Destin vacation rental property

8 Replies

Hi all,

I just purchased a small condo in Destin, FL for rental purposes as well as personal use. I am in Destin now trying to get it ready to list. I have chosen VRBO because it seems to work well here. I am getting mixed advice on whether or not I need a lease for short-term renters. I would like to have both short-term and long term renters. Does anyone have a lease that I can borrow to use for a template. I'm not sure if I need one at all, and if I do, what it should include about repairs, broken items, etc.?

Thank you!

Unfortunately, a lease is worth as much as the paper it is written on. The main thing a lease does is Rey’s to keep a tenant honest and compliant. It usually works but sometimes it doesn’t. I would go through VRBO and Air BnB and require every tenant analysis check you can get. ID, social media etc. Having somebody sign a lease will do nothing if they choose to destroy your place.

If you make people go through every possible hoop before renting to them will ultimately give you the best outcome. Good luck!

Hey @Cristy George !  I host and live in Denver but have spent a good bit of my life in the Destin/FWB area so I know it well.  I would be willing to share mine but its pretty generic and not necessarily specific to the state of FL.  I consider mine a "rental agreement" and not a lease for legal reasons.  

Also - have you thought about hosting on Airbnb?  If so they don't even give you the option to upload a rental agreement.  To mitigate this risk, I charge a security deposit and have comprehensive short term rental specific insurance that will cover me if anything were to happen.  This insurance does not require that a lease or rental agreement be signed for every reservation so going this route saves me time and money.   Hope this helps! 

Thank you for the responses. Tyler your response prompted me to write my insurance guy (Proper) as I still haven't received a copy of the full policy that would tell me whether or not they require a rental agreement. Do you guys know how a rental agreement is handled on VRBO? I have started creating my listing and haven't run into the place where it enables you to upload a rental agreement and have it e-signed. I wish there was an instruction manual on the sequential steps to take after buying a vacation rental! Hmm maybe one of you PROs want to take that on  :O)

@Tyler Work

Nice website. What short term rental insurance company do you use? 

I'm wondering if anyone offers guests the option to purchase their own insurance policy, like a vacation cancellation policy. I sometimes use a mgmt company who sells this to their guests who book. I don't do this when I use airbnb but for those who book independently, do you?

@Cristy George

Of course, you'd want to comply with your condo's policy for STR since that'll dictate how you proceed.

I bet several of us could write the instruction manual easily!

Originally posted by @Nancy Bachety :

@Tyler Work

Nice website. What short term rental insurance company do you use? 

I'm wondering if anyone offers guests the option to purchase their own insurance policy, like a vacation cancellation policy. I sometimes use a mgmt company who sells this to their guests who book. I don't do this when I use airbnb but for those who book independently, do you?

@Cristy George

Of course, you'd want to comply with your condo's policy for STR since that'll dictate how you proceed.

I bet several of us could write the instruction manual easily!

Thanks! I use a local branch of Farmers here in Colorado to insure my business with a general and professional liability policy but I use American Modern Insurance for the property I own to replace my homeowners policy. Proper Insurance is probably the largest STR insurer but many of the "big guys" are jumping on the STR train and offering policies.

That is a good question regarding guest insurance.  I know there a few large property management companies that offer insurance for the homeowner paid for by the guest, but I have yet to hear of a specific policy covering guest travel.  I get insurance every year when I buy my ski pass that covers me if I get sick or injured for $10 so I'm sure its out there.  

VRBO does offer "property damage protection" starting at $59 (paid for by guest) that the guest can opt into in lieu of a damage deposit, however I don't believe it covers the guest at all.

We have found that using Airbnb and VRBO's maximum verification works best for us. Once someone is verified we have had no issues.

Build in cleaning costs and a cushion for extra messy renters (about 1 in 10 of our renters just don't like cleaning) as well as a security deposit. 

Plan on some breakage (sometimes literally) and to replace items along the way (we are always out of wine openers in our rentals?) and you and your guests should be happy.