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It would be great if you could just rely on common sense and didn’t need to set rules for your cottage.  The reality is however, that everyone will have a different interpretation of what is and isn’t allowed.  It is important to spell out what your expectations are for anyone renting your property.  This will not only ensure there are no misunderstandings but it could also protect your property and even your relationship with fellow cottage owners.

It’s tempting when setting rules that will apply to your property, to bluntly create and state things in a matter of fact manner but bear in mind that you are trying to attract customers to your property as well.  You need to strike a balance between what is reasonable and expected by cottage renters, and what is required to ensure your property is not being abused or damaged.  A good example of this is limiting the number of visitors or guests.  It is tempting to not allow additional guests.  But many of your customers may want to invite family or friends to visit them and share in their cottage experience.  This is where a reasonable balance can go a long way in making sure your property remains marketable.

There are a number of basic rules that are essential:

  • Smoking or Non-Smoking
  • Pets or No Pets
  • Number of Overnight Guests
  • Noise curfew
  • Number of Vehicles
  • Check In and Check Out Times
  • Handling of Garbage

Once you have determined the rules that work for your situation, or strike the balance that you are comfortable with, as the property owner you will need to consider how best to present them.  This is when you need to switch hats and consider how best to accomplish the task of making your customer aware of the rules without negatively affecting their desire to rent your property.  As many of these rules directly affect how your tenants will be able to make use of your property, it’s important to make sure they aware of the rules prior to booking.  This will ensure there are no misunderstandings once they arrive at your property.  Many vacation property managers make use of a rental application form for this purpose.

The rental application form is an efficient and subtle way to ensure that every potential customer is aware of your cottage rules.  The rental application form serves three purposes:

  1. It can describe the full details of your property such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms as well as any items the renters is required to bring with them such as towels or bedding.
  2. It would then list your cottage rules that pertain to your property.  This section typically includes wording indicating that submitting of the application indicates that they have read, understand and agree to comply with the rules pertaining to the property.
  3. There would also be a final section where deposit information can be included with the application.

Finally try to remember your fellow cottage owners when creating your cottage rules.  Many cottage owners are tolerant of those who rent their vacation property, but taking their cottage experience into account when creating your rules can go a long way to ensuring they are hospitable and friendly to your guests.


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