Renting Frequently Asked Questions

Q.   How do I contact the owner?
A.   All rental advertisements provide the telephone number, fax number and/or e-mail link to the owners or their booking agent. However you choose to communicate, the listings enable you to directly contact an owner or an agent who really knows about the property and can answer specific questions for you.

Q.   How do I make a booking?
A.  

Individual property owners have their own way of conducting a rental. When making the rental reservation, make sure you have covered your arrival and departure dates, number of adults and children, any pets you want to bring along, and any special needs that you might have.

To ensure that details of the rental are communicated, a clearly written rental agreement or lease is recommended. A legally binding contract, the rental agreement or lease should include defined arrival and departure dates, payment schedules, detailed instructions, and terms and conditions related to cancellations and refunds.

Q.   What type of deposit and payment due dates can I expect?
A.  

In most circumstances the rental agreement will require a booking deposit of 10% - 50% to confirm the reservation, with full payment received 8 weeks prior to arrival. It is important that all payments be submitted as specified in the rental agreement in order to avoid losing your reservation and/or your booking deposit.

In addition to the booking deposit, you will also be asked to provide a refundable security deposit either at the time of booking or upon arrival. Specifics related to the security deposit, including property maintenance, damages and additional fees such as telephone charges, should be detailed in the rental agreement. See Renting Vacation Properties: How To Protect Yourself for more details.

Q.   Where can I find details on check-in times, pets, etc.?
A.   Within the rental agreement or lease you can expect to find terms related to check-in and checkout times, maximum occupancy, pet policies, cancellation conditions, and maintenance of the rental.

Q.   How are cancellation and refunds handled?
A.  

The cancellation policy associated with your rental agreement or lease should clearly communicate penalties associated with canceling your contract. Note that cancellations due to weather conditions are not usually permitted unless specified in the rental agreement.

Travel insurance can protect your vacation investment if unforeseen circumstances require you to cancel your trip.

Q.   What about travel arrangements?
A.  

The owner will be able to advise you on your travel arrangements, including the most convenient airports, car rentals, and alternative transportation options. Special parking requirements and parking passes should be detailed in the rental agreement and included in pre-arrival instructions.

Q.   What type of pre-arrival instructions should I expect?
A.   In addition to directions to the property, you should be provided with either a key or the name of the person who will greet you at the rental, as well as the name and telephone number of some one at the location who you can contact if anything goes wrong. If a security deposit is due on arrival, the expectation is that it will be paid in cash, local currency, check or traveler’s check.
 
Q.   What happens when I arrive at the property?
A.   Some owners send you a key in advance, some actually live on site and will meet you, and some arrange for their representative to meet you at the property. Make sure you are given details of some one you can contact if something goes wrong. If you are delayed, it is courteous to inform the owner.
 
Q.   What if there is a problem during my vacation?
A.   It is in your best interest and the owner’s interest to fix any problems immediately. Contact information for the owner or their local representative should be included in pre arrival instructions and posted in the rental. The person you have been directed to contact will be your best resource to quickly resolve any issues.
 
Q.   What happens when I leave?
A.  

Check out policies should be part of the instructions you were provided. Since cleaning standards vary, it is important to know how much the owners expect you to clean up prior to departure. At minimum, the rental should be left tidy.

When you are ready to leave, the owner or their representative should check you out of the property, and assuming there is no damage, will refund your security deposit, either on the spot or within a couple of weeks.

Q.   How do I know the rentals are legitimate?
A.   We offer the HomeAway Rent with Confidence Guarantee to protect you against listings that are not legitimate. To take advantage of the Guarantee, just register your trip and travel with confidence knowing your payments are protected.

Although the HomeAway Rent with Confidence Guarantee protects your payments, since the online service we provide for vacationers is comparable to that offered by a newspaper or magazine through which vacation homes are advertised, we still recommend that you take steps to protect yourself by requesting references and a list of past renters from the homeowners before agreeing to rent. If possible, we also suggest that you visit the property in advance. See Renting Vacation Properties: How To Protect Yourself for more details.

 

Vacationer's Checklist

 
1.   Make reservations early
    Planning ahead and booking early guarantees you maximum choice and access to the optimal rental. Avoiding last minute bookings can also save you money. Last minute renters invariably have to settle for fewer amenities or a higher price.
 
2.   Get lease or rental agreement
    Be sure to get everything down on paper before you send any payments.
 
3.   Don't miss deadlines for deposits and payments
    Missed payment deadlines can result in a forfeiture of monies and a cancellation of your reservation.
 
4.   Know your cancellation policy
    Get a clear cancellation policy in writing. Be prepared to sacrifice at least a portion of your deposit should you have to cancel. Some owners have non-refundable cancellation policies during peak travel times, such as holidays, in which you could lose your entire deposit.
 
5.   Get complete instructions in advance
    Pre-arrival instructions should include details on how to gain entry to the rental. Keys, the owner's phone number, or that of a local representative should be made available. If keys are forwarded to you, you should also have the name of a local contact should unforeseen problems arise.


See Renting Vacation Properties: How To Protect Yourself for more details.

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