules, cancellations and damage deposits.

Breakage deposit

Also known as damage deposit. This is a refundable sum of money (typically around $200 or 10% of the rental rate) which a property owner collects from their guests in addition to the total booking amount. The deposit guarantees that guests return the property in the same condition they found it. In case of damages, […]

Buyer’s agreement

A signed and sealed document between you and a selling agent that notes that the agent cannot show anyone else a specific property until you confirm that you are no longer interested in purchasing it.

Cancellation fee

Typically a sum of money the guest must pay if they cancel a reservation after the cancellation deadline has passed.

Cancellation policy

The set of rules which dictate what happens if a guest cancels their reservation within a certain notice period.

Channel fee

A commission that a third-party distributor charges a property owner for listing their vacation rental on their website.

Cleaning fee

A one-time fee hosts charge guests to cover the cost of cleaning their property after guest departure. Read more

Compromise

Choosing a property that meets most of your vacation rental goals, but may not be exactly what you wanted.

Custom fees

Any additional fee that is unique to a property. For example, most properties will have a cleaning fee, but only those with hot tubs can charge a “hot tub cleaning fee”.

Damage deposit

Sometimes called a breakage deposit or security deposit. This is a refundable sum of money (typically around $200 or 10% of the rental rate) which a property owner collects from their guests in addition to the total booking amount. The deposit guarantees that guests return the property in the same condition they found it. In case of damages, the property owner will make appropriate deductions from the damage deposit.

Damage protection insurance

A product that the traveler purchases, usually when paying for their booking. This one-off insurance cost is around $50 to $100 per stay and is bought instead of leaving a damage deposit.

Damage waiver fee

A damage waiver fee is a prepaid, non-refundable fee included in a rental home’s total price that covers accidental damages to your property during the guests’ stay. Read more

Deeded access

A written and filed right to have complete access to a certain property. For example, if you purchase property near a lake but not on the shorefront, your house might have deeded access through the neighboring land to get to the lake.

Deposit refund

The act of returning the amount that renters have paid for the damage deposit (provided everything has been left in the same condition).

Down payment

Partial payment guest makes at the time of booking in order to secure a reservation, usually a percentage of the total amount.

Eviction

The lawful expulsion of an occupant from any property.

Exit strategies

A predetermined plan that takes into account everybody’s interest in a joint ownership arrangement. An exit strategy gives a business owner a way to reduce or liquidate their stake in a business and, if it’s successful, make a substantial profit.

Fair Housing Act

The 1968 Fair Housing Act is a federal act in the United States intended to protect the buyer or renter of a dwelling from seller or landlord discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.

Flood insurance

Specific insurance coverage against property loss from flooding. Flood insurance is a requirement in federally designated flood areas.

Guest fee

Additional guest charges beyond the initial price. For example, a guest fee can refer to a service fee, cleaning fee, pet fee or extra person fees.

Homeowners insurance

A form of property insurance that covers losses and damages to an individual’s house and to assets in the home. Homeowners insurance also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property.

House rules

Set by the host to cover anything that’s important for guests to know during their stay at a property. They are an ideal opportunity to clearly state what you expect of guests, what they can and can’t do and what penalties will occur if the house rules are broken. Read more

Invoice

A document which helps guests keep track of their expenses and can be also used as proof of payment. Read more

Licenses

Depending on the location, certain documents are required before you can legally rent out space within your home to travelers. Read more

Minimum stay

The Minimum Length of Stay is a policy that is normally used during a period of high demand after a period of low demand. Read more

Non-refundable rates

Typically lower rates that have special booking conditions. For example, guests will still have to pay the full price if they cancel, make changes or don’t show up. In other words, they will not receive a refund in the event of cancellation.

PCI compliance

Payment Card Industry compliance is a set of standards and guidelines for companies to manage and secure credit card related personal data during and after financial transactions. PCI compliance is required by all card brands.

Per Person Sharing

Per person sharing is the price each guest pays when sharing a room. PPS ensures that the space is not taken advantage of or overcrowded with more guests than is approved by the owner. Read more

Pet fee and deposit

A sum of money beyond the total rental rate which covers the stay of any pet and costs associated with it (i.e. cleaning). Pet fees are non-refundable, but pet deposits should be refunded if no damage has incurred during the stay.

Phishing

Cybercrime in which a target is contacted by email, telephone, or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and password. Read more

Pool heating fee

An extra service charge vacation rental owners and property managers can charge to guests who wish to heat the property pool or hot tub.

Property management agreement

A legally binding document between a property manager and property owner which clarifies in writing any arrangements that have been made between the two parties, including house rules and repercussions if broken.

Rate parity

A legal agreement between a property and an OTA, providing the same rates for the same room on all the distribution channels – including the property website.

Refundable booking

A reservation or booking that qualifies for a refund under specific circumstances.

Regulations

Location-specific restrictions that are applicable to short-term rentals with respect to the total amount of days they rent out each year and other requirements.

Release days

Also known as “Preparation Time Before Arrival (PTBA)”. The minimum number of days in advance a booking has to be made, e.g minimum of two days before arrival. This allows property managers to gain better control of last-minute bookings and gives them time to prepare for the guest’s arrival.

Rental agreement

A legally binding document between homeowner and guest which clarifies in writing any arrangements that have been made between the two parties, including house rules and repercussions if broken. Read more

Reservation deposit

An amount of money (usually equivalent to one night’s stay) collected at the time of booking which validates the rental contract. The purpose of the advance deposit is to guarantee a reservation, and the full amount is applied to the guest’s bill upon check-out.

Sales tax

Most states in the US require people who rent out their vacation homes to charge and collect state sales or lodging taxes on the income they earn from these short-term rentals. These taxes are collected by the state, county and/or city, and like all sales taxes, they are paid by the guest, not the host.

Scam

A fraudulent scheme to gain money. As the industry grows, scams are becoming more and more popular. Warning signs to look out for are: a lack of basic language skills, strange email addresses, unwillingness to pay via your preferred method, last-minute or same-day bookings, and uncertainty or too much flexibility on travel dates. Read more

Security deposit

See damage deposit.

SNAD

Significantly Not As Described – a term used in disputes for properties that do not look anything like they appeared online.

Timeshare

The arrangement whereby several joint owners have the right to use a property as a holiday home under a time-sharing scheme. Most often this is limited to one or two weeks per year.

Traveler fee

See guest fee.

Welcome book

Similar to a welcome app, but a physical book for the guests to hold. In a welcome book, hosts can compile all important information into one place, helping to reduce questions from guests while reinforcing their impression of you as an organized owner. Read more

Welcome letter

Introduces guests to your property, even when you can’t be there in person. The welcome letter has one main purpose: to give guests a personal, warm reception to your home. Read more