blog post

Free Vacation Rental House Rules Template for Successful VRMs 

Josh Parry
Josh Parry
January 26, 2023
Free Vacation Rental House Rules Template for Successful VRMs 

Homeowners are notoriously and rightfully concerned with the condition in which guests leave the home, and have high expectations for their property managers to enforce strict but fair standards to ensure the wellbeing of their home and personal property. 

When my family entered the professional vacation rental management business, we  faced endless frustrations, confusions, and miscommunications with our guests, because we weren’t providing clear expectations. 

Defining your own rules beforehand and sending them to your guests before their arrival, as well as placing a copy in the home leads to a smooth experience for you, your guests, and your short term rental hosts.

As a foundation, every property manager should consider and define the following categories of rules for their property:  

1. Rules related to smoking on your property.  

2. Rules in case there is any kind of property damage.  

3. Rules to define boundaries for pets.  

4. Rules related to parking.  

5. Rules to maintain cleanliness at your property.  

I’ve never met a property manager who doesn’t have a full plate – and here I am adding more to the pile! Don’t worry; CiiRUS is offering the ultimate vacation rental house rules template for successful vacation rental managers! Just fill in the blanks, add, and remove information to fit the needs of each property.  

Go ahead! Download the template below. 

Download our Free house rules template now!

Free Vacation Rental House Rules Template

Download our vacation rental house rules template to share the best experience with your guests.
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What are Vacation Rental House Rules?  

House Rules are a professional way of establishing the ground rules for all guests entering your property. They give you the opportunity to clearly state what you expect from them; what they can and cannot do; and the penalties for violating these rules.

We have a certain way that we expect guests to treat our home, but they don’t know what to expect unless it’s made clear. Thing is, hosts cannot be there 24 hours a day to monitor guest behavior, which is why house rules are so important for vacation rentals. Not only does it create a clear view of what is expected of guests, but it also sets a standard for professionalism.

Your vacation home policies send a signal to travelers that your business is of a high standard, and maintaining that standard ensures a good reputation for you, your guests, and your business.  

Why do You need House Rules for your Vacation Rentals?  

When you are just starting out in the vacation rental industry, you might think that there are a million things to do. The paperwork, challenges, and tasks that need to be completed can seem like a never-ending loop, so why increase the workload by creating custom vacation rental House Rules?  

Simple research can help define a standard set of rules for your vacation home, but what you find online may not define your property.

So, you must take the time to create and implement house rules for your vacation rental; it is more valuable than you think, and can even help your brand stand out as a professional alternative when you advertise a listing on Vrbo, Airbnb, and the other major channels 

1) Vacation rental house rules save you time 

When you manage multiple properties, or even just one, you may not have the time to respond to every question, curiosity, or request during a guest's stay. Simple questions like "The hot tub isn't available?" or "Can we invite friends later?" are questions that can easily be answered in advance using the house rules.  

Save time for you and your guests.  

Don't forget, they’re on vacation! They would rather have fun than texting back and forth asking questions. The quickest thing you can do is to clearly outline and define your vacation rental rules for your guests with a professional House Rules document 

2) Vacation Rental House rules protect you and your property 

You might feel a little nervous about handing over the keys at a bachelorette party. Knowing that guests had agreed to stringent rules at the time of booking can alleviate concerns for youyou’re your owners. Remember that house rules not only tell guests how to treat your home, but they also reinforce those expectations.

You have fully informed your guests of your expectations and if the rules are broken you have formal evidence to back your case. The Rules are not just a suggestion on how to take care of your property, but rather an agreement between you and your guests that will have consequences if the rules are not followed, especially if adherence to the house rules is a clause in your rental agreement. 

What to Include in your Vacation Rental House Rules 

If you've never written down your vacation rental rules before, you might not know where to start, so we've made things easier by creating this step-by-step guide to help you! You can follow these sample house rules to find the most useful rules for your property.  

A Welcome note and Vacation Rental House rules  

Start with a friendly welcome message for guests to read upon arrival. In this brief introduction to your property, it's important to set a welcoming tone but establish that you expect the guests to care for your rental home as if it’s their own.  

Example:  

Dear guests,  

Welcome to our house!  

We are delighted that you have chosen our house for your vacation. Before you check in and feel comfortable, we would like to inform you about the rules of our vacation rental. Understanding and following our rules carefully will ensure a comfortable and pleasant stay for everyone!  

Please read each policy carefully to avoid any risk or deduction from security deposit upon departure.  

  • Please treat our home with the same respect as your own home. We have put a lot of effort into creating a beautiful space for our guests.  
  • Remember to maintain a prominent level of cleanliness throughout your stay, which will make your departure a lot easier!  
  • In the event of accidental damage, we will investigate the matter internally to determine if and how much a print or repair will cost.  
  • We hope you will have lots of laughs and fun during your vacation! However, we would appreciate it if you would consider this and keep noise to a minimum during the night.  
  • Please ensure that you have read and understood the house rules at the beginning of your stay.   

If something is not clear, please use emergency contact details so that we can explain it to you in more detail to avoid misunderstandings.   

Have fun! It's your vacation time and we hope you make the most of our home, its amenities, and the opportunity to relax and explore.  

 1) Room & Specific Area Rules  

Sometimes you have something kept for the amenities in your vacation rental home and that comes up with set of instructions, so you will have to inform and let your guests know in advance. Or if you have something in your room that you would want them to use, that too you will have to let your guests in advance.  

Information and special rules for each part of the house are described below so you can easily understand where things are and how to use them safely.  

  • The closet in the hallway is private and locked, do not try to open it.  
  • Cleanliness is a priority, so remove shoes in front of the entrance to this room.  
  • You can find the control panel in the box next to the front door. Please only open it in the unlikely event of power outage.  
  • Open windows could disturb our alarm system. Make sure all windows are closed and secured before activating the alarm.  
  • Because this room is adjacent to the neighbor’s house, please pay attention to noise at home.  

2) Rules for supplies and inventory  

You can always provide guests with a set of rules that are particularly applicable just to inventory and other supplies at your vacation rental properties. Below is an example,  

Example: 

In our vacation rental we are happy to provide our guests with some useful items as part of the starter pack to use during their stay. Please see our welcome booklet for the full list of facilities.  

Here are some rules to follow regarding the items you will find in and around our home.  

  • The tap water isn’t very safe to drink. There are a few bottles in the kitchen that you can use, but we recommend buying bottled mineral water from your local store.  
  • We have provided you with some washing liquid. If you run out during your stay, please buy the same brand as it's more eco-friendly and less of a strain on local water supplies.  
  • There are canned and other perishable products in your kitchen pantry to use as you please. Always check the expiration date before eating anything. We always make sure not to leave any perishable food at the home, but oversights can happen.  
  • The candle lamps on the balcony are for outdoor use only. Be careful when you light them and never light them inside the house.  
  • Please do not take your kitchen cutlery outside to avoid losing or misplacing it.  

3) House Rules for the neighborhood 

As  a property manager, you don't want guest behavior to jeopardize the relationships you've built with residents of nearby properties. Use it as an opportunity to draw attention to detrimental behavior like excessive noise late at night.  

Your neighbors will appreciate your guests not disturbing their peaceful night's sleep.  

Here are some examples to inspire you:   

Just like our vacation rental home, our surrounding neighborhood is important to us. Most residents live here full time, although there may be other additional overnight visitors for short periods.  

  • Remember to respect the community and try to keep noise levels to a minimum, especially after dark. Respecting people and objects close to your vacation Is much appreciated by the community. 
  • Avoid loud noises between 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. to ensure that your neighbors sleep well and avoid interruptions from the authorities due to noise complaints. 
  • If residents report excessive noise or unruly behavior, we may have to evict you from our property and terminate your lease. This can lead to the loss of the security deposit and the rental amount.  
  • If there are any disputes or complaints from your neighbors, it is your responsibility to let us know as soon as possible.  
  • There are designated recycling and trash areas. Please avoid litter such as bottle caps or cigarette butts in neighboring properties.  
  • Please do not feed animals or pets in the neighborhood. 

4) Rules for visitors and Guests  

If your guests are not allowed to host others during their stay, please let them know. If there are restrictions on the number of guests they can invite to the rental, this should also be clearly stated.  

You may be open to guests planning parties and events, but there are many owners who don't. If you have strict rules and regulations regarding gatherings and the number of guests, be sure to include them in your house rules.  

Here are some examples to inspire you:  

  • We want you to get the most out of your vacation and time in our house, but for safety reasons we must limit the number of guests. As part of our vacation rental agreement, we ask for the names and contact details of each member invited to your party. Please also respect the maximum number of guests and the guest policies.  
  • A maximum (fixed) number of guests are allowed at the same time during their stay.  
  • Guests are responsible for this to ensure that all visitors comply with these guidelines.  
  • Any additional overnight guests must be pre-approved and are subject to additional charges as per our rates.  
  • Partying and large gatherings of any kind are prohibited at our property. Your guests must adhere to our other policies regarding noise, neighborhood, and occupancy.  
  • All the guests must allow the owner or staff access to the property for repairs and inspections. The Owner will exercise this right of access in a reasonable manner and, if possible, in advance.  

5) House Rules for Children’s Security 

The safety of younger guests is of utmost importance and hence there should be a standard set of rules that must be followed to keep children safe and secure throughout their  vacation rental stay.  

Example: 

We try to make our vacation homes as child friendly as possible. However, parents always have the ultimate responsibility to protect their children.

If you notice anything is unsafe or needs to be changed at our facility, please contact us as soon as possible so we can resolve the issue. To make our property child-friendly, we ask a few things:  

  • Never leave children unattended on the property.  
  • The courtyard is a great and safe place for children to play. To avoid danger, do not let them play outside its boundary.  
  • Our holiday home is/is not suitable for children under (an age)  
  • Guests are always responsible for their children's safety and security and any nuisance to other neighboring residents.  
  • For safety reasons, please do not use glasses or glassware around or in the children's play area.  

6) Vacation Rental Property Rules for Smoking inside 

Can guests smoke in your vacation rental? Is it forbidden? Avoid unpleasant surprises by showing the anti-smoking policy before your guests arrive!  

Here are some examples to inspire you:   

Our apartment is a non-smoking indoor area. It is important to us to keep our facilities in the best possible condition. Guests may only smoke outside, such as on a balcony or patio, if they comply with our rules.  

  • Smoking is prohibited inside the property.  
  • Guests are only allowed to smoke outside in the designated areas.  
  • Please do not throw cigarette butts on the lawn of the property. They should be thrown into the appropriate ashtray instead. Otherwise, the deposit will be deducted.  

If it is discovered that guests have been smoking in the accommodation, the deposit will also be forfeited.  

7) Vacation Home Rules for the Kitchen 

Example: 

One of the greatest advantages of our holiday accommodation is the fully equipped kitchen. It is ideal for preparing a delicious breakfast, a pleasant lunch, and a relaxing dinner for the whole family.  

We supply basic products such as frying oil, simple spices, and some condiments. Treat our kitchen with love and respect, as if you care about keeping it in perfect condition for the other guests.  

  • Remember to ventilate the kitchen after cooking anything that might leave a strong odor.  
  • Be careful not to flush leftover food down the drain. Dispose of kitchen waste in the organic waste bin under the sink.  
  • To protect the environment, only run the dishwasher with full loads and use the Eco program if possible.  
  • To simplify the inventory process, return all kitchen items to where you originally found them.  
  • Kitchen cleaners are under the sink. If you run out of items during your stay, please let us know so we can replace them for future guests.  

8) The basic utilities and appliances rules 

Vacation rental homes with fully equipped kitchens and modern appliances are typically most attractive to discerning guests. However, these amenities are significant investments for homeowners; to avoid unwanted damage and wear to these appliances, provide appropriate and reasonable care instructions to the guests. 

Here are some examples to inspire you:  

In our house you will find all the equipment you need for a comfortable stay. Use them responsibly and ask other group members to do the same. This means following some of the rules described below.  

  • Please use the washer/dryer between 9:00am and 7:00pm during the day only. This will help minimize disturbances near the property.  
  • Do not overload or recharge the washer/dryer. Remember to separate colors and white and wash at low temperature (90°F) if possible.  
  • The optimal temperature for the thermostat is 75-80°F in summer (for cooling) and 68-72°F in winter (for heating).  
  • Remember to turn off lights, fans, or other small appliances when you leave the house. Same goes for air conditioning and heating - we are a green home!  
  • In the unlikely event of a power outage, call us before touching the control panel.  
  • No compensation will be paid for temporary power, gas, water, cable, satellite, or telephone service outage.   

9) Vacation Rental House Rules for Parking & Vehicles 

Can travelers bring their own vehicle? Where can you park on the street? What is the maximum number of vehicles allowed? Inform your guests of this information before their arrival by sending a copy of your vacation rental house rules; parking violations can be costly, so helping a guest avoid such a thing will only serve to improve their experience and leave a positive impression. 

Here are some examples to inspire you:   

  • We have parking for up to two large vehicles on our property. Other cars can also be parked along our quiet residential street if they do not block access to the neighboring property.  
  • Park your vehicles in the space provided in the driveway and make sure there are no cars blocking the sidewalk.  
  • Do not go faster than 30 mph while approaching our house.  
  • If you or any member of your party must park on the street, be careful and do not block access for others.   
  • The garage is not accessible to guest vehicles.  

10) Garbage & Recycling Rules   

Guests choose vacation rentals to feel "at home." This means that they assume that they will have some chores and self-catering to keep their home away from home in tip-top shape.  

It is one thing to put the dishes in the dishwasher after a delicious meal, but how about taking out the garbage? Indicate how to dispose of rubbish and how travelers should sort rubbish if they do not want to end up living in a landfill on the day of departure!  

Here are some examples to get you started:  

  • We want to do something for the environment and ask our customers to do the same! Under the sink, there are clearly marked bins for separating and recycling various materials and a regular waste bin for materials not recyclable.  
  • Dispose of waste and recyclable materials in the appropriate bins.  
  • You can leave your rubbish and recycling outside for collection on Monday evenings. If you leave before Monday, bring it with you and throw rubbish in the bins at the end of the street.  
  • Please do not throw any toiletries down the toilet. We provide a bin for this in every bathroom.  
  • All leftovers must be disposed of in the organic recycling bin. Remember to use the correct compostable bin liner during replacement.  

11) Security Rules for the Vacation property 

Liability protection only goes so far – help guests assure their personal safety in the vacation rental home by encouraging them to follow best safety practices. 

Most travelers do not need a reminder to secure the home when they’re away or sleeping, but it is always worth mentioning just in case. Remember that guests' belongings are only safe if they remember to close and lock all windows and doors when leaving the house.  

You can also use it to remind customers to save energy, for example - do not turn on the air conditioning with the windows open or leave the lights on when you leave the house.  

Here’s another example you can incorporate to help guests and their belongings stay secure: 

Deadbolt locks on all doors must be used when you leave your residence and when you go to bed at night. Do not let strangers into the building (day or night) unless proper identification is shown, a photo ID and company uniform/name badge if applicable).  

12) Rules for Hot Tub/Swimming Pool & Outdoor Amenities 

If your guests are lucky enough to use the hot tub or pool, make sure they are aware of any restrictions (e.g., what time of day) or prohibited items (glass, sharp objects, etc.).   

This makes you feel good and saves you from remarkably high pool cleaning bills.  

Here are some examples to get you moving:   

  • All of our guests like to use our rental pool! It is a terrific way to spend the summer days at home. There are a few things to note about the hot tub/pool.  
  • The swimming pool is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thank you for respecting these times in the interest of our neighbors.  
  • Avoid using glassware or glass bottles near the pool.  
  • Please use plastic cups for drinks by the pool.  
  • Guests must shower before entering the pool to remove sunscreen and dirt.  

13) Rental Property Rules for Pets  

If you or your homeowners wish to enforce a pet policy, it’s extremely important to make this clear to all incoming guests. Are pets welcome? How many? How big can they be? Use the below samples for inspiration: 

Pets are welcome to visit us! If you live here with your furry friends, we ask for your help with a few things so that you can have a stress-free stay. 

  • We know you love your furry friends, but please do not allow them on furniture, especially sofas and beds.  
  • Guests are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Please clean the seating area daily and rinse with water if necessary.  
  • Pets are not allowed outside the fence without a leash.  
  • Animals are not allowed to stay overnight outside of the property (e.g., from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.). Please bring them indoors for the night. 

14) Vacation Rental Rules for Accidental Damage  

We all know that accidents happen sometimes, but instead of scaring customers into thinking they'll lose their entire deposit because of a broken plate, simply state in your rules that accidental damage of any kind must be reported.  

Here are some examples to inspire you:  

While we know our guests do not intentionally damage anything in our vacation rental, we understand that accidents can happen sometimes. Here's what you need to know about accidental damage or damage during your stay.  

  • Always report any damage or accidental damage immediately, especially before departure.  
  • Please do not move any furniture from one room to another without first contacting us.  
  • Please refer to the rental agreement for detail information about the accidental damage protection plan. 

15) Check-In and Checkout Rules 

It can be a hassle when guests arrive early or leave too late, especially during busy seasons. It’s crucial that you clearly state what time they should be checking in and out of your vacation house. If guests understand and follow your schedule, it makes it easier for you to prepare your short-term rental for the next visitors. 

This is also where you enumerate any specific actions you want them to take before they leave, such as general cleaning, garbage disposal and key exchange.  

Examples: 

  • We want to ensure everything is clean and ready for your stay, so please observe our (your preferred check-in time, e.g. 3PM) check-in time.    
  • Check out time is at (your preferred checkout time, e.g.11AM ) sharp. Please make sure you have checked out by this time, as we will have to clean up the space for our next guest.  
  • We hope you enjoy your stay and have a good time during your vacation! With that said, we hope you’ll treat our house as you would your own.  
  • Please take the time to read and understand our house rules at the beginning of your stay.  

16) Final Agreement & Compliance for rental property 

The last section summarizes the terms of the vacation rental house rules and what happens if you break them.  

Here are some templates to inspire you: 

We have established basic house rules so that every guest who visits our property has a safe, secure and pleasant stay with us. Compliance with these rules is essential for every member of the party. We hope you enjoy it and find everything you need at our home.  

  • Breaking any of these house rules will constitute a breach of the Terms of Service of the Rental Agreement you have signed.  
  • We reserve the right to evict any guest or guest who refuses to abide by these rules.  
  • In all cases, please use common sense when staying in our home. If you are not sure about the house rules, please feel free to call us for more information.  

How To Upload Vacation House Rental Rules for Your Listing To OTAs 

Making guests aware of your house rules in advance is essential for both keeping your property well-kept and ensuring that they have a positive experience. Before entering the property, your guests should be aware of the terms they are signing. To ensure guests are exposed to the house rules as far in advance as possible, you can post them directly on the listing when you advertise on the major OTAs like Vrbo and Airbnb. 

On Vrbo: 

  1. Sign in to your Vrbo account.  
  1. Select the property you’d like to edit. 
  1. Once you’re inside the property tab, find rules & policies from the navigation menu. 
  1. From there, select house rules. 
  1. This is where you’ll implement the rules you want to communicate with your guests. 
  1. Press Save and you’re done! 

Vrbo house rules examples: 

You can define your rules on the lines of, 

  • Amenities Usages 
  • A few cleaning rules. 
  • Curfew or Noise Restrictions 

On Airbnb: 

Airbnb is used for a wide range of trips, including a romantic honeymoon by the beach, a treehouse adventure with the kids, and a girls' trip to the city. Airbnb has many different types of guests, which means different needs for Airbnb house rules. You have the options to upload your customized set of rules on Airbnb. 

Download Our Free Vacation Rental House Rules Template  

Not sure where to start yet? Download our template to kickstart your own house rules guide! We have prepared a handy file with all these examples that you can easily modify. Just fill in the blanks to customize it to your company's needs.  

This template is designed to help you deliver a safe and enjoyable experience. You can add, subtract, and edit as needed. Remember that no two properties are alike, so customizing your vacation house rules template to match your vacation rental is not only recommended, but also imperative.  

Add your custom house rules to the listing pages used by your properties and to your direct booking page. 

CiiRUS, the best-in-class and longest-trusted vacation rental software offers a built-in channel management feature, which allows you centrally store and manage your property details and house rules from one convenient hub. A property management software can help you in ways that you might have never imagined.

Download our Free house rules template now!

Free Vacation Rental House Rules Template

Download our vacation rental house rules template to share the best experience with your guests.
Thanks! We'll be in touch! In the meantime, browse our full website for more information about CiiRUS.
Please check all required fields and try again. Thank you!
Josh Parry
Josh Parry
Josh is the Chief Marketing Officer at CiiRUS, where he has been working with vacation rental managers in various capacities since 2014. He is passionate about helping VRMs increase their revenue earning potential and operational efficiency.

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