Whether you call them ‘Rules’, ‘Policies’ or ‘Guidelines’, you will need to have something in place to help your guests know what they can and cannot do, and how flexible you are on different issues. They should be clear, simple statements on what happens under different circumstances, and provide a set of guiding principles for your guests.

This could be as simple as saying there is to be No Smoking inside the property or a description of what they may expect in the event they need to cancel.

The following are the most common policies you will need to consider:


At some point, you will have guests that cancel their vacation.  This may be because they have changed their minds, or are forced to because of an illness or death in the family.  Whatever their reason, they will want to know if they can recover the money they have paid for their vacation. Having a clear cancellation policy they have read and agreed to, before they pay for their vacation, is important both for your peace of mind and theirs.

Here’s an example:

If you need to cancel for any reason: 

If the cancellation is more than 60 days from the start of your vacation, you will receive a full refund.  However if less than 60 days:

  • You will receive a refund of your rental fee (either deposit or full payment) less a cancellation fee of $150, IF we are able to re-rent the period booked.
  • There is no refund of any monies paid if we are not able to re-rent the period booked.

We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover cancellation and read the exclusion clauses thoroughly.  Few policies cover change of mind.

You might want to be more flexible with your policy – just make it crystal clear what will happen in the case of a cancellation request.


A significant number of travelers will want to bring a pet.  This is most likely to be a dog (or multiple dogs) but could also be a cat, bird, snake or even a pot-bellied pig.  Having a pet policy is your protection that your guests are not going to bring their complete menagerie without you being aware of it – although that still may happen.

Decide what types of pet you will accept, how many, the breed, size etc., and make this a clear policy on your listing.  You can restrict the breed to hypo- allergenic or to under a certain weight; limit to dogs only, or a maximum of 2 pets…whatever sits well with your comfort level.

Example Pet Policy

We welcome well-behaved dogs only; they must be neutered and have up-to-date vaccinations and be on flea control medication. Pets may not be left unattended in the property at any time during a guest stay.

Your Welcome Book can include additional guidelines on boundaries, whether you want pets leashed or crated, and where inside the property they are allowed

Damage & cleaning

If you collect a damage deposit, then your policy should clearly explain what happens in the case of accidental damage, when the deposit will be returned and under what circumstances a claim would be made.

Example Damage Policy

A damage deposit of $500 is held until the property has been inspected after your departure.  Any claim on the deposit will be reported to you in writing within 48 hours and the deposit returned within 7 days of your checkout if there is no damage, significant breakage, excessive cleaning , or overage on the internet bandwidth limit.


This policy outlines the penalty for overcrowding a property and ensures that your guests let you know if they are having additional people at the property. It is important to state this clearly, so they know where they stand on day and overnight guests.

Decide how many you are comfortable to accommodate.  Often this can be a maximum adult occupancy plus additional children (important if there are bunk beds).

Example Occupancy Policy

The property has a maximum occupancy of up to 6 adults + up to 4 additional children.  Exceeding this capacity may impact the rental insurance on the property so we must be informed if you intend having day or overnight guests during your stay.  Overcrowding the property may result in eviction without refund.

Some of these policies may seem a little draconian and you can adjust your wording depending on your tolerance levels.  These can be displayed on your listing or included in your Terms and Conditions of Rental.


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