Don’t Get Dinged for Dings You Didn’t Do: How to Avoid Damage and Liability When Renting a Vacation Property
So you’re finally hitting the relax button after traveling to your sweet new vacation rental. But wait! Nothing will sour your hard-earned vacation like damage issues and disputes during your trip or when you return home. Indeed, when renting a vacation property, a long-term lease, or a shared space through a company like Dwellable, it’s critical to assess and document the condition of the property when you first arrive, or you can end up liable/paying for something you didn’t damage.
There are a few really simple things you can do to protect yourself. But remember, take your time and don’t rush the process. An accurate record of the property condition is what’s paramount for your protection. The goal is to avoid any service calls! If the owner has to call a repair person, you’ll be on the hook, so our advice is to enjoy the new place, have fun and respect the property. It all comes down to treating the place like it was your own (or better!).
Check out these critical areas to inspect and easy ways to stay ahead of the game:
1. The Entryway
When first entering, inspect the entry door and ensure it closes correctly and locks. If there is a back door or sliding patio door, do the same thing and ensure alignment when opening and closing. Door repairs are expensive and owners will check these.
Next, look at flooring surfaces. If they have been cleaned before arrival then you should expect the condition to be good, and landlords will charge from your deposit if you didn’t note the stain on the stairs. Carpet damage is a hot button for owners and property managers because of how this tarnishes the impression of a unit.
While inspecting floors, be sure to note the condition of the walls, especially the baseboards. These are easily damaged and expensive to repair. Wall damage is also commonplace and one of the first things that will be noticed if you don’t.
Ensure all electrical items, switches and appliances are working properly; then run all taps, faucets, and even the toilets to make sure everything is in good condition. Check the oven for cleanliness as well as the freezer for frost as that is a clear sign of a problem.
5. The House
Since your vacation property will be furnished, look at the outer surfaces and structure and note any and all dings, nicks, scratches or stains. If this isn’t documented, you might be the one getting a cleaning or repair bill.
6. Thinking Ahead
Speaking of repair bills, while staying at your rental property there are also a few things you can do to prevent damage and liability that you can be billed for, to your surprise, after you get home. With that in mind be aware of the following common issues:
- Beware of dishwasher issues, usually because of poor rinsing in the cheaper washers, or unseen broken glassware that jams the machine
- Clogging up the toilet, causing flooding or worse (you know what I mean)
- Overloading the washing machine, keep the laundry load size reasonable (and don’t put that area rug in the washing machine if you’ve spilled wine on it)
- Flooding… Your bathtub or sinks at home may have an anti-flood drain, but this vacation place may not
- Partying too hard in the hot tub messing up the jets or requiring draining and service
- General carelessness which will take nicks out of furniture, baseboards, and walls. Understand that the property owner will be looking at all exterior surfaces before returning a damage deposit!