Tips for Using Your Apartment as a Vacation Rental
Websites like AirBnB and VRBO make it seem easy to turn your rental into an income property. Simply create a profile, take a few good pictures, and wait for the offers to start rolling in, right? Not quite. There are several things that you should know before attempting to rent out your apartment as a short-term vacation rental.
Check local laws. Orange County California, for example, has placed restrictions on subletting. The lease must last 30 days or longer. Otherwise, the property owner or leaseholder will be subject to hefty fees. Check local policy for guidelines rentals.
Consult property management. Not all property managers allow tenants to sublet their space for any duration of time. Be sure to notify your property manager of your intentions and receive his or her approval before renting out your space.
Get renters insurance. While there are services particularly for vacation rentals, you may find that these are not right for you–especially if you don’t plan to have guests often. Traditional renters insurance provides much of the coverage that you’ll need to entertain vacationing guests. Resident Shield policies protect your property from fire, theft, vandalism, smoke, lightning and windstorms. You can also receive personal liability protection and coverage for guest medical expenses.
Verify that your existing policy is up to date. It’s common for renters to spruce up their apartments to make the space more marketable. If you add TVs to guest rooms, new furniture, or ultra-luxurious Egyptian cotton linens, document your changes. Update your insurance policy to reflect your additions so that your coverage shows the accurate value of your possessions.
Post community ordinances for guests. Many rental communities have ordinances that make the neighborhood more enjoyable for everyone. Pool hours, noise ordinances, parking restrictions, designated smoking areas and other important rules should be verbally communicated to guests. You should also post these rules in writing. When your guests abide by the rules, your neighbors will be happier and you may maintain the privilege of subletting your rental.
Sentimental value has no price tag. Face it: thefts happen. If you have an item of deep sentimental value, or something that’s impossible to replace, remove it from the property. Consider storing it in a safe location off-site when you have guests staying at the property.
Consider a background check. Background checks are optional but they may be worth the additional expense. If you will stay on the property while guests are present, it’s wise to make sure that you are in good company.
Change credentials regularly. If your community gate or security system requires individualized credentials, be sure to change your password regularly. This is to protect yourself and your neighbors from guests returning uninvited. If your security features have community-wide access codes, these should not be shared with guests. Contact your leasing office for guest access.