It can be tempting to immediately snap up that ideal holiday home as soon as you see it online, but a little bit of self-control can save you a great deal of heartache. It is up to you, as the renter, to make sure you are familiar with the your rights and responsibilities. As such, here are a few questions you should ask before you whip out your credit card to put down the deposit.
Who am I renting from?
Generally speaking individuals or agencies rent out holiday homes and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Individuals are allowed to rent out their property without licensing and as such may be more open to negotiations on price and duration of stay. Individuals may be more responsive to complaints or other feedback, but can be difficult to deal with if a dispute emerges.
If you are renting from an agency, you will be working with licensed real estate agents or brokers. They may be a little less flexible on price but generally offer good customer service and have more experience dealing with renters.
What terms and conditions am I agreeing to?
You will be required to sign some kind of lease agreement that will outline the terms and conditions associated with renting the property. Read this agreement very carefully. In particular, make sure you understand who bears liability for damages to the property, as well as late-checkout penalties. Check your travel insurance policy for coverage in such an event.
What services are provided?
Is the apartment or home serviced, and if so, how often? Do you have to put out the trash yourself? Is there anything in the property you aren’t allowed to use? Will you be held liable for utility bills – power, water, cable TV or internet – and when is checkout? These basic housekeeping questions should be outlined in the agreement but ask if you are unsure.
Who is my point of contact?
This is especially important if you are travelling to places where you have never been before. When arranging the rental make note of who you are communicating with and keep a record of all correspondence in case of a dispute. This point of contact will also be useful in an emergency if you need some local advice or assistance.
What do I do in case of a dispute?
Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a dispute with the rental agency or individual. Generally speaking, any disputes can be resolved by checking the lease agreement and any correspondence. If you do find yourself in a tricky position, it is helpful to have the details of any consumer advocacy groups, the police and your travel insurance provider on hand.
These are the basic questions you should be asking of the agency or individual renting out the property. Aside from the standard questions of price, lease duration, location and so forth, these questions should help you understand your rights and responsibilities. In doing so, you may be able to avoid any unpleasant disputes that might arise from mutual misunderstandings.