10 things to tell your renters

If you’re renting out your cottage this summer, there are a few ways you can help prepare your guests for the experience. Here’s a quick list of things you should discuss with your renters:

1. Conditions of the rental agreement

Clearly lay out ground rules to help ensure that visitors respect you and your cottage. Things to cover are: the security deposit, cancellation policy, maximum occupancy, noise restrictions, boat usage, and other cottage rules (e.g., pets allowed, no smoking).

2. Area rules and regulations

You should go over any community rules, guidelines, or laws so your renters are not disturbing cottagers in the area, or committing any faux pas (or worse) out of ignorance. Things to consider here include parking rules, noise bylaws, speed limits for your road and waterway, and how the locals handle pets (on- or off-leash).

3. Contact information

Provide phone numbers your renters could need during their stay: emergency contacts, closest neighbour, septic guy, marina, a movie rental place, and the rental company.

4. Instructions on how your cottage works

Put together detailed instructions for the fireplace, woodstove, garbage, water, appliances, and septic system. If you have a temperamental septic system, a troubleshooting checklist, and the dos and don’ts of what goes in the toilet, sink, and shower (e.g., only 2-ply toilet paper and eco-friendly bath and cleaning products), would be helpful to prevent problems during their stay.

5. Cottage inventory

Make an inventory of valuable or breakable items like equipment, tools, and electronics, and go over it with your renters at the beginning of their stay. This will prevent trouble later if something goes missing or gets broken.

6. Operation of outdoor equipment

If you’re including your boat in the rental (check your insurance!), and your renter has a Pleasure Craft Operator Card, detailed instructions should be provided. These instructions could include quirks of the engine, necessary safety equipment, directions to the nearest marina, and hazardous or shallow areas of the lake. You may simply be giving them details on the runabout or canoe, but be sure the renters have safety instructions regarding these (and any other) water activities.

7. Supplies to bring

Advise renters of the supplies they will need during their stay (e.g., sheets and towels). No one wants to arrive at an isolated cottage and find out that they are sleeping on bare mattresses for a week.

8. Cottage condition upon departure

Let your renters know what you expect them to take care of before the end of their rental period. Let them know if they have to clean anything (like the fridge or bathroom), as well as the proper storage of the outdoor equipment. How thorough you choose to be is up to you, based on how much of the work you expect to do yourself.

9. Local map and visitor attractions

Leaving a map to, or around town, is a nice extra for your renters. It’s great to know where places like the liquor store, beer store, grocery, ice cream stand, and clinic are; and the more enjoyable their stay is, the higher the chance is they’ll come back next summer. It’s also much easier than having to hunt down new renters every year.

10. Tell your renters to enjoy their stay!


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