Airbnb Rental Agreement: Free Template for Hosts
When it comes to finances, properties, and travel, there’s always a tiny asterisk next to the matter that says “certain conditions may apply.” For some things, like your Airbnb property, the fine print can be a lifesaver. Ultimately, you want to avoid receiving unwanted guests, but sometimes the unpredictable happens. Having an agreement set in place can be a massive asset for you and your guests.
When you draw up an Airbnb rental agreement, you guarantee a certain level of service and expectations for your guests. Guests will understand your responsibilities while also knowing what is expected of them.
Ideally, you want to save as many headaches as you can when owning and managing a vacation rental, so preparing the proper terms and conditions paired with robust vacation rental software will make running a short-term rental business a whole lot smoother.
Disclaimer: Lodgify is an Airbnb Preferred Software Partner. This guide, including any claims or statements within, is solely from Lodgify and is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, authorized, or sponsored by Airbnb in any way.
If you’re a Lodgify customer and want to connect via API with Airbnb, please get in touch with our customer support team. For more information: Connect Lodgify to Airbnb
What is an Airbnb rental agreement?
An Airbnb rental agreement is more than just a formality; it’s a saving grace. This agreement should be a mutual understanding between you and your guests about what exchange each party will get in the rental process.
An Airbnb agreement lets guests know ahead of time what they should know about the property, like occupancy limits, noise level regulations, and what safety measures are in place.
On the other hand, it also provides the host with helpful information such as contact details and an understanding that the guests agree to any potential costs not initially discussed.
Why do you need an Airbnb lease agreement?
Now, this is the question of the hour: why do you need an Airbnb rental agreement? Airbnb has its own terms and conditions set forth, but it’s not enough in many cases.
Although these things are true, every property is unique and, therefore, should have its own customized rental agreement.
Airbnb’s terms and conditions are intended to be general, which is why you need a rental agreement of your own to cover additional details that might be important to your holiday home.
For example, if you offer unique amenities, like a swimming pool or fire pit, this is especially important because specific rules must be put in place for your guests to enjoy their stay safely.
Additionally, you’ll leave no room for unknowns. You want your guests to take care of your property, but you want them to have a good time too! For example, if you have a backyard playset, you want your guests to feel comfortable knowing that they’re allowed to use it.
Writing up an Airbnb rental agreement ultimately improves the guest experience by giving them the confidence to fully use the facilities of your property.
The guests willing to sign an Airbnb lease agreement are the ones you want for your property. You could consider this a sort of guest screening. If the potential guests plan to break the rules, invite extra guests, or trash your property, they’re not going to sign it, which, in the end, will save you the trouble.
Even if you did screen for the perfect travelers, things happen and so does property damage. Having a short-term rental agreement on your Airbnb will prevent the scenario of fighting the details of the damage with your guests. Informing guests about the damage policy in your rental agreement eliminates friction later. In addition, it might encourage guests to treat your property with extra care.
What should be included?
Once you’ve decided that adding an Airbnb rental agreement is the right step for your property, you’ll have to decide what to include in it! You want the contract to be informative, but it doesn’t have to read like a textbook. Additionally, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. If some of the terms are obvious, like no repainting the house or taking the TV home, then it’s probably not necessary to include. You want to make sure your guests are fully aware of what they agree to, to keep it simple, explanatory, and as concise as possible.
By now, your guests should have some idea as to what they’re booking. They’ve probably already browsed through photos, read some reviews, and checked out your page, but you still have a responsibility to inform them of the property. For example, if you have a jacuzzi, but it’s only available for part of the year, it’s essential to disclose that in your short-term rental agreement. They may have already seen your property, but they need to fully agree to the details of the stay as well.
What sets a vacation rental apart from most hotels is the uniqueness and personal touch that they offer. There’s typically a closer connection between the guests and the hosts, but this doesn’t mean that guests don’t still expect attentive service for their stay.
To keep your guests happy, you’ll need to provide a couple of different means of getting in touch with you, whether that’s through a property manager or by leaving your home and cell phone number. Guests need to know how to reach you in case of an emergency.
Tip: provide a regular number and an emergency number. Give an estimate of how long until guests can expect a response (within 24 hours is a good policy) from your non-emergency line and explain that if something is urgent, they can contact the emergency number listed.
If you have a larger property and have staff, providing their contact information might be helpful too. If a customer needs an unscheduled change of linens or the shower won’t drain, they need to know who to contact. By providing all the necessary contact information for your guests, you help improve your guests’ satisfaction and keep them coming back for future holidays to come.
Property management doesn’t have to be so overwhelming either. Any additional staff that you mention in the contact information can be easily administered with property management software. If your guest pulls the contact of your repairs team, you can assign the task and distribute payment within this management system.
Luckily for you, we have a downloadable template outlining Airbnb house rules to include. This is one of the most important parts of your Airbnb lease agreement, so make sure to be thorough. Whatever you leave out could be open to interpretation.
On your website or listing sites, it should be clearly noted how many bedrooms are available, but for larger accommodations, like villas, sometimes the occupancy limits have a grey area. With pull-out couches, twin beds, and multipurpose rooms, guests might not know how many people are allowed to stay at your property.
By explaining the exact occupancy rate, you eliminate the grey area for travelers. Having an Airbnb rental agreement is intended to eliminate any potential friction between guests and hosts.
If you need further support for your occupancy conditions, you can always cite your local ordinance stating the maximum occupancy for your building.
Occupancy doesn’t have to have a tone of negativity. It can also be an opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility. If you offer a baby crib or collapsable beds upon request, you can state that in your occupancy section as well.
Minimum and maximum stay requirements
In the age of “new normal,” the duration of stays has changed quite a bit. Plenty of travelers are opting to work remotely and turn their vacation into a long-term occasion. Mid-term and long-term stay allowances have plenty of advantages like fewer turnover and more consistent income. Still, to keep your property a “vacation rental,” you’ll need to set a stay limit.
Stay limits are entirely personal. If you live close to your property and guest turnover requires less work, then maybe you’ll choose not to implement a minimum stay. On the other hand, if it’s costly to prep your property for new guests, you might ask that your guests stay longer. In any case, you’ll need to be very clear about the minimum and the maximum number of days a guest is allowed to rent out.
Suppose you plan to issue an additional fee for exceeding maximum stays or not meeting minimum stay requirements. In that case, you can briefly mention it here, but also provide further details in the “rental rates and additional charges” section below.
Terms of checking in and out
Having a smooth transition between guests is vital in running a successful vacation rental business. If your check-in times are all over the place or guests leave your property in various conditions, you may appear unprofessional. Not to mention the foreseeable costs that are associated with a bad check-in and check-out!
You need to write the dates and times of the guests’ check-in and out for each rental agreement. This part should be manually written and clear about the time frames to avoid late arrivals or overstaying.
If you plan to make exceptions, state that those requests can be made but require approval with advanced notice or for a fee.
If your check-in and checkout policies vary between off-season and peak season, you need to mention it here. Remember that your guests are not in the vacation rental industry. They’re just…guests! You’ll need to treat them as such by being very informative over your check-in and checkout conditions without using too much jargon from the industry.
The costs associated with running an Airbnb business are not only vital for you to know but for your guests to know too. For example, a large chunk of the total sum goes towards a mandatory cleaning fee. Guests might want to see the price breakdown on things like cleaning services, so they know where their money is going.
The list is quite expansive and varies between property types. To have a comprehensive look at all the fees associated with Airbnb, download our guide here!
Rental rates and additional charges
Beyond the fees that Airbnb has in place, you might have some additional expenses of your own that are not included on Airbnb. This is very important to explain in the rental agreement considering that guests might be confused if the fees are not directly linked to Airbnb.
If you plan to have multiple additional charges, you might want to put each fee in bold and add a short explanation for the expense. Having a fee breakdown eliminates confusion and improves guest satisfaction.
Rental rates are equally important to explain because it helps your guests to understand that you didn’t come to the price point at random. If your rates vary depending on holidays, seasonality, or anything in between, you need to at least give a surface-level explanation to your guests.
This might save you future headaches in ways that you hadn’t previously considered. Of course, you want your guests to be informed, but stating the rental rates in advance might also increase your profits. Guests might decide to book an additional week later in the year if they see your off-season rates are competitive, or they might decide to extend their stay if they see that the rate would stay the same.
Ultimately, the goal of providing a comprehensive Airbnb rental agreement is to inform your guests, but you can take advantage of profit opportunities here as well.
Beyond rates, you’ll need to mention the charges that you issue outside of Airbnb. A damage deposit is one of the most common ones and unfortunately, it is not included in Airbnb’s list of fees. If an incident occurs, Airbnb will collect the damage payment after the fact. This could involve chasing down the guests, delayed collection, or, in the worst case, no repayment at all.
To avoid these possible scenarios, you can include a damage deposit in your rental agreement. The terms of the deposit should be added as well, such as how long you plan to hold the deposited amount after the stay and the next steps if the damage exceeds the deposit amount.
Beyond rates and fees, you can also offer discounts for certain travelers. Discount groups could include military members, seniors, frequent visitors, or residents, just to name a few. Guests can be made aware of these discounts before booking, but it should also be affirmed in the rental agreement, so the discount rate and parameters are apparent.
Airbnb offers two forms of insurance: liability and coverage for the host. Host protection insurance can cover up to $1,000,000USD depending on the situation, damage, and case. It’s intended to cover property damage or injuries for the guests.
The other policy provides coverage for the host. Airbnb’s host guarantee states that you might be protected with up to $1,000,000 for your place and belongings.
As with most insurance options, there are stipulations for both plans. Coverage is not guaranteed by any means and there are certain instances that are not protected (such as certain types of theft and damage from wear and tear).
You might find that you need extra protection in case of any unexpected damage. Explore what options would be best for your property and explain the terms of your policy in this section of your Airbnb rental agreement. If your policy requires claims, petitions, or any sort of involvement from the guests’ side, they should know about this in the contract.
Airbnb cancellation policy
To avoid confusion between you and your guests, you should make them aware of the policy in your Airbnb rental agreement. Just because it’s listed on your website doesn’t mean it should be included here. You want to demonstrate to your guests that your property complies with this policy and in the event of cancellation, you will uphold the terms set in place by Airbnb.
There are ways to prevent cancellations, but, in any case, they do happen. This clause saves you in the future from any refund disputes that could arise. If a guest disagrees with how a cancellation was handled, you can politely and tactfully point to the Airbnb rental agreement for documentation.
Let’s talk about one of the most important parts: money! Having a clear and concise breakdown of the payment details will make your reservation process much smoother.
Having a full breakdown of the cost will give your guests a clear understanding of where their money is going. Illustrating what part of the sum total goes towards the rental versus fees or taxes will also be useful.
For legal purposes, as well, this might come in handy down the road. Some states and localities issue a tourist tax and you can use your rental agreement as additional proof of payment. Likewise, for tax purposes, it’s helpful to have the payment details included for documentation purposes.
Signatures of both parties
So if you and your guests agree to the terms and conditions of the “short-term rental agreement Airbnb” or whatever you decide to call your contract, it’s time to sign! The rental agreement is completely null without a valid signature, so make sure your guests sign in the correct place.
You might also require initials throughout the agreement in places that hold more importance, such as check-in and check-out, home rules, or anything else you deem especially important.
Signatures should be accompanied with printed names and dates of signing to ensure further validity.
When to give the Airbnb rental agreement to guests
Don’t spring a surprise on your guests by handing over the papers right as they’re checking into their stay. Guests should be made aware of the rental agreement as soon as possible. Mentioning that there will be a rental agreement upon booking on the description page is always good practice.
You want to give your guests as much time in advance as possible. Nobody wants unexpected paperwork, especially on vacation.
To avoid unnecessary hassle, you can automate the task of sending, reminding, and thanking your guests for the Airbnb rental agreement. Lodgify’s software allows you to automatically send all sorts of administrative tasks like a head’s up about your Airbnb rental agreement to newly booked guests or even a thank you note after check-out. Simplify the steps of reservations with Lodgify’s Airbnb management software.
You can choose to send a digital copy or collect a paper copy. Your guests might prefer an online copy out of convenience, but feel free to offer both. You can always upload a blank copy on your website, so customers have an electronic version to refer to before signing.
Download our free Airbnb rental agreement
An Airbnb rental agreement is essential in assuring that you and your guests are on the same page. Additionally, it will protect you and your property in the event of any emergencies or unexpected situations.
Property management is complicated enough and having multiple Airbnb lease agreements from guests can create a lot of administrative work. Use your time more efficiently and eliminate the need to manually handle this task by using vacation rental software (you can start our free 7-day trial today!).
Implementing a rental agreement should be standard protocol for your vacation rental. Download our free, editable Airbnb rental agreement below and keep your property protected from any potential problems.
*Disclaimer: this is NOT official legal advice nor an official legal document. Please consult an attorney or lawyer for more information about rental agreement documentation.